Caring team, supporting our members

May 17, 2022

Who are we?

We are a small team of volunteers who reaches out to our members in need.  Current members of the team include Gena Gardiner (lead), Jayne Draney, Dan Overman, Mary Ellen Roberts and Jane Schaefer.  We meet monthly (the second Sunday of the month at 9 AM before platform in the Butterfly Room) to review upcoming requests for assistance or any recent events or news that may happened in our members’ lives.

What do we do?

We try to offer emotional support and sometimes physical support to our members who are ill or who may have lost someone close to them.  We do this with phone calls, visits, cards and an occasional hot meal.  We have given rides to doctors’ offices from time to time and have helped with small tasks when needed.  We have taken members to attend platform or the  grocery store when they lacked transportation to do so.

Every August (starting 2 years prior to COVID) we sponsored a yearly Ice Cream Social so that members can meet and visit after platform in a purely social setting.  

How do you contact us?

The best way to contact us is through the website  All of the members on the team will then see the request or message and can then act on it in a timely fashion.   However, if you are not able or would prefer, you can contact our team lead, Gena Gardiner at 314-452-1202.  Please leave a message if she is unable to answer right away and she will be sure to call you back.  

To join our team, please contact the or call Gena (contact as above).

Opening Words from Sun. April 10 by Dara Strickland

April 10, 2022

Good Morning. I’m Dara Strickland, my pronouns are she/her. I’ve been a member at the Ethical Society for about 3 years.

Today it’s going to be 75 degrees; two days ago? Snow.

This is an object lesson on why farmers’ almanacs in Missouri tell you not to put new plants in the ground before April 15 – which is this week.


Climate Action Now! Plastics and Climate Change

April 9, 2022
Platic bottles as smoke stacks

Did you know almost all plastics are made of oil and gas? We’ll hear from Leslie Gittemeier, formerly of the Saint Louis Zoo, about how single-use plastics and plastic production are major contributors to climate change. Reducing plastic use and finding alternatives to plastic are personal actions each of us can take to lessen the impact of climate change. Gittemeier will offer a variety of plastic reduction options for all kinds of lifestyles and communities.

Presenter: Leslie Gittemeier

Audio only


ACTIONS – Reduce plastic use

  • Switch to reusables (preferably not plastic)
  • Contact at least one of your representatives and ask them to support action to reduce plastic production/pollution (e.g. the Break Free From Plastic Act, remove MO ban on local bag bans)
  • Let at least one business you shop at know that reducing plastic packaging/waste is important to you or support businesses who are already taking action (e.g. Green Dining Alliance)
  • Follow #byetobags on social media for reminders, inspiration, and updates
  • Join others in taking action (join a green team, participate in the Green Business/Green Schools challenge, create/join a Plastic Free EcoChallenge team (occurs in July), or join the OneSTL Materials and Recycling working group)

Related Links

CAN! materials

These materials have been prepared by the Society’s CAN! (Climate Action Now!) team. This post and its links do not express or imply an endorsement by the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.

“The Invisible Ones and their Guardians” – Opening Words from Sun. April 3 by Jim Jordan

April 4, 2022

April’s Guiding Principle and Theme is I am free to Question. My Contrarian opening words are about a group who cannot or have very little ability to do this.


  1. The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but has been disproportionally harder on certain segments of society.
  2. Medical Advances and Technology have allowed many, who would have died 10, 20 or 40 years ago, to live. But Societal and Cultural Criteria and Ethical considerations have not kept up with these advances to allow them to reach their full potential.
  3. Missouri’s current Government is a pro-birth state, not pro-life.
  4. Missouri emphasizes workforce readiness and often states you must work to receive social safety net benefits.

Statement – MO House of Representatives is taking a draconian approach in order to not spend money to support people’s ability to achieve a decent life and support their family. For example, Missouri House Republicans have not given up their quest to unravel the expansion of Medicaid that voters approved in 2020, passing a bill in February to institute work requirements and give lawmakers the power to decide from year to year whether to cover the new recipients.

But the senate has been able to push back and stop many of these bills (so far).


