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DRE Amy Popp, UU Church of PeoriaAfter years of study, completing a required list of reading materials and compiling a portfolio which revealed competency in the required subject areas, Amy Popp who is the Director of Religious Education for the Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria (IL), met with the Religious Education Credentialing Committee (RECC) and was awarded credentialed status by the Unitarian Universalist Association.

At the RECC meeting on April 27th, Amy presented a brief opening worship and a short verbal presentation on her portfolio. Then she addressed questions from the committee on various aspects of her portfolio, professional responsibilities at her congregation and the books on the required reading list.

Amy’s portfolio detailed her competency in eighteen different areas as required for credentialed status from the Unitarian Universalist Association: UU History and Polity; Anti-Oppression; Safe Congregations; World Religions; Jewish and Christian Heritages; Faith Development; Systems Theory and Organizational Development; Conflict Management; Right Relations and Professional Ethics; Stewardship in the Life of the Congregation; History and Philosophy of Religious Education; Human Development; Learning Theories and Teaching Methods; Religious Education Administration and Finances; Planning and Conducting Worship Experiences for All Ages; Programmatic Resources for Religious Education Programs; Volunteer Management; as well as Spiritual Life, Self-Care and Renewal. "Her portfolio was very impressive," said Colleen McDonald, a Minister of Religious Education who formerly served the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rockford, IL, congregation and is now on the RECC committee.

The credentialing process also requires a candidate to undergo a background check, submit detailed references and a personal philosophy statement for religious education along with a preferred pedagogy statement and a professional context essay.

The goal of the credentialing program is to strengthen Unitarian Universalist religious education through the continued development and professionalization of lay religious educators, and by providing a clear and effective system for standards and recognition of these achievements. The Religious Education Credentialing Program is a three-level program that nurtures the call to religious education as a profession. Participants can achieve status in the program as a Credentialed Religious Educator, Associate Level, a Credentialed Religious Educator, or a Credentialed Religious Educator, Masters Level. The three different levels are based on academic achievement, integration of knowledge of lifespan religious education, and length of professional experience. A participant may enter the program at any level.

With this award of credentialed religious educator status from the Unitarian Universalist Association, Amy becomes the 3rd person in our district to receive this distinction. Other credentialed religious educators in our district are: Michelle Richards (Small RE program consultant and event coordinator for CMD) and Lynn Hunt (DRE for First Unitarian Church of St. Louis) who received her credentialed status in 2008.