Director of Religious Education
Posting date: June 20, 2021
Application deadline: July 12, 2021
Start date: as soon as possible once interviews are conducted/August 1, 2021
Hours: ⅓ time. Sunday mornings required. Averages 14 hours per week for a 40 week church year and 3 hours per week during the summer. (Church year begins the Tuesday after Labor Day and ends the second Sunday in June.) DRE may take up to 6 Sunday mornings off during the church year.
Compensation: $16,800 annual salary, paid in twelve monthly installments.
Paid time off is in accordance with our policies (accrued and will equal about two weeks of your average hours.)
First Church will pay $175.00 toward LREDA dues.
First Church in Jamaica Plain, UU is hiring a Director of Religious Education to start in August 2021. We are a small but vibrant and spiritual Unitarian Universalist community. When in person, we gather in a historic stone Gothic Revival building in the heart of Jamaica Plain, with an average Sunday attendance of about 60 adults and ten children. We love to pray and to sing, to cook and care for one another, and to act for justice in the wider world. Our previous Director of Religious Education built a thriving one-room-schoolhouse model of Religious Education for children, but moved away from the area. The position has been vacant during the 2020-2021 church program year. We seek a Religious Educator who will build on what’s worked and help us envision what could be.
To apply, please send a resume and position-specific cover letter to minister at first church jp dot org
NOTE: We will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination, while complying with all legally-required exemptions.
The Director of Religious Education will lead religious education programming for children and youth. The DRE will teach and guide the spiritual development of the youngest members of our congregation in alignment with our mission, vision, and values. The DRE will also collaborate with the Minister in exploring any shift from “Sunday School” to “Family Ministry” models of faith development for children and youth.
Experience working with mixed-age groups of young children.
Priority will be given to candidates who have experience with children of diverse abilities and racial/cultural backgrounds.
Employees must complete a CORI and have no disqualifying offenses.***
Two years of instructional experience with children in a group setting. Two years of supporting young children and their families as an education professional.
Prior experiences, with references, in implementing curricula, including modifying lessons for diverse learners and for time and space requirements in the classroom.
Experience in religious education, knowledge of education principles and practices, and a strong understanding of and a commitment to Unitarian Universalist principles.
Experience recruiting, cultivating, and inspiring volunteers.
Is supervised by the Minister. Is expected to comply with all First Church staff-related policies and procedures. Also expected to join the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) and abide by its Code of Professional Practice.
The spaces currently used as the nursery, DRE office, and RE classroom are not accessible to people who cannot independently ascend and descend stairs.
Manage and coordinate all programs for children and youth; when in person this currently includes teaching a Sunday morning “one room schoolhouse” program for children ages 4-12; lead any programming for youth 13-18.
Select and acquire or develop curricula, lesson plans, and resources.
Recruit, coordinate, train, and advise any lay teachers/facilitators.
Maintain regular communication with families; be available for individual meetings with congregants regarding the RE program.
Supervise and manage nursery-care-provider(s) and any paid teachers.
Participate in Sunday morning worship; collaborate with the Minister to develop and lead “Time for All Ages” and any multigenerational worship for children, youth and families.
Connect with and integrate denominational and educational best practices and learning opportunities.
Collaborate with the Minister and key congregational constituencies in creating vision and strategy for the program’s future.
Communicate with the congregation about the program for children & youth, including through any e-newsletters and announcements.
Monitor the RE program budget, keep accurate records/documentation of expenses, and ensure completion of budget requests.
Keeps appropriate registration information and attendance records.
Arrange for coverage of Sunday program leadership in event of absence.
Ensure organization of religious education resources, supplies, and equipment.
Ensure any classrooms are set up for Sunday morning & basically cleaned up at end of sessions.
Ensure that the children’s ministry is in compliance with First Church’s child safety policies.
Coordinate childcare for congregational events as needed.
Attend staff meetings (usually monthly, currently via zoom.)
Meet regularly with minister for supervision
Convene and meet with the Religious Education Committee as needed, usually quarterly, for feedback, support, and planning
Attend coffee hour and be available for casual interaction with congregation
Must be physically able to traverse the church building.
Must be able to command a group of people's attention and communicate effectively in person and over email
Must be able to safely escort children from the building in an emergency.
Accessibility Note: while much of the church building is accessible, there are four stairs to get to the office and spaces currently used as children's RE classrooms, one step with no railing to reach the chancel, several stairs to reach the pulpit, and a full flight of stairs required to reach the basement storage area.
Ministry With Children and Youth: Captures and holds children's attention, including on video; demonstrates ability to improvise; makes children feel welcome; communicates clear behavioral expectations to children and adult volunteers; effectively and age-appropriately manages children’s behavior so that they are able to participate in learning activities; designs effective lesson plans and facilitates meaningful learning experiences; maintains appropriate boundaries.
Worship Leadership: Leads relevant and inspiring “Time For All Ages” and multigenerational worship that successfully engages children's attention, including on video; collaborates with Minister in planning such worship; brings perspectives of child development and family life into worship collaboration.
Developing and motivating volunteers: Creates a climate in which people want to do their best; empowers others; invites shared input and decision making; makes each individual feel that their work is important; communicates expectations clearly; maintains open and active dialogue with volunteers; thinks strategically about the continual need for a next generation of leaders and works to build the volunteer base.
Mission Ownership: Demonstrates understanding and full support of the mission, vision, values and beliefs of the congregation; can demonstrate those values to others; consistently behaves in a manner congruent with the mission, vision, values and beliefs.
Integrity and Trust: Practices direct, honest and transparent communication; avoids communication triangles; keeps confidences; admits mistakes; doesn’t operate with hidden agendas; responds to situations with constancy and reliability.
Professionalism: Prioritizes key tasks and ignores or minimizes distractions; demonstrates focus; follows through on assigned tasks; follows up on missing or out of balance items; is able to deliver a message clearly, articulately and with appropriate emotion in a variety of settings.
Interpersonal Skills: Establishes good working relationships with all others who are relevant to the completion of work; works well with people at all levels of the congregation; considers the impact of their actions on others; uses diplomacy and tact; is approachable; is collaborative.
Personal Resilience: Can effectively cope with change and uncertainty; can shift gears comfortably; can decide and act without having the total picture; is able to function when things are up in the air; can comfortably handle risk and uncertainty; is flexible.
Self-Development: Sets appropriate personal work objectives, measures own progress, identifies personal gaps in knowledge, understanding and skill; undertakes appropriate activities to develop needed skills; seeks regular feedback on performance; knows personal strengths and weaknesses, is sensitive to changing personal and organizational requirements and changes accordingly.
Anti-Oppression in Family Ministry: Demonstrates understanding of systemic racism and other forms of oppression; works well with children & families of diverse abilities and racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds; evaluates programs & resources through lens of anti-oppression; promotes multicultural approaches to family ministry; connects families with relevant identity-specific resources; educates congregation on effective ministry to/with children & youth of color.
***What constitutes a disqualifying offense that will keep an individual from working with children will be determined by First Church’s leadership on a case-by-case basis in light of all the surrounding circumstances. Generally, convictions for an offense involving children and/or for offenses involving violence, dishonesty, indecency and any conduct contrary to our mission will preclude someone from being permitted to work with children.