Community Groups

Amherst "New Options" Community Group

Amherst, MA US

We explore pros and cons of a wide variety of research findings, concepts, practices, and ideas for more integrally conscious, healthful, wise, mutually empathetic relations, aging, dying, and thereafter as they newly emerge from scientific, humanistic, and spiritual communities worldwide.

No topic is out of bounds as each provides opportunities for expansion of consciousness, hence, transformative experiences. All our participants have a voice in choosing our discussion topics and facilitating our meetings.

Our New Options Community Group serves members and friends of the Amherst Council on Aging, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst. All are nonprofit organizations dedicated to expanding our height, depth, and breadth of consciousness; realizing human potential; and facilitating personal and social transformation toward integral health, full functioning, and cocreating – individually, socially, ecosystemically, and cosmically.

While loosely affiliated with all the above-identified organizations our New Options Community Group is legally and financially responsible for our own activities.

Within the context described above New Options Community Group Coordinator Robert (Bob) Johnston was made recipient on October 25, 2013 with The Eveline Sears Senior Activist Award given annually to volunteers who have shown unusual dedication and service to the Amherst Senior Center. In accepting the award Bob said, " While planning my retirement in the mid-1990s I resolved to return to society some of the rewards I had experienced as an organization development consultant, adjunct professor, and author since 1955*. Since the work I loved focused on helping healthcare, educational, and business organizations become more effective through use of consciousness-expanding integrative organizational development task and process experiences, I sought to gather at the senior center a small discussion group with whom I could use my O.D. facilitation skills in exploring pros and cons of new ideas, theories, and practices on the leading edge of conscious aging, the natural sciences, humanistic social sciences, and psychospirituality. The Amherst Bulletin published (Oct ’97) a piece about the formation of our New Options Community Group. Our first meeting involved twenty participants who energetically discussed strengths and weaknesses of Harvard Medical School pioneer scientist Herbert Benson’s then new concept for integrating medicine with spirituality in healing. Reaching our sixteenth anniversary this year is a testament to the high motivation of many individuals and organizations, principally our New Options Community Group participants; the Amherst Senior Center; the Institute of Noetic Sciences; and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst. Thank you all who have so generously contributed to our success at New Options! The Eveline Sears Senior Activist Award belongs to all of us!" 

*Beverly R. Fletcher (1990). Profiles of Organization Transformation Theorists and Practitioners. Praeger: NY


All our meetings, unless otherwise designated, are on Wednesdays from 2:00 to 4:00 PM in the Bangs Community Center, Room 101, Boltwood Walk, Amherst, MA. In order to provide an atmosphere conducive to mutually respectful open discussion of pros and cons of our topics within integrally healthful parameters, we believe it best to limit discussants in our meetings to twenty. If there are no chairs available in the discussion group seated in the circle, additional individuals are warmly welcome to attend and sit on the periphery as observers.


Co-Coordinators
Bob Johnston
Jane Madden

Associate Coordinators
Dick Stein
Jay Stryker
 

Stay in touch with IONS