Starr Austin and  Andrea Lerner, both leaders of the UU Identity Renaissance Module, explore Unitarian Universalist identity formation as a process,  highlighting ways the process unfolds,  and how we might foster it.  Starr shares so many great ideas, we had to share a few quotes:

“Our congregations can not go deeper, and they can not grow if we continue to gauge levels of commitment by the numbers who signed the book and the dollars that roll in each month.” – Starr Austin

“If there are children in your congregation and there are no adults other than their parents and RE teachers who know their name, you have a problem.  You have a systemic issue in your congregation that you’re not working on building the next generation of Unitarian Universalists…  Identity starts because you are seen, known, valued.” – Starr Austin

During this theme talk Andrea shares an exercise challenging participants to articulate something about their faith in six words. This is based on the Twitter #MySixWordStoryofFaith conversation. Give it a try!  If you happen to be on Twitter tweet yours with #MySixWordStoryofFaith #STARLRE.

Some Examples


Carey’s Tool of the Day

Starr Austin serves as Director of Lifespan Religious Education. 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 theory 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 1910 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.

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.

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