Empower, Connect, and Inspire. These are the words that sum up the philosophy of religious education for Tim Atkins, the new Director of Lifespan Religious Education recently selected by Cedar Lane’s DLRE Search Committee and unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees.
For the last four years, Tim has served as the full-time Director of Religious Education at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship in northern N.J. Morristown is a mid-size congregation with 350 members, and 100 children and youth.
During his time at Morristown, Tim has racked up a long list of accomplishments, many of which caught the Search Committee’s attention as desired outcomes for Cedar Lane. Among his highlights at Morristown, Tim:
- doubled RE attendance;
- conducted a Visioning process for children’s and youth programming;
- led monthly children’s chapels - and collaborated on multigenerational worship and Time for All Ages services;
- selected, curated, and created RE curricula -- including Tapestry of Faith;
- launched and coordinated a Young Adult group and an Emerging Adult group;
- started a new structure for connecting RE with social justice;
- created targeted weekly emails for parents and teachers; and
- provided pastoral support for children, youth and families.
- Tim has served on the UUA Board of Trustees since 2015, and he was elected Financial Secretary at GA last month.
In conversations with Tim, as well as discussions with his references, the Search Committee found Tim to be an innovative leader with broad vision, who pulls ideas from both within and outside of the UU community. One of his references described him as “one of the best religious educators in the country.” Another reference said Tim “has magic in dealing with children.”
Tim’s introduction to Unitarian Universalism came when he was a young adult, at the UU Congregation of Atlanta, which has more than 700 members. He was a member there for eight years, during which time he served as volunteer Social Media Coordinator, Stewardship Committee Member, a middle and high school RE teacher, and co-leader of the 20/30s Group.
The Search Committee was comprised of Linda Gianessi, Sebastian Moffett, Melissa Reichley, Judy Rodgers, Gwen Warman, and Jack Welch.
Tim will begin serving Cedar Lane in early September. Stay tuned for details on events to welcome him to our community.
In the meantime, you can learn more and read a recent sermon he gave about the Joys of Imperfection at http://www.timatkins.net/homilies/.