Opportunities at USG for Adults of All Ages

This week’s Spirit newsletter

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.  We are continuing to do this in the time of COVID-19.


Breathe Mindfulness Format and Times
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.   Note that the time for this series is 5:00 to 6:00 PM.  

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.

June 28- Deborah Cooper
July 5-Mary Kalyna (filling in for Pamela Freeman)
July 12-Mary Kalyna
July 19- Jesse Frechette

Click here for more information.


Meditations for the Mid-Week by ZOOM! Wednesday afternoons at 2:30pm

To get the ZOOM link, email mindfulness@usguu.org.

All are welcome- senior, junior, USG member or not to join Deborah Cooper for an hour of quiet meditation, reflection and sharing. Most of us long to be peaceful and happy, and yet our lives and the world around us, frequently present us with situations that cause anxiety and pain. The Buddha, 2,500 years ago, discovered a way to live that makes it possible to experience tranquility and joy in spite of the various difficulties we encounter day to day.In this hour we will explore some of his teachings and learn some ways to help ourselves navigate everyday challenges so that we can experience more peace in our world. No fee but donations (dana) to the teacher are gratefully accepted.
Questions? mindfulness@usguu.org   
Exploring Elderhood ZOOM Gathering
Most Fridays, 2-4pm
All Elders and others are invited to another remote Zoom meeting of Exploring Elderhood every Friday. Elders on the current mailing list will receive an invitation and instructions by email. If you are not on the list and want to join in, send your name and email to asd@usguu.org with Subject “Join Elders.”This program has been meeting more often virtually, sign up for emails so you don’t miss one. 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.
For more information contact Gerry Whelan at gwhelanmd@gmail.com or visit and join our Facebook page, just search Exploring Elderhood @ USG    
Yoga with Esther Wyss Flamm (via Zoom)  

Fridays 9:30 – 10:45am
: gentle chair-to-mat class to release tension, stretch the body and support joint health. Saturdays 9:30 – 10:45am: mat-based class to build strength and stability in body, breath, and mind.        

Yoga is especially important when we feel confined and anxious: our bodies tighten and breath becomes more shallow. Each class is dedicated to support the release of stress and renew vitality. For more info and Zoom links, contact Esther: esther@whiteflameyoga.com There is no charge for these classes; teacher donations (dana) of $10-$20 are gratefully accepted.

Unitarian Universalism 101 on Zoom
Third Sundays 11:30am-12:30pm. An introduction to Unitarian Universalism for visitors and friends. Attendees will receive a free copy of The Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide. Please rsvp to Eric Foster and Charles Gabriel at uu101@usguu.org to get a Zoom link.



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. They are offered Fall, Winter/Spring and Summer. Highlight the Online Courses menu to see which classes are currently offered. They offer a free on demand Coming of Age for Adults, check it out!


Racism Book/Study Group
For July 13, 7:30-9pm, we will read How We Fight White Supremacy by Akiba Solomon and Kenrya Rankin.  Here is USG member Lori Tharps interviewing the authors on her podcast found at MyAmericanMeltingPot.com We will meet on Zoom. Treva Burger facilitates the group, contact her with questions, bookstudy@usguu.org.


Everyday Spiritual Practice now postponed. 


Difficult Conversations
About one year ago many of our congregants participated in a number of Difficult Conversations on the subject of White Privilege and White Supremacy. Time has passed, people have had conversations, things have happened. Now we would like to hear the stories of your experience of what has changed (or not) with respect to racism in our society, in our congregation, in your life. These new programs will be less structured but will be built around your stories – good or bad, hopeful or disappointing, funny or sad. No lectures, no challenges, no criticisms. Just once again, a safe space to be heard and to hear. Come, check back in… we want to hear your story. And those who did not participate in previous conversations are also welcome to attend and listen. If interested contact Gerry Whelan at asd@usguu.org and we will find dates and times that work.

Sunday Morning Guided Meditation has ended.
Sullivan 3 is will available as a meditation space every Sunday once the church is reopened.


Community Day

Community Day is held the Sunday of the weekend before Thanksgiving.

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 gwhelanmd@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 Maura Gallagher, garden294@yahoo.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? 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 Ryan Hurd at dsd@usguu.org.

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