Center for Mindfulness at USG: Currently all Virtual
USG now offers many mindfulness programs VIRTUALLY
under the direction of Ryan Hurd, Director of Spiritual
Development, and Howard Silver.
The Zoom links for all weekly Mindfulness classes are sent out in separate email announcements titled Zoom Links and Newsletter from the Center for Mindfulness at
USG. If you would like to be put on the list to receive these announcements, or have questions about the classes, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Teacher Donations and the Practice of Dana In the Buddhist tradition the teachings are offered freely, and the teachers lives are supported by donations (dāna.) Dāna translates into the Buddhist principal of generosity. Please donate to our teachers. USG does not pay or employ the teachers; they provide their services free of charge, and in doing so sustain mindfulness programs at USG. Suggested donation is $10-$20 per session. If you cannot afford this amount, feel free to attend without giving, or give whatever is affordable.
Please join Deborah Cooper as she leads us into calm and reflection with meditation, inspiring writings and poems from the great meditation teachers, and teachings based on her own extensive training as a mindfulness teacher. Deborah also shares how she has applied mindfulness in her own life experiences and guides us in applying mindfulness to ours.
Breathe Mindfulness, Sundays 5-6pm
The Breathe mindfulness class format consists of guided meditations, teaching, and discussion geared to support and enhance the practice of both experienced and beginner meditators.
The sessions will be led by the following outstanding and experienced teachers in rotation- Pamela Freeman, Mary Kalyna, Jesse Frechette, Deborah Cooper and Rev. Kent Matthies.
1st Sundays, but not in July- Pamela Freeman
Pamela Freeman, LCSW, has been a psychotherapist for over 25 years, working with individuals, families, and couples. She is also a long-time social activist working on issues of gender, race, class, and anti-violence in many places around the country. A graduate of School of Playback Theatre and founder of Playback for Change in Philadelphia, Pamela also founded the Philadelphia Black Women’s Health Project.
A practitioner of mindfulness meditation, she co-leads the People of Color “Sit” in Philadelphia and serves on the Insight Meditation Board of Directors. Pamela is also a graduate of the Aboriginal Indigenous therapy program. Contact info – email@example.com
July 5th and 12th (and 2nd Sundays)- Mary Kalyna
Mary Kalyna has practiced Vipassana Meditation for 30 years. She has taught classes in the Philadelphia area and was facilitator of the Rainbow Buddhist Meditation Group at the William Way Center. Mary is a lifelong activist, from initiating the first Earth Day at her high school, through anti-war organizing, women’s and LGBT rights, anti-racism and economic injustice, and support for human rights in Ukraine. She has been part of the USG choir since 2011 and also sings with Voices Rising Philly, a group formed in 2016 to sing at protests. Contact Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 19 (and 3rd Sundays)- Jesse Frechette
Jesse Frechette, LCSW is the founder and director of Center Mindful, a mindfulness studio in Ft. Washington, PA. He is a licensed clinical social worker with a Master’s in Social Work from University of Pennsylvania. Jesse is a mindfulness educator, mindfulness coach, facilitator, and mindfulness-based psychotherapist who completed a year-long Mindful Educator Certification Program through Mindful Schools. Jesse is committed to collaboration,diversity and inclusion, and supporting LGBTQ+ individuals and families and other individuals and communities that experience prejudice, discrimination, and microaggressions. Contact: email@example.com
June 28 (and 4th Sundays)- Deborah Cooper
Deborah Cooper, M.Ed., has been a counselor for 35 years and is the former coordinator of the Friends Counseling Service. She has a small private psychotherapy practice in Mt. Airy, PA. Her chief interest for the last 14 years has been mindfulness meditation. She trained to teach mindfulness meditation at Jefferson, teaches several meditation groups, and sits a month-long silent retreat annually. She has taught many workshops at USG,and leads a weekly USG class on Wednesday called Meditation for the Mid-Week. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reverend Kent Matthies (5th Sundays)
Rev. Kent Matthies, senior Minster at USG, was trained in mindfulness leadership at the Jefferson University Hospital Practicum for professionals. Kent enthusiastically integrates mindfulness with Unitarian Universalist theology and spiritual practices in worship, pastoral care and USG programs for children and adults. Contact info email@example.com
Questions- Contact Howard Silver at Mindfulness@usguu.org or 215-669-8871
Unitarian Universalism and Buddhism
Like UU’s “free and responsible search for meaning”, Buddhism is non-creedal. In his first mindfulness precept, Thich Nhat Hahn says Buddhist teachings are not doctrines but guiding means to help us develop understanding and compassion. One of the Buddha’s last teachings was to “be a lamp unto yourself”.
The inherent worth and dignity of every person is evident in Buddhist teaching that everything in the universe shares Buddha nature.
The Universalist emphasis on the saving power of love can be seen in the Mahayana Bodhisattva vow to renounce nirvana until all beings are enlightened, and in reverence for Avolokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of great compassion.
UU respect for the interdependent web of all existence mirrors the Buddhist teaching of emptiness, what Thich Nhat Hahn calls inter-being–that everything in the universe exists only in its connection with everything else, and nothing has an absolute separate identity.
UU affinity for Buddhism goes back to Thoreau. There has been an active Unitarian Universalist Budddhist Fellowship for many years. It is still considered an independent affiliate of the UUA.