Leader Bart Worden

I wonder what people’s experiences are like of being with other people without the restrictions of social distancing? Many, many people within my social circles have been fully vaccinated and it seems every day there are new opportunities for in-person interactions. So far I am finding it extremely pleasurable yet also discomfiting – I had adjusted to the restrictions and easing up with them has felt strange and bit scary.  For example, I enjoyed a brief holiday this past weekend with two in-person events in two days. The first event was with members of my “Ethical” family. My wife and I (and a number of other members of the Westchester Ethical Society) were invited to a graduation party on Saturday for a young woman who had been in the Society’s Ethics for Children program. The second was with family members I hadn’t seen since the pandemic began. My extended family has owned a vacation property for many years that I now share with 7 cousins and our families. We provide most of the labor needed to maintain the property and, as there was work that I was responsible for that needed doing, I went there on Saturday and stayed overnight. Two of my cousins were in residence and we had a nice time catching up with each others’ news. 

What a joy it was to see familiar faces, to embrace people, to hear their voices directly rather than through headphones, to really see and feel the subtle communications that are filtered out in the virtual experience! For me, as much as I appreciate what Zoom meetings have done for connecting during the pandemic, the experience of embodied in-person engagement feels so much richer and so much more nourishing.
Even so, I do find it hard to relax. I keep a mask in my pocket, I don’t linger in close proximity with others, and I can’t shake the worry that I may be re-emerging too soon. I feel haunted by the knowledge that beyond my field of view there are many people in areas where infection rates are high and access to vaccines are limited who are facing dire situations. There are many, too, who have not, and may never, avail themselves of the vaccination that is available and I worry for them and for their communities.

I have chosen to pursue in-person connection and am working to adjust to both the possibilities and the perils of doing so. So far I’m finding much to enjoy and come away from each interaction with a bit more confidence that I am doing the right thing.

How is it going for you?

We’re heading into Week 6 and have 4 events to join between today and Sunday! I’ve listed this week’s offerings below and if you missed any of last week’s events and would like to view them, Anna has made videos available for each session. 
Here’s the list of last week’s presentations:

Wednesday, July 7, 8:00pm – 9:30pm ET: Pre-Business Meeting: Meet the Board Candidates with the Chair of the AEU Board Development Committee, Sue Walton Watch on Youtube here!

Saturday, July 10, 4:00pm – 5:30pm ET: Pre-Business Meeting: Resolutions with the President of the AEU Board of Directors, Sonja Kueppers Watch on Youtube here!

A reminder: if are you a Delegate to the Assembly this year you may want to check out this link to the Slideshow and the Partial Recording from the June 5th Delegate Training 

Back to this week’s events. Please remember that you can view all of these events on the aeu.org website’s 2021 Assembly Calendarand links to the events are on the AEU Connections calendar so you can grab the Zoom link you’ll need when you need it.

Tuesday, July 13, 8:00pm – 9:30pm ET: Humanist Youth Leadership: A Survey and Skills Building Workshop with Evan Clark, Debbie Goddard, Javen Lev, Anya Overmann, Christian Hayden, Ana Aquino Raquel Smith and Jé Hooper, moderated by Julia Julstrom-Agoyo 

Though Ethical Culture has an average age of membership that leans in the more seasoned direction, Youth are a vital part of Ethical Culture’s past and present. What are they up to? How would they suggest maintaining and attracting young people to your Ethical Society? Diverse viewpoints are key to building a better sense of “truth.” Filling the knowledge gap of activities of young people in the movement as well as building more diverse communities in terms of age will assist in Ethical Culture’s push for “truth.”

Thursday, July 15, 8:00pm – 9:30pm ET: Racism and Antiracism: Two American Traditions Jone Johnson Lewis 

One of the many subtle myths of American history is to ignore not only the persistence of racism in America, but also the continuity of racial justice activism, instead highlighting a few periods (abolition, the civil rights era of the 60s, for example) and failing to see the connections between them. Each time there are major advances in racial justice, there is a major backlash reinforcing racism. But even in those tough periods, the tradition is passed on. Jone Johnson Lewis, Leader of the Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture, will lead us in a reflection on the reliability and unreliability of racial justice in America and in Ethical Culture, and what it means for those of us today committed to anti-racist work.

Saturday, July 17, 11:00am – 12:30pm ET: Pre-Business Meeting: Resolutions with the President of the AEU Board of Directors, Sonja Kueppers

Saturday, July 17, 4:00pm – 5:30pm ET: Pre-Business Meeting: Bylaws Amendments and Policy Changes with AEU Secretary (and Chair of the Policy Committee), Casey Gardonio-Foat

Hope to see you sometime this week!

The post originally appeared at AEU.org.