Proposing a Program Theme

Following extensive study and surveying of the membership, the Board of the REA has determined that themes for future annual meetings will be chosen via a wide-ranging solicitation of proposals. Proposals which are complete and meet the Board’s basic requirements will be put to a vote of the membership. You must be a member of the REA to make a theme proposal, and members who have attended several annual meetings will likely have an advantage when applying.

Proposing a theme has the additional element of nominating a program chair. In all cases the final theme proposal should be made by the person who will agree to be the program chair for that theme. Of course, we hope there will be a team/committee working on this — but it has to be clear who the program chair will be.

Theme proposals are submitted via an online form, and will be reviewed by the Board before being offered to the membership for a vote. Proposals will require the following basic elements:

  • a title (keep in mind that titles usually have two parts — a short headline, and a few words that explain it);
  • a rationale for the meeting in 500 words or less (why the REA should focus an annual meeting on this theme, including how this theme emerges from current research in the field, or in a field adjacent to religious education to which religious educators should attend; explain how this theme can be addressed within multiple religious traditions, and how the theme connects to work being done in multiple contexts);
  • a specific person who is being nominated as program chair (please read carefully the program chair descriptions found on our website, it is a two-year commitment)
  • a draft call for proposals (the “theme description,” with generative questions; and then the “call,” which sharpens theme foci and provides instructions on the what/when/how of submissions)

There is also room in the form to add additional information, such as any geographic connections there might be for a theme being proposed (meeting sites are arranged three years in advance, so the meeting site will already be known when you make your proposal); any possible sources of additional funding you can bring to the process; and ideas for possible speakers, pre-conference workshops, field trips, and so on.

The next meeting for which we will accept theme proposals is our 2024 meeting, to be held in early July of 2024. Here are the deadlines for making a proposal:

  • Deadline for advanced support (draft proposals) is November 15, 2022
  • Coaching workshop to develop proposals will be held in the Fall Gathering (November 2022)
  • Deadline for submission is January 1, 2023
  • Deadline for Board’s vetting of proposals is February/March board retreat
  • Voting begins May 1, 2023
  • Voting ends July 1, 2023, winner becomes program chair immediately