From the Associated Minister of RE – Rev. Dan Harper

  • From your Associate Minister of Religious Education September 3, 2017

    This is my last newsletter column before I start my sabbatical on October 1, and the most important thing I have to tell you is this:– You should attend the “Pot of Gold” UU Religious Education Conference” on SAt., Sept. 30.

    The keynote speaker is going to be Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed, and Unitarian Universalist minister and scholar. If you heard Mark speak here at UUCPA a few years ago, you know he is a dynamic and thought-provoking speaker. And his topic is timely — his keynote address, titled “The Ignored, the Naive, and the Innocent,” will talk about the different ways racism and white supremacy impact all of our children, with special emphasis on what we can do in our UU religious education programs.

    Following his keynote address, Mark will lead an interactive workshop on the same topic. Then, after lunch, there will be more workshops, including a workshop given by Greg Boyd, a scholar, educator, and member of the UUA Board, who will be preaching at UUCPA the next day. (There will also be a workshop by our own Kris Geering!)

    Whether you’re a parent, a Sunday school teacher, a youth advisor, or just someone who cares about the young people in our congregation, this conference will be worth your time. Even if you just stay for Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed’s keynote address and workshop, it will be worth your time. If you volunteer in any way at UUCPA, the congregation will pay your registration fee (just let me know when you register).

    This is also my last chance to see you before I take my five month sabbatical — I’m chairing the conference, then going on sabbatical. So for selfish reasons, I hope you attend, so I can say hi! More information about the conference, and a link to online registration, are here:

    See you soon,
    Dan Harper

  • From your Associate Minister of Religious Education June 2, 2017

    Summer is one of the best time for families to come to UUCPA. Summer Sundays are relaxed and low-key. Summer Sunday school feels more like summer camp. It’s a great time to connect with old friends, and meet people you don’t know yet. Just remember that UUCPA has only one Sunday service, at 10:30, from June 18 through July 31.

    Starting August 6, we’ll go back to two services. Then the annual ingathering service, our popular Water Communion service, will take place on Aug. 13, the same week that many local schools start up.

    I’ll be on vacation during July, but I hope to see you at UUCPA in June and August!

    See you soon,
    Dan Harper

  • Associated Minister of RE’s Sabbatical Update June 2, 2017

    The UUCPA Board has approved a sabbatical for Dan Harper, our Assoc. Minister of Religious Education, from Oct. 1, 2017, through Feb. 28, 2018. Two committees have been chosen to make the sabbatical go smoothly.

    One committee has been charged with hiring a part-time staff person to fill in while Dan is on sabbatical (as Rev. Mary Ganz filled in for Rev. Amy Morgenstern, our senior minister, when she was on sabbatical last year). Members of the hiring committee are Sally Ahnger (UUCPA Board president), Heather Chen (member of the CYRE Committee), Audrey Erbes (Member of the UUCPA Board), Robert Neff (Sunday school teacher and youth advisor), and Tessa Swartz (youth representative). Amy Morgenstern, Dan Harper, and Hong Bui (Religious Education Assistant) will also be involved in the hiring process.

    The second committee, the Sabbatical Committee, is charged with communicating with the congregation about Dan’s sabbatical. They will write a brochure explaining the sabbatical, and they will be available to answer questions about the sabbatical through the coming year. The members of the Sabbatical Committee are Wynne Furth (member of the Adult RE Committee), Emma Grant-Bier (youth representative), Edie Keating (member of the CYRE Committee), and Maricia Scott (member of the Committee on Ministry).

  • From your Associate Minister of Religious Education May 10, 2017

    The Board of Trustees has authorized a sabbatical for me from October, 2017, through February, 2018. The Children and Youth Education (CYRE) Committee, the Adult Religious Education (ARE) Committee, and the Committee on Ministry were all consulted before this sabbatical was authorized. The months of October through February were specifically chosen so that there will be minimal disruption to the various programs I support.

    In about a month, the Board will appoint a Sabbatical Committee. The members of the Sabbatical Committee will be available to answer any questions you might have about the sabbatical, and one member of the committee will be a young person so that children and teens will also have someone who can answer any questions they might have.

    The Board expects to hire a part-time staff person to provide program support for the five months of the sabbatical. The job description for this staff person is still being worked out, but I expect that that staff person would be present on Sunday mornings and evenings to supervise programs and support volunteers. Hong Bui, the Religious Education Assistant, will continue with her same duties through the sabbatical.

    Amy Morgenstern, our senior minister, will supervise the part-time staff person, and support the program as needed while I’m on sabbatical. Of course Amy will continue to be available for pastoral care and counseling.

    I’ll have more information about the sabbatical for you next month.

    See you soon,
    Dan Harper

  • Why You Should Bring Kids to the Intergenerational Easter service April 1, 2017

    As a parent, you may want to know why you should bring your children to the annual Easter intergenerational service. Here are three reasons:

    1.  It’s a key part of our religious education program. This is our chance to tell children our interpretation of Easter and of Jesus, a rational interpretation that is sadly missing in the wider society.
    2. Kids like the Easter coloring pages, and older kids like Silent Sermon Bingo (Silent Sermon Bingo is a quiet game children can play during the sermon). These pleasurable activities help them learn that worship services can be enjoyable, another key part of their religious education.
    3. Younger children may not be able to sit through the entire service with their parents, but as usual our professional child care workers will be on duty.