RE Tips!

RE Consultant

Monday, January 24, 2005
  RE Tip #44 Have you visited the UUA calendar lately?

I was wondering if all of you knew what a great service the UUA provides in its national calendar - look there for regional and continental training opportunities. The light green bars are "RE related," but all are interesting.

Some of them may be far away, but then again, someone in your congregation may be willing to donate some frequent flier miles to you!

Thursday, January 13, 2005
  RE Tip # 43 KidTalk: a fun, interactive resource for UU kids!

A new interactive website from the CLF, called KidTalk, provides resources for celebrating holidays from around the world, and helps kids to understand who they are as Unitarian Universalists. The site is a place for UU kids to ask questions and share with one another their ideas and questions about what it means to celebrate their UU faith. Kids can access the new site, which is regularly monitored by CLF staff members, at Kids’ questions posted online are answered by a UU religious education professional, the Rev. Lynn Ungar, and after registering with permission from their parents, children are invited to listen and talk to one another on the “KidTalk blogspot.” The KidTalk site includes resources designed especially for kids to help them learn more about who we are as UUs and about the world’s religious traditions, and to help them “meet” famous Unitarians, Universalists, and UUs.
  RE Tip # 42 Resource for when a sex offender is part of your community

Balancing Act When a sex offender is part of the community
http://www.uu Reverend W. Haffner
Among the most difficult decisions congregational leaders face are those dealing with ethics and safety, including the decision to allow and welcome (or not), someone with a history of sexual offenses/abuse into a congregation. The few calls that have come to my office on this subject are the result of a crisis - the congregation finds itself faced with making this decision and is ill-prepared to do so. The experience of these congregations and the complexity of the issues involved led me to invite experienced sexologist, the Rev. Debra W. Haffner, Director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing and an ordained Unitarian Universalist Minister, to develop this resource. I am grateful to Rev. Haffner for her ministry with us. I trust you will find this a valuable resource for your congregation's work and ministry.Tracey Robinson-HarrisDirector for Congregational ServicesUnitarian Universalist AssociationFall 2004
Table of Contents
Foreword Acknowledgements Introduction and Overview Congregation Policies and Practices During a Crisis Keeping Children and Youth Safe Educating Children for Prevention Educating Adults in the Congregation When Abuse is Suspected Support for Survivors of Sexual Abuse Guidelines for Involving Sex Offenders Introduction Steps to Take Youth Who May be Abusers Background Information on Child Abuse, Pedophilia, and Sex Offenders A Case Study: A Sex Offender in Church Appendices Draft Limited Access Agreement Sample Screening Form Sample Agreement to Teach Code of Ethics Resources References Download this manual in PDF format

  RE Tip # 41 Synapse - the YRUU magazine

Synapse is the publication of Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU), the youth organization of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Each issue contains articles, essays, poetry, and artwork by YRUUers across the continent! Also enclosed are updates and information about leadership and job opportunities, continental YRUU conferences, and what's going on with the governance of YRUU. Use the links at the bottom of the page to browse the latest issue of Synapse, or the Synapse Archives.

Be published in Synapse!
We're now accepting submissions for the Spring 2005 issue of Synapse. Theme: Sexuality. We're interested in articles, essays, poetry, artwork, etc. related to this theme. We are specifically looking for contributions about the following:
Testimonials about Our Whole Lives - the UUA's Sexuality Education Curriculum
“Opposite-sex” housing on college campuses
Marriage equality and same-sex couple families
Sex ed for Queer Folks
Gender-neutral pronouns
Sex ed in public schools
Polyamory and non-couple relationships
Gender power dynamics in YRUU and non-YRUU situations
Poems, artwork; anything inspiring!!

Submissions are due January 1st. Share your creativity with the world of YRUU! Email us at the Youth Office, or mail it to us at the address below!

Subscribe to Synapse!
This online version of Synapse is free! If you would like to receive email announcements about when this online magazine is updated, go to this page and subscribe to Synapse-l. (Very low traffic; 4 or 5 announcements per year.)

