Religious Education News – September 2017

From Christopher Buja, Director of Religious Education and Membership

Welcoming Iris DeLaPaz into the UUA’s Credentialing Program!
It is with great joy that I share with you the news that Iris De La Paz, UUCM’s Religious Education Coordinator, has been accepted into the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Credentialing program for religious educators!

The credentialing program helps religious professionals advance their professional development through focusing their continued learning in many “core competencies” of their profession.  Not only does it help guide the professional in what workshops and books to engage with, it also helps the professional reflect on their experiences thus far in the competencies and then apply new learning to those areas.

It is of great benefit to congregations to have their religious professionals engaged in such continued professional development as credentialing.   As Iris will benefit from this process in growing as a religious educator, so too will UUCM benefit by the shared wisdom and knowledge she will bring to the congregation and apply it to many aspects of religious education.

You can read more about the credentialing program via this link:

As the landscape of religious education in the 21st century is in flux and there are opportunities for innovation and experimentation, it is a blessing for a congregation to have religious professionals, such as Iris, committed to their professional growth in order to remain on the cutting edge of faith formation trends.  Please join me in welcoming Iris on this exciting next step in her professional journey!

“Set a course for Montclair…ENGAGE!”
Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation may recognize my title paraphrasing of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard’s frequent sign off at the end of an episode.  “Engage” and “engagement” has been a recurring theme for me since I began as UUCM’s new Director of Religious Education, Membership, and Congregational Life on August 1.  I certainly have been engaged in a slew of meetings!

While there is discussion on just what title best captures the spirit and intent of the two part-time positions that were merged into this full time position, the desire for engagement underlies the work and arises out of the conversations I’ve had and from my reading of assorted UUCM documents.

I am excited to be in this rare position of having responsibilities in the ministries of religious education and membership and congregational life.  Though perhaps it should not be such a rarity, as those two ministry areas ought to be in sync with one another and inevitably intersect and overlap in many ways.

As we continue to get to know each other and our respective journeys of Unitarian Universalism and how our paths came to be joined, I invite you to consider how you are presently engaged in religious education – be it for children, youth, or adults – and how the path of lifespan faith formation and the path to membership and deepening engagement in congregational life might become more synonymous with each other.