USG currently offers all of its mindfulness programs VIRTUALLY
under the direction of
Ryan Hurd, Director of Spiritual 
Development.
The Zoom links for all weekly Mindfulness classes are sent out in a separate Saturday email entitled “News and Zoom Links from the Center for Mindfulness at USG.” If you would like to be put on the list to receive these announcements, contact communications@usguu.org. If you have questions about the classes, please email mindfulness@usguu.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.

Special Programs

 

A morning practice with Suvaco
Saturday, April 10th: 10am-12pm
Please register here for this event.

A refresher practice period to explore how Dharma-based perspectives and practices can inform and resource life-affirming action in these times of great instability. Find deeper resources of courage, insight, clarity and emotional resilience as you draw on the fearless presence of the heart to respond to the planetary emergency that now shapes our collective experience.

Suvaco was ordained as a monk in the Thai Forest tradition for 18 years. He now lives and teaches in the United Kingdom where he also maintains a psychotherapy practice

This event is co-sponsored by Springboard Meditation Sangha in Mt Airy. 

USG charges no fee to join the meditation, but dana to Suvaco will be gratefully received.

 

Recurring Programs

Mondays

Mindful Mondays with Jesse Frechette, 7:30 – 8:30pm
This drop-in weekly community mindfulness session will feature a teaching/discussion on Mindfulness with an emphasis on the wisdom and lessons we can learn from nature and its symbols, including the planet, the seasons, the elements, animals, plants/trees, and ourselves as we are part of nature and nature is part of us. Teaching/discussion is followed by a guided mindfulness practice that incorporates the wisdom, lessons, and guided imagery of nature into the practice.
 
Jesse Frechette, LCSW, is the founder/ director of Center Mindful, providing services virtually and sometimes live. He is a mindfulness educator, coach, and mindfulness-based psychotherapist, committed to diversity, inclusion, equity, and supporting individuals, couples, and families with better mental health. Jesse has additional competency in supporting LGBTQ+ individuals, couples, families, and others who experience prejudice and discrimination.
Dana to Jesse:

If you would like to be put on the list to receive these announcements and the zoom links please email communications@usguu.org.

 
 

Wednesdays

Meditations for the Mid-Week led by Deborah Cooper, Wednesdays, 2:30-3:30pm 

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.  

Dana to Deborah:


Fridays & Saturdays, 9:30-10:45am

STRONG AND STEADY YOGA with Esther Wyss-Flamm 

Fridays
(8-week session March 5-April 23): This gentle chair-to-mat class is designed to release tension, stretch the body, and support joint health. Full focus is on safe movement, alignment that supports the healthy spine. As my most accessible class, it is great for anyone with age-related health conditions or recovering from physical injury.

Saturdays
(8-week session March 6-April 24): In this mat-based class we expand on fundamentals for longer and deeper holds. This mat-based class builds strength and stability in body, breath, and mind.  A great way to kick off the weekend!

Esther is offering these classes to USG Members on a donation basis. For more information and links, go to whiteflameyoga.com or contact Esther at: ewyssflamm@gmail.com.


Sundays

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.

TEACHER SCHEDULE
Most 1st Sundays- 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 – pfree12334@aol.com

Dana to Pamela:

  • Paypal at:  pfree12334@aol.com or
  • US mail: 6655 McCallum Street Apt 101. Philadelphia PA 19119 (Please note address change as of 1.28.2021)

Most 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 mk382k@yahoo.com.

Dana to Mary:

  • Paypal at: mk382k@yahoo.com
  • US Mail at: 138 W. Sedgewick St., Philadelphia, PA 19119

Most 3rd Sundays- Jesse Frechette
Jesse Frechette, LCSW, is the founder/ director of Center Mindful, providing services virtually and sometimes live. He is a mindfulness educator, coach, and mindfulness-based psychotherapist, committed to diversity, inclusion, equity, and supporting individuals, couples, and families with better mental health. Jesse has additional competency in supporting LGBTQ+ individuals, couples, families, and others who experience prejudice and discrimination. Contact: jesse@centermindful.org

Dana to Jesse:

Most 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: deborahcooper125@gmail.com

Dana to Deborah:

Most 5th Sundays Reverend Kent Matthies
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 kmatthies@usguu.org

Dana to Kent:

  • Web payment at: usguu.org/give/
  • Text: 215-608-2660 & enter 00 mindful (amount – space – mindful)
  • US Mail at: 6511 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19119. Memo line: “Mindfulness”

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.