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Fahs Research Fellows are educational entrepreneurs in the practice of teaching for religious education. Through 2016, the Fahs Collaborative sponsored fellows as they conducted research and proposed innovative solutions relevant across the landscape of religious life. Fahs Fellows have included professional religious educators, seminarians, ministers, musicians and lay people—all of whom are eager to break through the crust of conventional thought and practice. Fellows received a stipend, attended professional conferences, and shared what they learned, at conferences and through social media. Though we are not taking new applications at this time, we invite you to explore the ideas and resources below.    

Youth Ministry Awakenings

Roberta Altamari
It is widely recognized that our high school youth have unique developmental needs, but how can a congregation build a program where the youth get the kind of spiritual nurturance they so desperately need.  As a seasoned director of religious education and youth advocate, Roberta Altamari’s programmatic offerings help congregations awaken their understanding of effective youth ministry as they meet the developmental needs of youth.  

UU Tween Spirituality Toolkit

Tracy Beck
While creating a weeknight church event, Beck decided to create covenant groups for tweens. She sought to support their emerging faith identity with story and ritual, as well as a strong social group. She included a feedback process that centered tweens’ experiences and perspectives in her evaluation of the project. Beck adds to our understanding of this underserved demographic and offers resources to support their unique needs, for both parents and educators. Visit UU Tween Spirituality Toolkit.

Multigenerational Faith Development: Full Week Faith  

Karen Bellavance-Grace
Karen sparks our creative imagination by re-visioning traditional RE programs through the lens of Faith Formation. By harnessing tools that transcend RE classes, she provides an image of how to invite families into what she calls “Full Week Faith.”  Karen is the regional staff person for the UUA, and an experienced director of religious education.  

Kinesthetic Faith Formation

Matt Davis
How can we teach theological ideas to our children and youth?  How can we help them see the benefits our UU principles offer to their lives?  As a theater director and public school teacher, Matt creates and introduces "Divine Theater and Dance," a tool for using movement in the service of faith formation. The project includes a website that features templates for leading classes, teaching videos that model how to use the ideas in workshop and classrooms, and musical playlists to support all the above. Matt's website: divinetheateranddance.com  

Communities of Welcome: Supporting Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Children, Youth, and Families

Melissa James
The needs of trans/non-gender-conforming children (NGC) and their families are often seen as separate; this narrative limits our ability to support them. James developed online and in-person networks to connect families, and articulated gender-inclusivity as justice work; a powerful call for UUs. Want to learn more? GENDER-JUST FAITH: COMMUNITIES OF RESILIENCE AND WELCOME offers resources for kids, families, congregations, and communities on their own gender journeys.  

Multi-Faith Cross-Cultural Engagement

Kat Liu
Kat calls upon our tradition of theological diversity, her wisdom as a scientist, and insights as a Chinese-American Unitarian Universalist to the creation of a multicultural UU liturgical calendar.  Her calendar helps us creatively reframe how we think about sacred holidays in our traditions. Kat uses the changing seasons of the year and our ties to ancestors and children as educational/worship material.  Kat is a lay person, living and working in the San Francisco.

Mosaic Communities: Re-Imagining Religious Communities for Emerging Adults

Kevin Lowry
Kevin Lowry explores the tender years of young adult spiritual formation. As a college adviser, Kevin creates intentional communities that meet the needs of young people as they find their way in life.  The project deftly defines the landscape of these years, and offers a specific strategy, what he calls, “A Mosiac Community” as a landing pad for support, connection, and affirmation of their journey.  

Innovation in Technology

Phil Lund
As a minister and spiritual director, Phil has spent years developing insights about the use of digital media and web technology in service to faith formation.  During his fellowship, Phil piloted a web-based process for discerning matters of spiritual formation, continuing education, collegiality, and spiritual growth.  His research outlines the benefits of challenges of web-based spiritual formation.  

Creative Models of Congregation-based Pilgrimage

David Messner
Pilgrimage is an ancient spiritual practice; it retains transformative power today. In a time defined by alienation and dislocation, a shared journey opens hearts, while creating and deepening connections between travelers and to the wider world. Pilgrimage creates a “thickened context” that supports community-building, and offers new possibilities in collaborative faith development. Learn more about Messner’s pilgrimage ministry here.  

Contemplative Practice and Social Engagement

M. Jamil Scott
As an ordained Buddhist minister, Jamil introduces "Mutuality Movement” as a Unitarian Universalist meditation training for Millennial activists working for racial justice. Here, he uses his practice to help religious workers spiritually reconcile the murder and harassment of Black and brown people.  The project and the website of training resources can be found at mutualitymovement.org  

Living Words: Devotional Practice for Unitarian Universalists

Erica Shadowsong
Erica Shadowsong invites us to explore the benefits of daily devotionals.  By calling us back to the wisdom of ancient texts across cultural traditions, she charts a way to navigate through the noise of everyday life. As a religious educator, Erica shows us how to find both intellectual and spiritual anchors that steady us during the ebb and flow of life.  

Rituals for Grieving and Death

Taryn Strauss
As a religious educator and life-long UU, Rev. Taryn has longed for ways to incorporate the wisdom of Unitarian Universalism into the seasons of life. Here, she offers ways for UUs to honor the death of a beloved person in our lives, using the six UU sources as a thematic reference.  Taryn’s work helps us learn how to mourn our people, celebrate their lives, and work out our own theological questions at the same time.  Explore her curricular ideas at uumourningandhealing.wordpress.com