by Hugh Taft-Morales, Ethical Leader & WES Member
I’m excited about our upcoming American Ethical Union (AEU) gathering slated for June 8-11 in Baltimore! Working with the AEU Assembly Committee, I am currently combing through many wonderful proposals for workshops submitted from around the country. When the program is unveiled next month, I hope that many of you will register to attend Bmorethical 2017. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about our movement, develop new skills, and build relationships with other Ethical Culturists. Also, the theme of the Assembly, Communities Confronting Systemic Racism, is even more important given current political realities.
I know many of you will come out to help host our annual gathering. BES member Jeanne Sears is already involved in helping with local volunteers and logistics, and Emil Volcheck is co-chair of the Assembly Committee. And those of you who have been active in the American Ethical Union for decades will naturally register to attend. Those of you who have served on national committees and the AEU Board appreciate our national network of mutual support. Since most of you have not had this opportunity, however, I want to share more about why our AEU is so important to me.
Of course, my commitment to the AEU is no surprise. Having chosen Ethical Culture Leadership as my vocation, I appreciate the support and training given me by the Leadership Committee and a wide variety of volunteers. I’ve been able to get to know my wonderful fellow colleagues who choose to serve particular Societies – or society at large – through Ethical Culture Leadership. I’ve been to nearly thirty multi-day Leader retreats, where my colleagues supported each other and coordinated national projects through the National Leaders Council (NLC), which I now serve as President.
I’ve been able to visit many Ethical Societies. After joining the Washington Ethical Society and then serving three Ethical Societies (Philadelphia, Baltimore, Northern Virginia), I’ve been able to speak at Ethical Societies in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, Northern Westchester, North Carolina, Chicago, Mid Rivers Missouri, St. Louis, and Austin, Texas. I got to attend Lay Leadership Summer School four times – once as a student and three times as staff – and met Ethical Culturists of all ages from all places. No wonder I feel deep connection to the AEU and to our small but idealistic collection of Ethical Societies.
I have witnessed from the inside AEU efforts to support local initiatives and enhance our national voice. I attend bi-monthly AEU Board meeting in New York, chaired by President Andra Miller, and see first-hand the tremendous work being done by the Board and by Bart Worden, our Executive Director, and L Miller and Larissa Perez, the staff in our national office. I see them manage the Mossler Fellowship given each year for special projects to grow Ethical Culture. I see the work it takes to coordinate four national conferences – for our youth group (YES), for our young adults (FES), and for our committees working on Ethical Education and Membership Growth.
I worked with our AEU Communications Director, Emily Newman, who ensures that there is a strong Ethical Humanist presence in Social Media and helps maintain the AEU’s website so it is more open and accessible for newcomers and more useful as an interactive resource for Society lay leaders and members. I know how Ethical Culturists acts as important force in the Humanist movement by serving on boards of the Humanist Institute, the Institute for Humanist Studies, the Secular Coalition for America, and the International Humanist and Ethical Union.
But most of all, I am inspired by seeing how other Ethical Culturists share our unique philosophical worldview and work to contribute to the larger society. So no wonder I am excited to prepare for Bmorethical 2017, our national Assembly. I hope you will join me there and deepen your connection to Ethical Culture.
SAVE THE DATE!
June 8–11, 2017 at the Holiday Inn
301 W. Lombard Street