WES Blog — WES: Trust in a Vibrant Community

It’s 11:02 pm on a Tuesday evening in Baltimore City. Outside, cars slowly pass by. The sky is white. Small, steady snowflakes coat the surfaces. Inside, 11 young people are enjoying lively candlelit conversations with Jill Scott’s “The Way” lightly playing in the background. The topic of conversation, The Washington Ethical Society. These folks, some whom are meeting for the first time, are discussing WES culture, learning, as well as varied religious beliefs and non-beliefs. The conversation is open to mystery, thinking about the possibilities of a community platform and authentically building intimate relationships with deepened trust. These folks are engaged on a journey, living through WES vicariously. WES is alive in the community.

Without a doubt, I have been taking the spirit of WES with me everywhere I go. There’s something that’s “sticky” about the ways that you all show up with each other and in the world. I can share the tenderness of moments, laughs I’ve had with colleagues, and conversations I’ve enjoyed with parents and WES kids. Immediately, I have felt deeply immersed in a culture that is alive, vibrant, and living its beliefs. The life of WES is inspirational, aspirational, and deeply relational.

I am deeply inspired by the work that happens at WES. A multi-ethnic, multi-generational group of WES are building community with residents in El Rodeo. Our young people were so excited and engaged learning about El Rodeo and the work WES has been doing. The love of WES is literally spreading across borders.

WES intends to have an impact on this community. Members of WES have taken on the tasks of being engaged in emotionally intimate conversations through the Anti-Racist, Anti-Oppressive Multi-Cultural (ARAOMC) work. That work continues with conversations happening for the next few weeks after platforms. Most importantly, the work is becoming embedded into WES culture as members incorporate the learning into their lives. WES aspires to practice the best of human goodness. I am humbled to be participating in Beloved Conversations, which launches in just a few weeks. This is an opportunity to deepen knowledge about myself and others as we look at our intersectional identities.

Relationships are important to the WES community. Families are learning and teaching together. Families are participating in Sunday Ethical Education for Kids (SEEK), as parent-teachers, and kids involved in programs. I had the opportunity to share meals with many of you. We are getting to know each other over coffees, teas, and sandwiches. We are planning time together this weekend at the Bible Museum. There’s an exhibit in Columbia, Maryland some of us will be visiting. I am in deeper conversations with y’all about philosophy, politics, and literature. We are sharing resources on James Baldwin. WES is a community that is alive through the relationships and the intentionality around building those relationships.

We are being thoughtful with our time with our young people involved in SEEK. On Sunday mornings, we are touching kids from infancy through high school. This Sunday, we had our teens involved in leading a Waffle Bar as a fundraiser for their upcoming trip to the YES Conference. Our Harry Potter class (5th and 6th grades) was looking at the issues of Child Slavery. Our Theme Explorations class (Kindergarten through 4th grades) focused on readings, videos, and activities on trust.

The last several weeks at WES have provided an insight on a strong, resilient, vibrant community. Right now, as the Interim Director of Lifelong Learning, I have an opportunity to listen and absorb the WES community. Amanda and I welcome conversations about this interim period. We invite your thoughts, ideas, and questions. WES, there is a great opportunity in store as we look to collectively build a vibrant lifelong learning program. I look forward too many more conversations over lattes. 

In service,