Religious education association

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The Religious Education Association was founded in 1902 by the Council of Seventy, a core group of biblical scholars and teachers in the American Institute of Sacred Literature. The goal of the R.E.A. was to promote religious and moral education. The R.E.A. has produced many publications and has sponsored conventions and round tables on religion and higher education, as well as a major program of research on religious development. The R.E.A. was responsible for forming the National Council on Religion and Public Education. Although predominantly Protestant in the beginning, the R.E.A. now includes Catholic, Jewish and other educators from the U.S. and Canada in four main categories: clergy, professors and researchers, directors and coordinators of religious education, and teachers in elementary and secondary schools.

From the description of Archives of the Religious Education Association, 1902-1988. (Yale University). WorldCat record id: 122542640

From the description of Religious Education Association records, 1902-1988 (inclusive). (Yale University). WorldCat record id: 702200552

The Religious Education Association was founded in 1902 by the Council of Seventy, a core group of biblical scholars and teachers in the American Institute of Sacred Literature. The goal of the R.E.A. was to promote religious and moral education. The R.E.A. has produced many publications and has sponsored conventions and round tables on religion and higher education, as well as a major program of research on religious development. The R.E.A. was responsible for forming the National Council on Religion and Public Education. Although predominantly Protestant in the beginning, the R.E.A. now includes Catholic, Jewish and other educators from the U.S. and Canada in four main categories: clergy, professors and researchers, directors and coordinators of religious education, and teachers in elementary and secondary schools. In 1982, the R.E.A. merged with the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education.

From the description of Religious Education Association records, Addendum A, 1982-2003 (inclusive). (Yale University). WorldCat record id: 702184288

The call to the founding convention of the Religious Education Association was issued in 1902 by the Council of Seventy, a core group of Biblical scholars and teachers in the American Institute of Sacred Literature. The leader of the group was William Rainey Harper, the first president of the University of Chicago, who was an outstanding Hebrew scholar and editor of the journal, Biblical World . The Convention was held in Chicago on February 10-12, 1903, and among the speakers were George Albert Coe and John Dewey. Frank K. Sanders, Dean of Yale Divinity School, was elected the first President of the Association, and Dr. Harper became chairman of the Executive Board. The R.E.A. was incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois for the purpose, "to promote religious and moral education."

Other early conventions were held in Philadelphia (1904), Boston (1905), Rochester, NY (1907), and Washington, D.C. (1908), and bound proceedings were published and widely distributed. The famous three-fold purpose was adopted at the 1905 Convention in Boston: "to inspire the educational forces of our country with the religious ideal; to inspire the religious forces of our country with the educational ideal; and to keep before the public mind the ideal of Religious Education, and the sense of its need and value."

From 1903 to 1906, five Official Bulletins were published, but they were replaced by the journal, Religious Education, which began in April 1906 under the leadership of the organization's first permanent General Secretary, Henry F. Cope. During the first three decades of its life, the Association influenced the religious education movement in many ways, but upon the death of Dr. Cope in 1923, there were those who felt that the R.E.A. had accomplished its purpose and should go out of existence. The Institute of Social and Religious Research recommended its continuation as a "professional organization of high value, a forum of free discussion, a meeting place for education of all faiths, a common ground for character education, and an opportunity for pioneer inquiry and experimentation."

Between 1926 and 1934, the Association prospered with increased membership and grants from the Rockefeller and Carnegie funds. The journal became a monthly, a series of monographs was published, annual research conferences were held, and the Association co-sponsored the Character Education Inquiry project. On the initiative of Joseph Artman, General Secretary, a new bi-monthly magazine, Character was launched in 1934. Because the economic depression made it impossible to maintain two publications, no issues of the journal Religious Education were published between June 1934 and July 1935. With the resignation of Dr. Artman in 1935, all rights to the magazine were transferred to him and the journal was resumed under the editorship of Laird Hites and, later, Leonard Stidley.

The Association carried on with volunteer leadership until 1950, when a Mid-Century Expansion Fund raised the budget to call Harrison Elliott as the full-time executive. His sudden death a year later and the death that same year of Dr. Coe, who had been honorary President since 1938, meant the passing of two "giants" of the movement. A new era began with the election of Herman Wornom as General Secretary in 1952. The office was moved from Chicago to New York City; foundation and individual gifts provided a stronger financial base; and the 50th anniversary was celebrated at a convention in 1953 in Pittsburgh. Randolph Crump Miller began a 20-year tenure as editor of the journal. During the 1950s, there was a series of round tables and publications on religion and higher education, and the beginning of a series of well-attended conventions in Chicago. A long-range, five-stage program of research on religious development was funded by the Lilly Endowment. Merton Strommen was called as research director, the Lilly Research Training Fellowships were established, a 12-day workshop was held at Cornell, and the project was completed with the publication in 1971 of the book, Research on Religious Development . Chapters were developed in many cities under the leadership of Dr. Wornom and Wilson Cheek, Associate General Secretary from 1965 to 1967.

