Elicit the Best from Sun. December 4 by Loren Kreher

December 4, 2022

Good morning!

Thank you for your time and for putting up with me instead of my husband, who was originally scheduled to speak this morning. Like roughly half of St. Louis at this point, the flu has ploughed through our house, and his voice is in a much rougher state than mine.


Please Join Us in Welcoming Interim Leader Amy Miller

November 30, 2022
Amy L. Miller, MSW (she/they)

The Board is excited to announce that we have hired an Interim Leader for the Ethical Society of St. Louis! Amy L. Miller will start as our Interim Leader in January 2023, and she will serve in that role for 2 to 2.5 years.

Amy is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked as a therapist and consultant, counseling people and groups in managing stress, relationship issues, and family situations. More recently, she has been a life and relationship coach, which has included such functions as facilitating organizational development and change and leading group classes on healthy relationships and conflict resolution.

What we were seeking in an Interim Leader is someone who would help our Society have the introspective conversations to decide what we want to be in the future with the next Leader. Though Amy does not come from a clergy background nor the Ethical Culture movement, her lived experience as a Humanist who helps individuals and organizations work together and deal with change makes her an ideal Interim Leader for our current situation.

Amy will start in her role on January 1, 2023, and her first Platform as our Interim Leader will be on January 8. However, that won’t be her first Platform overall for us; she gave a Platform on Love in February 2018, which was the basis of her book, Easyish: Keys To A (Relatively) Easy Relationship.

Amy and her family plan to attend Good Cheer on December 18. Please welcome her and them at Good Cheer and when she starts her role leading us next month.

Amy L. Miller, MSW (she/they) is a clinical social worker, author, life + relationship coach, and consultant with over a decade of experience teaching people how to be human together by building and sustaining healthy relationships. She is also trained as a mediator, and loves a win/win. She values creating comfort and skill-building around assertive communication, healthy boundaries, and the pro-active and nonviolent resolution of conflict in the interest of everyone having healthier, more peaceful lives. Amy cares a lot about racial justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, reproductive justice, and has a deep interest in tackling any and all issues and problems that cause people to have less joyful lives. She’s also the mom of a smart and hilarious six-year-old daughter (she/her) named Zoe and the spouse of a wonderful man named Rodney Prather (he/him). The Miller/Prather Family is so happy to be part of the Ethical Society. Amy especially looks forward to helping clarify the best path forward out of the dark pandemic period, and hopes to help us all learn how to People again and be together in real life. 

Elicit the Best from Sun. November 27 by Wendy Weber

November 27, 2022

A few months ago, after I sent my younger of two sons off to college, I started coming to the Society as an adult after not having been here but just a few times since I was in youth group.

I would sit in the back and reacquaint myself with the wood beams of this auditorium, and the structure and concepts of Platform, and I would see Elicit the Best in big letters on the screen.


Elicit the Best from Sun. November 20 by Kyle Nienhaus

November 20, 2022

They said I have three to five minutes, so you’ll have to forgive me if this takes six minutes! — I have a slogan that I say to myself not infrequently: What would James do? I thought to abbreviate it, but then found: WWJD? Oh no… well, forget the abbreviation then. My point is deeper, more subtle, more sage- like.


Climate Action Now! Planting Trees, a triple win

November 12, 2022

Seven intrepid members of the CAN! Team gathered at the Mississippi Greenway Trailhead in
North Riverfront Park, on Saturday, November 12, bundled up in winter coats, hats and gloves,
to help Forest ReLeaf and Great Rivers Greenway (and several dozen other volunteers) plant
100 trees. Planting trees is one strategy for capturing carbon and ultimately reducing levels of
carbon in the atmosphere. So we were there, in near freezing temperatures, to “do some good”.
We also received instruction on the proper way to plant trees—valuable lessons we can use in
our own yards or perhaps some day on the Ethical Society grounds, to benefit from the beauty,
shade, wildlife services, and water management properties of trees. The fact that we got a bit of
exercise and more than a bit of fun in the process was just icing on the cake.

CAN! team planting trees.
CAN! Team Ready to Work

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 – Liz Davidson

October 31, 2022

I was introduced to fiber art while working on my outdoor recreation degree and taking art
classes at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Later in life, while a stay-at-home mother,
I opened a small store in Makanda, IL, selling my hand dyed clothing as well as my carved and
sculpted candles. I eventually became more interested in creating pieces of art using textiles. I
was inspired by repurposing fabric that would otherwise be destined for a landfill.

Using the raw edge applique technique, I fuse cut pieces of fabric together and machine sew a
variety of stitches and free motion thread painting. I love the combination of fabric and thread
that brings texture and life to my art.

The focus of my art tends to be representations of the natural world with both realistic and
surrealistic elements.

