South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society welcomed John D. Cooper as an affiliated community minister in September of 2016.
John Cooper works as a Board-Certified Chaplain at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital, providing spiritual care to patients, families and staff. Areas of interest in spiritual care include the use of research to demonstrate the role of spiritual care, life stories as sacred texts and end of life needs.
John recently received a Masters of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology in Denver, graduating with a graduate certificate in Pastoral Theology. John also holds a Master’s of Science in Family Ecology from the University of Utah and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Human Development and Sexuality from SUNY Stony Brook.
Prior to his interest in ministry, John had a career in product management for technology companies, specializing in products with challenging communication needs, and ran a successful web consulting business. Throughout his life, John has wandered a variety of spiritual paths; he grew up Unitarian Universalist in Ridgewood, NJ, with the Rev. Kenneth L. Patton as minister. During his college years, John studied and practiced Buddhism, Goddess spirituality, mysticism and shamanism. He was a community leader in the Utah Pagan community throughout the 1990s and has many beloved relationships from those years. John rejoined the Unitarian Universalist community as a member at South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society in 2006 to sing in the choir and soon found himself actively involved in lay leadership. John started ministerial formation in 2010, entered Seminary in 2011, was welcomed into Ministerial Fellowship and passed Board Certification as a Chaplain in 2016.
John’s call to ministry emerged out of a transformational accident. In 2008 he fell, broke his neck and damaged his spinal column. Living in an acute rehabilitation unit for months was a spiritual, monastic experience, and the lasting disability and paralysis resulting from his injury changed John’s relationship to the world around him entirely. His injury and resulting awareness of mortality made him long for meaningful work, and his hospitalization and recovery connected him personally to the patient experience. It was after this accident, injury and transformation that John sought training, education and work as a chaplain and minister.
You can read John’s sermons and poetry on his website http://www.exploringwisdom.org and can contact him either through the Chaplain Office at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801-587-4083, to Page him through the FAITH Line call 801-213-2484) or through the South Valley church office.