Category Archives: News

Sabbatical Religious Educator hired

The Sabbatical Seek Committee is excited to announce that we have hired a Religious Educator to serve the congregation during Rev. Dan Harper’s sabbatical.

Mr. Barb Greve will be filling in as a half-time Religious Educator, from Nov 1, 2017 to Mar 1, 2018. He will be supervising the Children, Youth, and Adult Religious Education Programs. Barb is a UUA Credentialed Religious Educator, at the Masters Level, with 11 years of experience as a Director of Religious Education at various UU congregations. The CYRE Committee will fill in for Dan during the month of October. The Sabbatical Committee (Maricia Scott, Edie Keating, Emma Grant-Bier, Wynne Furth) will be communicating more information about our new Sabbatical Religious Educator soon.

Posted for the Sabbatical Seek Committee: Heather Chen, Robert Neff, Audrey Erbes, Sally Ahnger, Tessa Swartz.

More about Barb Greve:

Barb Greve is one of the co-moderators of the UUA, the highest volunteer position within U.S. Unitarian Universalism — click here.

Not only is he an experienced religious educator, Barb Greve is a powerful preacher too, as you can see in this video:

Barb Greve is a strong advocate for diversity within Unitarian Universalism — click here.

With Rev. Sean Parker Dennison (who served as Sabbatical Minister while Amy was on sabbatical in 2910), Barb Greve co-founded Trans Unitarian Universalist Professionals (TRUUsT).


Parent Journey schedule announced

Parent Journey is a monthly discussion group for parents. Get to know other parents while talking about topics of mutual interest. Below is the line-up of Parent Journey sessions for 2016-2017. (Unless otherwise noted, all sessions are at 11 a.m. in room 10.)

Sun., Sept. 11:
Maricia Scott will teach us about Pokemon Go as a way to connect with your kid.

Sun., Oct. 2:
Alyssa Erickson will lead a session in which we hear from those who attend the district conference on religious education on Oct. 1 at UUCPA. If you went to the conference, what did you learn? If you are a parent of a child in RE, how are things going for your child? What are our hopes and aims in religious education? (This session will be held in the Fireside Room.)

Sun., Nov. 20:
Brooke Bishara will lead a discussion on judgement as it relates to parenting. By what criteria do we judge ourselves and others as parents? How does fear of judgement influence our parenting? How judgmental is our own culture here at UUCPA? Is “judgment-free” a real thing?

Sun., Dec. 11:
Linda Henigin will lead a discussion about scheduling and commitments. What do we value most, and do our values line up with our commitments of time, money, attention, and effort?

Sun., Jan. 8:
Megan Watson will lead a discussion about family organization. Come ready to swap tips and tricks for riding out the stormy seas.

Sun., Feb. 12:
This session on Teenage Mental Health will probably feature an outside speaker. Details TBA.

Sun., March 19:
Brooke Bishara and others will present information learned from a conference on healthy gender identity development in children and youth.

Sun., April 23:
Megan Watson will lead a discussion on summer plans and memories. What was it like for us? How is it for our kids? And what will I do with my kids in June?

Sun., May 21:
A discussion on self-care in parenting. Come and be nurtured — and learn to nurture yourself.

Multi-faith peace walk on Sept. 11

The Peace Walk on Sept. 11 is a great event for families to participate in! Here’s the basic info:

Multifaith Peace Walk & Picnic
Sunday, September 11
1:30pm Gathering; 2pm Program & Walk Begins
4161 Alma St., Palo Alto

Join people of many faiths and backgrounds to say “NO” to fear and division, and “YES” to friendship and peace! Mark Sept. 11with a 2.5 mile walk between diverse faith communities. Brief programs from different traditions along the way, concluding with a Peace Picnic at Mitchell Park hosted by American Muslim Voice.
Visit our webpage to REGISTER (very helpful but not required) and for more information about parking, route, shuttles, and volunteer needs.

Visit us on Facebook and invite your friends:


And here’s a press release describing the event:

Diverse Groups Come Together for September 11th Peace Walk and Picnic in Palo Alto

“We want to show our community and the world that, given the opportunity, people will come together to say ‘no’ to division, violence, and fear, and ‘yes’ to friendship and peace.”

On Sunday September 11th 2016, at 1:30 PM, a diverse group of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other communities of faith will hold a multifaith peace walk and picnic in Palo Alto. The walk is sponsored by more than 35 local churches, synagogues, Muslim associations, and other spiritual and community organizations. The route of the walk will be 2 ½ miles long, beginning at Congregation Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma St, stopping at University AME Zion and Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, and culminating at Mitchell Park at 4:30pm for a final program and picnic hosted by American Muslim Voice.

This day marks fifteen years since 9/11/01 with its stunning violence and polarization. Ever since, uncounted scenes of violence, and expressions of anger and hatred have deeply scarred us and driven wedges between people. This walk is meant to express our deepest hopes for healing.

“We invite people from all walks of life, whether they are people of a particular faith or no particular faith, all colors of the rainbow, left, right, and center, children, youth and adults, to join us on this walk for peace.” said the Rev. Dr. Diana Gibson. “We want to show our community and the world that, given the opportunity, people will come together to say ‘no’ to division, violence, and fear, and ‘yes’ to friendship and peace.”