Our incredible building

March 31, 2022
Outside photo of the St Louis Ethical Society

Riverfront Times wrote that our “Incredible Building Inspires Awe” in their 2022 City Guide. The Harris Armstrong designed building opened in 1964. “(T)he statement-making building boasts clean lines combined with Japanese-inspired design elements. With its sharp, copper-covered spire, the Ladue landmark is easily recognized from the street, but it’s the inside of the building that will take your breath away.”

Read Jamie Lees’ Riverfront Times article. Or go to the Riverfront Times 2022 City Guide.

Opening Words from Sun. March 20 by Rebecca Mackelprang

March 20, 2022

My name is Becca. My pronouns are she/her/hers. I moved to St. Louis a little less than two years ago to attend grad school for social work and decided to stick around. I currently work as a behavioral health intake therapist at a hospital. I heard about the ethical society from a podcast and decided to check it out. Since I left the faith I grew up in, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of a secular community and really respect what the Ethical Society stands for in the greater St. Louis Region.


Climate Action Now! Plant-Forward Eating for the Planet

March 9, 2022

Learn about the environmental impact of different dietary patterns and what steps you can take today to reduce the carbon footprint of your plate.

Melissa Brown, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian who loves helping clients find opportunities and take steps to add more plants to their plates. Matthew Brown, MPH is an urban farmer who manages an ecologically friendly melange of fruit trees, vines, brambles, flowers, and both annual and perennial vegetables at their home on a half an acre in Saint Louis City. Melissa and Matthew, along with their 10-year-old son, Gabriel, love growing, cooking, and eating a wide variety of plants.

Presenters: Matthew and Melissa Brown (13-Mar-2022)

ACTIONS – Plant forward diet

  • Assess your current consumption of animal products and identify 1-2 areas of opportunity for yourself/your family:
    • One meatless meal/day?
    • One meatless day/week?
    • Meatless weekdays?
    • Reducing dairy consumption?
  • Commit to a change for at least one month
  • Explore other places you can advocate for plant-forward eating – at work, community events, school, etc.
  • Join a CSA
  • Commit to visit a farmers market (or grow your own) — see presentation slides for suggestions
  • Support policies that promote plants – for school meals, USDA food guidelines, etc.

Listen to the presentation

Related Links

CAN! materials

These materials have been prepared by the Society’s CAN! (Climate Action Now!) team. This post and its links do not express or imply an endorsement by the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.

Art Show – De’Joneiro Jones

March 8, 2022

“Tempus Fugit (Time Flies)”

De’Joneiro Jones

​The art of De’Joneiro Jones explodes with energy. A cacophony of color, texture, and shape burst from his work in an exploration of historical and contemporary visual language. Antique banknotes are collaged with cut-up credit and ID cards; acrylic paint splatters with a brash bravado in tension with popcultural imagery, newsprint, and textiles. Traditional multimedia art by definition includes more than one type of art-making process, be it painting or sculpture. Jones’s canvases are comprised of found objects across a wide spectrum of references and materials. The power of Jones’s work stems from this purposeful clash between high and low, old and new, the simplicity of the urban grid and the strategic chaos of paint drips, streaks, and thick amorphous blobs. Hip-hop moguls meet plastic school bus rings scattered across the canvas— a stop sign, a sheriff’s badge, and a delicate cameo brooch expand what we typically think of as painting. But what does it all mean? What seems vivid abstraction from a distance emerges as a logic of form and content the closer one examines; images of Anita Hill and the LA riots make meaningful dialogue with Louis Vuitton monograms, a Jimi Hendrix postage stamp, and a postcard advertising a high fashion retail store. For Jones, legacy becomes luxury, and vice versa. And amidst the iconography of the national, the global, the large and the minute, the infrastructure of St. Louis—be it commercial, institutional, or underground—is thrown into powerful relief. In Jones’s artwork, street cred grounds a new understanding of past and present, private and public, right and wrong. Racial and socioeconomic tensions make way for a space of introspection from which we cannot land on any definitive solution. What defines us as consumers, and as citizens? Need they be the same thing? Jones’s artwork confronts us with these questions, and compels us to reassess our identities as both individuals and members of a tumultuous human whole.

