Shift in Center for Mindfulness Leadership

A Message from the Center’s 2017-20 Coordinator, Howard Silver

Dear Friends,

In 2017, I offered to help USG with mindfulness meditation activities. At that time in my life, I had found the practice of meditation to be extremely helpful in alleviating the sense of worry and related stress that I often carried with me. I felt eager to share this practice with others who struggled with the same issues I experienced.

We started our USG activities with a wonderful introductory course and then a day-long silent retreat at the church led by Deborah Cooper. Partnering with neighboring Springboard Meditation Sanga, we then hosted day-long retreats with two highly respected and nationally known teachers, Oren Jay Sofer and Josh Korda. Each event sold out, and we had guests from all over the East Coast coming to Mt. Airy to attend. Our handsome, spacious building and lovely grounds have turned out to be perfect spaces for all mindfulness meditation activities, including Dharma talks, silent meditation and walking meditation, breathing meditation, and movement practices like Qiqong.

I have been so personally enriched by meeting and getting to know so many of our wonderful teachers, as well as from getting to know many of you who have been part of us in this true community of learning and support, referred to in Buddhism as the Sanga. One personal highlight for me has been introducing my 90-plus-year-old aunt to meditation. She lives in Tennessee and is a regular at our Zoom Mid -week meditation classes. Also, I cannot remember a Sunday evening session since we started without long-time USG member Rosita Johnson attending and sharing many refreshing and insightful thoughts with us.

Now, three and a half years after our beginning, I have decided that it is time to take a break from leadership. I hope to become active again after the pandemic is under control and we can use our wonderful building and grounds to host in-person events again.

I would like to thank all of the devoted teachers who lead the weekly sessions, especially Deborah Cooper, who encouraged us to create a program with the mission of providing affordable opportunities to learn the practice meditation from experienced teachers, and who advised us on creating many of the programs. Also, many thanks to the wonderful USG professional and administrative staffs, and special thanks to Abbey Porter, who stepped up and volunteered her professional skills on our weekly Center for Mindfulness Newsletter, and to Jerry Caruso, my right-hand man since the program went on-line, for offering to be the weekly USG Zoom meeting host for many sessions.

Ryan Hurd, our USG Director of Spiritual Development, will coordinate the program until further notice. Please contact Ryan at with any questions you have about the USG mindfulness programs. If you wish to receive the emails from the Center and are not yet doing so, please contact

Take care, stay safe – Howard