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About Dan Harper

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Professionally, I'm First Parish in Cohasset, Massachusetts. We're an old congregation — founded in 1721, meetinghouse built in 1747 — facing today's big challenges in creative ways.

Over the course of my career, my professional interests have included change management in congregations, helping congregations heal from previous clergy misconduct, congregational administration, religious education, size transitions in congregations. Theologically, I'm most interested in ecological spirituality, and how colonization and religion have become intertwined in the West. For my professional qualifications and experience, please see my CV. I'm always available to officiate at rites of passage for members and friends of First Parish in Cohasset, and may have limited availability for other religious liberals; please see the Rites of passage page for more information. I'm a white cisgender male using he-him pronouns; culturally, I'm a New Englander.

I'm passionate about liberal religion, because I feel it offers deep spiritual resources for individuals, as well as a vision for "an earth made fair and all her people one." I'm passionate about liberal religious communities — our congregations — because they're great places to raise kids, because they offer respite from a troubled world and a vision of hope for the future, and because they allow us to combine our individual efforts for social justice into powerful collective action.

Five people with video equipment in an otherwise empty worship space. From let to right, a minister in a preaching robe at a pulpit; a person sitting in front of a tripod facing the minister; a person standing with their back to the camera; a tall person (Dan) standing at a tripod holding a videocamera; a person with headphones sitting at a table

With the livestreaming crew of the UU Church of Palo Alto on March 15, 2020, the first Sunday of lockdown. I'm operating the camera, second from right; second from left, our back-up videographer used a cell phone to stream direct to Zoom. This photo was taken by the person running the audio board. During lockdown, we kept improving our video services. One of the bright spots of the pandemic was that I got to work with a team of talented lay people as we learned how to produce excellent online worship services.


I live with my partner of many years, Carol Steinfeld, who is a writer specializing in ecological pollution prevention issues, particularly water and wastewater. Carol and I live in southeastern Massachusetts.

Before I became a minister, I worked as warehouse help, sculptor's apprentice, lumber salesperson, carpenter, clerk in a health food store, and director of religious education.

My non-professional interests include hiking and birding. I'm a certified California Naturalist, and lead workshops in ecological spirituality. I do quite a bit of recreational reading and writing. I'm a Sacred Harp singer with a passion for eighteenth century American choral music.

Carol standing on a trail that leads through California coastal scrub, standing next to a tall flower with several large umbel-shaped blossoms

Carol puts her umbrella up on a recent walk at Allens Pond Audubon Sanctuary.