If you want to receive a two-year subscription to Synapse in print form, you can:1) Go to ConnectUU and create an account for yourself and and choose "Subscribe to Email Lists and Paper Publications"; or 2) Email the Youth Office (or write to the address below) with your Name, address and birthdate and we will subscribe you (takes longer.)3) If you're a youth group leader or youth advisor and want a bunch of copies for your youth group, all to be delivered to the church, email the Youth Office and let us know how many copies you want, and the church address.

Important: Print Synapse is free for youth aged 14-20. For adults, a 2-year subscription will cost USD $10. Make checks payable to "UUA."

Tell Us What You Think!
How do you like the 'look' of online Synapse? What do you think about the content? Anything you'd like to see? Have questions for the editors? Email us at the Youth Office, or write to us at the address below!
  RE Tip # 40 Do you know where your packet is?

Sometimes it might be hard to locate the great packet of info sent monthly to your congregation - but the online version is ready and waiting!! Click below.

Calling all Congregational Leaders: The December Congregational Packet is now online!
Find out what's new from the UUA! You can read a new pamphlet, "My Seven Principles," find out about a new resource, "The Kid's Book of Awesome Stuff," become involved in shaping the 2005-2007 Study Action Issue, and much more!

Sunday, December 05, 2004
  RE Tip # 39 More Safey Resources
Background Screening Services

Volunteer Select

-Social Security Screen
-National Criminal File
-Sexual Offender Search

Fee: $3.50 pus state or county expenses

Recommended by Church Mutual

Services: There are several options; one in particular is available for those working with children and youth.

Fees: Fees range depending on which option one chooses; the option mentioned above is $53.78.

Oxford Document Management Company

Services: They offer five, ten, and fifteen year background referencing.

Fee: Fees range from $90-150.00, depending on how far back one needs to go.
Offered by Christian Ministry Resources

Services: A range of services to meet lay and professional needs in a congregation.

Fee: Depends on the number of searches done. Their recommended package for church volunteers is about $65.00.

Risk Management Resources
Compiled by Tera Little
January 2004
Updated September 2004

American Camping Association
National organization that gives support and resources to encourage excellence in camping. They have a comprehensive safety accreditation program for camps and they offer workshops and trainings in safety as well as an online bookstore.

Church Law Today
The website hosts discussion boards, online bookstore, professional newsletters, and training programs for a variety of lay and professional roles within congregations.

Church Mutual
Church Mutual has a very comprehensive website that offers many risk management resources and sample forms for church use. They also offer 14 pamphlets which deal with various areas of church risk free of charge to their members.

Energize Volunteer Resource Catalog
The website is for “leaders of volunteers” and is full of many resources, including a bookstore and a library.

Nonprofit Risk Management Center
(202) 785-3891
Organization which specializes in helping nonprofits manage risk. They offer training in various areas, and the website has newsletters, fact sheets, advice, and risk management tutorials. It is an excellent place to begin learning more about this important aspect of church life. They also provide free technical assistance by telephone or email to nonprofit staff and volunteers.

Public Entity Risk Institute
This website has hundreds of articles, newsletters, papers, and reports dealing with risk management. They also have a bookstore and a quarterly newsletter. For especially energetic and innovative souls PERI operates a Grant and Research Program, and they seek applications that meet their current priority needs.

Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing
The Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing develops and supports an expanding religious network of clergy, religious educators, theologians, theological ethicists, and other religious leaders committed to this vision of religion and sexuality. It builds the capacity of religious institutions and clergy to offer sexuality education within the context of their own faith traditions and to advocate for sexual rights; helps congregations become sexually healthy faith communities; and educates the public and policy makers about this vision of sexual morality, justice, and healing.

