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Curriulum vitae: Rev. Dan Harper

Email address: danrharper AT aol DOT com

Ordained by First Church (Unitarian), Athol, Massachusetts, June, 2003.
In ministerial fellowship in the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Work Experience

As a religious professional:

Associate Minister of Religious Education, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, California, 2009-present

Teaching ministry in this mid-sized congregation (300 members).

Teaching ministry: Oversee religious education for all ages. Help integrate families with children and teens more fully into the life of the congregation. Develop new programs, e.g., took youth group on a service trip to New Orleans in 2010.

General ministry: Carry out ordinary duties of ministry, especially welcoming, community building, and administration. Provide a systems-level perspective on the pastoral- to program-size transition.

Minister, First Unitarian Church in New Bedford, Massachusetts, 2005-present

Sole minister for this small congregation (75 members).

General ministry: Carried out ordinary duties of ministry. Established worship associates to co-lead worship, and worked with worship committee to create excellent Sunday morning worship. Developed lay-led summer worship services; attendance rose sharply.

Growth: Increased attendance at Sunday worship services. Increased annual pledges, increased other revenue. With lay leaders, actively promoted church (e.g., increased traffic at church Web site six-fold, installed new outdoor signage). Number of visitors tripled in three years.

Administration: With office staff, increased efficiency to increase office productivity. Worked with lay leaders on building maintenance, most notably addressing $170,000 of deferred maintenance addressed in 2007. Change management.

Interim Minister of Religious Education, Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, 2004-2005

Interim associate minister for this congregation in Geneva, Illinois (280 members).

Carried out the ordinary duties of ministry. Helped the congregation in understanding and healing from its past; worked to strengthen the infrastructure of the congregation; helped continue the transition from a small to a mid-sized congregation. With church leadership, worked on stewardship (e.g., talking openly about money). Change management.

Worked with senior minister and lay leaders to integrate children, youth, and their families more fully into the life of the congregation. Supported adult learning programs. Helped lay leaders discern the kind of teaching ministry they want for this congregation.

Assistant Minister for Religious Education, Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 2003-2004

Teaching ministry in this large (550 members) congregation in Kensington, California.

Participated in leading worship with other ministers, occasional preaching. Provided pastoral care to children, youth, and their families. Helped the congregation discern whether to fund a permanent minister of religious education. Taught and led programs for children, youth, and adults. Provided support and inspiration for those with a teaching ministry. Change management.

Support Minister (part time), First Church Unitarian of Athol, Massachusetts, 2002-2003

Monthly preaching, pastoral care, for this tiny (25 members) congregation.

Interim Director of Religious Education (part time), Church of the Larger Fellowship, 2002-2003

Interim religious educator for this large (2,800 members) online and print-based congregation.

Helped Board, staff, and volunteers prepare for new, permanent professional leadership. Worked with Board, staff, and online committees to help understand and assess the religious education program of this unique Unitarian Universalist congregation. Developed innovative Web-based resources for families. Sample column from CLF's "Quest" newsletter.

Director of Religious Education (Intern Minister 2000-2002), First Parish in Lexington, Massachusetts, 1997-2002

Three-quarter time position with this mid-size (350 member) congregation.

General: Led worship for children, participated in leading worship with other ministers, occasional preaching. Supported families and others in crisis or transition with pastoral care and counseling; provided pastoral ministry for teens.

Teaching: Taught classes and workshops for children, youth, and adults; developed and encouraged religious education activities outside of standard classes and groups. Obtained, reviewed, and adapted curriculum resources.

Administration: Managed volunteers, including in-service support, recognition, recruitment, and training. Welcomed new families; maintained staff partnerships; managed budget; supervised three employees; communicated with congregation; worked with lay leaders to keep building child-friendly.

Director of Religious Education (part time), First Parish of Watertown, 1994-1997

Based on overall goals set by congregation, planned and implemented religious education program for children and youth; program tripled in size from 11 participants to 45 in three years. Led adult programs including spiritual autobiography classes.

Selected Volunteer Activities:

UUMA Good Offices Person, 2011-present
Selected by the Pacific Central District of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association to serve as one of three district Good Offices persons, available to provide pastoral care and conflict resolution services to other ministers.

Board member, Ballou Channing District, 2007-2008
Served as Board member for the Ballou Channing District of Unitarian Universalist congregations. Advocated for fiscal restraint and careful financial planning for district-run retreat center.

Youth ministry at district and continental levels, 1995-2003
Served on task force to revise UUA youth advisor trainings, 2000; wrote new youth advisor training manuals. Co-led continental training of youth and adult Youth Advisor Training leaders, November, 2002, and May, 2003. Staff member for the 1997 continental youth conference.

