Advisory Council summary

The newly re-constituted REA Advisory Council met at the end of the 2019 meeting, and here is the summary of their discussion.

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PPT from Tsafrir Goldberg

Tsafrir Goldberg from the University of Haifa in Israel graciously agreed to have us post his slides from the plenary presentation he made. You can find them here.

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Getting underway!

Our meeting is about to launch! A couple of quick notes to remember: our first plenary begins at 8:30 am (that is earlier than usual), and is given over to the Kairos Blanket Exercise. Please remember that you will be asked to remove your shoes to participate in this sacred grounding, embodied pedagogical process.

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Business Meeting preparation

Make sure to read all of the materials for the business meeting which will happen on Saturday evening, following the reception. This page will be updated regularly as new reports are prepared!

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Plenary 5: Science and religion education in divided societies

By way of evoking your interest, we are going to post brief abstracts of some of the plenary panelists for our upcoming meeting in Toronto. Here is a glimpse of what Dr. Sybrina Atwaters, Director, OMED: Educational Services, Georgia Tech Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, and Chair of the Publications Committee of the REA Board, will be presenting.

The John Templeton Foundation funded a two-year study to establish a baseline understanding of teaching about science and its implications for theological thought and action within Protestant schools in the United States and Canada. Through the generous funding of John Templeton Foundation, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) Research unit launched the Engaging Science in Seminaries (ESS) research study in hopes to establish a baseline of science engagement in its Protestant member schools. The study targeted a purposeful sample of institutional leaders at 30 different participating ATS institutions within the United States and Canada and sought to gather data through the perceptions, knowledge, and experiences of key campus informants by analyzing how seminaries engage science.

During plenary 5 of the Religious Education Association (REA) annual meeting, summary findings from this study, regarding the following, will be presented: Assessment of the current climate/perception of science engagement with ATS member schools; Assessment of the quality of existing science engagement on ATS campuses; Identification of opportunities (advantages/strengths) for adding (broadening) science to elements of the seminary’s overall program; as well as illumination of barriers/challenges that may impede adding science to elements of the seminary’s overall program. Each area provides an opportunity to further understanding and dialogue around science and religious education in divided societies.

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Plenary 3: Disrupting the consequences of difficult histories through education

By way of evoking your interest, we are going to post brief abstracts of some of the plenary panelists for our upcoming meeting in Toronto. Here is a glimpse of what Dr. Magdalena Gross, Senior research associate, Center to Support Excellence in Teaching, Stanford University will be presenting.

In a recent Economist article, the author of “Historical memorials are not enough” made a somewhat obvious point- memorials themselves can’t stop anti-Semitism. The author cited the size of memorials as possibly being a hindrance to their effectiveness. What was so blatantly missing in their analysis was burgeoning new conceptions of memorialization, as education, across the globe. Memorials are changing- from static enshrinements to cultural movements. A perfect example is the Equal Justice Initiative to design the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. Designed by MASS Design Group, the Equal Justice Initiative’s first project was a soil collection process- a living memorial, if you will, that invited families and communities to collect soil from the counties across Alabama where racial terror lynchings occurred. The jars are on display in EJI offices and the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. Their larger and more permanent memorial invites every single county where a lynching occurred to come claim a tomb-like marker that lay on the ground surrounding the central memorial. Thus, according to their website: “Over time, the national memorial will serve as a report on which parts of the country have confronted the truth of this terror and which have not.”

Another prime example exists in Eastern Europe: new Holocaust memorial projects in Poland are also created “bottom up” or “from below.” While there are few Jews that live and breathe in that country, locals and organizations are working together to find every single mass grave where Polish Jews were killed on occupied territory. For example, “Zapomiane” or “The Forgotten” is an organization doing such work: After locating a grave, the organization leaves small wooden markers in a shape of a matzeva (inspired by pre-war wooden matzevot). These markers most often become a starting point for memory practice that locals shape and continue on their own. For example, townspeople worked to piece together a small memorial, often leaving candles of their own accord. In yet another location, locals have kept alive the memory of a couple that was, allegedly, shot by Nazis when they jumped off of a cattle car on the train line in an attempt to escape together in 1941. This couple died in Stara Rokitnia, and for the first few decades after the war, a local person hung a necklace worn by the Jewish woman near these tracks to remember them. After a train bridge was built, locals kept the memory of this couple alive with a makeshift memorial in graffiti saying ‘Kocham Cię’- or “I love you.”

