From the Associated Minister of RE – Rev. Dan Harper

  • From the Associate Minister for Religious Education — Rev. Dan Harper September 9, 2018

    Barb Greve has been with UUCPA since late 2017, first filling in for me while I was on sabbatical, then filling in as the Religious Education Assistant after the previous RE Assistant left to get married. Barb’s last regular work day with UUCPA was September 2. He needs to focus on his full-time job as a hospice chaplain, as well as focus on his major volunteer commitment as Co-Moderator of the Unitarian Universalist Association, the highest volunteer office in Unitarian Universalism.

    However, I don’t expect to say goodbye to Barb. He has helped us enormously as we move more and more of our administrative functions to cloud-based services, and I’m already talking with him about bringing him in on an occasional basis as a religious education consultant.

    You can expect a number of pleasant changes as we move to more cloud-based services. This CYRE newsletter, for instance, will become an attractive HTML newsletter in the next couple of months. You’ll begin to see other email contacts from Realm, our online congregational membership management tool. And over the course of the year, content from the CYRE Web site, uucpa-cyre.org, will be moved to the attractive new UUCPA Web site.

    If you have any ideas of how UUCPA can improve its online presence and electronic communication, please let me know!

  • From your Associate Minister of Religious Education August 26, 2018

    It’s going to be another fun year for children and youth programs at UUCPA. Here are some of the highlights:

    We’ll be offering the acclaimed OWL comprehensive sexuality education programs for the following age levels: gr. K-1 and gr. 10-12. Read the announcement about the gr. 10-12 unit here.  Watch the CYRE newsletter in the fall for news about the gr. 4-6 unit.

    We’ll be offering the popular Coming of Age program for teens in gr. 8-9 again this year. There’s an announcement about Coming of Age here.

    Middle schoolers will be able to choose between the Ecojustice class, which involves hands-on projects relating to environmental justice, and the Neighboring Faith Communities class, which involves 5 or so field trips to other faith communities. I recommend that young people take at least a year of each class.  I think Neighboring Faith Communities works better for 7th grade and up, so families might think about Ecojustice class for 6th graders, Neighboring Faith Communities for 7th graders, and a choice in the 8th grade year.

    And for elementary age children, the Curriculum Review Committee is working on finding fun supplements for our various classes. This year, we’ll see the addition of more fun board games that can be played in class, and help supplement the curriculum.

    However you participate, please be sure to register your child or children, using either a paper form which you can pick up on Sunday morning, or the online form here: goo.gl/forms/af1e7akeOWWNmUw52

    See you soon,
    Dan Harper

  • From your Associate Minister of Religious Education June 16, 2018

    June brings the start of Summer Sunday School, one of my favorite parts of our religious education programs for children.

    During the summer, grades K-8 all meet together for Sunday school. We do activities that look more like summer camp than Sunday school (the complete list of activities is at the end of this newsletter). Kids like the low-key activities, and we manage to slip in some gentle teaching as well. Kids also seem to like hanging out with kids of other ages.

    This year, Beth Nord is going to stop by periodically to do music with the Summer Sunday School. We’ve already started learning the round “Come, Come, Whoever You Are,” along with an ostinato part, and the children sound pretty good. Beth is hoping that the kids will be able to sing this song for the whole congregation during the Water Communion on August 12.

    We adults like Summer Sunday School, too. This year’s teachers include me, Edie Keating (chair of the Children and Youth Religious Education Committee), and Barb Greve (Religious Education Assistant). It’s a great way for us to get to know the children better.

    One more thing — don’t forget that beginning June 17, we go to one service, at 10:30 a.m. We’ll return to two services in August.

    Hope to see you this summer!

    See you soon,
    Dan Harper

  • From your Associate Minister of Religious Education April 8, 2018

    Our Judean Village program began on Sunday, March 25, and more than one parent told me that their children insisted on coming to UUCPA because they like Judean Village so much. I’m not sure that we adults are entirely sure what the attraction of Judean Village is, but I tried to explain it in the sermon I gave on March 25, which is now online here:
    https://www.danielharper.org/archive/?p=918

    I’m always interested in trying to figure out what kids like about UUCPA. Obviously, it differs from child to child. Equally obviously, children’s interests change as they get older. But I think there are some common strands.

    Children and teens like UUCPA best when it is more like summer camp than like school. Not that they necessarily dislike school. But they spend a lot of time in school, and school can be stressful. At its best, UUCPA is fun.

    Children and teens like UUCPA best when they can make connections across ages. Yes, they like hanging out with people their own age. But they also like spending time with adults who can serve as appropriate role models, and they like meeting kids who are older or younger than they are. At its best, UUCPA transcends age segregation.

    Children and teens like UUCPA best when it seems meaningful. While they might say that they prefer fun over meaning, over and over again I watch as children and teens find something at UUCPA that helps them make meaning out of their lives. At its best, UUCPA is meaningful to kids.

    Those are some of the things I have noticed that our children and teens like at UUCPA. But about your family? The Children and Youth Religious Education Committee and I are in the midst of planning for next school year. What does your family like best about UUCPA? Which programs do you like best? We’d love to hear from you. You can email me your thoughts at danharper.uucpa@gmail.com

    See you soon,
    Dan Harper

  • Meet Mr. Barb Greve, Sabbatical Religious Educator October 21, 2017

    Mr. Barb Greve will serve as the half-time Sabbatical Religious Educator (SRE) at UUCPA from November 1, 2017 to March 1, 2018. He will be supervising the children, youth, and adult religious education programs while Rev. Dan Harper, UUCPA’s Associate Minister of Religious Education, is on sabbatical.

    Barb is credentialed by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) as a Religious Educator/Masters Level, with 11 years of experience as a Director of Religious Education (DRE) at various Unitarian Universalist congregations. Most recently, Barb served for 3 years as the Developmental DRE at Mt. Diablo UU Church in Walnut Creek.

    Currently, Barb is serving as one of the Co-Moderators of the UUA, the highest volunteer position within Unitarian Universalism. Barb has also served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Starr King School for the Ministry, the Unitarian Universalist theological school in Berkeley.

    Barb is a former staff member in the UUA’s Office of Bi-sexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Concerns. Barb’s mother served as a religious educator in a Unitarian Universalist congregation, so like Dan he is a second generation religious educator.

    Since Barb will start work at UUCPA in November, the Children and Youth Religious Education Committee will supervise the children and youth religious education programs in October.

    Members of the Sabbatical Committee – Maricia Scott, Edie Keating, Emma Grant-Bier, and Wynne Furth – will be able to answer your questions about the sabbatical. The Sabbatical Committee will host a social event to greet Barb when he arrives at UUCPA in November.

    While Dan is on sabbatical, he will not be answering email or phone calls. In case of emergency, Maricia Scott, Rev. Amy Morgenstern, and Barb Greve will know how to reach him.