Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education
Minutes, 1998 Annual Business Meeting
November 24, 1998
Orlando, Florida

Approximately 75 were in attendance

Thomas Groome brought the meeting to order and ushered in a time for quiet and centering.

Adoption of Agenda

    A motion to adopt the agenda was made, seconded and approved.

Adoption of Minutes

    Membership was reminded that the business meeting minutes have been available on the APRRE website and that they had been reviewed by the Executive Committee and approved there. The floor was opened for corrections. Motion to adopt the minutes was made, seconded, and approved.

Memorials and Retirements

    Groome commented that this is a time to recognize the shoulders on whom we stand and those who have gone ahead of use. He asked all retired members to stand and receive applause. Particular recognition was given to Iris Cully and Allen Moore who have been a part of APRRE from the beginning. Gratitude was expressed for their service and guidance. The following are retirements that were recognized.

    Bob Conrad (presented by Jack Seymour, written by Bob O’Gorman) Conrad was one of first to welcome O’Gorman. Conrad most recently served as professor and Director of the D.Min. program at Lutheran School of Theology. He was the first editor of the APRRE newsletter. He also served at Concordia. Conrad was a pastor and then went to Princeton, studying with D. Campbell Wyckoff. The next phase of religious education for Conrad is his grandchildren.

    Helen Goggin (Leona English) Served at Knox College, Toronto, as professor of Christian education. She has served as a congregational pastor and Christian educator. Inspiring in terms of professionalism and support. She is very unassuming and helpful in terms of process philosophy and theology. She is a fine example for all.

    Donald Joy (James Michael Lee) Retired last January. He was the first evangelical Protestant to join APRRE and the first evangelical to be President. He focused on developmental psychology. Went to non-religious doctoral program, studying with Ted Ward. He was a Free Methodist pastor and worked on curriculum development. Joy was professor of Christian education at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is author of several books. He is an active camper and backpacker. He is continues to be a dynamic and excellent lecturer. He remains active and productive at age 70.

    Stuart McLean (Elizabeth Box Price) McLean was a chaplain at Stanford before going to Phillips for graduate work. He became a presbyter representative on faculty at Phillips Theological Seminary. He was always willing to raise critical questions and questions about ethics. His areas were Christian education and theological ethics. He incorporated special ways of knowing, globalization—across curriculum and through immersion trips, and ministers' weeks. He played a part in ways the school could be involved in the crisis of rural ministry in Oklahoma. He held an excitement for developmental theories, using a matrix metaphor for developmental work. He retired after 35 years at Phillips.

    Cy Rowell (Alan Smith) Rowell was at one time president of the Christian Church (Disciples) educators. Successors include Patrice Rosner. When he came to his last meeting as president he brought gifts from Texas to recognize the succession. These were "cow pies" because as he explained to the next president, "you have just stepped in it." He has decided in his retirement that it is time to become a student again. He is involved in art, painting and loves working with clay. Rowell has always been committed to the exercise of religious education "out there," not just in the academic classroom. He constantly worked on how to create educational space and on justice issues. Rowell has always been committed to the arts. His leadership in one of the few Disciples seminaries will be missed.

    Nelle Slater (Elizabeth Box Price) Price thinks of Slater in terms of her mentoring and leadership as master teacher. Slater is a strong administrator and provides a voice as female presence in our midst. She planned the Indianapolis REA conference on the adult learner. Slater has been in several places. She attended Whittier and then Boston University (M.A. and Ph.D.). She has served as a local church youth director, an academic dean in women’s college, a professor as Boston University, and a summer instructor at the Methodist seminary in Russia. Since 1980 she has been a professor of Christian education at Christian Theological Seminary. She also serves as a trustee for Iliff School of Theology in Denver and has been a board member of UMAPCE, REA, and APRRE.

    Thanks were given to people sharing comments. The floor was opened for other retirements that were overlooked. There were none.

AAR/SBL and APRRE relationship

The following is the report read by Sara Lee.

"Three years ago APRRE instituted a three year experiment of meeting simultaneously with AAR/SBL. That experimental period is now concluded and the Executive Board of APRRE offers the following motion for your consideration. In light of the following feedback from and observations by members of APRRE:

  1. There are unresolvable and painful conflicts for those attending who need to be at both conferences;
  2. Sessions at APRRE have in many cases experienced low attendance due to the pull of simultaneous activity at AAR/SBL;
  3. The above two conditions have led to an inability by participants to be fully present, in both body and spirit, at either conference;
  4. APRRE’s dependence on AAR/SBL’s choice of site and hotel arrangements have led to increased costs, difficulties in hotel arrangements and limitations on sites and dates; and
  5. Some of APRRE’s members have been deterred from coming due to the link with AAR/SBL.