See more of his work at

This show will run from April 1 through May 15, with a reception on Sunday, April 3, 11:15.

All art show posts.

Crisis in Ukraine

February 25, 2022
Category: ,

The AEU Stands for Peaceful Solutions to the Ukraine Crisis

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine under the autocratic rule of President Vladimir Putin is a violation of international law, a threat to world peace and stability, and is endangering innocent lives. This act of aggression violates the values of the United Nations and ethical standards of decency.

As a result, the American Ethical Union (AEU) stands with Ukraine, a democracy, against this aggression by an authoritarian Russia. The AEU calls on all parties to work toward de-escalation and diplomatic solutions to the present violence. We condemn Russia’s invasion and encourage Ethical Culturists to contact their representatives in the US House and Senate to call for diplomacy.

We support sanctions, which hopefully will bring Russia back to the negotiating table. We urge members of Ethical Societies to support refugee organizations that will be severely tested during this time of conflict.

The AEU also calls for the protection of Ukrainian journalists and international reporters covering the conflict and implores all media outlets to seek the truth and report on it ethically in ways that minimize harm and illuminate facts. We are concerned about the impact this conflict will have on humanists and other freethinkers given Putin’s stance on the separation of church and state.
In the long run, the best path forward is a commitment to creating a Culture of Peace. We strongly suggest actions offered in a 2021 Resolution passed by the Assembly of the AEU that promote “a culture of peace in our personal relationships, in our homes, in our local communities, in the work of our Ethical Societies, and in our nation, including how our work against economic injustice, systemic racism, and climate change promotes such a culture of peace.”

Art Show – Kim Carr

February 24, 2022

Endangered Farm Animal Photo Project

Yeah...We Got Milk! - Jersey Cows
Yeah…We Got Milk! – Jersey Cows

​As a natural light photographer, I am committed to raising awareness for farm animals in danger of extinction and the small farmers dedicated to their preservation.  Through the sale of my artwork I am able to donate to organizations such as the Livestock Conservancy whose sole purpose is to save these rare breeds and maintain biodiversity for future generations to come.  Never before has my purpose been so clear or rewarding.  Together we can all make a difference, one photo at a time.

See more of Kin’s work at

This show will run from July 8 through August 28, with a reception on Sunday, July 10, 11:15.

All art show posts.

“Christian Values” Statement Has No Place in Our Government

February 19, 2022

In response to Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s statement that “Christian Values” are required for state government appointees Leader James Croft is quoted, in part,

“Any signal that non-Christians are unwelcome in public office compounds
the sense of outsidership and marginalization that many already feel.” 

Read Kate Uesugi’s article in TheHumanist. (If unavailable read the archived PDF copy, 400kb)

Climate Action Now! Drawdown and You

February 8, 2022

 “Project Drawdown”, is focused on finding solutions to global warming.  “Our mission is to help the world reach “Drawdown”— the point in the future when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline, thereby stopping catastrophic climate change — as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible.”

Using Project Drawdown as a springboard for discussion, we want to hear from you. What topics do you wish to investigate, were there issues we investigated last year that you wish to pursue further, does the ZOOM format work for you, are the recommended action items helpful, what could we be doing better?

Presenter: Bob Pickard

Video (YouTube of TED presentation) 17min

ACTIONS – Project Drawdown (Ideas shared by the meeting’s participants)

  • Emerging tech. Better fuel cells.
  • Group discussions to encourage others and exchange ideas.
  • New solutions for stubborn problems.
  • Change societies values (e.g., house size).
  • Reducing plastic consumption. Plastic as a carbon sink.
  • Consumers have made a mark in changing the egg market to free range.
  • Are there local business leaders that are highly motivated to green-up their industry we could invite to chat with us?
  • Jefferson County has  the largest cement kiln in US – they are making concrete from the limestone in the area. Can we have a speaker from that utility to share their current power use and how they plan to improve.
  • How can we make small changes in our eating habits?
  • How to market – being loud and proud about our actions.
  • Community sustainability groups – support and influence.