Participants who are walking express various hopes for the message of the event, including, “Empathy and compassion for others,” “Embracing differences,” “Taking back Sept. 11,” “Time for everything – to lay down concerns that separate us,” and “Making best decisions as a global community.”

The walk is organized by Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice, a grassroots organization that has worked for peace and social justice for 14 years. “We’ve been so gratified by the momentum we’ve seen as we shared the idea for this walk with individuals and organizations,” Gibson said. “With the news filled with violence and fear, people have been really looking for something, anything, that they could do to make a difference. Walking together, getting to know each other, breaking bread together, these are acts of peace that can and do make a difference.”

Parking will be available at Congregation Etz Chayim on Alma, with overflow at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 505 East Charleston. A shuttle bus will be available to take people to and from parking lots. Additional details on the walk can be found at


Our unison benediction in Spanish and German

In our Sunday services, and in many of our religious education programs, we conclude with a unison benediction that goes like this:

Go out into the world in peace
Be of good courage
Hold fast to what is good
Return no one evil for evil
Strengthen the faint-hearted
Support the weak
Help the suffering
Rejoice in beauty
Speak love with word and deed
Honor all beings

Guillermo Oliva, a member of UUCPA who is fluent in English, Spanish, and German, has translated this benediction into both Spanish and German, in honor of the Spanish-speaking and German-speaking people in our congregation. Here are his translations:

In Spanish:

Vete en paz al mundo
Mantén tu valentía
Sostén lo bueno con firmeza
No pagues maldad con maldad
Fortalece a los frágiles de Corazón
Apoya a los débiles
Auxilia a los que sufren
Goza de la belleza
Expresa amor con palabra y acción
Honra a todos los seres

— translated by Guillermo Oliva, used by permission.

In German:

Gehe friedlich in die Welt hinein
Sei guten Mutes
Halte das Gute fest
Gebe nicht Uebel fuer Uebel zurueck
Staerke die gebrechlichen Herzen
Unterstuetze die Schwachen
Hilf die Leidenden
Geniesse Schoenheit
Druecke Liebe mit Worten und Taten aus
Ehre alles Dasein

— translated by Guillermo Oliva, used by permission.

Child care providers needed

We are looking for a child care provider to replace Nancy Bui, who was with us for five years. This position would primarily supervise the playground area from 10-1 on Sundays.

We are also looking for another child care provider to fill in as needed in the infant/toddler room or the playground area.

You can see the official job description here.

To apply for this position, please email Rev. Dan Harper danharper AT uucpa DOT org.

Guest at Your Table time is coming!

What is Guest at Your Table (GAYT)?

GAYT is the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) annual program that highlights people around the world who have been helped by UUSC. Each year several are chosen and their stories are described in the pamphlet, “Stories of Hope.” At the end of this post are descriptions of the people chosen this year.

If you want to get the children involved, here’s a suggestion for what you can do in your Sunday school class or your home:

Choose one of these people each week and leave an empty chair in your class, or at the dining room table. Perhaps you can take the page from the booklet, “Stories of hope,” and tape it to the chair. Briefly mention the person and what their situation is and explain UUSC’s role in their lives. You can read what I’ve written below — short and sweet. Or read the longer description in the pamphlet, “Stories of Hope” (available at UUCPA).

Sunday school teachers could suggest that each family do this at home, and teachers can make sure that each child has a box to take home to collect money. How much money should be donated? — perhaps the amount that the evening meal would cost for one more person.

Both parents and teachers can emphasize to children that everyone joining together in a small way can bring about changes in a big way.

The GAYT boxes should be returned to the UUCPA office by Sunday, Dec. 20.

Questions? Talk to me, Beth Nord, this year’s GAYT coordinator!


Stories of Hope:

UUSC Chvany and Straser

1) Catherine Chvany & Alexander Strasser (above), two holocaust survivors, came to the U.S. as children. Both were able to make the trip because their parents requested Martha Sharp, who, along with her husband, the UU minister, Waitstill Sharp of the Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts Unitarian Church, went to Europe in 1939 to aide in the refugee crisis.
UUSC Castillo

2) Lilian Castillo, above, who with the help of a UUSC partner organization RAICES (Refugee & Immigration Center for Education & Legal Services) was released from the Karnes County Residential Center, an immigration detention facility near San Antonio, Texas, after 10 horrific months.

UUSC Ramirez

3) Irish Grace Ramirez, who, after Typhoon Haiyan blasted through the Philippines, killing thousands, worked with a UUSC partner organization to help herself and others recover from the psychological devastation.



Take on a fun social justice project — host a Guest at Your Table meal! Share food with family and friends, and learn more about food sustainability and raise money for human rights projects throughout the world. Find out how, and sign up here.


Talking about Ferguson

This Sunday is the first anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown, and in Sunday school we will be talking (in an age-appropriate way) about what happened in Ferguson. Kids of all ages are welcome — parents, too!