Mass. Bay District religious education committee, 1996-2003
Mentor to new religious educators, 1999-2003. Planning committee for district religious education conference, 1998-2000. Executive committee, 1996-1997.

Good Offices person, Liberal Religious Educators Association, 2001-2003
Provided support and pastoral care to Unitarian Universalist religious educators.

On-call chaplain, Massachusetts General Hospital, 2001-2003
Served once or twice a month as overnight on-call chaplain at large urban general hospital.

Board member, Church of the Larger Fellowship, 1999-2000
Served as Board member for this unique Unitarian Universalist congregation, with special interests in electronic communication and religious education.

Unitarian Universalist Association Pamphlet Commission, 1997-1998
Served on committee to plan, write, edit, and coordinate production of pamphlets. Worked on overall strategy for pamphlet development.


Other Experience

Carpenter with Kenneth W. Marriner, Jr., Concord, Mass., 1991-1995
A two-man shop doing cabinet-making, home repairs, renovations, historic renovations, and furniture repair and construction.

Salesperson, Concord Lumber Corporation, Concord, Mass., 1984-1990
Building material sales, primarily to the contractor trade. Top gross and net in my department in last two full years of employment, with over $1 million in sales.



M. Div., Meadville/Lombard Theological School
Ministerial internship at First Parish in Lexington, Mass.
One unit of clinical pastoral education at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Graduate study in creative writing at Emerson College, Boston, Mass.
One year of coursework in writing, teaching. Received top merit-based scholarship. Focused on creative non-fiction.

B.A., Philosophy, Haverford College, Haverford, Penna.
Concentrated in continental philosophy and hermeneutics. Department prize in philosophy, senior year.


Professional associations

Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association
Liberal Religious Educators Association
Religious Education Association
Freelancer's Union




“A Cold Shoulder for William Jackson,” 2011
Essay on Rev. William Jackson, first African American minister to declare himself a Unitarian. In Darkening the Door: Black Trailblazers and Missed Opportunities in Unitarian Universalism (Boston: Skinner House, 2011), edited by Rev. Mark Morrision-Reed, a book on persons of color in Unitarian and Universalist history.

“Do all religions share a common thread?” , UU World magazine, fall, 2010
Comparing the differing philosophies of two books: God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World by Stephen Prothero, and Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How the World's Religions Can Come Together by the Dalai Lama.

The Carpenter's Son”, “uu&me” insert, UU World magazine, summer, 2009
Short article for children on a painting of Jesus by the American Unitarian painter Edward Emerson Simmons. Includes an illustration by me.

“Yet Another Unitarian Universalist” blog, 2005-present
Sole writer for this Web-based publication presenting essays, opinions, news, and research on Unitarian Universalist topics. Nearly daily publication with 4,000-5,000 unique visitors per month.

General Assembly reporter for, 2000, 2002-2009, 2011
Reporter for, the official Web site of the Unitarian Universalist Association, during General Assembly, the annual denominational meeting. Selected articles: 2002: GA Journal — 2005: Sunday Morning Worship Service — 2007: Toward a Safer Congregation — 2008: Grassroots Organizing for a New Century.

“Learning Types and Their Needs,” 2001
Essay relating developmental stage with degree of socialization in lifespan religious education. In Essex Conversations (Boston: Skinner House, 2001). Abstract of the essay. This book is available through Google Books ; my essay begins on page 85.


Selected presentations

General Assembly, 2008
At annual denominational meeting, gave presentation on religious education in small congregations: Only a Few Children.

General Assembly, 2006
At annual denominational meeting, gave presentation on using Web sites and other new media to promote Unitarian Universalism: Spreading Unitarian Universalism Using New Media.

General Assembly, 2003
At annual denominational meeting, gave presentation on using Web sites to promote Unitarian Universalist congregations: Creating Great Content for Church Web Sites.


Selected media mentions

2 December 2008, New Bedford Standard-Times: "World AIDS Day marked in New Bedford" — Quoted on importance of World AIDS Day.

25 May 2008, New Bedford Standard-Times: "Church grapple with allowing sex offenders to join spiritual communities" — Interviewed on balancing needs of sex offenders with needs of congregations.

18 July 2007, New Bedford Standard-Times: "Protesters urge Council to save Cliftex mill" — Quoted.

28 February 2007, New Bedford Standard-Times: "Church to restore slashed painting" — Interviewed on recovery of damaged painting; quoted on Unitarian Universalist views of Jesus.
— Brief TV interview on slashed painting, Channel 6, Providence, R.I. (no longer online).