Adult Spiritual Development
Opportunities at USG for Adults of All Ages
The Adult Spiritual Development Committee of USG is committed to offering a variety of programs that deepen and broaden the range of spiritual practices in our congregation. ASD seeks to promote offerings that engage the heart and stimulate the intellect and create opportunities for USG members to share their talents and wisdom, as we strengthen the bonds of our Unitarian Universalist community. Come to whatever interests you. No registration, no fees, no deadlines, no commitments.
A NEW ASD Program: Mindfulness and Dialogue
presented by Deborah Cooper and Rev. Kent Matthies
We are delighted to co-facilitate this class in which we will read the book Practicing Peace in Times of War by Pema Chodron. The program will help us explore ways of responding to the challenges in our daily lives in a non-combative and open-hearted manner.We will use meditation and group discussion to deepen our understanding of our own reactivity and find ways to hold ourselves and the world around us with compassion and equanimity.
This is a 6-week class meeting on Sunday evenings from 5:30 – 6:45pm at the Unitarian Society of Germantown on May 6, 13 and 20; June 3, 10, and 17.
We encourage people to read the book and attend all sessions, but it is okay to drop in as well. We ask for $10 – $15 dana (donation) per session. It is also true that anybody may attend and participate with no financial obligation.
“If we want there to be peace in the world, we have to be brave enough to soften what is rigid in our hearts…we have to have that kind of courage and take that kind of responsibility. That is the true practice of peace.” ~ Pema Chodron
This group uses dialogue as a means for self-exploration. Dialogue is different than formal or informal conversation, in that it requires the capacity to listen deeply and ask fundamental questions. In dialogue, we are primarily focused on expanding our awareness and growing in self-knowledge. This group is inspired by the revolutionary work of David Bohm and Jiddu Krishnamurti. Using the dialogue format, we explore many of their insights. Typically, we begin the evening with a centering activity, then we read a short prompt and move into dialogue. Tuesdays 7-8:30pm. For more information, contact Jason Bender, Director of Spiritual Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mindfulness Meditation with Rev. Kent
Please note new time!
Come together to sit, move, or lie down to meditate, mostly in silence. Jon Kabat-Zinn defined mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” With the goal of engaging in mindfulness, Kent will provide basic guidance for paying attention to breath, or sound, or simple body movements. The documented health benefits of mindfulness for body, mind and spirit are irrefutable and wonderful. Come on in to pay attention.Thursdays 6:30-7:15pm. Sullivan Chapel 3.
This program meets on the second Friday of each month at 2PM in the USG Assembly Room. Its purpose is to celebrate the path, with emphasis on the spiritual path, of all who are aging (that’s all of us!) but especially those who consider themselves Elders (or wannabe Elders) and is open USG members, guest and visitors with no minimum age.
Each month a team of Exploring Elderhood members prepare and present a program on a relevant topic and after initial presentation there is generally a time for small group discussions and then a reconvening to share experiences. Each session is also followed by a potluck TGIF with wine and cheese, tea and crumpets and such. At all times our goal is to accentuate the positive and have fun together as we share our journeys into the second act of life! And we do! Find this month’s plan in the Upcoming Events section of the website.
For more information contact Gerry Whelan at email@example.com or visit and join our Facebook page, just search Exploring Elderhood @ USG.
The USG Adult Spiritual Development Program is initiating a series of conversations around topics that are often divisive and which many people are hesitant to broach. Carefully structured to ensure safe expression and real listening, the program will begin with the topic of abortion.The initial session of Difficult Conversations on Abortion has filled. Unfortunately, not all those expressing interest were able to be accommodated. However, if there are enough people who would still like to participate, another session could be scheduled. If interested, please email Gerry Whelan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to learn more and for the RSVP link.
Community Days are held twice a year in the Fall and Spring.
For Spring 2018, we will celebrate Community Day at the All Church Retreat, June 2, at the Diamond Ridge Conference Center in Jamison. Save the date and details for follow.
At USG, the day begins with a choice of several workshops presenting different modes of spiritual practice. In the past we have offered workshops on meditation, yoga, drumming, chanting, dance, poetry and a chance to sing in The Wannabe Choir. There are also programs for youth of all ages and childcare. See link above for details about this years’ event.