Related Links

CAN! materials

These materials have been prepared by the Society’s CAN! (Climate Action Now!) team. This post and its links do not express or imply an endorsement by the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.

Who started Ethical Culture and what did they believe?

February 4, 2022
Category: ,
image of Felix Adler founder of ethical culture

“Felix Adler and the four slightly younger men who joined him as founding leaders of the first Societies for Ethical Culture were united in their assertion of the independence and the supremacy of ethics, Adler in New York (1876), William Mackintire Salter in Chicago (1883), S. Burns Weston in Philadelphia (1885), Walter L. Sheldon in St. Louis (1886), and Stanton Coit in London (1888).”

In the early 1980’s Jeff Hornback, then leader of the St. Louis Ethical Society, completed a manuscript that described both the biographies and intellectual philosophical beliefs of those early leaders. Those interested in the history of the movement and its early philosophical considerations will find this a fascinating account.

Mr. Hornback’s privately bound book, The Philosophic Sources and Sanctions of the Founders of Ethical Culture, has been newly transcribed and is publicly available in both PDF and HTML formats on the Ethical Society of St. Louis’s website.

Read or download it on our new Books and Publications page.

The Rise of Global Authoritarianism

February 3, 2022
Category: ,

St. Louis Author Sarah Kendzior to discuss autocracy and the American future

Sarah Kendzior

ST. LOUIS – Join the Ethical Society of St. Louis for “The Rise of Global Authoritarianism” with local author Sarah Kendzior in person or online, Feb. 20, at 10 a.m. Kendzior, the author of “Hiding in Plain Sight” and “The View from Flyover Country,” will explore the rise of autocracy, paying particular attention to Missouri as the bellwether of American decline.

Her talk will examine the causes of rising autocracy – decades-long institutional rot, entrenched corruption, elite criminal impunity, digital media silos full of propaganda, and the embrace of groupthink and cults that tends to thrive in unstable times – and offer potential solutions to our ongoing crises.

“Sarah Kendzior is a modern-day prophet,” said Ethical Society of St. Louis Leader James Croft. “Her writing on American politics and culture is searingly honest, deeply thoughtful, and profoundly wise. At a time when truly dangerous forces are twisting American politics, we need voices like Kendzior’s to wake us up and get us to act.”

Kendzior will illustrate how Missouri has served as a petri dish for the end of the American experiment, a place where dirty dark money operatives test out their worst ideas on an innocent populace. But because Missouri has borne the brunt of these tactics early, she believes it may be better prepared to fight for the American future.

“While some might be put off by her diagnoses, we need to be honest about the challenges we face as a nation if we are to overcome them,” Croft said. “That honesty is what Sarah Kendzior offers, and that is why we are so delighted to have her join us for the Ethical Society of St. Louis’ annual Pacino Lecture. The Pacino Lecture is offered in memory of Nick Pacino, a member of the Ethical Society who was passionate about thought-provoking and timely ideas, and Kendzior is a perfect speaker to honor his memory.”

The hybrid event is free and open to the public. It will take place in the Ethical Society’s Auditorium at 9001 Clayton Road in St. Louis, and at  

The Ethical Society of St. Louis is a Humanist congregation where people come together to explore the biggest questions of life without reference to scripture, religion or God. To learn more, visit

Speaker Bio

Sarah Kendzior is the author of the bestselling books “Hiding in Plain Sight” and “The View from Flyover Country,” and of the upcoming book “They Knew,” which will be published in September 2022. She is the cohost of the Gaslit Nation podcast, which covers corruption in the US and the rise of authoritarianism worldwide. Kendzior has a PhD in Anthropology from Washington University in St Louis. She has written for a wide variety of publications, including the Globe and Mail, NBC News, and the Guardian. She lives in St. Louis.

Opening Words from Sun. January 30 by Lance Finney

January 30, 2022

Good morning.

