Address given by Kate Lovelady, Clergy Leader for the St. Louis Ethical Society, at the Ethical Culture Society of Westchester on Sunday, November 25, 2018.

An individual’s community used to be largely determined by circumstance— the extended family and town in which they grew up, the traditions of family and background. “Community” was mostly a given, and often something to escape from in search of freedom and new experiences. Today, community is often something that people are seeking, as families shrink, people move more often, traditions continue to lose power, and individuality reigns supreme.

What does it mean to cultivate a voluntary community? And what does choosing community mean in a time of national strife?