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Plenary 3: Disrupting the consequences of difficult histories through education

By way of evoking your interest, we are going to post brief abstracts of some of the plenary panelists for our upcoming meeting in Toronto. Here is a glimpse of what Dr. Tsafrir Goldberg, in the Department. of Learning, Instruction and Teacher Education in the University of Haifa, Israel will be presenting.

How do Jewish and Muslim adolescents react to learning about the other?

How do Jewish and Muslim adolescents react to learning about the other (seemingly hostile) religion and about Jewish-Muslim historical relations? Religion and the priming of religious sensibilities are assumed to be predictors of intergroup prejudice and conflict, however, acquaintance with the other religion may facilitate intergroup empathy and stereotype reduction.

Our research project traces the effects of learning about the history of Islam and about Jewish-Muslim cultural relationships had on Jewish students’ anti Muslim prejudice. It then goes on to present the effects of a similar intervention on Muslim students attitudes towards Jews. Findings showed a significant positive effect of studying about Islam and Jewish Muslim relations on Jewish students’ stereotypes and historical perceptions. Learning about Islam had a significantly higher positive effect on right wing conservative Jewish students. By contrast, studying Jewish Muslim religious commonalities and treatment of minorities had a negative effect on Muslim students’ attitudes towards Judaism and Jews.

Relying on intercultural education and social identity theories, we discuss the affirmative effect that studying about inter-religious relations may have on Jewish and Muslim adolescents, as well as the potential identity threat that may accompany the awareness of similarity and mutual influence. We outline the promise the learning about inter-religious relations holds for multicultural education and a more tolerant society in the context of prolonged conflict.

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Plenary 3: Disrupting the consequences of histories through education

By way of evoking your interest, we are going to post brief abstracts of some of the plenary panelists for our upcoming meeting in Toronto. Here is a glimpse of what Dr. Greer Anne Wenh-In Ng, Emerita professor of religious education, Emmanuel College in Victoria University in the University of Toronto, will be presenting.

Complexities in religious education with Asian/Asian Canadians in the context of Indigenous realities in light of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report on Residential Schools and its 94 Calls to Action (2015)

Speaking from the perspective and experience of a first generation immigrant to Canada engaged in religious and theological education within Christian communities, this presentation addresses the particular challenges faced by Asian and Asian Canadians as they participate in the need for all “settler Canadians” to be accountable for the difficult histories – and continuing colonization – of Indigenous peoples and communities in present-day Canada. It will do this by

(a) exploring the “othering” shared by these Canadians with Indigenous peoples, as well as what is distinct;
(b) seeing how Asian/Asian Canadian members of one particular Christian body, The United Church of Canada, can join in their denomination’s apologies for the part it played in those histories, as well as recent ecumenical response to specific calls to action (for example, #49 on the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius); and
(c) encouraging Asian/Asian Canadian Christians to respond personally and communally to those calls to action relating to education re Canada’s indigenous peoples, treaties, cultures and spiritual practices for Kindergarten to Grade 12 and to the training of teachers for this purpose (#62, #63) and relating to the revitalization and strengthening of Indigenous languages (#13, #17).

The presentation will conclude with identifying some ongoing questions/issues, including the limits of education for disrupting the consequences of these difficult histories, and the ambiguities of appropriating Indigenous symbols/practices/concepts/ideas in such an attempt.

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Preparing for REA2019

Excitement is building as we approach REA Annual Meeting 2019, next week in Toronto. We have a number of things we’d like to share in advance.

First, we extend love and prayers to our program chair, Dr. Hanan Alexander, who has had to have major heart surgery and will not be able to attend our meeting. His hard work over the last year to plan and implement this meeting has been essential, and we will recognize him in his absence even as we continue to pray for his full recovery to good health.

Second, please remember that you need to choose your sessions in our schedule. If you’ve never done this or forgotten how to do so, see our Sched help page. We use this information to assign the correct size of rooms, to update you on any last minute cancellations, to help work groups find each other, to communicate in an emergency, and so on. Our schedule is key to our meeting, please log in and let us know what you will be doing!

Third, please check your confirmation email to make sure that you have chosen the meals you want to attend. If you need to make changes—add a guest meal or remove yourself from a meal—contact our executive secretary, Lucinda Huffaker, as soon as possible. This year’s meals, as in the past, are heavily subsidized by our Association and we want to make sure we are only doing what is necessary for our members. We also urge you to check your hotel confirmation and ensure that you are receiving the REA conference rate of $139. If not, please contact Lucinda.

