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.

View this week’s SPIRIT newsletter with up to date program information.

Meditation and Dialogue at USG
This offering is based on the work of David Bohm and Jiddu Krishnamurit. We begin the evening with 30 minutes of silent meditation, then we read a short prompt and move into dialogue. With both meditation and dialogue, we are trying to deepen our awareness and grow in self-knowledge. Our central concern is the transformation of consciousness. This group meets Tuesday night from 7-8:30pm, weekly in Sullivan 3. For more information contact Jason Bender at newworldserver@gmail.com 

Exploring Elderhood
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 requirement

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!

For more information contact Gerry Whelan at gwhelanmd@gmail.com or visit and join our Facebook page, just search Exploring Elderhood @ USG.


Sexuality Education for Elders
The Unitarian Universalist Association has been at the forefront of sexuality education for children, teens, and adults. This award-winning curriculum, called Our Whole Lives, is outstanding. Now the UUA has developed a curriculum for older adults and they have invited USG to test it and give them feedback. We plan to conduct 7 of the Elder OWL sessions over the next three months. We invite you to attend any or all of the sessions. The facilitators will be Andrea Barsevick, Treva Burger, Andrea Durham, and Marina Patrice Nolan. 

All individuals (single or in couples) who are interested in the topics may attend any and all workshops. All sessions will be Saturdays from 10am-12noon

1, April 8, Attitudes About Aging
2, April 29, Examining Sexual Scripts
3, May 6, The Sexual Body
4, May 13, Sexual Consent and Boundaries
5, May 20, Sexuality and Loss
6, June 3, Sexuality, Disability and Chronic Illness
7, June 17, Safer Sex

Please see attached flyer for topic descriptions

And here is an article about the course.

Restorative Yoga
The Adult Spiritual Development committee will begin offering regular Restorative Yoga classes on Thursdays, from 4:30 to 5:30pm, in Sullivan Chapel. The first eight-class session started on April 27 and will end on June 15. There is no fee, no registration, and no commitment required. All are welcomed regardless of prior yoga experience.
Restorative Yoga emphasizes keeping the body at rest and the mind quiet. To help accomplish this, postures are often supported by blankets, blocks and other props to facilitate relaxing in the pose. Participants who have small blankets or other yoga props are encouraged to bring them. Mats, blocks and belts will be available in the studio. While occasionally there are a few active poses in a restorative sequence, their purpose is to gently stretch fatigued muscles, increase circulation, and maintain flexibility rather than increase physical strength and stamina.  At the end of a Restorative Yoga class you should feel calm and rested; nourished and at peace.
Classes will be guided by Richard Clarey, a new member of the USGUU community. Before moving to Pennsylvania he taught beginning and intermediate Iyengar Yoga for 19 years in Portland, Maine. If you would like additional information, please contact Richard at rclarey1@gmail.com.
White Privilege Conversations

Ideally all white people spend some of their time examining their privilege and reflecting on ways to give it up. This is a very deep personal process that is essential to becoming a truly equal society. With the goal of helping the white people of USG on this journey, we will be offering a variety of resources and a monthly time to share experiences with and feelings about this process.

We have chosen for this winter and spring to read Let’s Talk: White Privilege, a curriculum from the United Church of Christ. Please read to educate yourself and keep the conversation going if only in your head. We all need to participate if things are going to change.

The next session is June 4 and will be facilitated by Eli Scearce, Gail Mershon, Sandy Campbell and Treva Burger and is an Adult Spiritual Development class offered in the education arm of the Ending Racism Committee.

An Introduction to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Sundays, 3:00-4:30 at USG, September 17 and 24, October 8 and 15
For more information contact Gerry Whelan at gwhelanmd@gmail.com

Moses, Isaiah, Jesus and Paul
Exploring Our Judeo/Christian Roots
Wednesdays: September, 13, September 20, September 27 and October 4, 7:00-8:30 PM, Sullivan Chapel

This Fall there will also be a course on the Psalms, Isaiah, Jesus and Paul. Exploring our Judeo/Christian Roots which will offer UUs the opportunity to see how our current Unitarian/Universalism has been influenced by the primary western religious traditions before it.

There will be assigned readings and discussion over a four-session program but no final exam. For more information contact Charles Gabriel at cjgabriel5@msn.com

Community Day
Community Days are held twice a year in the Fall and Spring. The next Community Day will be on Sunday, November 19, 2017.

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.

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 pancake brunch when all are invited to partake of a scrumptious feast to share with family, friends and guests.

For more information contact Gerry Whelan at gwhelanmd@gmail.com

Unitarian Universalism 101
Gale Gibbons & Andi Bernstein Second Sundays 9am – 10:15am, USG An introduction to Unitarian Universalism for visitors and new members. It is held on the second Sunday of each month in the Sullivan Chapel. Childcare is provided. Attendees will receive a free copy of The Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide. If you plan to attend, please let us know by the Friday before. For more information or to RSVP, contact Gale Gibbons (gigi3318@gmail.com) or (uu101@usguu.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 10:15 in Sullivan Chapel. On the first two Sundays of the month there may be guided meditations, meditations on readings, walking meditations, silent meditations or whatever those in attendance prefer. On the other Sundays the space is open for those who choose to just come and sit. Beginners as well as experienced meditators are always welcome. Note the announcements in the weekly order of service or contact Sharon Mafuru at smallaxetz@gmail.com

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 Delores Hill at hillott@comcast.net

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 board starting with the ASD Faire and every Sunday after that. Questions or comments? gwhelanmd@gmail.com

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 gwhelanmd@gmail.com. Other questions related to Spiritual Development at USG can be directed to Jason Bender at dsd@usguu.org.

New ideas and suggestions are always welcomed. Just follow this link.