The Executive Committee of APRRE moves that the APRRE conference be once again separate from AAR/SBL with the following provisos:

  1. The generation of a greatly increased travel fund to make it possible for people to attend both conferences or just APRRE;
  2. The scheduling of conferences to take advantage of best airfares and most reasonable hotel rates;
  3. The scheduling of APRRE at a considerable time distance from AAR/SBL and during that time of the week that minimizes the number of days away from campus; and
  4. The planning of conferences for three to four years in advance to make numbers 2 and 3 operational."

The floor was opened for discussion and comment on the report and motion. Suggestions included holding the meeting in a quieter rural place (not in a hotel but in a retreat-like center), and divorcing the proceedings from the meeting. One person commented that she really enjoyed being able to get to AAR and the book exhibit—the motion would be forcing some to choose between them. Lee responded that is the reason for the provisos. Another person responded that she is forced to choose right now in terms of not being able to be in two places at once. Slater observed that denominational fellowships have suffered in the AAR conflict and she is in support of the motion. A vote was taken (show of hands) and the motion passed with one vote in opposition.

Next Year’s Meeting (location, date and theme)

Sara Lee reiterated that next year is a transitional year in terms of schedule and choices of location. There is a commitment to studying alternative sites and times of year for meetings in the future. Not meeting in conjunction with AAR/SBL will allow APRRE to set conference dates from three to five years in advance. In 1999 the location will be Toronto—advantageous in regards to u.s. exchange rates. It will run from Friday to Sunday October 15-17, 1999. Melchert reported that the exchange rate has been a strain for Canadian members' attendance. He has leads to good accommodations in the downtown area and airfare is good. James Michael Lee reported that NAPCE always meets the same time--in the future consider when they meet. Consideration will also be given to avoiding Jewish high holidays and keeping some distance from AAR/SBL meeting. Not enough is known about potential conflicts right now. Groome informally polled membership about spring, maybe mid-March. Emler observed that regional meetings of AAR/SBL are in spring. Many catholic meetings are in the spring. February raises the issue of snow and travel problems. Lee suggested sending out a questionnaire to gather the data on meetings and dates. Alexander recommended listing all the meetings that might conflict and how many go to each. Lee suggested that people contact Melchert so he can develop a master calendar of events--we will need to create that master calendar. A vote was taken to accept the proposal to meet in Toronto next year. The proposal passed unanimously.

The following is the report that Sara Lee read regarding next year’s theme:

"For some time I have been exploring and defining the issue of Educating for Religious Particularism and Pluralism. To a great degree this question appears to have great merit in its own right and to be a natural next step in this year’s program. Among the questions we might consider are:

  1. What is the relationship between particularism and pluralism? What does pluralism mean? Is it descriptive? Is it an ideology in its own right? Is one dependent on the other?
  2. What are the theological groundings in particular faith traditions for an ideology of pluralism? What are the barriers? How do we remain grounded in a particular faith tradition, grow its theology, and yet affirm pluralism.
  3. How do we differentiate between universalism, relativism, and pluralism.
  4. What is the role of theological, psychological and sociological factors in interpreting the other traditions and the education for grounded particularity?
  5. How can we educate for commitment and openness simultaneously?

I would hope to integrate some of the voices of our project into the discourse. I would seek to make the plenary sessions multi-modal, emphasizing conversation and interaction. I believe that there is room for many questions within this general framework that provide opportunities for papers, colloquia, etc."

Travel Scholarship Fund

    A summary of the Executive Committee's subgroup report was given. There is a desire that no one should be forced to miss the APRRE meeting for financial reasons raised by meeting separately from AAR/SBL--we should help make this part of our responsibility. To that end the organization is in a financially secure enough position to offer stronger travel assistance. The Executive Committee proposed to make $2,500 per year for next three years and challenged the membership to match the travel funds awarded and increase the fund’s principle--$5,000 per year. A letter to all the members will be sent asking persons to give in light of a worthy cause and in generosity. This is something that has been happening but it needs to be done more seriously—the opportunity to contribute has always been just an option on the registration form. All said Aye.

Membership Dues

    Groome reported that dues have not increased in ten years. Groome asked what else has not increased? The response from the floor was "salaries!" Dues have been $45 for regular membership and $16 for student membership. Motion was made to increase dues to $55 and $25 respectively. Discussion. Passed without objection. Melchert commented that the additional funds will help with audio-visual requests at meetings. Funds have not been sufficient in the past to respond to these requests.

