From the Associated Minister of RE – Rev. Dan Harper

  • From your Associate Minister of Religious Education August 30, 2019

    Usually we don’t have Sunday school on Labor Day weekend, but since I’ll be at UUCPA this Sunday I’ll lead a session like our Summer Sunday School, with a fun activity for all ages. I’m planning to do jello painting (if you’ve never done it, it’s a lot of fun), and we’ll probably sing a song or two related to Labor Day.

    A few words about our CYRE staffers: Grecia Uribe returns from her maternity leave this Sunday — please greet her when you see her and tell her how glad we are to have her back.  And for my part, I am continuing my recovery from a pulmonary embolism a year ago; while my health is fine, I tire easily, which means I can’t work more than 40 hours a week — which in turn means that I may be slow replying to email, etc. (I don’t like talking about my health, but I wanted to let you know why I’m working more slowly than my usual breakneck pace.)

    See you soon,
    Dan Harper

  • From your Associate Minister of Religious Education – 2019-2020 Overview July 31, 2019

    With so many great things happening in our children and youth religious education programs this year, I’d like to give you a quick overview of what’s coming up.

    We’ll be offering the Our Whole Lives (OWL) comprehensive sexuality education curriculum for three age levels this year: gr. 4-6 and gr. 7-9 beginning in January 2020, and gr. 10-12 beginning in September. Parents must attend parent orientations before sending their children to OWL classes, so watch this newsletter for dates of parent orientations.

    Navigators, our bias-free scouting program (doesn’t matter if you believe in God or what gender you are), will be starting up again next month. Ed Vail and other parents run this fabulous fun program twice a month on Sundays at 11.

    As always, we keep refining our Sunday school programs. Several curriculums have been revised this year, most notably Neighboring Faith Communities for gr. 6-8, which includes more excellent video resources (including more on non-Western religions), and completely new field trips this year.

    Our popular Coming of Age will be offered again this year.

    M. Scott, who has been researching storybooks that reflect UU values on social justice and religion, will share some of her favorite books each second Sunday during Story Time.

    See you soon,
    Dan Harper

  • Summer Sunday school schedule June 29, 2019

    Summer Sunday school is more like summer camp than Sunday school, with fun activities that often emphasize being part of a cooperative group. All ages from gr. K-8 are invited to join in. Middle schoolers make take on leadership roles by helping the lead teacher. High school students are always welcome to participate as co-teachers with the lead teacher. Summer Sunday school is a great way for kids to meet other kids of all ages, and it helps us towards one of our four major educational goals of building community.

    Here are the planned activities that we’ll do in summer Sunday school:

    June 30: Edie Keating will lead charades and other fun games.

    July 7: Edie Keating will take everyone on a field trip to Mitchell Park (permission forms required, as we will be going off campus).

    July 14: Kids help Edie Keating and other adults make Second Sunday Lunch.

    July 21: Edie Keating, assisted by Dan Harper, will show how to decorate jars to make an attractive container.

    July 28: Paul Kostka, assisted by Dan Harper, will teach kids how to make using paper and masking tape. Then we will launch the rockets using compressed air at Mitchell Park (parents join kids at Mitchell Park for the all church picnic; permission forms required, as we will be going off campus).

    August 4: To be determined.

  • From the Associate Minister of Religious Education – Summer @ UUCPA May 30, 2019

    Local schools let out in late May and early June, and that means our Sunday morning programs shift to our summer schedule.

    During the summer, all ages from gr. K-8 meet together for fun, summer camp type activities. Preschoolers are welcome to attend if they bring a parent along (or preschoolers may choose unstructured play with child care on the playground). Most of the summer Sunday school sessions will be led by Edie Keating and me. Edie and I are still planning out the summer’s activities, but we’re pretty certain that activities will include cooking, trips to Mitchell Park, Jello painting, and more.

    Note that UUCPA has only one service at 10:30 a.m. for the seven weeks from mid-June through the end of July. This year, we’ll go to one service on Sunday, June 16, and we’ll return to two services on Sunday, August 4. During this time, Sunday school takes place at 10:30 a.m.

    See you soon,
    Rev. Dan Harper

  • From the Associate Minister of Religious Education April 30, 2019

    People sometimes forget that a key component of our religious education for children is periodic attendance at intergenerational services. These services give kids an opportunity to learn what happens in a Unitarian Universalist service. At least some part of each intergenerational service is designed to engage children at some level.

    The Flower Communion on May 12 is a service that many children find enjoyable. Everyone brings a flower to the service, and then during the service everyone gets a chance to go to the front of the Main Hall and choose a different flower to take home with them. This uniquely Unitarian Universalist service was developed at the Unitarian church in Prague, Czech Republic, in the 1930s. As always, children who have a hard time sitting still for the whole service can leave at any time to go to child care, and as always there will be coloring pages available to use during the service.

    On May 19, the 8th and 9th graders in the Coming of Age program will present their “credos,” or statements of religious identity. Many parents feel this is an important service for older children and middle schoolers to see — these parents want children to realize that when they get older, they will be the ones leading the Coming of Age service. This is not as child-friendly a service as the Flower Communion, but some young children are interested enough in the big kids to sit through the whole service. (Many parents find this to be one of the most inspiring services of the entire year, and if their children don’t happen to want to stay through the service, there’s always child care on the playground!)

    I hope your family manages to make it to one or both of these services. Intergenerational services can be a bit more work for parents, but they are a real educational opportunity — an opportunity for children to find out what it means to be part of a bigger community than their Sunday school class.

    See you soon,
    Rev. Dan Harper