From the Associated Minister of RE – Rev. 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.
  • From your Associate Minister of Religious Education 4/1/2017 April 1, 2017

    We have had to cancel the ecology camps for gr. 2-5 and gr. 6-8, scheduled for mid-June. These camps have been run by Mike Abraham and me, and we thought we were on track to hold them this year. But then we had some key staff who were unable to return, and on top of that both Mike and I lost our fathers in the past year, leaving us less time and energy to devote to the camps (note that much of my work for the camps is done on a volunteer basis).

    Canceling the camps is unfortunate for two main reasons. First of all, some of our returning campers were very disappointed — it turns out that some of our campers felt this was the best camp they went to all last summer, and canceling the camps caused a certain amount of tears and even anger. Mike and I can only apologize, and say that we too are sad that we had to cancel these camps.

    The other reason canceling these camps was unfortunate is that they were financially successful. Even though the camps were small (about a dozen children or teens each week), even though we were able to give scholarships to anyone who needed one, these camps actually generated a surplus. This is important as we explore how we can come up with innovative funding to continue to generate innovative educational programming.

    Fortunately, we will still be able to offer Nature Camp June 12-16, 2017, for children completing Young Fives, TK, or gr. K-1 in 2017. Kris Geering is director of this half day camp, and she has wonderful plans in place for young campers.

    And Mike and I hope to bring back the gr. 2-5 and gr. 6-8 camps next summer (if the campers forgive us for canceling this year). If you’d like to help us make that happen, either by providing logistics support or by serving on staff, please let me know!

    See you soon,
    Dan Harper

  • CYRE Spring Project: Ecology Experiments March 19, 2017

    The CYRE Committee is introducing a new Spring Project for gr. K-5

    – Ecology Experiments! From March 26 through May 7, we’ll be offering fun ecology-centered activities for elementary aged kids. Projects may include ecology-oriented crafts, quilting, games, cooking, etc. There will be fun ecology-oriented skits and environmental songs to sing. Kids like coming to the Spring Project, whatever the theme, because they get to choose the fun activities they prefer, and they get to be with other kids of different ages.

    Want to help lead an activity in Ecology Experiments? It’s fun and easy. You prepare one project, and lead the same project each week for 4-5 weeks (depending on your availability). We have the following projects already prepared for you to use:

    – a variety of ecology crafts for kids

    – organic baking and/or cooking

    – making a terrarium

    – playing ecology board games (Wildcraft, Eco- Fluxx, Skunk Bingo, Dragonfly, etc.)

    – making mini-biospheres (but you’ll have to find a source for amphi- pods)

    Please contact Dan Harper <> if you’d like to help!

  • Children and Youth Religious Education (CYRE) March News — Rev. Dan Harper March 19, 2017

    Even though it’s only March, we’re already deep into planning for next school year. A few things to look out for in 2017-2018:

    • Due to high demand, we plan to offer at least two units of OWL sexuality education: the gr. 7-9 unit, and the gr. 4-6 unit.
    • We will be offering Coming of Age again, from Jan.–May, 2018.
    • We expect to offer the same grade levels in Sunday school again next year: preK, K-1, 2-3, 4-5, and middle school.

    That’s what we’re planning for next year. Then there’s our wish list, things we hope to do. Heading my wish list: being able to offer two levels of the Navigators scouting program, both the junior and senior levels — and that could happen if we can develop some strong adult leadership to assist Ed Vail, the current Navigators leader.

    What’s on YOUR wish list for our children and youth programs? What would YOU like to see happen at UUCPA?

    — See you soon, Dan Harper

  • Children and Youth Religious Education (CYRE) News – Rev. Dan Harper February 18, 2017


    We have over fifty children and teens enrolled in our Our Whole Lives (OWL) comprehensive sexuality education programs right now, at four different age levels: grades K–1, grades 4–6 (puberty), grades 7–9 (early adolescence), and grades 10–12 (adolescence). Close to half of those en- rolled are not part of UUCPA, testifying to the high reputation of our OWL curriculum. We offer all our OWL courses at no charge so that all families, regardless of income, can enroll their children. This makes OWL one of our more significant social justice programs.

    While OWL might be the most noticeable religious education program we offer, our other religious education programs are of equally high quali- ty. In the elementary grades, we provide basic religious literacy through an introduction to Western and non Western religious narratives. Navigators provides a traditional scouting experience without restricting access due to gender identity, sexual orientation, or belief in a deity (one child calls it “Everybody Scouts”). Our Neighboring Faith Communities course helps middle schoolers gain intercultural competency, while our Ecojustice class introduces the same age group to hands-on environmental justice. Our well respected Coming of Age course for grades 8–9 gives participants an opportunity to reflect deeply on self identity. And we have a diversity of opportunities for high school youth, including leadership opportunities, service projects, and a youth group.

    Nor do we rest on our successes. The Children and Youth Religious Education Committee has convened a curriculum subcommittee to review all our course offerings. We are constantly developing new curriculum ma- terials, some of which are beginning to be used by other congregations. We are constantly innovating and improving. We care about kids, and we care about education.

    And now a word from our sponsor: UUCPA is currently in the middle of its annual fundraising drive. You should receive your fundraising letter in the next week or so. And everyone at UUCPA — especially the kids who benefit from our excellent programs — would appreciate you making a generous pledge of financial support.

    —Rev. Dan Harper, Associate Minister of Religious Education


    Sunday school calendar (including OWL K–1 and 4–6)

    Sunday, February 19:

    • 9:30 am: Sunday school
    • (No OWL K–1 and 4–6)

    Sunday, February 26:

    • 9:30 am: Sunday school
    • 10:30 am: Fourth Sunday brunch
    • 11:00 am: OWL K–1 and 4–6

    Youth calendar (SHYG, Coming of Age, OWL 7–9)

    Sunday, February 19:

    • (No Coming of Age) (No OWL grades 7–9)

    6:30 pm: SHYG

    Sunday, February 26:

    • 11:00 am: Coming of Age
    • 5:00 pm: OWL grades 7–9
    • 6:30 pm: OWL parent discussion group
    • 6:30 pm: SHYG