From the Associated Minister of RE – Rev. 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

  • 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 – M. 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, M. Scott, Rev. Amy Morgenstern, and Barb Greve will know how to reach him.

  • 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 M. Scott (member of the Committee on Ministry).