REA Statement on the synagogue attack in Pittsburgh

Today the Steering Committee of the Board of the Religious Education Association issued the following statement. We urge you to share it widely.

REA Statement on the Synagogue Attack in Pittsburgh

The Religious Education Association (REA) is shocked and saddened by the recent vicious attack on Sabbath worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
We pray for the healing of those who were injured at the hands of the gunman and send our heartfelt condolences to those who lost loved ones. And we grieve with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. In the words of the traditional Jewish blessing for a house of mourning: “May God send you comfort among mourners for Zion and Jerusalem and may you never again know sorrow.”

The REA condemns this heinous act of antisemitism unequivocally. It stands in solidarity with the Jewish people in the United States and around the world at this trying time and with believers and unbelievers everywhere who reject hatred and affirm that all lives matter.

The rabbis taught that one human being was created in the beginning so that no one could justifiably say that my ancestor is greater than your ancestor, since everyone has the same ancestor, and to teach that destroying a single soul is equivalent to destroying an entire world, whereas saving a single soul is equivalent to saving an entire world, since the whole of humanity descends from a single soul (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5).

We call upon leaders and opinion makers the world over to seek an end to all forms of antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, and intolerance and to promote diverse, inclusive societies in the spirit of the Abrahamic prophets, where every person dwells peacefully in his or her own vineyard and every community under its particular fig tree, and none makes them afraid (Micah 4:4); where the peacemakers are blessed, because they are the children of God (Mathew 5:9); and where enmity and hatred of others makes no one avoid justice (Quran 5:8).

Steering Committee of the REA Board

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FT Director of Religious Education

The US Army frequently makes available postings for full time directors of religious education. These are positions with good pay, benefits, and support. The latest is a position in Alaska. Details always available online.

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Dynamics of Disaffiliation and Clues for Our Responses

Saint Mary’s Press Research Group and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate published Going, Going, Gone in 2017 (Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press). Through a survey and in-depth personal interviews of disaffiliated young people (ages 15-25) who had been raised Catholics, the researchers identified three “preliminary categories” and six “common dynamics” of disaffiliation. In subsequent blogs, videos, podcasts and other means, they have let young people share their stories in their own words, and provided commentary by experts along with accounts of creative ways that the questions and yearnings of these young people can be addressed. For example, REA’s own Theresa O’Keefe discusses how parishes can encourage greater engagement by youth. Another entry profiles how a movement called The Dinner Party supports young adults who have experienced bereavement, providing community, ritual and “sacred space” without the overt trappings of religion.

Let’s kick off this conversation with reflections on the findings of the SMP Research Group, both on the Catholic Community of practice webpage and in our Catholic Community of Practice meeting to be held at REA’s annual meeting on Nov. 4, in Washington, DC. You can sign up for our gathering via Sched.

Suggested activities:

  • Read Going, Going, Gone and/or browse its offshoots at SMP Research Group.
  • Reflect on any of the following questions, in the Comments section on this webpage or at our meeting in Washington:
    • Where do I see evidence in my own RE practice, research and other sources that supports or questions the findings of GGG? 
    • How are recent developments in the Catholic Church, such as the worldwide crisis of clergy sexual abuse, affecting efforts to respond to the dynamics of Catholic disaffiliation?
    • Among the stories by young people represented in GGG, what is one that is especially compelling for you? If you were to meet that person, what kind of dialogue would you have with him or her about the role of Catholic faith in his or her life?

We look forward to the conversation!

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Asst. Professor, Practical Theology and Religious Education at Fordham

Fordham University invites applications for a full-time tenure track position at the rank of Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education (GRE). Areas of specialization are open. Teaching will include hybrid (campus and digital learning) formats. Applicants must have completed the Ph.D. by May 2019.
GRE seeks a highly qualified, diverse applicant pool and especially encourages members of underrepresented groups to apply. Successful candidates will have a knowledge of and a commitment to the goals of Jesuit education. Faculty appointment will begin in August 2019.

Fordham is an independent, Catholic University in the Jesuit tradition that welcomes applications from all backgrounds.

Applicants should submit a letter of application, curriculum vitae, a statement of teaching philosophy/interest, and three letters of recommendation to Dr. Tom Beaudoin, Search Committee Chair. Materials will only be accepted electronically. Review of applications will begin on 1 November.

Fordham University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution.

