Shannon Harper joined the Lifespan Faith Engagement Office as Co-Director in the summer of 2022. Previously, Shannon worked with the Central East Region since the Fall of 2016. In her role as Youth and Young Adult Ministries Specialist, she supported regional and national youth and emerging adult programming as well as advised and resourced congregations in their implementation of programs for young people. During her time with CER she reimagined how we talk about leadership with young people through River Rising Leadership Experience. She has also collaborated on and lead youth projects around creating spaces for BIPoC, pastoral care trainings, restorative processes, advisor trainings and anti-racism/anti-oppression work. Since 2019 Shannon has served as a Co-Convenor of the Youth Ministry Roundtable, a collaborative group made up of staff from Congregational Life and Lifespan Faith Engagement Offices as well as UU College of Social Justice, that collaborates on resource development, safety and helps set the direction of youth ministry in the UUA.
Before coming to the UUA, Shannon served the Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Dayton, OH for five years as their Director of Religious Education. In addition, she served as the OWL and Youth Event Coordinator for MidAmerica Region for a year and as a contracted staff member before that. Over the years she’s had the pleasure to serve as volunteer staff for Youth Midwest Leadership School, GA Youth Caucus, UU United Nations Spring Seminar and Southeastern Summer Institute (SUUSI); advisor and liaison to the Heartland Area Youth Council (HAYC); and at large member of the MidAmerica Youth Advisors Network (MAYAN) Board. One of her favorite past jobs was teaching after school and summer camp arts and crafts at a local community center. One of her least favorite: Scheduling Manager for a large homecare agency. Shannon prefers work that is creative, fluid, continually emerging and soul nourishing - which is why she loves youth and young adult ministry!
When she’s not hanging out with other people’s teenagers she enjoys being with her own children and grandchildren, talking to her plant friends and being near large bodies of water. Shannon is an artist at heart and, although she doesn’t find much time to get into the pottery studio right now, she’s always looking for ways to express her creative spirit.