This show will run from 6 Nov through the holiday season, with a reception on Sunday, 6 Nov, 12:30.

All art show posts.

Climate Action Now! Group tree planting

October 18, 2022
Tree held in a hand

Join Forest ReLeaf and Great Rivers Greenway, along with fellow members of the CAN! team, for a tree planting event on Saturday, November 12 from 9:00 AM to Noon at North Riverfront Park. This activity is suitable for adults and for children ages 12 and older.  All members and friends of the Ethical Society are welcome to participate.  If you can’t dig or lift, you can help with the watering of the newly planted trees.

Register here with Forest ReLeaf and then email the CAN! team organizers to let us know you’ll be joining us.  The location is a less than 25-minute drive from the Ethical Society.  We can arrange to carpool together, if desired.

About this event

Help plant 100 trees as we celebrate the Mississippi Greenway and all it has to offer. Helping hands of all ages are welcome!

WHERE: North Riverfront Park- South Entrance

WHEN: Saturday morning from 9:00am to 12:00pm

WHAT TO WEAR/BRING: Volunteers are asked to bring a water bottle and wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, and closed toed shoes that are appropriate for digging. Keep in mind you will get dirty! All tools (shovels and pick axes) needed to plant trees, gloves and snacks will be provided.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Tree planting events are held rain or shine. Upon checking in at the volunteer table, you will be asked to sign a liability waiver. You will then be assigned to a planting zone. Following opening remarks, we will provide training on how to properly plant and care for trees. Volunteers will be with your group throughout the event to guide you on which trees to plant in which locations. Expect to dig, mulch, and get your hands dirty!

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.

Climate Action Now! Psychological Toll of The Climate Crisis

October 15, 2022

It’s easy enough to see the damaging physical effects of climate change on communities and ecosystems directly impacted by fires, floods, droughts, and super storms. Less visible is the psychological toll of experiencing a slow-motion train wreck—-a toll especially felt by young people, who are aware their futures are at stake. We will discuss the strategies for developing resiliency in the face of this looming crisis. Join the Climate Action Now! team for this important program.

Sunday, November 13, 2022 9:45 Forum:


Brian Vandenberg, PhD, retired Professor of Clinical Psychology and former Director of the Graduate Clinical Training Program at UMSL.

Internal Activism: Habits, routines, and attention to mind, body, behavior

Highly Recommend

  • Doing What Matters in a Time of  Stress.”  s book addresses many of the resiliency strategies listed below. It is published by the World Health Organization, has been published in 25 languages, is presented in an easy to follow graphic text, and the strategies suggested are supported by decades of research. It can be downloaded for free.
  • Also, the book “Emotional Resiliency in the Era of Climate Change’– Leslie Davenport.


  • Validate experience. Not something wrong with you; not impaired, stupid. Acknowledge that the problem is a global one that everyone must face.
  • Identify what you can control and what not. Focus on what you can control.
  • Attend to and counter negative “mind habits”. “It’s no use to try.” “Our lives are (My life is”) ruined.” “We are (I am ) doomed.” “I’m alone in this struggle.” “What I do never makes a difference.” “I’m crazy to be upset about this”.  See “Doing What Matters in a Time of  Stress.”
  • Also,  “Doing What Matters in a Time of  Stress
  • Accept change.
  • Mindfulness. It is a shift in how we are experiencing the world that can be done anywhere. Shift from the mundane ways we engage the world to become aware of being alive, experiencing the presence of the world. Gratitude for this moment.  Mindful awareness to “unhook” ourselves from negative mind habits that “hook” us into a downward spiral of thoughts and habitual/self-defeating stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and our lives. See “Doing What Matters in a Time of  Stress”.
  • Also, meditation apps:  There are eco themed meditations.



  • Connecting with others critical part of internal activism and fostering resiliency.
  • Online resources:
    • Work That Reconnects Network. Resources for resiliency and connection. Events, webinars & conversation cafes, forums, books, audio, videos, poetry, songs & music, practices (gratitude, deep time, seeing with ancient eyes, meditations, etc.).
    • Climate Awakening. Share stories, join climate emotions conversations.
    • Eco-Anxious Stories. Resources to share stories, normalize climate anxiety, spark solutions. Also news sources to aid.
    • Gen Dread. Newsletter for staying sane in climate crisis.
    • Good Grief Network. “10-Step to personal resilience and empowerment in chaotic climate.”
  • Limit social media & other info input. Common consequences: Overstimulation. Frantic behaviors. Sleep & physical ailments/complaints. Distraction. Inability to concentrate and focus.
  • Connect with outdoors.
  • Live in accordance with values. Existential treat—task to find ways to live meaningfully with full appreciation of threat. See “Doing What Matters in a Time of Stress”.

