From the Associated Minister of RE – Rev. Dan Harper

  • From the Associate Minister for Religious Education October 10, 2018

    UUCPA now has a new Religious Education Assistant. When you come in on Sunday, please introduce yourself to Grecia Uribe Sanchez. Grecia comes to us with a background both in administration, and in day care — a perfect combination for the RE Assistant job! Grecia’s office is Room C, and you will also find her all around the campus on Sunday morning, as she supports teachers, and helps parents and kids.

    Please also welcome the many new families who have become a part of UUCPA this fall. To help us all get to know one another better, the Children and Youth Religious Education Committee will be setting up a place for parents to chat during social hour after the early worship service — keep an eye out for it!

    One last comment about welcoming — I’ve had a number of people remark to me that it feels like there are lots of kids at the first service. I agree, and I’m pleased to see so many kids. AND I’d like to see double the number of children. Why? Because if we had twice as many kids, each child would have a much better chance of finding a buddy or two in their grade. Our program could easily accommodate twice as many kids, with the same number of volunteers and the same level of staffing. So when we see parents and kids that you don’t recognize, let’s all welcome each other so we can grow our family community at UUCPA!

    See you soon,
    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,, 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:

    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:

    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

    See you soon,
    Dan Harper