Thursday, May 3, 2012

I am a DRE!

Before moving out to Ohio, I met with my former grad school advisor one last time. I explained that I have not been pursuing a ministerial credential. I realized it was not my calling about a semester into my master's degree. But I was unsure about what I wanted until right before we left. I wanted to work with kids again.*

While I was evaluating my career goals, I volunteered. First, at First Unitarian Church of Oakland (which was so inspirational and awesome that it inspired me to become a member of their church, a first ever for me) in the Religious Education (RE) program. I helped out in the nursery, where my son played and also took on the "Club UU" kids- who were from 4th-6th grade. One RE position led to another as I asked to be a (paid!) RE summer school teacher at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists. It was a one room school house for all ages of kids. Those two experiences helped me decide that working with kids and youth again was for me.

Then we moved to Ohio, and I was delighted to join First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta. It is a bastion of progressive religious thought in its area and I was blessed with the 4th-8th graders and we had lots of fun. They were cool with my Witchy self and let me create my own curriculum! This was great, because I have been working on a curriculum for Rowan and it gave me a chance to test some things out.

When we finally made it to Columbus, I wanted to continue to volunteer, become a part of a church, and hopefully find a DRE position one day. I had 4 churches within 25 miles to choose from. I started with North Unitarian Universalist Congregation, as my current grad school advisor (Rev. Dr. Ritchie) is the minister there. When I met with her, I told her that I ultimately wanted to work in RE, and she offered me a volunteer position in the already established teaching schedule. Together, we worked out a grad-school-credit-for-volunteer-DRE-duties arrangement in the fall. Their church no longer had a DRE. Rev. Dr. Ritchie had taken on that role when the last one left, and she had stopped looking for a replacement, assuming one would "fall out of the sky" when the time was right. I was excited about proving myself within the congregation as a volunteer and hoping that they would want me and create a budget for the position one day.

Then Rev. Dr. Ritchie emailed me about a great opportunity at *another church*.

The biggest church in the Columbus area is here in my very own neighborhood- First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus. It is on par in size with Oakland's church and is very active. I interviewed there last month to be a summer Sunday School teacher, much like I was in Berkeley (but with a lot more kids!). But a couple days before my exciting interview, I got an email from Rev. Dr. Ritchie- there was a sudden opening in her staff, as her Administrative Assistant (AA) just gave notice. Was I interested?

Well, yes. We are just getting on our feet here in Columbus and a part time job (especially one that can mostly be done from home!) was most welcome. Then she let me know that she was re-crafting the position I would be the AA as well as a DRE- and as the position grew I could get more DRE hours. I had to interview with the Board of Directors of course and get their approval. I was so nervous!

I put on my only suit (a pinstripe skirt number) and reviewed the job description, the church's website and newsletters, and the UUA's guidelines for becoming credentialed in Religious Education. So long story short., I got the job!!!

I start May 14 and that following weekend I head to Pittsburgh, PA for a training in the Our Whole Lives (OWL) program. This training alone is super exciting. This is hands-down the BEST sexuality curriculum around. I wanted to get certified as an OWL educator even before I wanted to be a DRE. (I took a Sex and the Spirit class at seminary where I learned about it and was seriously impressed.)

Flow brought me here to Ohio for a reason. And I am following the Flow and benefitting from it.

*I say again because I have been a public school teacher, a youth mentor, a tutor, and a girl scout leader.


  1. I love when things work out in unexpected but wonderful ways :) ... Congratulations ...


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