2019/20 Issue Number 9

March 2020

In This Issue...

  1. March Notes
  2. An Apology
  3. Fall Con 2020
  4. GA ProDays 2020
  5. Acting Administrator Appointment
  6. Email Fraud Alert
  7. Older Adult OWL
  8. LREDA Blessing

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March Notes from the President

Linnea Nelson photoDear LREDA,

Are you feeling spring where you are? If not from the weather, then you might be experiencing this transitional time of year when religious professional position changes are being announced, budgets are being discussed, and summer plans are underway. Whether joyful or challenging, living in a time of change requires all of us to bring out our resilience skills and be open to what the future will bring.

LREDA has experienced a lot of change this year. And more, inevitably, to come. No, none that I am aware of, just knowing this is part of the work! This month I write to share the news that Jules Jaramillo, Professional Support, is stepping down from the Board. Her term was up in June 2020 and since she has offered herself for consulting, I've already been in touch with her. I will miss her presence and wisdom at Board meetings. LREDA appreciates her work with Good Offices and the support she provided our membership.

Yet, with only four months until Jules' successor is elected, the Board has decided not to appoint someone for this short period of time. Instead, Good Officers Tracy Breneman and Michelle McKenzie-Creech have stepped in to take on important tasks in this area. They will lead online covenanting conversations and training for Good Officers while being a support for them and the incoming Professional Support Board Member. LREDA thanks Michelle and Tracy for their service at this busy time of year.

I also recognize that some of you are transitioning into or out of LREDA leadership positions this spring. Thank you for your service to make LREDA a stronger and more effective organization. As all of you consider your own volunteer time as religious professionals, I recommend LREDA leadership, whether at the local, regional or continental level. You will be doing work that we are called to do. If this is your year, I hope for you the amount of learning and experiences that I have had, first within GWAREC, then as LREDA co-lead for Joseph Priestley and now as president of LREDA. The work is hard and messy at times...joyful and heart-opening at others...but always meaningful!

Last Sunday, at the First Unitarian Church of Orlando, the poem of resilience, "Still I Rise," by Maya Angelou was read. Here is a link to Maya Angelou introducing and reading it. As a volunteer leader, I was inspired listening to Angelou call out to her ancestors while recognizing that she is the hope for the future. I hope you find inspiration in her words too, since there is so much more work to be done. We need all of you as we move forward together.


Linnea Nelson

President, LREDA

Credentialed Religious Educator

An Apology related to Fall Conference 2019

The LREDA Board apologizes to Fall Con Music Director Jen Hayman and the Fall Con worship team for not communicating directly and proactively about concerns that arose during the 2019 Fall Conference. We also apologize for not providing the support that religious professionals deserve.

At the 2019 Fall Conference, the LREDA Board made a decision to communicate directly with people who shared how they were impacted by several events at Fall Con. These conversations resulted in the decision to use our regularly scheduled caucus times to discuss issues that arose throughout the conference, including, but not limited to concerns about worship.

When we provided context for the white caucus discussions, we publicly named that cultural appropriation had occurred during worship based on how some LREDA members experienced the opening worship. We did this without discussing the issues with the worship team or music director, which gave no opportunity for Jen or the worship team to provide context or share their decision making process.

We recognize that by not communicating with Jen directly and proactively we caused harm. We recognize the personal and professional impact this had on Jen as she had worked with a great deal of dedication, good will, and professionalism to bring forth exceptional musical experiences.

Here is some background on the Friday morning worship service:

Friday morning’s worship service included music by Ghanaian master drummer, Kweku Owusu, his wife and business partner, Kristen Arant, and members of the Bele Bele Rhythm Collective. The LREDA conference gift this year was also provided by their organization, Hands on Drums: a pop-up store, community space and arts empowerment initiative that celebrates and supports the work of Ghanaian craft makers while delivering hands-on drumming and arts experiences to uplift communities. Read more about their work, crafts, and projects at handsondrumsdc.com.

