As we are getting close to the end of another year it’s a good time to reflect on what this one has brought us and to prepare for what is ahead. 2012 has been a year of significant change at our Society as my appointment as the executive director for the American Ethical Union and the departure of my assistant and ECSW chorus director, Debra, have left openings for greater leadership and more involvement from the Society’s membership for planning and implementing programs and activities.

Our community did take some time during our Fall Membership Meeting on November 16th to reflect on the current state of affairs and to consider what we value and what we hope for the Society. Participants had an opportunity to talk about their connection with the ECSW and to share thoughts about what they valued about the Society. There was also time to speak about things participants felt they would like to see the Society pursue in the near future.

Several people spoke about enjoying the community aspects of being a part of the Society: the personal relationships with people of various ages and backgrounds, and reflected on how that personal relatedness made a difference in their lives both in the Society and outside of it. The pleasure of being with others who share common values, the opportunities to be exposed to new ideas, feeling encouraged to grow in one’s person as well as grow as a neighbor and citizen, and being exposed to opportunities to work on projects with others were all factors that were voiced as positive aspects of their connections with the Society.

It terms of avenues to pursue now and into the future, a number of participants spoke of wanting to pursue more community-oriented activity for social caring as well as for social justice. Several people expressed the desire to have a stronger effort to communicate our message to the larger community –
including the use of marketing and other forms of outreach to connect with new people in new ways.

Hope was expressed that achieving financial security would afford more opportunities to focus attention on larger community issues as well as host programs and activities that would draw in more people from the community. Building upon current efforts such as the Community Circles and other social and educational efforts of recent years was also encouraged, as was finding more opportunities to “get our hands dirty” with building/ renovating houses and finding more opportunities for multi-generational projects.

They say “many hands makes light the work” and many hands have been active these past several months working to keep our programs up and running. This is so in keeping with our Society’s particular heritage – we were started, after, by a group of parents who formed the Society as a collaborative effort. It is through these efforts that each of us demonstrates the capacity for leadership and I expect that as people settle in to manage the Society’s responsibilities new opportunities for engagement will continue to emerge. So, if you have not found ways to become more involved, I am sure there are projects in the wings that would benefit from your skills and commitment.

— Bart Worden