Our panelists explore their experiences with great collaborative teams, the power of theme based ministry to align congregational teams & programs making collaboration easier to accomplish, the challenges of moving teams in the direction of collaboration when they are presently far from that state, and responses to other audience submitted questions.
Starr Austin serves as Director of Lifespan Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington (UUFH). She is passionate about life long faith formation and considers religious education a shared ministry with the congregation. Starr enjoys finding ways to use Gardener’s multiple intelligence heory to create vibrant worship and programming which bridges generational divides. As an advocate for gender identity and body positivity, Starr has created and led workshops on transgender and genderqueer identity, creating safe spaces, and supporting non-binary gender expression in children and youth. In 2010 she co-founded the Bare Beauty Project, an organization with combats body hatred through coaching spiritual practice and photography. Starr has a deep belief in the right to self-identify and the freedom of self-expression as fundamental human rights.
Andrea Lerner serves at the District Executive for the Metro New York District. She is a graduate of Penn State University and attended graduate school in psychology at Fordham University. Before joining the UUA District Staff, she served three congregations, ranging in size from 250 to 700 members, as Director of Religious Education and also served as mentor to several religious educators from small congregations. She served on the board of the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) for five years and on LREDA’s Professional Standards Task f=Force and its Integrity Team which works to dismantle institutional racism and oppression. She has been a UUA Renaissance trainer for nine years and was also trained to facilitate the Covenanting process. She is well known for her use of social networking to relentlessly promote Unitarian Universalism.
Patricia Infante is the UUA Central East Regional Consultant for Faith Development. Before joining the CERG staff, Pat has served in the same arena for the Joseph Priestley District for two years. Before that she held the portfolio for Congregational Growth for two years. She has been a Director for Religious Education at the Cherry Hill, NJ congregation for nine years before joining the JPD staff. She brings a wealth of experience in all aspects of faith development to assist our congregations in growing in faith. Pat is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist.
Carey McDonald is the UUA Outreach Director, helping Unitarian Universalist values reach more people and respond to the changing American religious landscape. He previously served as the UUA Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, and is a former lay member of the UUA Ministerial Fellowship Committee and the Skinner House Books Board. Prior to joining the UUA, Carey worked in educational policy with the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Department of Education. Carey is a seventh generation Unitarian Universalist and a member of First Parish in Malden, MA and the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, Ohio. He was active in Columbus as a youth leader in the Ohio Meadville District Youth Adult Committee and with Diverse and Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM). Carey holds a bachelors in Economics from Pomona College in Claremont, CA, and a masters in Organizational Leadership from Wheelock College in Boston, MA. He lives Medford, MA with his wife, Sarah and son, Julian.