When I wrote this talk, just a week ago, we didn’t know if this Sunday’s Platform would be all-virtual or hybrid. I had to write this speech with flexibility in mind, not having the type of consistency available that we used to be able to take for granted. This was a small unprecedented challenge for me, but I figured out a way to make it work.

That’s a tiny microcosm of how working in the pandemic has been for James and the staff over the last two years.


Opening Words from Sun. January 16 by Krystal White

January 16, 2022

Good morning, everyone. I’m really glad that we’re all here together virtually and I’m hoping that you are geared up for a really fantastic platform today. This platform is one of my favorites, where we get to hear an update from the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust, an organization the Ethical Society has been affiliated with for a number of years. Knowing that we can learn from everyone and that every person is deserving of worth and dignity, we’re putting our values into action and spreading that humanist message outside of Saint Louis and into Uganda so that schools can exist that educate based on science and compassion, that students can attend those schools regardless of their families’ ability to pay, and that women and girls have a chance for a different life than they would have without this intervention of education. Now I know that every single person has differing reasons about why they choose to be here as a member of the Ethical Society and also differing organizations that they choose to support with their philanthropy dollars. I’m going to tell you a little bit about my story and why my family chooses to support the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust.


COVID update

January 5, 2022
Category: , ,

Platforms will take place in the Auditorium and online ( If you are joining us in our building proof of vaccination or negative test will be required. Since we’ll be checking for proof of vaccination at the door, please arrive 10-15 minutes early. Masks are encouraged.

  • The Ethical Society will be open on Sundays beginning February 20.
  • Sunday Ethical Education for Kids (SEEK) will be in person at the Society.
  • Discussion will be held after platform and on Altar.

Please note, if you are joining us in our building proof of vaccination will be required. Masks are optional.

Last update: 23-Mar-2022

Jan. 9, 2022, Program

January 1, 2022

Platform Chair Gena Gardiner

Music: Caroline Hixson, piano

Open Words by Liz Zelman

Music: Caroline Hixson, piano

Awe, Wonder, Personal Transformation and Hope for the Future

Many of us feel despair right now. Despair at climate change and ecological collapse, and all its ill effects ranging from pandemics to loss of natural habitat and destructive wildfires. But despair is not an option. We want to live in a world that is safe and nurturing for everyone to fully experience awe and wonder. We want to preserve such a world for future generations.

Helen De Cruz will argue that we can cultivate the sense of awe and wonder at nature as an antidote against despair. Not as a form of self-soothing or individualized “self-help” but as a genuine catalyst for collective change.

Helen De Cruz holds the Danforth Chair in the Humanities and is Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University, St Louis, Missouri, US. She is currently working on the book “Wonderstruk: How wonder and awe shape the way we think” (under contract with Princeton University Press, and she has recently edited and illustrated Philosophy IIlustrated: 42 thought experiments to broaden your mind with Oxford University Press (2022).

Music: Caroline Hixson, piano

Closing Remarks

Yard signs supporting Ethical Society

December 9, 2021
Ethical Society of St. Louis yard sign 2021

Show your pride in the Ethical Society of St. Louis. Come by and get one of our new yard signs at our Sunday Platforms, at the office on Tuesdays, or call the office for more information. Signs are available for a recommended $10 donation.

You too can have a well dressed lawn!

Art Show – Michael Aaron McAllister

December 7, 2021

The embroidery art of Michael Aaron McAllister is featured in our gallery from December 30 through February 13 .


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness,
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate,
only love can do that.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

All of us have the right to live as we are, without pretense, without persecution, and with passion.

Here are portraits of some of my idols who have “swam against the tide” at some time or another, emerging from the water, dry, and strong and true.

I taught myself embroidery back in 1999, having pawed through my great-grandmother’s floss as a young boy. Each portrait is one-of-a-kind and 100% hand done. This is the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night. I live in Frenchtown (Downtown) St. Louis with my husband Bill, and our two Pugs.

See more of Aaron’s work at

100% of all proceeds go to: ArchCity Defenders, Legal Counsel shouldn’t be a privilege

This show will run from December 30 through March 27, with a reception on Sunday, February 27th, 11:15.