The Fahs Fellows
Meet The 2014 Fahs Fellows!
Congratulations and Welcome: Jamil, Matthew, and Taryn!
Jamil Scott is incoming Director of Lifespan Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno, California after having served Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Lafayette, CO as an RE Assistant. He is attending seminary at Naropa University, a Buddhist inspired contemplative University in Boulder, Colorado. He brings 17 years of meditation experience in the Zen, Vajrayana, and Dzogchen traditions. Jamil also leads contemplative practice and meditation workshops, including a Dharma Camp for young people. Jamil is a candidate for ordination with the International Order of Buddhist Ministers and is in the LREDA Professional Religious Educator credentialing program.
Actor, director and choreographer Matthew Davis received his Bachelor’s degree in Theater Performance from Minnesota State University. He has served as the Associate Artistic Director of the Playhouse Merced in California and head of acting and dance for the Children's Conservatory Playhouse. Matthew currently is Artistic Director with Theatre-Hikes Colorado, a company with the mission of combining theater and enjoyment and preservation of the environment, for the past four years. He is well known throughout Denver for his work directing and choreographing children's theaters in the region.
He is a religious educator at First Unitarian Society of Denver creating aesthetic workshops and learning experiences to support the formal activities of the RE program. Matthew is a paraprofessional educator at a public elementary school providing math and reading help to struggling students and is an activity leader for the after school program there. He also plans activities and curriculum for the 60-student after school program that integrates current and historical events, holidays, classical and modern art, theater and dance into students’ lives.
A lifelong Unitarian Universalist, Taryn Strauss is a seminary student at Union Theogical Seminary in New York City, with a focus on Psychology and Religion. She concurrently serves as Director of Religious Education at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church of NYC. She holds a B.A. in English composition and literature and a B.A. in Secondary Education from Guilford College, where she also minored in Theatre Arts. Prior to moving to New York, Taryn served as the Director of Lifespan Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville, where the program grew under her leadership from a children’s program to a multi-staff Lifespan faith formation experience.
Taryn has a strong vision of a radically diverse and artistic community, and possibilities of embodied art, improvisation, and empathic relationships to expand minds, hearts, and spirits. She has trained at the Brecht Forum under Augusto and Julian Boal in Theatre of the Oppressed methodologies and believes in the power of theater to heal and transform oppressive power dynamics.
While living in Asheville, Taryn co-founded and served as co-artistic director of Scapegoat Theatre Collective, designed to reach new audiences and galvanize the community around issues of anti-racism, prison reform, and LGBTQ equality. Taryn served on the Board of OUR VOICE, Asheville’s rape crisis center, and prior to her work as a religious educator, served as the Education Director at the Western North Carolina AIDS Project where she established grassroots community education campaigns for sexual health empowerment and transformative education.
The Fahs Fellows 2013 Presentations
The Fahs Fellows are global thinkers and curriculum innovators in faith development with an important message to share. Fellows are intentionally selected with an eye toward insight and innovation, serving both as “public intellectuals” who speak on issues that are pressing within the profession of religious education, yet also offering pedagogical strategies that have potential to breathe fresh air into how we teach, learn, and grow.
The inaugural cohort of Fellows focused on three areas of great need within the world of faith formation: technology, multi-generational faith formation, and spiritual practices that voice cultural and theological diversity. The 2013 Fellows first presented their work at the Liberal Religious Educators Association Fall Conference, later recording their "Fahs Talks" at Meadville Lombard Theological School. We are delighted to share their innovations with you!Karen Bellavance-Grace, Fellow for Innovation in Multigenerational Faith Formation
Karen's Full Week Faith Website contains many resources discussed in her presentation.
Kat Liu, Fellow for Innovation in Spiritual Practices
Kat's liturgical calendar, story library, and other resources can be found at WizdUUm.net
Phil Lund, Fellow for Innovation in Technology