Job Posting: Director of Lifespan Religious Education

This is a 30 hour/week position which begins on 01/28/22.

Our Religious Education Program:

Lifespan Religious Education (LRE) provides children, youth, and adults an opportunity to explore, reflect, and learn in a nurturing spiritual community. Our RE programs offer all ages the opportunity for:

  • Ethical growth – internalizing enduring values such as justice, equity, and compassion; gaining tools to act on them in everyday life.
  • Social growth – connecting with peers and people of all ages on a deeper level; finding acceptance among people who see beyond the superficial.
  • Spiritual growth – feeling a connection with the sacred within, among, and beyond us.

Currently during pandemic restrictions, the DLRE (Director of Lifespan Religious Education) at First Unitarian Church of Chicago will be in charge of one infant/toddler care space, one elementary age class, and one older youth class. At a later date, when pandemic restrictions are lifted, there are prospects to restart preschool and high school programming. The DLRE will also plan and support adult programming. The right person for this position will directly manage and supervise a staff that conducts these classes, as well as provide staff with lessons and materials that enable them to deliver the content. The DLRE will be in charge of collaborating with the church leadership to plan meaningful weekly stories that speak to a wide variety of ages and learning styles at the start of each worship service. A few times a year, multi-generational activities are also to be planned that further the sense of community in the church and celebrate our unique faith.

Pre-Quarantine, the RE program was limited to only serving children and served 60 – 70 children and youth. Currently during pandemic restrictions, it serves 15. This DLRE position will serve all ages in the community as Lifespan RE and ideally will serve 100 – 150 individuals. The DLRE will need to be able to make adjustments to programing as pandemic restrictions decrease in the future.

The RE program has been an integral part of the congregation during pre-pandemic times with a schedule of classes for children, an infant/toddler nursery room, two youth groups, participation in the beginnings of each worship service, and in multigenerational worship and other multigenerational activities.

About First Unitarian Church of Chicago:

First Unitarian Church is a vibrant, multiracial and multicultural congregation. We are located six miles south of downtown Chicago in the Hyde Park neighborhood, adjacent to the University of Chicago. The church was first gathered in 1836, and throughout its history has played an important role in social justice activities in the community. Our mission states, “We are a diverse congregation, joyously united to address personal and societal challenges with passionate action for the healing of the world.” For more information, please see our website: www.firstuchicago.org.

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher
  • Experience supervising staff and volunteers
  • Experience working independently and collaboratively in teams
  • Comfort with basic tech needs (word, excel, ZOOM, email etc)
  • Desire to make a community impact
  • Desire to help children, youth, and adults build community
  • An interest in and passion to support Unitarian Universalism and its principles
  • Ability to be self-directed
  • Knowledge and comfort with diverse faith views
  • Familiarity with education and lesson development
  • Experience with event planning/ scheduling

ACCOUNTABILITY: 

The DLRE is hired by and reports to the Board of Trustees, is supervised by the Senior Minister, and works closely with the RE Council and other lay leadership.

HOURS: 

This is a three-quarters time position (30 hrs/week), including Sunday mornings, weekly meetings with the Senior Minister, and monthly evening meetings – on average 5 days/week, 6 hours each day.

SALARY & BENEFITS: 

  • Range of $30,000 to $39,900 depending on experience.
  • Health insurance—75%
  • Pension—10% of gross salary after 12 months and 1000 hours
  • Sick leave
  • Vacation

GOALS: 

We celebrate the diverse ways our adults, children, and youth learn, ask questions, and seek meaning. We foster their faith development and their relationships with each other, with nature, with the congregation as a whole, and with the world. The goals of this position are: participating in our staff team, providing training for our staff, teachers, and volunteers, support and organization of our RE Program for children and youth as well as occasional adult religious education, participating in the multigenerational aspects of our worship life, selection, development and implementation of curricula, training and supervision of the staff, as well as budget development and management.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