Fourth, it’s an important element of our colleagueship to come to sessions ready to discuss papers. Please read research interest group papers in advance. All papers are now available through our schedule (look for the blue “paper” links in the descriptions of breakout sessions).

Fifth, our business meeting this year will be held on Saturday evening following the reception, which will have abundant food, courtesy of the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. Please read all of the materials for that meeting in advance, because several items will be on a consent agenda. A consent agenda is voted all at once, unless someone asks that an item be removed from that agenda for discussion (which any member can do). You won’t know what we’re doing unless you read the materials! Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions about any of this.

Sixth, we welcome your bringing any books or other publications that you would like to make available for our members to view. Please make sure that your name is in the book so that you can pick it up again at the end of the meeting.

And finally, given that Hanan’s pre-conference lecture at Emmanuel has been cancelled, the Thursday walking tour will gather at the hotel registration desk at 1pm, and our guides will help you navigate public transit to get down to the University of Toronto area for the tour.

I know this is a lot of information, but I hope you can see that we are excited and eager to welcome you to Toronto.

Mary Hess
REA Networking Coordinator

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Slate of nominees

Vice-President and 2021 Program Chair

  • Patrick B. Reyes
    Patrick B. Reyes

    Senior Director of Learning Design
    Auburn Theological Seminary
    Santa Fe, NM, United States

    drpatrickreyes [at] gmail [dot] com

    AAR Program Committee
    Proposals Selection Committee

Patrick Reyes currently serves as Senior Director at the Forum for Theological Exploration, where his portfolio includes oversight of organizational thought leadership, research, and annual grant funding. In this role, he collaborates and works with leaders of institutions, foundations, and other para-academic organizations in theological and higher education to build their capacity and transform theological schools and programs for the 21st century. A Chicano educator, administrator, and institutional strategist, he has authored many articles and publications, including the award-winning book Nobody Cries When We Die: God, Community, and Surviving to Adulthood (2016). Children’s Defense Fund’s selected Nobody Cries as the first book for its inaugural book club in 2019. In 2017, 2018, and 2019 he was recognized as a “Great Teacher and Preacher” by the Children’s Defense Fund alongside other members of REA. Because his family is interfaith (Jewish and Catholic) and inherits several North American identities, Patrick leads workshops and provides board service to faith communities and organizations that hope to create conditions for the next generation to thrive.

Chair, RE in Faith Communities

  • Denise Janssen
    Denise Janssen

    Associate Professor of Christian Education
    Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University
    Chester, VA, United States

    revdlj [at] att [dot] net

    REA Treasurer
    REA Board
    REA Board Steering Committee
    Program Conference Committee

Denise Janssen is associate professor of Christian education at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University where she also serves on the Dean’s Council and manages a portfolio of grants for the School of Theology. Denise holds a PhD in Christian Education and Congregational Studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and an MDiv from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. She has been an ordained American Baptist pastor for 25 years and has served United Methodist congregations for last 13 years. Denise is passionate about the connection between scholarship and practice. Her research focuses on the adolescent and young adult faith formation. She also serves as Editorial Director for Friendship Press (related to the National Council of Churches), directs The Resource Center, and consults in the areas of curriculum development, strategic planning, and grant writing. She lives in Richmond, VA, with her husband, Randy Creath, a professional musician.

Chair, Publications Committee


Almeda Wright is the Assistant Professor of Religious Education at Yale Divinity School. Her research focuses on African American religion, adolescent spiritual development, and the intersections of religion and public life. She has written The Spiritual Lives of Young African Americans and coedited a book with Mary Elizabeth Moore, Children, Youth, and Spirituality in a Troubling World. Almeda studied at Harvard University Divinity School (M.Div.), where she concentrated on Religion & Culture and History of Biblical Interpretation; Simmons College (M.A. in Teaching); and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (B.S. in Electrical Engineering). She completed her doctoral studies at Emory University, where she received fellowships from the Fund for Theological Education and the Louisville Institute. Almeda is an ordained minister of the American Baptist Churches and has served on the ministerial staff of various churches, including Union Baptist Church (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and Victory United Church of Christ (Stone Mountain, Georgia). Almeda will move from her position on the RE in Academic Disciplines and Institutions to assume this position.

Member, RE in Faith Communities


Jenny Haddad Mosher is the Director of the Telos Project at Hellenic College Holy Cross, a 5 year exploration of how Orthodox young adults engage in the Church funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. Before coming to Telos, she worked in religious education curriculum design and production, as a teacher and retreat leader in several Orthodox jurisdictions, and as a grant writer for Orthodox social service agencies. She has a ThM in Systematic Theology & Ethics from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary and is a PhD candidate in Religion & Education at Union Theological Seminary.

