New Religious Education Coordinator Hired
I have great news to share! At its July 23 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved the hiring of Marsha Thrall as our Religious Education Coordinator.
Marsha comes to us with many gifts and skills, including experience in directing a religious education program. She served as Director of Children’s and Youth Church for St. Matthew CME Church in Milwaukee for two years and worked in that program for several years prior to becoming the director. She has a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois (Garrett is a United Methodist graduate school) and a B.A. degree in Theology/Philosophy from Mount Mary University. In addition, she is working on a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Religion, Ethics and Social Sciences at Chicago Theological Seminary. Like many of us, Marsha’s personal religious and spiritual journey has had a number of twists and turns! But she is feeling quite at home in our Unitarian Universalist setting.
To refresh your understanding of our Religious Education transition, the Religious Education Coordinator is an “acting” position, which means Marsha will be with us for one to two years, helping us keep our excellent RE programs running well while we do our “interim work.” Marsha will be with us half-time through December and will move to three-quarter time in January 2019. Kelly Bognar, our wise and experienced longtime Religious Education Assistant (and now Publications Coordinator), will devote additional hours to the Religious Education program as well.
What is our “Interim Work”? When a longtime Religious Educator leaves a congregation, the Unitarian Universalist Association strongly suggests that the congregation review the religious education programs with an eye toward adjustments, improvements, match with the needs of our families and volunteer culture, etc. There are new models of religious education and family ministry to be considered!
Our RE transition will likely be a two-to-three-year process. This fall and winter, we plan to engage with our neighboring congregation, First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee, and some religious education experts to learn more. If you are interested in serving on the group that helps with our religious education ministry transition let me know as soon as possible. It’s going to be a very exciting time in the life of UUCW!
In the meantime, I hope you’ll plan to be in church on August 5 when Marsha is introduced during the service. Please welcome her warmly! We’ll have a more formal welcome for her in the fall — but she is ready to meet you and to experience our Sunday morning activities, and I know you will enjoy meeting her, too.
Blessings to you all,
The Rev. Suzelle Lynch, Minister