Evaluation of Executive Secretary and Proposal

    Mary Elizabeth Moore gave a report on the evaluation of Melchert as Executive Secretary. She explained that the Executive Secretary’s position has a three-year term but at the end of Melchert's first term an evaluation process was not in place. The Executive Committee extended Melchert's term for one year to develop the process and conduct the evaluation. Charles Foster and Fayette Veverka conducted the evaluation, which was glowing. The strengths about Melchert's work included comments such as: conscientious and effective worker; wise leader and teacher; significant continuity and collegial partner; grace is extended. The evaluations brought up some issues related to process executive committee process rather than Melchert's performance per se. Measures to address these have been adopted by Executive Committee. Moore moved to extend Melchert's term for another three years, ending 2001/2002, and for the Executive Committee to study the transitional process to extend into the next term of the Executive Secretary. A question was raised from the floor if this was a limitation or term limit? The response was no. The transitional plan was for the event that Melchert might not choose to do a third term. This would provide for an overlap period. The motion passed unanimously and with strong applause of appreciation for Melchert's work.

Audit and Annual Budget

    The report of the financial auditor covering the past three fiscal years was distributed. The audit indicates that the financial records are in good order.

    In presenting the annual budget, Melchert explained that the cash balance in the annual financial report includes a grant from Lilly that will be spent after the meeting, which means that there is not really $5,000 in available reserves. In the 97-98 budget no reserves were used because of the Lilly grant, however $1,255 will be spent from reserves after the meeting. This means the budget is in the red a little but not as much as predicted at last year's meeting. The 1999 travel grant may be very much higher to help implement the AAR separation. Budget was adopted by the membership without opposition.

Publications Report (Proceedings, Website, Journal)

    Melchert introduced the subcommittee that was created to review issues related to the proceedings and that has picked-up some tracking of the Religious Education journal. Are we going on with the proceedings or should we drop it? Patrice Rosner, the chair of the subcommittee, shared some issues. Questions that the committee is considering include What is the function of the proceedings?--Access to all the papers? Some thought that the papers would be peer reviewed but they are not which raises several issues. Does the processing help or hurt peer review? One concern is that the proceedings are received too late and thus people are not reading them prior to meeting. The lack of prior exposure to the papers tends to defeat good pedagogy in the sessions. The Religious Education journal is booked for the next two years so the proceeding might evolve as a publication option, which might be good. Proceedings could be juried. One suggestion was to post the papers on the web page. Another person shared that another journal for publishing papers is Teaching Theology and Religion and it is in need of submissions. A question was raised as to whether the proceeding really is a publishing channel? The response was no unless changes were made. Others have said they are not in favor of such a move. Groome held a straw vote on keeping the proceedings. The results were in clear support of continuing with the proceedings and working out the kinks.

Archives Report

    A report was given about the APRRE archives now available at Yale. Those that helped with the project were recognized. A substantial amount of material is available. Materials include presidential addresses, Ph.D. doctoral essays, a history of Union Theological Seminary, Paul Vieth history, membership data, and the last proceedings. It does not include the Religious Education journal. The APRRE archive compliments the rea archive. The organizational scheme, materials and final reports were shared. A copy of the register of materials was given to Melchert. A recommendation was made to put the key register on the Internet and to include an article on the archive in the newsletter.

Other Reports

    Carmel Tinnes submitted the following report from the student caucus:

    "Thanks for the implemented changes through the past four years. Doctoral students feel included in the APRRE events. One of the appreciated additions had been the doctoral student forum. When the caucus met, we were unable to have a report on the attendance of these events because some had not yet been held. Therefore we would like to recommend that the Executive Committee contact those doctoral students who presented and assess the effectiveness of the forums this year. The Women’s Luncheon was identified as a particularly empowering event.

    "This year students regretted that the APRRE orientation session for first time attenders was not held. Those who have attended in past years commented on the helpfulness of this orientation. (Tom Groome’s orientation in New Orleans was mentioned as having been especially helpful.) Could this session please be re-instated?

    "Doctoral students have requested an earlier date for the call for papers, so that students who will be out of the country over the summer can prepare a paper for submission.

    "Doctoral students appreciate mentoring. In New Orleans, Jack Seymour led an informative and helpful session on the placement process. The doctoral student caucus is planning a similar event for next year."


    Mary Elizabeth Moore thanked Davies, Rosner, and O’Gorman for being on the nominations committee. She also recognized those leaving the Executive Committee: Sara Lee, William Rogers, and Anne Streaty Wimberly. Applause of appreciation given.

    The following were the nominations made by the committee:

    Vice President—Jack Seymour

    Executive Committee—Lynn Westfield, Tom Walters, and Russell Moy

    Other nominations from the floor--None. No opposition, slate adopted.

    Moore shared that Tom Groome did a magnificent job this year. He included so many voices, energy, and insights. Groome recognized Moore’s last official act as a past president [nominations] and thanked her for her wonderful work in program leadership and overall leadership.

Other Business

    None was raised.


The meeting was adjourned.


Respectfully Submitted,

Randy G. Litchfield