2015 LRE Conference

Collaborative Leadership:  Stronger Together

LRE Week is designed to meet the professional and personal needs of those working in Unitarian Universalist Religious Education. We are religious educators and our families, promoting excellence in lifespan learning, transforming ourselves and the world to make a difference. Join us in modeling collaborative leadership in multigenerational UU community

During the week we will experience collaborative leadership between religious educators, ministers and musicians. Agents of transformation, we will explore trends that can bring our disciplines into greater alignment and empowerment with each other. Our goal is to strengthen our work in congregations by involving and promoting all three disciplines in community worship, shared spiritual practices and leadership teams.

Inspirational worship, adult workshops, programs for children and youth and events for the entire family will guide our week of discovery as we grow and relax together. Morning workshops include the Unitarian Universalist Identity Module (newly revised), Building a New Way: Collaborative Leadership for a Changing Time, The Hope for Wholeness: Sexuality and Leadership, Music and Arts.

Building a NewWay – Collaborative Leadership for a Changing Time

As the culture changes, congregations must change as well.  New leadership models are needed for religious professionals (ministers, religious educators and musicians) and lay leaders, working collaboratively – using different skills, and a shared understanding of systems theory.   Drawing from the work of the LREDA/ UUMA/ UUMN Task Force for Excellence in Shared Ministry, this workshop will be a hands-on opportunity to imagine new ways to lead together! Leader: Rev. Patricia Hart & Cathy Seggel.


Rev Patricia Hart is currently serving as Interim Minister with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Charleston, West Virginia. Tricia has been in active ministry since 1997, serving six congregations in New England, Pennsylvania and now Appalachia as interim, consulting, and settled minister. Throughout her ministry, Tricia has also worked part-time as a consultant to UU churches around the country, focusing on issues related to change and growth, and especially stewardship.  She served on the faculty of New England Leadership School in the early 1990’s, and has led workshops, retreats and trainings at congregational, district and regional levels. Tricia and her spouse, the Rev. Peter Newport, met at RE Week on Star Island in 1995 and have returned many times since then.  Peter and Tricia have five young adult children and a growing extended family all over the country, a small dog named Waldo, and far too many books.

Cathy Seggel has served as the  Director of Religious Education in Providence, Rhode Island for eighteen years. Her first career was in professional nursing; after earning a B.S. from the University of Connecticut, she taught clinical pediatric nursing for seven years at Rhode Island College. Then, having completed numerous continuing education opportunities in UU religious education offered through district and national UU networks, she pursued graduate education at Harvard Divinity School, earning her Masters of Theological Studies degree in June of 2007. She is involved in the UUA RE credentialing program at the Master’s level. She is currently the President of the Liberal Religious Educator’s Association, and has served as Ballou-Channing District RE Chair, NEIDRECOM Chair, Dean of Star Island RE Week and President of the Unitarian Sunday School Society. Cathy lives in Providence with her husband, Norm; they have three children.


UU Identity Renaissance Module:  

 Goals for this program are 1) to create an understanding of identity as a process, 2) to become aware of how the process unfolds, 3) to identify ways to foster the process, specifically among Religious Education participants and generally among their congregations. Implicit goals are: 1) to help participants identify their own growth as Unitarian Universalists and 2) to create an interactive environment for discussion and for the sharing of ideas. In order to receive credit for the module, participants must complete the required 15 hours of training.


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.

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.


Leadership Styles: Personality, Identity and Strategies in Work Relationships

Using easy and fun personality testing tools, we will explore: 

·       Your personal gifts/strengths

·       Strategies for engaging positively with other personality types

·       Your leadership style and what you need to be a successful leader

·       Your conflict profile and how best to engage in productive and healthy conflict

These strategies are broadly applicable in congregational life and can help build cohesive and highly functional teams, whether you are a professional leader or a volunteer leader. Using drama, music and art, we’ll work together to on the relational skills that help us be stronger leaders and colleagues.


Patricia Infante is the 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.



