Dear Members and Friends of 1U,
As most of you know, our Director of Religious Education (DRE) of the last 7 years, Abbie Potter, has accepted a full-time position at Valencia College where she has taught for some time. I am delighted that Abbie has this opportunity to pursue her passion for reading education. At the same time, this means a transition for us here at 1U.
This note is to assure you that programming for our children will continue uninterrupted while we decide our next steps in religious education staffing. For example, the Children’s Religious Education Committee is ready and willing to oversee the remainder of the program year which culminates on May 19 with the annual Children’s Religious Education program worship service.
Over the summer, Children’s Religious Education is on break, but we will have Open Classroom (formerly known as Childcare During Worship) and Nursery available all morning. (Note: We will be on our summer schedule from May 19 to September 8, inclusive. During this time there will be Adult Religious Education at 9:30 and a single Worship Service at 11:00. More details to follow.)
The Children’s Religious Education Committee also has a plan for preparing for next year with a draft calendar already in place. We are grateful to Abbie for putting many resources in place before her departure.
Over the next month, wearing my chief-of-staff hat, I will be meeting with the Board, the Children’s Religious Education Committee, and Personnel to discuss plans for the future. One distinct possibility is that we bring someone in on an interim basis for one to two years. This would allow the congregation the opportunity for discernment about what we might like to see in the future. It is our hope to have a plan for staffing next year (i.e. a job description) ready to share with you by the time of the Annual Congregational Meeting on Sunday, May 5.
Because Abbie will remain a member of the congregation, it is necessary, for her sake and for the health of the program, to set a clear boundary regarding her former role. This means that as of April 1, Abbie will not be involved in Children’s Religious Education in any way. If you would like to know more about these boundaries, please see the note below.
During this time of transition, please do not hesitate to speak up with any questions or concerns. Other than to be, the best places to address them will be to the Board, the Children’s Religious Education Committee, or Personnel Committee. Any staff transition is rich with possibilities and I look forward to seeing where this will take us.
More on Boundaries
Because Abbie will remain a member of the congregation, it is necessary, for her sake and for the health of the program, to set a clear boundary regarding her former role. This means that as of April 1, Abbie will not be involved in Children’s Religious Education in any way.
For the foreseeable future, this means she will not be present in the Enrichment Center during classes or Children’s Religious Education-only activities. It also means that she will not answer questions about the program or express opinions about the program. If she is approached about either of these, she will kindly but firmly direct the person to the appropriate person or committee. If there is a true need for information from Abbie, the Children’s Religious Education Committee will inform Mary Ann Horne, Facilitator of the Life-Span Faith Development Network. Mary Ann will take appropriate action.
The one exception to this is that Abbie will be recognized during the Children’s Religious Education worship service on May 19. This is necessary because the short time frame of her departure did not allow for recognition by those involved in Children’s Religious Education, including the children. Allowing such recognition will allow for closure and a smoother transition.
Abbie will happily interact, as a member of the congregation, with children and families in the sanctuary and Gore Hall.
I have been through this transition myself (as a DRE moving back to being a member) in my home congregation. I am also trained in staff transition and have had experience with this in multiple congregations. While these boundaries may seem extreme, experience has taught us that, in the long run, they will be of tremendous benefit to a successful role transition.