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In the midst of a global epidemic of hate and fear, I am so grateful for Open Spirit: A Place of Hope, Health & Harmony.
Open Spirit offers a place to acknowledge anger and say NO to distortions of religion. Open Spirit connects us with people who inspire courage, so we are not controlled by fear. Open Spirit teaches practices that transform frantic energy into grounded determination. Open Spirit nourishes teachers and strengthens classrooms so future generations can thrive during challenging times. Open Spirit creates community that assures us we are part of something much larger than ourselves.
Our theme for the 2019-2020 program year, “Deepening Connections,” is an apt one, for we have seen the ways our deepening connections have enabled us to create ripples of compassion, understanding and hope.
Here are a few ways these deepened connections have borne fruit:
As a result of seven years of deepening relationships and offering nourishment and support to teachers and students in local schools (Pre-K to grade 12), the Framingham Public School system has begun reaching out to us, asking us to offer professional development and support to teachers as they seek to manage the increasing levels of stress they and their students experience.
Recognizing the deeper societal injustices underlying this epidemic of hate, we hosted an art installation by local artist, Rashin Fenandej, using our labyrinth as a way to deepen our understanding of the impact of mass incarceration on communities of color.
Every week, we offer yoga (including Veterans’ Yoga), Qi Gong, and meditation programs in a supportive, inclusive setting. Participants discover calm and strength within and build our capacity for compassionate action.
The dramatic growth of our annual Iftar (breaking of the fast during Ramadan) reflects both our need to come together and the growing trust in our multi-faith relationships. Of the eighty people who crowded into our hall, more than half were Muslims, coming from mosques in Wayland, Framingham, Holliston and Natick. We broke the fast with a family of Syrian refugees, along with their friends from a synagogue in Wellesley.
At our first annual “National Coming Out Day Celebration,” the Just Peace Players told stories of courage and truth-telling. The stories led to powerful sharing, including a connection between a mother of a transgender child who had recently had gender-confirming surgery and a grandmother of a child whose surgery was scheduled the next month.
As we approach the new year, Open Spirit will continue to deepen the connections that enable us to be a source of Hope, Health & Harmony. We will draw upon ancient and contemporary wisdom as we build community, inspire courage, and take action.
Our Multi-Faith Youth Service and Social Justice Project will kick off on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We will offer a speaker series called, “Repairing the World,” and continue our new “Journeys of the Spirit” project, which includes the offering of a journey to Israel-Palestine. We are welcoming a new Veterans Yoga teacher, expanding our presence to new schools in Framingham and building a new partnership to develop more cancer support opportunities.
We are grateful for your support on many levels – your participation, your ideas, your commitment, and your financial contributions. Open Spirit is sustained by your generosity and the generosity of our grant donors! Last year, we exceeded our Annual Fund goal of $12,000 by $4000! This year, we hope you will help us exceed our goal of $15,000.
Please consider making a gift to Open Spirit. We need gifts of all sizes: $4000, $1000, $500, $100, $50, $15. When we put all of our gifts together, they are multiplied many times over.
Thank you for your generosity and for being part of the Open Spirit community!
We come together with open hearts to:
Celebrate and deepen understanding of our diverse spiritual and cultural backgrounds
Enable healing of mind, body, spirit, and Earth
Inspire courage to transform our lives and our communities
We seek to fulfill our mission through offering multi-faith gatherings and educational opportunities, Interfaith Book discussions, wellness classes, nature programs, art and music programs, community gardens, veteran's programs, and through special projects such as mindfulness training in schools.
Your donation to Open Spirit helps us continue to fulfill this mission. All donations are greatly appreciated and will be used so that we can connect our community and be a source of healing, inspiration, and celebration for all.
To make a donation, please click on the Donate button to be taken to our PayPal donation page.
If you are paying for a class or event through PayPal, please indicate the class or event in the comments section of the payment.
If you prefer to pay by check, please address them to Open Spirit.
Our mailing address is 39 Edwards Street, Framingham, MA 01701.