Myozen Joan Amaral moved to the Boston area in 2012 from San Francisco Zen Center to serve as guiding teacher for the Marblehead Zen Center. In 2014 the Zen Center relocated to Beverly and in 2016 changed its name to Zen Center North Shore.
Joan is a dharma heir of Zenkei Blanche Hartman in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki, Roshi. Her interest in zazen grew out of a background in modern dance and she continues to be interested in the ways that movement and the cultivation of energy can support the practice of stillness.
Joan trained at Tassajara Zen Mountain Monastery for six years. While in residency at San Francisco Zen Center, she formed a dharma group – Dharma en Español – devoted to studying Suzuki Roshi’s Zen Mind, Beginners Mind in Spanish (Mente Zen, Mente de Principiante), in order to provide the opportunity for native Spanish speakers to hear the dharma in their own language. While in San Francisco, she led meditation classes at the County Jail where she also provided one-on-one spiritual counseling for prisoners.She is a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and also completed the chaplaincy program at the Sati Center in Redwood City, CA, where she studied with Gil Fronsdal, Paul Haller, and Jennifer Block. As a priest living back out in the world, her primary focus is on the dynamic relationship between formal practice and everyday, messy human life.
Rev. Peter Boullata
The Rev. Peter Boullata is a PhD student in psychotherapy and spiritual care at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. After several interim ministries on both sides of the border, Peter served Unitarian Universalist congregations in Weston and Lexington, Massachusetts. He is now the consulting minister with the Unitarian Fellowship of London, Ontario and a psychotherapy intern with Shalom Counselling Services. He is passionate about liberation movements, religious naturalism, process theology, the arts, spiritual practice and the ways these intersect with each other and with religious liberalism.
Rev. Michael Hall
The Reverend Michael F. Hall, M.Div. was called as the 23rd settled minister of the Keene Unitarian Universalist Church in May 2012. Michael graduated with honors from Andover Newton Theological School in 2010, where he was a member of the Jonathan Edwards Society and earned the Massachusetts Bible Society’s prize for the Public Reading of Christian Scripture. Before entering full-time ministry, Michael worked for 18 years as a historical interpreter at Plimoth Plantation and then 4 years as a Case Manager on the Dual Diagnosis Unit of a detox.
Rev. Art McDonald
Minister Emeritus, First Universalist Church of Essex. Settled minister in Essex from 2003-2017. Settled minister at Allegheny UU Church, Pittsburgh, PA., 1991-2003. Adjunct college/university teacher, 1979-2013, latest appointment at Salem State U., 2005-2013. PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Religious Studies, focus on religion and politics, liberation theology in Latin America,1993. Ordained in 1978, Dominican Order of priests, ministering in South Bronx, New York City, 1978-1982. Active with Essex County Community Organization, 2003 to present, board member for over 10 years. Member of Advisory committee of Notre Dame Spirituality Center, Ipswich, MA. Author of soon to be published book on progressive Catholic clergy in Pittsburgh, PA. Married to Melanie McDonald for 37 years.
Claire Wilson grew up in the Unitarian Universalist tradition and, thus, explored a variety of spiritual paths before returning home to UUCGL. She earned a Masters in Social Work at age 60 from Salem State University, and specialized in working with adults who struggle with Trauma and Substance Use Disorder, as well as men mandated for Intimate Partner Violence Intervention. "Retired" from her Outpatient Clinical practice at Eliot Community Human Services in Lynn, she is currently engaged in training in Animal-Assisted Therapy and certification in Narrative Therapy. Having inherited the spirit of her parents' values, Claire also enjoys regularly participating in volunteer service, among which are the Northeast Animal Shelter, Care Dimensions, and Gloucester Stage Company. In 2020, she will celebrate 50 years as an ethical vegetarian. Claire is our Sabbatical Pastoral Care Coordinator.