Following the workshops there is an intergenerational worship service in the Sanctuary where many of the components of the workshops, including performance by the Wannabe Choir, are integrated into the service. In November, Bread Communion Sunday, which has traditionally been observed the Sunday before Thanksgiving, will also be included in the Service.
Community Day appropriately concludes with a communal brunch when all are invited to partake of a scrumptious feast.
For more information contact Gerry Whelan at email@example.com
Unitarian Universalism 101
Andi Bernstein, third Sundays 12- 1:15pm in the Daskam room. An introduction to Unitarian Universalism for visitors and friends. Childcare is provided. Attendees will receive a free copy of The Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide. For more information or to RSVP, contact Andi at (215-327-7122) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There are also a number of online classes offered through the UU Leadership Institute. The courses can be completed online on your own schedule while wearing your PJs. The cost is only $30. They are offered Fall, Winter/Spring and Summer. Highlight the Online Courses menu to see which classes are currently offered.
Sunday Morning Meditation Group
Welcoming space for meditation is available every Sunday at USG from 9:15 to 10:15am in Sullivan Chapel 3 or in the Grove in nice weather. On the First and Second Sundays, the Mindfulness Group will follow this schedule:
- 9:15-9:35am – Sitting meditation
- 9:35-9:55am – Dharma reading and sharing
- 9:55-10:15 – Sitting or Walking meditation
The Caregiver Support Group provides a safe space where caregivers can make connections with others facing similar challenges, share their experiences and ideas, and provide emotional support to one another. Participants include individuals who provide various levels and types of care for partners, parents, and grandchildren. The group meets monthly at USG. Group size is limited. For information, contact Maura Gallagher, email@example.com
Bring Your Own Spirituality!
Is there a topic that you have been hoping would be offered in an ASD course? Is there an issue relating to the spiritual journey that you would like to explore? Do you have an interest in a spiritual teacher, resource or practice that you would like to share with others? Now, here is your chance! The BYOS program invites you to name and briefly describe what it is that you would like to explore, discuss, share, or even argue about. We will provide a simple form on which you can name it, briefly describe it and tell how you’d like to approach it. Maybe you would like to discuss the teachings of Eckhart Tolle or explore the Enneagram or talk about Chicken Soup for the Soul or share the poetry of Mary Oliver. You provide your name and contact information. This will be posted on a board that will be prominently placed in the hospitality area every Sunday. Then USG folks and even visitors can peruse the board and others who may share your interest can add their names and contact information. If you have even a few takers, ASD will assist you in setting up an initial get-together. Then your little group will take it from there, deciding where, when and how often to meet. If ASD can help in any way, we will, otherwise we will only ask for some feedback as your group progresses or finishes. So no more complaining that you don’t see what you want. BYOS puts you in the driver’s seat for your spiritual journey. Come on, it’s your turn! Blank forms will be on the ASD board or share your suggestion with the link below. Questions or comments? firstname.lastname@example.org
The Elders Storytelling Circle
This Elders Storytelling Circle is a joint project between Adult Spiritual Development (ASD) and Children’s Spiritual Development (CSD). Through the storytelling workshop, elders will be given the opportunity to reflect on their lives and choose significant moments that could be shared with others. Workshop participants will then be given support in developing these stories into tales that will be told to the children in our congregation. One storyteller will be brought into the 3rd-6th grade class per month for the duration of the program year. The purpose of such a storyteller’s circle is to link the elders with the young people in our community. In other words, the storytelling format acts as a vehicle so that the children in our community can begin to form meaningful relationships with those grandparent-aged folk who can teach them a thing or two. But again, it is not primarily about imparting knowledge. Building relationships is at the core of this project. An initial group has been asked to establish this workshop. In time, it will be open to any grandparent-aged elder in our community who wishes to participate.
If you have questions about ASD courses and programs, please contact Gerry Whelan, ASD Committee Chair email@example.com. Other questions related to Spiritual Development at USG can be directed to Jason Bender at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New ideas and suggestions are always welcomed. Just follow this link.