Rev. Dan Harper, our minister of religious education, was fortunate enough to attend a workshop this summer given by Dr. Marcia Chatelain, professor of history at Georgetown University, on talking with students about Ferguson. He will use material from her crowd-sourced #FergusonSyllabus for this Sunday school session.

Hope to see you at UUCPA this Sunday!

Early childhood certificate opportunity

Sue Correll has pointed out an opportunity for anyone seeking a career in education: Canada College, Sequoia Adult School, and JobTrain Works are currently looking for applicants for a year-long Early Childhood Education (ECE) class that begins on August 17, 2015.

The class runs: August 17, 2015 through May 20, 2016.

Class meets Monday through Friday (8:30am – 1:30pm) for 2 semesters, and you must commit to attend the whole year.

The second semester includes a practicum in child development — this meets the supervised teaching requirement for the CA State Child Development teaching permit and provides student teaching experience in qualified settings that serve children from infancy through middle childhood.

Cost for year-long class is approx. $1,200 — this is very inexpensive for a program of this caliber, but if this sounds like too much money, Rev. Dan Harper will work with you to find scholarship money.

Upon completion, students receive an ECE certificate, 24 college credit units, and assistance processing paperwork for CA State permit.

Click on the image below for a full-size flyer:

ECE Flyer thumbnail

Sunday school evaluation

We had our annual Sunday school evaluation session with children and middle schoolers today. Approximately 20 children participated. As usual, firt we asked kids to rmember things they had done at UUCPA during the last school year. One of the middle schoolers listed those thing on a large sheet of paper. Then kids voted for thos things they both participated in, and liked.

Here’s the list of activities, followed by the number of votes (my explanatory notes are in parentheses):

visiting Buddhist temple — 3
Judean Village, pottery — 7
Judean Village, making bricks — 2 (this was actually an activity from two years ago)
Judean Village, painting — 6
naming Guinea pigs (during petting zoo) — 3
making trophies out of sand — 1
petting animals (petting zoo) — 8
hot chocolate — 10
learning about Islam — 4
making fudge — 6
eating bagels (snack in class) — 8
eating donuts (snack in class) — 9 (I think some of the votes were wishful thinking, kids who would have liked to eat donuts in class)
reading — 16 (i.e., any time you read a book while at UUCPA)
sitting through a boring Sunday school class — 0
campus work day — 6
running from people — 6
Navigators — 5 (every kid who was in Navigators who was present voted for this, we just didn’t have a lot of Navigators)
bringing my pet rats from home — 1
writing down things we remember doing at UUCPA — 1
OWL gr. 4-6 — 0 (i.e., no one was willing to *admit* they liked it)
OWL gr. 7-9 — 0 (ditto)
walking the labyrinth — 10
thinking about unicorns — 6
playing mafia — 6
game night — 7 (this is the Sat. game night; several children who didn’t know about it said they wished they had gone!)
making cinnamon bread — 7
purple — 11 9i.e., liking the color purple while at UUCPA)
random stuff — 17
waiting for teacher to call on me while my arm is aching — 8
story of Hannukah — 5 (during main service0
Christmas pageant — 9
Morris dancing — (looks like we forgot to vote on this one)

CYRE kid eval

Sabbatical info for Rev. Dan Harper

Rev. Dan Harper, or Associate Minister of Religious Education, will be taking sabbatical time in the 2014-2015 congregational year. He will be taking the months of November, February, April, and June as sabbatical time.

A sabbatical is an ancient Jewish tradition. It was originally a time to let the land lie fallow, and while the land lay fallow both landowners and farmworkers could devote time to spiritual renewal. Interestingly, many people working for environmental justice point to the tradition of sabbatical time as one ethical model for creating a sustainable culture today.

Our ministers take sabbatical time every four to seven years, so they can take time to focus on spiritual renewal, and also take on projects that they don’t have time for in the ordinary press of their duties. Our senior minister, Rev. Amy Morgenstern, took a sabbatical in 2010, and focused on spiritual renewal through visual art, and improving her spoken Spanish. During his sabbatical, Dan will spend time on spiritual renewal through singing, and working on writing projects.

While Dan is taking his sabbatical time, you probably won’t see him or hear from him. He won’t be at UUCPA (except perhaps to slip into his office to get some books), he won’t answer email, and he won’t answer voice mail. In case of serious need, Rev. Amy Morgenstern will be able to contact Dan for you.

If you have a pastoral concern while Dan is on sabbatical, you can of course talk with Rev. Amy Morgenstern, our senior minister. On Sunday morning, Hong Bui, the Religious Education Assistant, can help you find supplies and paperwork. Members of the Children and Youth Religious Education (CYRE) Committee will be available on Sunday mornings and evenings to greet new families and help supervise the programs. The Adult Religious Education Committee will continue to run our excellent adult education program.

If you have any questions about the sabbatical, you can ask members of the Sabbatical Committee, Castor Fu, Wynne Furth, and Amelia Shaw. Castor is chair of the Committee on Ministry and usually attends the 9:30 service. Wynne is a former Board president and usually attends the 11:00 service. Amelia is vice president of the Senior High Youth Group and a Sunday school teacher, and is available to answer questions from children and youth.