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Rossiter book available for free

Graham Rossiter has recently published a new book — Life to the full: The changing landscape of contemporary spirituality — Implications for Catholic School Religious Education. He is excited to announce that it is being made available as a free PDF to religious educators.

In addition, he writes that:

…the book is linked with complementary audiovisual and study materials that are related specifically to most of its chapters — especially chapters 5-7 concerned with the iconography of what might be called contemporary consumerist ‘religion’ and the importance of including such ‘religious’ studies within school religious education.

Download page for the free pdf file of the book.

Videos of lectures and associated presentation materials from the Study Day on Catholic school Religious Education during which the book was launched (P Hughes, G Rossiter and G Rummery presenters)

Download page with links to audiovisual and other study materials that relate to specific chapters in the book Life to the full.

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MAR-AAR CFP released

The Religion and Education Section of the Mid-Atlantic region of the AAR has just released its call for papers.

This section invites proposals that respond to this year’s regional conference theme: Out of Place: Migrants and Race, Tribalism and Fear, Within and Without as it connects to religion, schooling, and education. Schools and other educational spaces are not insulated from global tensions, shifts, and conflicts in politics, economies, and cultures. In fact, these issues are echoed and often amplified through education. Educators are tasked with guiding and forming students for their future roles as citizens and leaders, and it would be irresponsible to ignore the influences and intersection of religion with many forms of education. Given this contemporary landscape, what are the normative commitments of education about religion in academic and non-academic settings? What are the content, skills, values, and dispositions that constitute the learning objectives of the academic study of religion in K-12 schools, higher education, and community settings? Should religious studies education promote efforts to establish common ground among disparate groups? How can the intersection of the classroom and the study/learning of religion assist in reframing conversations about migrants and race? Should the academic study of religion seek to create compassionate leaders devoted to justice and equity? Does our current political and cultural moment require a reconceptualization of the goals for religious studies education?

Proposals might address the following themes:

• Education about the intersections of religious and other identities

• Teacher preparation to teach about religion and conflict

• Impacts of education about religion at multiple levels: students, families, schools, and communities

• Content, skills, values, and dispositions that guide religious studies education and/or that constitute the learning objectives of education about religion

• Pedagogies in the religious studies classroom to interrogate and dismantle oppressive structures

• Religious studies education and social justice

• Religious studies education for interfaith or inter-religious understanding

• Approaches to education about religion from insider and outsider perspectives Paper proposals on other topics relating to religion and education will also be considered.

Submit proposals to:

• Janice McLean-Farrell (Co-Chair), New Brunswick Theological Seminary, mclean-farrell [at] nbts [dot] edu.

• Kate Soules (Co-Chair), Boston College, soules [at] bc [dot] edu.

• Benjamin Marcus (Co-Chair), Religious Freedom Center, bmarcus [at] freedomforum [dot] org

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Sarah Pettit Doctoral Fellowship in Lesbian Studies

Yale LGBT Studies is pleased to announce that the Sarah Pettit Doctoral Fellowship in Lesbian Studies at Yale University is welcoming applications for a biennial dissertation-writing workshop for a cohort of doctoral fellows. The 2019 Yale Pettit Doctoral Fellowship Workshop will take place May 13-17, 2019 in New Haven, CT and will focus on scholarship at the intersection of queer studies, LGBT studies, and religious studies.

Fellows will convene for a three-day intensive workshop at Yale University where they will present and engage with each other’s work. They will meet with and receive feedback from the workshop’s two faculty mentors, Professors Kathryn Lofton and Linn Tonstad. Following the three-day workshop, fellows will stay in New Haven for an additional two days to write and to take advantage of Yale University libraries and resources. Selected fellows will receive small stipends and travel funding in addition to room and board for the week of the workshop. Application deadline is Friday, February 19, 2019.

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RE positions in Ansbach, Germany

From our colleagues in military service, there are two positions in religious education currently open in Ansbach, Germany. Click here for the first, and here for the second.

Both are full-time directors of religious education.

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Dr. Katie Cannon scholarship

The Presbyterian Mission Agency has created a scholarship fund to honor the name and legacy of the late Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, a pioneer and legend in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The Women’s Ministry Fund (E049991) supports Presbyterian women of color, clergywomen, college women, and other women with opportunities for leadership and spiritual development as well as mission opportunities in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Gifts in memory of Dr. Cannon can be made online or by mail. Those wishing to donate towards the scholarship should click here to donate online. To send a check please make it payable to “The Presbyterian Mission Agency” and write “in memory of Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon – E049991” on the memo line.

