You are here: Home > About

About Dan Harper

Photo of Dan Harper, from the shoulders upProfessionally, I'm the Assistant Minister of Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, California (UUCPA). Palo Alto is in the heart of Silicon Valley, and just a few miles away from Stanford University, so as you'd expect there are plenty of people in the congregation who work in hi-tech and/or academia. As a suburban church, we enjoy the advantages of suburbia, as well as face the problems of suburban life (the congregation has done a lot of work to support homeless people who live in and around Palo Alto). As a Unitarian Universalist church, we are committed to social justice inititatives such as trying to make same-sex marriage legal once again in California.

My sweetheart, Carol Steinfeld, at Havasu FallsI live with my partner of twenty years, Carol Steinfeld, who is a writer specializing in ecological pollution prevention issues, particularly water and wastewater. I took the picture to the right when Carol was at the Havusupai Indian reservation doing consulting work on composting toilets in the campground there (Carol is on the left with Havusu Falls just behind her, Jack and Sharon Erhardt are on the right). Carol's books include The Composting Toilet System Book (with David del Porto -- and scroll down a bit on this Web page to see two of my illustrations for this book), Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine To Grow Plants, and most recently Reusing the Resource: Adventures in Ecological Wastewater Recycling (with David del Porto).

Carol and I live in downtown San Mateo, California. We like living in an ethnically diverse city, and we can lower our carbon footprint by walking to stores, living in a multi-unit building, and taking trains and buses whenever we can.

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

Current professional interests include size transitions and change management in congregations, assessment and program evaluation, liberation theologies applied to organizational dynamics, church administration, general religious education. For professional qualifications and experience, please see my curriculum vitae. At present, I am not able to officiate at weddings or memorial services outside my current congregation, but I do have limited availability for consulting, outside preaching, and contract writing.

My non-professional interests include hiking and birding; I'm also interested in exploring urban ecosystems. I do quite a bit of recreational reading and writing, and maintain two blogs, one on Unitarian Universalism and one on Sacred Harp singing. I sing nearly every week with the Berkeley Sacred Harp group.