sophia lyon fahs lecture

Paula Cole Jones gives the 2019 LREDA Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture at the 2019 UUA General Assembly in Spokane, WA. © 2019 Nancy Pierce/UUA

Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture 2021 - BIPOC YaYA Leaders 

On June 25th, GA attendees joined LREDA to shift our focus to the growing edge, centering voices of BIPOC UU Youth and Young Adults.  The Fahs Lecture addresses the sacred work of "leading out" learners of all ages to foster deeper understandings and renewed inspirations for this ministry as they share their experiences and insights for our future.  

         Panel Convener - Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson 
         Lecture Panelists - Kennedy Mattson, Karishma Gottfried, & Andreas Rivera Young 

What is the Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture?

The purpose of the Fahs Lecture is annually, at the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, to present a speaker on the topic of religious education to this wide and diverse gathering of lay and professional Unitarian Universalists. 

Each year, the Fahs Lecture Committee seeks to invite an individual whose life and work has shown a commitment and understanding of the meaning, the depth, and the challenges of religious education.  The speaker's role is to address some aspect of the sacred work of "leading out" learners of all ages , "educare", to help us have deeper understandings, higher visions, and renewed inspirations for this ministry.  

The Fahs Lecture is named in honor of Sophia Lyon Fahs, the religious educator who, in the middle of this century, shaped the course of Unitarian Universalist religious education.  Her insights - including the notion that children develop religious understanding from their interaction with the world - revolutionized how we teach.  

  Donate to the Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture Fund


This annual lecture held at the UUA General Assembly each year, was begun by members of the Board of the Liberal Religious Educators Association in the early 1970s, following a tradition of notable lectures. Dr. Eugene Navias reports that previous to the Fahs Lecture, "the Religious Education Department once had major speakers at General Assemblies and their Unitarian predecessor, May Meetings, and that LREDA regularly had speakers at its annual dinner at GA.  One of the most notable speakers at one of these events in the years before the Fahs Lecture started was Cody Wilson, Executive Director of the President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. His lecture at the LREDA Dinner in 1971 drew much positive attention and was later published by the UUA R.E.  Department and distributed through the UUA Bookstore.

The big move with the Fahs Lecture was to have a lecture on a topic that had some import to liberal religious education at a prime time at the GA - to rank along with the Ware Lecture.  A $1,000 grant [was] received from the Unitarian Sunday School Society to fund the first lecture.  

Click here to see programming as far back as 1974.