LREDA will continue to offer worshipful experiences and values the expertise that the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries (AUUMM) brings to our events. Our goal for collaboration continues to be to offer singing to our members and to provide worshipful experiences. We recognize that more conversation is needed with every AUUMM musician before we contract to work together in order to better understand the needs of musicians, shared understandings of cultural appropriation, and to seek a mutual understanding of the role of guests and performances during worship.

Yours faithfully,

The LREDA Board

Linnea Nelson, President

Samaya Oakley, Vice President

Christina Rivera, Secretary

Juliet Donaldson, Treasurer

Aisha Hauser, President-Elect

Eleanor VanDeusen, Continental Events

LREDA Fall Con 2020 Birmingham Alabama

We are excited to announce that the LREDA Fall Con will be in Birmingham, AL with core sessions from Thursday, October 22 through Saturday, Oct. 24. 


  • BIPOC Day will be Wednesday, October 21 

  • Board Committees will be invited to meet before Oct. 22

  • Renaissance Modules will be held after the conference from Sunday, October 25 -Tuesday, October 27.


Now that we have the dates and the location, we hope you are excited about joining the Fall Con Planning Team or the Worship Team! Please contact. Eleanor Van Duesen at [email protected] if you are interested.

 LREDA GA ProDays 2020

Acting Administrator Appointment

JeKaren Olaoya photoThe Board is thrilled to announce that it has appointed JeKaren Olaoya as acting administrator through December 31, 2020. This allows for a full search for the permanent position to be conducted later in the year. You can reach JeKaren at [email protected].

JeKaren has over 12 years of experience in nonprofit leadership and management, working in a variety of capacities to advance the needs of growing nonprofits. As a former Director of Religious Education (DRE), JeKaren has served congregations across the country assisting in interim transitions and growing volunteer bases.

In addition, JeKaren is an active member of Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU) and served as a Team Lead of Team Sankofa, BLUU’s working group 2018-2019. She holds a Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Arizona State University, a Bachelor of Liberal Studies in Art and Sociology from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia and certification in Conflict Resolution Management. A Georgia native, JeKaren has lived in multiple countries and states, and currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland after relocating from the SF Bay Area with her dog Maysee Moon and her husband. 

JeKaren writes "I am beyond grateful for being given this opportunity to help LREDA through this transition as the association processes its needs, strategizes growth, and continues to be a source of support to religious educators. I’m excited to work with amazing people, both volunteers and members, who make the world a much better place."

envelope with the words email scam alert in red lettersEMAIL FRAUD ALERT

If you ever get an email that appears to be from a LREDA Board member and it is requesting money, gift cards, or an immediately call, it is a scam that is rapidly hitting UU congregations and organizations. Check the FULL email sender reply to address and most likely it will be something unrecognizable. Delete the email and carry on your day!


Picture of Older Adults Our Whole Lives workbook on a wood table topThe long-awaited and final piece of the lifespan sexuality education curricula, Our Whole Lives: Older Adults and its companion Sexuality and Our Faith: Older Adults are now available to order.

A holistic sexuality education program for older adults that models and fosters caring, compassion, respect, and justice, Our Whole Lives: Older Adults balances knowledge-building with exploration of attitudes, values, and feelings about one’s own and others’ sexuality.

This program is comprehensive and progressive, addressing sexuality with candor, sensitivity, and respect for older adults’ wisdom and life experience. Workshops include alternate activities and multi-media resources to accommodate participants’ specific needs and interests. The curriculum encourages multigenerational communication with family members or others who play a significant role in the participants’ lives.

This curriculum is comprised of fourteen two-hour workshops, four of which can stand alone. The religious supplement, Sexuality and Our Faith provides the spiritual tools to undertake a sexuality education program rich with reflection, conversation, meaning making, and personal growth. Get your copies today from inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop.


image of a chalice set in sand at the beach
LREDA sends blessings to all of you who are working through the anxiety and extra work of keeping ourselves and our congregations safe. Remember to take time for yourselves and practice self-care in your ministry.