Christian Ministry Resources. Risk Management for Churches: A Self-Directed Audit. Matthews, NC: Christian Ministry Resources. This self-study survey will walk you through critical areas that deserve focused attention: counseling activities, property concerns, church vehicles, child care facilities, financial management, volunteers, political activity, copyright concerns, employment practices and more.
Check out the website for Christian Ministries Resources, Institute for Church Leadership, ,. On this website there is a link to the GuideOne Insurance Company, which has a number of excellent on‑line resources for risk management. The web address: Phone: 704‑821‑3845
Melton, Joy Thornburg. Safe Sanctuaries for Youth: Reducing the Risk of Abuse in Youth Ministries. Nashville, TN: Discipleship Resources, 2003.
Hanna, Jeffrey W. Safe and Secure: The Alban Guide to Protecting Your Congregation. Bethesda, MD: The Alban Institute, 1999. From the cover: "This indispensable, comprehensive, and practical guide helps identify and develop strategies for minimizing a congregation's liability and ensuring the safety and security of its members and visitors. From his unique perspective as a pastor and former detective, Hanna outlines issues, offers solutions to common problems, and helps readers assess their congregation's risks. Topics discussed include: handling money, building maintenance and security, personnel practices, and various types of criminal and civil liability."
Alban Institute book store: 1-800486-1318 ext 244, or online:

Shelton, Michael. Secret Encounters: Addressing Sexual Behaviors in Group Settings. Martinsville, Indiana: American Camping Association, 2004.
This book has a very “OWL-esque” attitude toward the sexual nature of children and youth – they recognize that children and youth are sexual beings and this cannot be turned off because they are at a camp (or at a church conference). Topics range from our culture’s attitudes about sex, to exploring our own attitudes, to creating a culture of safety and respect, to chapters about sexual assault and sexual harassment, a chapter on childhood sexual development – what is normative and what is unusual, information on child sexual abuse, and creating a safety plan.

To order, go online to, then go to bookstore or call the ACA bookstore directly at 800.428.2267.

Friday, October 29, 2004
  RE Tip # 38 - LREDA Membership and Fall Conference

LREDA (Liberal Religious Educators Assn) is a fantastic organization - membership is open to all who support Liberal RE.

ACTIVE membership has just been EXPANDED to include those currently employed or actively seeking employment as "Youth Directors, Young Adult and Campus Ministry Professionals" who have completed 3 yrs in a paid position with a UU Congregation or affiliated organization or who have completed a minimum of five renaissance modules.

STUDENT/NEW DRE membership is open to these same persons who have completed less than 3 yrs in a paid position or with less than 3 modules.

SUPPORTIVE and INSTITUTIONAL memberships open to all persons and congregations.

Check it out at

Next year's Fall Conference will be Oct 21-24, 2005 in PHILADELPHIA!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'd love to see EVERY religious educator in the MNY district attend this great event, especially since it's so close to home.
Saturday, October 16, 2004

RE TIP #37 Six ways to screen your employees and volunteers

Check out this Church Mutual page!!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004
  RE Tip #36 Resources for Creating Safe Congregations

This week's tip is short - but connects to a longer and very important webpage at the UUA

  RE Tip #35 Spiritual Renewal

I know many of you work long hours yet cannot feel spiritually "fed" at your own congregations. Self-care is important, and I recommend you find time for it - schedule time for it as a priority.

In this light, I'm letting you know about some retreat center programming around/close to our district.

And I'd LOVE to hear about other opportunities in the area!

Kirkridge (just inside PA, off rt 80) has many interesting workshops coming up:
November 19 - 21: Building a Vocal Community: Singing in the African American Tradition Ysaye M. BarnwellOpen to all, this workshop is designed to facilitate the development of community through the vehicle of music from the African American vocal tradition.

Omega (Rhinebeck, north of NY along the Hudson)
also offers workshops in manhattan like this one:
The Essence of Yoga A weekend conference at the Sheraton New York Hotel in New York City
October 22-24, 2004

Rowe Camp and Conference Center
October 22-24
The Chalice and The Blade
Riane Eisler
November 12-14
Earth as Teacher, Earth as Healer
Thursday, September 16, 2004
  RE Tip # 34 Unplug the Christmas Machine is a workshop designed to help participants have a more spiritual and less materialistic holiday season. The exercises help each person learn which parts of the celebration are most important, and then eliminate or reduce those elements that cause stress or are not enjoyable.

Two of my former congregations offer it just about every year, and so I'd thought I'd share it with you!
Journal of RE TIPS by Andrea Lerner, MetroNY RE Program Consultant

RE Consultant

UUA RE Resources

District RE Resources

Examples of Religious Education Across the District

Contact Andrea and submit your favorite program!!




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