Under a new General Secretary, Boardman Kathan, the issue of religion and public education came to the fore. With grants from the Stone and Dodge Foundations, the R.E.A. took the leadership in forming the National Council on Religion and Public Education. A special issue of the journal, Religion and Public School Curriculum was edited by Richard Upsher Smith, who served as N.C.R.P.E. director. Beginning in 1979, a three-phase project on Faith Development in the Adult Life Cycle was directed by Kenneth Stokes. In 1978, the Association celebrated its 75th anniversary in Chicago and commissioned a book, A History of the Religious Education Association, by Stephen Schmidt, and an anthology of journal articles, Who Are We: The Quest for a Religious Education, edited by John Westerhoff, who had succeeded Dr. Miller as editor of the journal. Biennial conventions were held in cities of the U.S. and Canada in cooperation with the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education.

Although predominantly Protestant in the beginning, the R.E.A. now includes Catholic, Jewish and other educators from the U.S. and Canada in four main categories: clergy, professors and researchers, directors and coordinators of religious education, and teachers in elementary and secondary schools.

From the guide to the Archives of the Religious Education Association, 1902-1982, (Yale University Divinity School Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn George Albert Coe Papers, 1883-1952 Yake University Divinity School Library
referencedIn Archives of the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education, 1963-1998 Yake University Divinity School Library
referencedIn American Unitarian Association Presidential Papers, 1920-1927. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
creatorOf Religious Education Association. Religious Education Association records, Addendum A, 1982-2003 (inclusive). Yake University Divinity School Library
referencedIn Davison Fund, inc. Archives, 1930-1942. Rockefeller Archive Center, Rockefeller University, Pocantico Hills
referencedIn Papers, 1862-1933. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
referencedIn Glueck, Sheldon, 1896-1990. Papers, 1916-1972 Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
creatorOf Religious Education Association. Archives of the Religious Education Association, 1902-1988. Yake University Divinity School Library
referencedIn Maphis, Charles G. (Charles Gilmore), 1865-1938. Papers of Charles G. Maphis, Professor of Education and Dean of the Summer Quarter of the University of Virginia [manuscript] 1907-1931. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Archives of the Religious Education Association, 1902-1982 Yake University Divinity School Library
referencedIn Papers, 1880-1990. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
creatorOf Religious Education Association. Religious Education Association records, 1902-1988 (inclusive). Yake University Divinity School Library
referencedIn Coe, George Albert, 1862-1951. George Albert Coe papers, 1893-1952 (inclusive). Yake University Divinity School Library
referencedIn Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education. Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education records, 1963-1998 (inclusive). Yake University Divinity School Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Institute of Sacred Literature. corporateBody
associatedWith Artman, Joseph Manson, 1879- person
associatedWith Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education. corporateBody
associatedWith Coe, George Albert, 1862-1951. person
associatedWith Cope, Henry Frederick, 1870-1923. person
associatedWith Davison Fund, inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Dewey, John, 1859-1952. person
associatedWith Eliot, Samuel A. (Samuel Atkins), 1862-1950 person
associatedWith Elliott, Harrison Sacket, 1882-1951. person
correspondedWith Fahs, Sophia Blanche Lyon, 1876- person
associatedWith Glueck, Sheldon, 1896- person
associatedWith Harper, William Rainey, 1856-1906. person
associatedWith Kathan, Boardman W. person
associatedWith Maphis, Charles G. (Charles Gilmore), 1865-1938. person
associatedWith Miller, Randolph Crump, 1910- person
associatedWith Moore, Edward Caldwell, 1857-1943 person
associatedWith National Council on Religion and Public Education (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Sanders, Frank Knight, 1861-1933. person
associatedWith Smith, Richard Upsher. person
associatedWith Smith, Richard Upsher. person
associatedWith Stokes, Kenneth. person
associatedWith Strommen, Merton P. person
associatedWith Strommen, Merton P. person
associatedWith Wornom, Herman E. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Universities and colleges--Religion
Religious education
Occupation
Educators
Activity
Educators

Corporate Body

Active 1902

Active 1988

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