These are times when we are vexed, rather assaulted, by multiple challenges coming from the wider world: Climate destruction, democracy destruction and the flourishing of irrationality that is literally mind-boggling. Ethical Culture has been historically committed to taking on the larger issues in each era in which it has found itself. Perhaps what is sometimes lost is that Ethical Culture is no less committed to the private lives of individuals and the more intimate sphere of social relations.
I contend that in these times, when feelings are often made raw and barbed by the fears and challenges that impinge on us, that being able to nurture kindness in the smaller sectors of life is vitally important.
I plan to dedicate my address to the cultivation of kindness and why we should not overlook this essential value which more than most reveals our humanity.
About Leader Dr. Joe Chuman
Dr. Joe Chuman recently retired as the Leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, a community he served since 1974. Since 2008, he has been a Leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture. As an activist, Dr. Chuman has worked on behalf of human rights and civil liberties and in opposition to the death penalty, as well as on many other progressive causes. He founded the Northern New Jersey group of Amnesty International in 1974, and currently serves as president of the Bergen County Sanctuary for Asylum Seekers, founded by the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County. This coalition of religious and human rights organizations provides services for asylum seekers released from federal detention.
Sunday Platform is our most important and long-standing community event. These gatherings educate, stimulate personal growth, inspire reflection and action, and strengthen our community. Sunday meetings usually begin with music, followed by greetings and a talk given by a Society Leader, member, or guest. Platforms cover a variety of topics that reflect current events, pressing social issues, and Ethical Culture philosophy. A collection basket is passed and money is shared between the Society and a charity selected for that day. While contributions are always appreciated, Sunday meetings are free and open to the public. Each Sunday meeting is followed by a luncheon and social hour.