Member, RE in Faith Communities

  • Eileen M Daily
    Eileen M Daily

    Retired Director, Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership
    Boston University
    Old Orchard Beach, ME, United States

    dailye45 [at] gmail [dot] com

    REA Advisory Council
    Standing Committee on Religious Education in Faith Communities

Eileen Daily is Director of the Doctor of Ministry degree in Transformational Leadership at Boston University. She holds a PhD and MA from Boston College, Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry, and a JD from Suffolk University Law School. She is especially interested in how technology can (and should) mediate theological and religious education and is the author and architect of art/y/fact.Xn, an app for mobile devices that helps users make sense of or meditate with Christian artworks in museums, in churches, on the tourist trail or on the Web. Her other research interests are in interfaith religious education, public religious education, and religious education through visual art.

Member, Harper/Wornom Committee

  • Anne Carter Walker
    Anne Carter Walker

    Executive Director, Oklahoma Campus
    Phillips Theological Seminary
    Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

    annecwalker [at] gmail [dot] com

    REA President
    REA Board
    REA Board Steering Committee
    AAR Program Committee
    Chair, Nominating Committee
    Program Conference Committee

Anne Walker is Executive Director of the Oklahoma campus of Saint Paul School of Theology, where she administers the campus and teaches Christian Religious Education. Her twenty-year career includes administration of theological programs for the exploration of vocation with high school youth and young adults, theological education administration, and nonprofit management. Anne holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Religious Education, and an M.A. in Ethics, all from Claremont School of Theology. She is the co-author (with Katherine Turpin) of Nurturing Different Dreams: Youth Ministry Across Lines of Difference (Pickwick, 2014). An Oklahoma native and citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Anne appreciates good people, good music, and good humor. She lives in Tulsa with her husband and son.

Member, Proposal Selection Committee


Monique van Dijk-Groeneboer is a professor of Religious Education and coordinator of the Teacher Academy for RE teachers at Tilburg School of Catholic Theology in Tilburg, the Netherlands. Her main research topics are youth and their religion and inspiration, and developing new teaching methods for religious education. She publishes internationally on this topic, is editor of “Handbook Youth and Religion” and “Didactics on RE” (both in Dutch), executive board member of the International Association for the Study of Youth Ministry and member of several boards and editorial committees in the Netherlands.

Member, Proposal Selection Committee

  • Carl Procario-Foley
    Carl Procario-Foley

    Executive Director
    Center at Mariandale
    New Rochelle, NY, United States

    cbprocariofoley [at] gmail [dot] com

    REA Advisory Council
    Nominating Committee

Carl Procario-Foley, earned his doctorate in Religious Education from Fordham University and has a thirty year career in campus ministry and leadership of university mission and ministry. While director of Iona College’s Office of Mission and Ministry he has taught in the college’s Religious Studies department and freshmen seminar while also serving as an adjunct in graduate religious education at Fordham University. Carl has published in the areas of academic service-learning and institutional mission education.

Member, RE in Academic Disciplines and Institutions Committee

  • Karen-Marie Yust
    Karen-Marie Yust

    Josiah P. and Anne Wilson Rowe Professor of Christian Education
    Union Presbyterian Seminary
    Richmond, VA, United States

    kmyust [at] upsem [dot] edu

    REA Board
    Standing Committee on Religious Education in Academic Disciplines & Institutions
    Chair, Standing Committee on Religious Education in Academic Disciplines & Institutions

Karen-Marie Yust is the Josiah P. & Anne Wilson Rowe Professor of Christian Education at Union Presbyterian Seminary (Richmond, VA). She has published extensively on the topics of child, adolescent, and family spirituality, as well as the broader topics of Christian spiritual practices, faith formation across the lifespan, and educational theory. Her books include Attentive to God, Taught by God (with Ron Anderson), and Real Kids, Real Faith, as well as an edited volume, Nurturing Child and Adolescent Spirituality: Perspectives from the World’s Religious Traditions. She is currently directing a Lilly Endowment-funded project focused on rethinking children’s and family spirituality in light of contemporary psychosocial and humanities research and practices. Her personal research focuses on digital culture and spirituality, as well as new discoveries in early childhood development and their implications for understanding and nurturing children’s faith. Karen Marie will complete Almeda Wright’s term on this committee.

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