Overview

The Religious Education Program for adults, children, and youth includes Sunday curriculum-based classroom experiences, time for all ages, class development, and congregational multigenerational worship. Pre-pandemic, classes serving preschoolers through 5th grade and the junior youth group (6th through 8th grade) ran concurrently with worship services from September through June. Children were in the sanctuary worship service for the first 15 – 20 minutes of the service. The Senior High Youth Group (9th through 12th grade) ran on early Sunday afternoons from September to June. There is also summer programming serving preschool through 8th graders. Nursery Care is year-round. Currently with pandemic restrictions, classes are held via zoom around worship service time.

Supervision:

Supervision and communication skills are an integral part of the DLRE position to lead and supervise paid and volunteer staff to create and implement programs. Pre-pandemic the staff and volunteer group were larger than they have been during the pandemic. The DLRE would need to be flexible to supervise more teachers and volunteers as the pandemic restrictions decrease. The DLRE supervises the following individuals:

  • Paid infant/toddler caregivers (approximately 4 hours per week, Sunday Mornings)
  • Paid teachers
  • Supplementary volunteer recruitment

Curricula and Program Development:

1. Weekly classes for the following age groups:

Chalice Children: Preschool and Kindergarten *during non-pandemic restrictions
Explorers: First and Second Grade*during non-pandemic restrictions Seekers: Third and Fifth Grade
Junior Youth Group: Sixth to Eighth Grade
Senior Youth Group: Ninth through Twelfth Grade*during non-pandemic restrictions

2. Programs for middle school through high school youth, including weekly gatherings, occasional retreats, a Coming-of-Age program, the Our Whole Lives curriculum, and social justice programming *as pandemic restrictions allow.

3. Coordination of programming for a high school youth group including programs for 9th through 12th graders, including Sunday afternoon youth group, retreats, and the Our Whole Lives curriculum, Coming of Age Program, worship, and other lay support *during non-pandemic restrictions.

4. Coordination of loving, intentional childcare provided for younger children.

5. In consultation with the Senior Minister, participation in and support of some community building activities within the church.

6. Summer Program: Recruitment of leaders, coordination and selection of curricula.

Worship

  1. Collaboration with the Senior Minister in the development and implementation of the first multigenerational part of each service, and multigenerational services generally
  2. Sustenance of a children’s chapel program

Program Development

  1. Periodic research and evaluation of the effectiveness of current curricula and programming
  2. Development of new curricula and programming as appropriate.
  3. Cooperation with the Senior Minister, RE Council, and Board of Trustees to research additional Safe Congregation practices and develop a more comprehensive Safe Congregation Policy, and implement that Safe Congregation Policy as it applies to the Religious Education program for adults, children and youth

Social Responsibility

  1. Facilitation of and participation in opportunities for adults, children and youth to be involved in activities that put the church mission into action.
  2. Encouragement and development of programs that affirm diversity in families and in the community.

Program Support and Administration

  1. Recruit, train and support staff, volunteers, teachers, including recognition of their efforts.
  2. Work collaboratively with and encourage and support the RE Council.
  3. Publicize the RE program and communicate with families through the newsletter, mailings, program guides, etc.
  4. Support teachers in curriculum implementation, classroom management and discipline management.
  5. In conjunction with the RE Council and Senior Minister, develop, submit and manage the RE budget.
  6. Report monthly at the Board of Trustees meetings.
  7. Meet regularly for supervision and work collaboratively with the Senior Minister.

Professional Development

  1. Maintain awareness of evolving RE practices and principles through attending meetings and conferences of professional organizations and reading professional literature.
  2. Maintain membership in Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA).
  3. Participate in Chicago Area Religious Educators (CARE).
  4. Develop specific UU knowledge and training through continuing educationexperiences.

SUBMIT RESUMES & REFERENCES

Please submit resumes and references to Daughon Langner at jobs@firstuchicago.org.