MUSIC workshop is Emma’s Revolution

Inspiring the Revolution!: Intuitive Collaboration Through Music

Explore, activate and enhance your collaborative leadership skills through song, sound and discussion. We’ll delve into keys to vocal empowerment and the relationship between finding or strenthening our voices and tapping into the power of community. We’ll discuss and demonstrate techniques for using music as a medium to draw together disparate groups to create larger, stronger, more diverse communities and movements for social justice. We’ll cultivate an intuitive, playful relationship with words and melody that help you be open to your songs. And we’ll experience creative harmonizing, with its perfect collaborative leadership balance of contributing and listening. Come as a beginner or expand your knowledge!



Smart, funny and informative–like Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart with guitars. Emma’s Revolution is the d

uo ofaward-winning activist musicians, Pat Humphries & Sandy O. A motivating force in concerts and demonstrations, their songs have been sung for the Dalai Lama, praised by Pete Seeger and

recorded by Holly Near. The duo’s awards include Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and, for two years running, the Washington Area Music Association’s Fan Favorite Award. Emma’s Revolution’s songs have been an integral part of justice movements for 30 years.

Emma’s Revolution is well known to UU audiences, performing at UU coffeehouses, convocations and congregations across the country. Since their 2005 appearance with Pete Seeger at UUGA in Fort Worth, the duo has performed at General Assemblies from Salt Lake City to Providence. Emma’s Revolution wrote their song, “Love Reaches Out”, for the 2014 UUGA theme and premiered the song at GA’s WaterFire Stage. Emma’s Revolution’s songs, “Keep on Moving Forward”, “Swimming to the Other Side” and “Peace, Salaam, Shalom” are sung by UU congregations across the country and are included in the “Earth and Spirit Songbook”, the UU Tapestry of Faith series and the new UU Spanish Hymnal.

The duo tours 200 days a year, presenting powerful, joyful and transformative concerts and workshops. In the spirit of Emma Goldman’s famous attribution, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution,” Emma’s Revolution has brought their uprising of truth, hope and a dash of irreverence to thousands of concerts and activist events across the US and abroad. Learn more at www.emmasrevolution.com

2015 Collaborative Leadership Audio Program

Welcome to the Star Island Lifespan Religious Education Week 2015 Collaborative Leadership audio program!  This resource was made possible by grant from the Liberal Religious Educators Association 21st Century Fund. We are grateful for this support and the opportunity to share our learning with you.  We hope this resource will serve as a catalyst for breathing a new spirit of collaboration into your teams, our congregations and larger faith.

Save the Date: We hope you’ll  join us July 16- 23 for our 2016 conference Sustainability + Faith : A New Way of Living featuring Unitarian Universalist seminarian, leader and activist Tim DeChristopher.

How to Listen

Below you will find an overview of the program followed by links to pages with each of the 9 audio tracks and their show notes.  You may listen on these pages or by using these following links. Our full program runs 7 hours and 15 minutes. Enjoy and please share!

Program Overview

Exploring themes related to our changing world, the changing nature of church, the critical role of great collaboratie teams in navigating these changes, and religious education as a growth strategy, this program features talks and panel discussions with Carey McDonald, Patricia Infante, Starr Austin, Andrea Lerner, Patricia Hart, Cathy Seggel, and Pat Humphries & Sandy O. of Emma’s Revolution, plus a wrap up conversation with Carey McDonald and Peter Bowden. Full show notes including speaker bios and mentioned resources may be found on the pages for each of the 9 program audio tracks listed below.

Host and Emcee

Carey McDonald, UUA Outreach Director, serves as host and emcee for our program.  In addition to offering the first and last theme talks, Carey introduces daily values of great teams (see below),  introduces our other theme talk presenters,  and follows them with a tool of the day.

Themes of the Week

The following are the themes woven throughout our 2015 conference and this audio program.

  • The world is changing, church is changing
  • Collaborative, effective teams are a key to thriving in this new era
  • Religious Education is a growth strategy

Values of Great Teams
The week is built around 5 values of great collaborative teams inspired by the work of  Patrick  Lencioni who wrote the books The Advantage and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.  Carey McDonald flips Lincioni’s five dysfunctions, offering us the following five values:

  • Trust
  • Engagement
  • Commitment
  • Accountability
  • Achievement


This resource was made possible by grant from the Liberal Religious Educators Association 21st Century Fund.