On the final day of General Assembly 2018, Unitarian Universalist Association President Susan Frederick-Gray presented the President's Annual Award for Volunteer Service to the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA). The award recognizes extraordinary and vital volunteer service to the UUA by a person or organization and is designated by the president.
“Throughout its history and in this moment, LREDA and its members have been bold and fearless in challenging our faith to be more inclusive and to deal with the issues of the time with honesty and courage through an unwavering commitment to developmental learning and growth,” Frederick-Gray said.
The organization, which started as the Unitarian Education Directors' Association in 1949 and became known as LREDA in 1955, is committed to promoting professional standards in religious education and partnered with the UUA to create a religious education credentialing program.
Reading from the award, Frederick-Gray said:
LREDA and its leaders have long charged our Association to live and lead at the margins of our faith, from the Diversity and Inclusion Team to focusing on the spiritual dimensions of the tough topics of race, human sexuality, death, and our relationship with money. From the initial conversations and leadership that created the About Your Sexuality and later the Our Whole Lives curricula, to commissioning their own antiracism audit, to becoming the first Welcoming Organization, and most recently, members of LREDA leading the call and developing curriculum resources and trainings for a White Supremacy Teach-In in which over 700 congregations participated, LREDA has exemplified how courageous conversations create spaces where all are truly welcome.
Current and past LREDA board members gathered on the General Assembly stage Sunday afternoon to accept the award. “We stand on the shoulders and build on the efforts of those who have gone before us,” said Annie Scott, president of LREDA. She specifically called out LREDA’s part in originating the now commonly used inclusive phrase “rise in body or spirit” and in getting credentialed religious educators recognized at the Service of the Living Tradition. Scott also emphasized LREDA’s ongoing commitment to the cause of helping dismantle white supremacy culture.
The Volunteer Service Award comes with $1,000 to be given to the charitable organization of the recipient’s choice, and LREDA chose the Promise and the Practice of Our Faith Campaign to fund Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism as the recipient. “Once again, LREDA is centering the work of antiracism and antioppression and leading the way in our faith!” Frederick-Gray said.