“Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not.” Robert Kennedy
The St. Mark’s Meditation Center is a partnership of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. We endeavor to create a peaceful presence in the world, based on compassionate action, loving-kindness, and mindfulness. It is a place where we may be strengthened for service to others and to the world.
The center’s sangha (community) meets regularly on Monday evenings from 7:30 – 9:00 pm in Baxter Hall at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 3rd & A Streets, SE, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Our weekly program begins with about 30-40 minutes of lightly guided meditation, followed by a “dharma talk” and group discussion. We welcome newcomers to our community and hope you will consider joining us.
If you’re planning a first-time visit, please consider arriving between 7:15 and 7:25 to meet with regular attendees for informal conversation and questions about the sangha (our meditation community) and/ or practice. Early arrival also helps participants to get settled and transition to a new environment.
No RSVPs or prior notice are required.
During the summer of 2005, our rector at St. Mark’s was on sabbatical. Tara Brach gave one of the guest sermons in his absence.
St. Mark’s is a very active church, filled with energy and discussion. But it is not a quiet place. Charles—Collie—Agle felt it would be great to explore the idea of creating a meditation presence at St. Mark’s. Shortly after Tara’s sermon, he phoned a friend, John McIlwain, a former member of St. Mark’s and more recently on the board of directors of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW), about the idea.
In the early days, Jonathan Foust was the guiding teacher. He, with the help of Tara, established the weekly calendar of subjects and undertook a large part of the teaching.
Other guiding teachers have been John McIlwain and Mary Aubry, also a senior teacher at IMCW. Somewhere around 2011, the St. Mark’s Meditation Center (SMMC) became a fully functioning, chartered part of St. Mark’s, and remains so. The SMMC is also considered a part of the church and not separate from it.
in 2016 our group moved from St. Mark’s beautiful nave down to the Adams Room on the lower level. The main reason for this was to foster community. The Adams Room proved a less formal setting and one where we could sit facing each other in a circle. The group now meets in Baxter Hall, the parish hall of St. Mark’s located on the main level; an online option (developed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic) is also available.
In an effort to formalize the group, the SMMC Steering Committee worked with the Sangha as a whole to develop Vision, Mission, and Core Values statements.
That all beings awaken to their true nature and embody expressions of love, service, community, and peace.
To create a supportive environment where members of the community:
- Explore Buddhist and other contemplative teachings
- Cultivate awareness through mindfulness meditation, and
- Nurture skillful engagement with the world.
St Mark’s Meditation Center:
- Embraces the qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, and generosity among all beings.
- Supports and builds community that is harmonious, inclusive, and nurturing.
- Acknowledges and respects the full range of religious faiths and spiritual beliefs.
- Celebrates and strengthens personal development that awakens and empowers.
Patrick Hamilton, Teacher
Patrick has been a practicing Theravada Buddhist since 1965. He has been a student of Ven. H. Gunaratana since their first meeting in 1970. He has also been privileged to study with Ven. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Ven. Geshe Lhundup Sopa, Ven. Y. Rahula, Ven. K Uparatana, and Ven. Sobhana Bhikkhuni.
Patrick’s doctoral work focused on Contemporary Developments in Theravada Buddhism/Sri Lanka. He visits Sri Lanka frequently and maintains good relations with the numerous emerging meditation centers there. Patrick left a career as a South Asian Policy Analyst with the U.S. Government in 2008 to focus on his work with the Sackler/Freer Gallery, Capitol Hill Village, Food & Friends, Machik, and YindaYin.
As a founding Board Member of the Bhavana Forest Monastery and Retreat Center, Patrick encourages urban meditators to experience the forest tradition and deepen their practice of traditional Vipassana.
For any questions related to meditation or the St. Mark’s Meditation Center and its various programming, please send email us at email@example.com
Our newsletter is typically sent out on Fridays and provides details about the teacher and topic for the upcoming Monday night meditation program. This email may also include specific information about the community, our meeting space, or special activities outside of our normal Monday night program.