Please mail your gift to:
Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264—3700

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Director of Public Theological Education, Candler

Candler School of Theology invites applications and nominations for the founding director of a program that will expand theological education beyond the scope of the school’s traditional graduate and professional degrees. The successful candidate will be appointed to a non-tenure track faculty position with a renewable eleven-month contract, will report to Candler’s Dean, and will serve on the Dean’s Council. Both rank and field are open. Preference will be given to complete applications submitted by October 1, 2018.

The landscape of theological education is rapidly shifting, in terms both of the modes of theological education and of the institutions delivering that education. The founding director will lead Candler’s initiatives in partnering with congregations, denominations, NGOs, and other institutions in order to make excellent theological education available to the increasing number of people pursuing theological education outside of traditional degree structures. To this end, the director will develop creative church-based initiatives in partnership with pastors and other religious leaders, and identify new opportunities for theological education in emerging contexts. The director will work with Candler’s media and technology teams to publicize these offerings and develop the best platforms for them. The successful candidate will have a vision for the contributions a university-based school of theology can make to theological education that directly serves both the church and the wider society. The successful candidate will be capable of working effectively with diverse partners in academic institutions, churches, and other organizations, and will have demonstrated abilities for starting and leading major initiatives.

The responsibilities of the position include:

  • 1. Extending systematically and creatively the reach of Candler’s mission to non-degree seeking persons
    2. Serving the church and Christian communities, as well as seekers interested in Christian educational resources
    3. Building a long-range vision of public education inspired by Candler’s rich faculty resources
    4. Drawing on faculty and other resources at Emory to make faculty expertise more public
    5. Recruiting and inspiring Candler faculty to participate in such programs
    6. Liaising with and inviting senior leaders in the church to be resources for Candler educational ventures
    7. Bringing greater coherence and collaboration to the vast array of Candler’s public events, maximizing impact and audiences through close collaboration with the programs’ directors (i.e., Baptist Studies; Black Church Studies; Catholic Studies; Contextual Education; DMin degree program; Episcopal Studies; Laney Program in Moral Leadership; Methodist Studies; Religious Education; Women, Theology and Ministry; World Christianity; Religion and Health; and others)
    8. Coordinating existing programming with new programming
    9. Reaching new audiences with new media
    10. Teaching in numerous venues and formats as the program develops
    11. Exploring the possibility of offering certificate programs
    12. Exploring post-professional models of theological education
    13. Helping to brand Candler’s work in this arena
    14. Writing and seeking grants to support the program
    15. Establishing a sustainable business plan to support the position and programming
    16. Administering a budget to support the program
    17. Supervising a part-time staff person who supports the program
    18. Other duties as assigned

The successful candidate for the position will:

  • 1. Have a vision for the future of Christian communities and the role and purpose of education in them
    2. Combine intellectual depth with capacity to communicate with lay audiences
    3. Demonstrate a commitment to research and scholarship appropriate to the candidate’s field
    4. Be deeply immersed in the creative use of digital pedagogy
    5. Have demonstrated the ability to start and lead significant new initiatives
    6. Hold a doctorate (PhD or equivalent preferred)

Women, minorities, people with disabilities, LGBTQ persons and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply, as are candidates within the Wesleyan tradition (e.g., UMC, AME, AMEZ, CME, Nazarene).

Applications for this position should include a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, an official transcript of the highest degree earned, writing sample, and three confidential letters of recommendation. At later stages in the review process applicants may be asked to provide a sample of their work in digital media (e.g, podcast, videography, or web-based instruction).

Candidates should apply online at: by uploading the letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and writing sample. Letters of recommendation should be sent by recommenders and transcripts should be sent from the granting institution to: Public Theological Education, c/o Ms. Robyn Pollette, Faculty Development and Support Services, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, 1531 Dickey Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322, if sent in hard copy; if sent electronically, email documents in Microsoft Word or PDF to rwpolle [at] emory [dot] edu. Direct any questions to Dr. Anthony Briggman, Search Chair, at anthony [dot] a [dot] briggman [at] emory [dot] edu.

The committee will begin reviewing applications in early October with an anticipated, though flexible, start date of January 2, 2019.

EO/AA/Disability/Veteran Employer

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