Developing habits, routines, and deliberate attention to mind, body, and behavior is HARD. An ongoing challenge; a marathon, not a single trial. We will fail. Again. And again. Practice. Practice. Practice. Requires as much effort, diligence and is as important as external action. Imperfectly, together, we unite, we change.

You can also access this Resiliency Resource Outline

  • On the Climate Action Now! link on the Ethical Society webpage.
  • It is in a footnote of the post, “Psychological Toll of the Climate Crisis” on my blog
  • Send an email to the CAN! team,, and we will send you a copy.
  • You can also sign up for email notices of our CAN! meetings and activities by sending us an email and simply state “subscribe” in the subject heading. We are very mindful to keeping our missives to an absolute minimum—no harassment, we promise.

Suggested Actions for CAN!

  • Visit and explore at least one Climate Crisis website offering resources and support. (See Resiliency Outline).
  • Pick one resiliency strategy that you don’t typically use and try it for a week.
  • Talk with someone of another generation who you don’t know well about the Climate Crisis.

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.

Climate Action Now! Hope, Fun and the Future of CAN!

October 10, 2022

Thanks to all of you who attended and contributed your ideas to today’s 9:45 Forum, hosted by the Climate Action Now! team.  Several of you commented about ways to spread the word about our programs, our concerns, our recommended actions.  You, of course, can play an active role in the dissemination of this information. 

Please share these links with your own networks—friends, family, neighbors, work colleagues.  The more of us who use our connections to talk about the perils of climate change and the necessity of finding solutions (from the political, to the corporate and financial, to the little things we can do individually to change our own behaviors and practices), the more we grow our impact.

We at the Ethical Society are not the experts.  Nor do we possess a large megaphone.  What makes our group different is community—we are people already united around a shared set of values which include earth stewardship and a sense of responsibility toward each other and the generations that follow us, with no expectation that some supernatural power is going to swoop in and save us.  

Let’s build on that foundation of community, strengthening our ties to each other, drawing hope and inspiration from each other, enjoying each other’s company while engaging in the serious work of dealing with climate change.

I hope you will consider participating in the service projects, political actions, and social activities that we may plan over the coming months.  I hope you will even consider planning and sponsoring some of those activities.  It may be cliché, but it really does take a village.  And the Ethical Society of St. Louis is our village.

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.

Elicit the Best from Sun. October 2 by Zoe Ann McKinnon

October 3, 2022

When James told me I was doing Opening Words today and that the topic was “eliciting the best”, I’m quite certain I looked like a surprised Pikachu.

I had just spent over a week agonizing over writing a behavioral expectations document and behavior contract for the youth of the ethical society. What needed to be included, how specific did I need to be without being too specific…while still covering my bases for students at an age where they have just discovered the power of civil discourse, debate, and the ever dreaded and celebrated loophole.


Elicit the Best from Sun. September 25 by Louise Jett

September 25, 2022

Striving to bring out the best in others is a core value of mine. So, when deciding which story to tell, I could recognize a lot of possibilities from my recent and distant past. Lately, I have experienced being a part of the Activist Academy here at the Ethical Society. It is a free 12-week workshop that is teaching us how to make change in the world.


Elicit the Best from Sun. September 18 by Stephanie Sigala

September 19, 2022

Today’s Elicit the Best theme is Do Good! Make Friends! Help Out!

The big surge of COVID-19 quarantine is over, or at least we certainly hope it is. We no longer have horrifying hospitalization numbers in the Post and many of us wear masks selectively now. It seems like the crisis may be petering out. We are keeping our fingers crossed.


Art Show – Cathy Lander-Goldberg

September 2, 2022


A social photography project celebrating older women. This powerful display includes a diverse group of St. Louis area women in their upper 70s and older. The intention of this project is to:

  • Challenge stereotypes on aging
  • Give a voice to those in this demographic by sharing their stories
  • Provide inspiration, wisdom & perspectives on resilience for viewers of all ages

More information on my work may be found on my website at and there is a virtual gallery of my last traveling exhibit, The Resilient Souls Project

This show will run from March 3 through April 16, with a reception on Sunday, March 5, 12:30.

All art show posts.

Opening Words from Sun. August 28 by Ellen Wright

August 28, 2022

Yesterday was my birthday. I turned fifty-nine. On that date in 1963, hundreds of thousands of people were marching to Washington DC. As I was being born Martin Luther King Jr was preparing what is now known as his “I have a dream” speech. I didn’t notice.

About that same time the Ethical Society was preparing to move from its meeting place at the Sheldon Memorial in St. Louis City to our current beautiful building here in Ladue.


Interim Leader Search

August 26, 2022
Category: ,

The Ethical Society of Saint Louis is seeking an Interim Leader, equivalent to an Interim Minister, Pastor, or Rabbi.

