Wornom Innovation Grant

An Award of the Religious Education Association

In 2016 the REA voted to cease presenting the Herman A. Wornom Award to institutions or organizations, and instead to use the funds to support innovation in religious education. Towards that end, the newly instituted Wornom Innovation grant is a $3,000 award for innovative religious education projects and initiatives that further knowledge and deepen the practice of religious education, or that expand the field of religious education to a new area that is not traditionally associated with religious education. The annual application deadline is September 15.


REA Members are eligible to apply for a Wornom Innovation Grant. Proposals may be submitted for entirely new projects, for innovative developments within an existing project, or for bringing practices or insights from a different sector into religious education settings. Initiatives might include educational programs, practice-based research, or related projects. Members may submit only one proposal each year, and members may work together on a proposal. The grant is intended as a single-year award and is non-renewable.

Criteria for Selection

The Harper/Wornom Committee will use the following criteria to annually select one winning project or initiative:

  • Innovativeness. How creative is this project or initiative? How significant and new is it for the field of religious education?
  • Practitioner-orientation. Priority will be given to practitioner (as opposed to academic) projects and practitioner projects with a connection to the academy.
  • Honors diversity. How does the project foster forms of religious education that honor and engage elements of diversity (e.g., religious, cultural, sexual, ethnic or racial, and/or ways of knowing that honor multiple learning styles and other diversities)?
  • Contributes to the mission of REA. The mission of the Religious Education Association is to create opportunities for exploring and advancing the interconnected practices of scholarship, research, teaching, and leadership in faith communities, academic institutions, and the wider world community.
  • Contribution to the field of religious education. How is the project significant for the field of religious education? Priority will be given to projects whose results will be shared with practitioners and researchers in a way that contributes to scholarship and knowledge in the field.

Application Process

The application deadline is September 15. The announcement of the winning proposal will take place at the REA Annual Meeting (applicants are encouraged to be, but are not required to be, present to win). The winning applicant(s) will be asked to submit a brief written report about their project (including financial information) by October 1 of the following year.