Who We Are:

The Ethical Society of Saint Louis is a humanist congregation, founded in 1886 and affiliated with the American Ethical Union. Our mission is to inspire ethical living by affirming the worth and dignity of every person and advocating the primacy of ethical behavior above any creed. The Ethical Society functions like a traditional religion, building community through a focus on a shared set of values and encouraging members to support each other through the stages of life. We hold weekly services on Sundays for adults and ethical education for children from preschool through high school. Our programs are non-theistic and involve no prayer or traditional religious rituals. Our membership of approximately 330 adults includes people of varied backgrounds, faiths and beliefs, many of whom self-identify as agnostic and/or atheist.

We are united in our belief in the capacity of human beings to work together to create a better world, committed to social justice, environmental stewardship, and democratic ideals. We are an intergenerational community, providing education, inspiration, social and social action opportunities, support and friendship for people of all ages.


  • Full-time, temporary position, 12 to 24 months duration, start date negotiable between January and June 2023
  • Salary range, including housing allowance, between $85,000 and $105,00, based on level of education and relevant experience
  • Generous benefits, including medical insurance, self-employment offset tax, retirement contribution and relocation allowance to St. Louis (if appropriate)

Principal Responsibilities Include:

Duties of the interim Leader:

  • Provide leadership and assistance to the congregation with the ultimate goal of hiring a permanent leader.
  • Facilitate conversations with and between members regarding the future direction of the Ethical Society. Activities might include guiding evaluation of past programs, traditions and rituals; experimenting with new ones; discussing what kind of permanent leader members would like to have; analyzing and evaluating current and potential associations and alliances; and articulating a vision and goals for the future of the Society.
  • Prioritize and ensure fulfillment of the duties of a permanent Leader.

Duties of a permanent Leader:

  • Provide inspiration for the well-being of the membership and promote community involvement and organizational growth
  • Prepare and present an original 30-minute address to the congregation, approximately two Sundays per month, on topics related to ethics or philosophy (See the Ethical Society’s podcasts for examples of these presentations, which we call Platform addresses.)
  • Organize other Sunday morning programming, with help of paid and volunteer staff
  • Provide pastoral care and counseling to members
  • Oversee daily operations, manage staff (currently one full time and 6 part-time employees)
  • Provide support to volunteer teams, working to meet the needs and interests of the Society and its members
  • Oversee the work of the children’s Education Director and maintain involvement in its programming
  • Foster a good working relationship with the Ethical Society Nursery School, a wholly owned subsidiary
  • Preside at weddings, memorials, and other rites of passage
  • Be sincerely and energetically involved in the life of the Society


  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Advanced degree and/or record of achievement in congregational growth or community organizing preferred
  • Interim ministry training or experience strongly preferred
  • Empathetic, approachable, friendly, and flexible disposition

How to Apply:

Interested candidates should provide a letter of interest, a resume, an essay that could be developed into a public address from our Platform, and contact information for three to five references. Must agree to a background check. Please send all requested material to Applications will be evaluated as they are received. The search will remain open until the position is filled.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or age.

PDF of this document.

Opening Words from Sun. August 21 by Nancy Borders-Wing

August 21, 2022

My name is Nancy Borders-Wing, I’m the Wing in case you were wondering. My pronouns are she/her. And my husband Don and I have been members for 32 years.

How many remember the musical “Bye, Bye, Birdie” and the song “Kids”? In the song, Paul Lynde asks the question: “Why can’t they be like we were, Perfect in every way?”

Allow me to tell you what happened last month.


Art Show – Jo Seltzer

August 14, 2022

A Little This, A Little That

I have been told many times that my artwork is happy. I would have to agree, for several reasons. Primarily, I have had a most fortunate life, and that good fortune has led to a great deal of happiness.

As they say, you paint what you know.

Jo Seltzer sample images for art show

My artwork is intended to share what excites me visually at the moment. Often it is a striking scene, or a beautiful flower. Sometimes it is a photo I have taken of a person or persons. Sometimes, and more frequently of late, it is an abstraction. And, of course, the process of making art is a happy one.

I have loved learning different media and techniques, and thank some excellent teachers for that. I’m especially grateful to Jerry Thomas for his artistic advice over the course of many years.

When a painting is ‘hot off the press’, it is another source of happiness that my husband Carl is eager to frame it and hang it on the walls of our home.

This show will run from September 7 through October 23., with a reception on Sunday, September 11, 12:15.

All art show posts.

Opening Words from Sun. August 14 by Nathan Schrenk

August 14, 2022

Good morning! I’m Nathan Schrenk, and I’ve been a member of the Society since 2016. I’m happy to be back here for the first time in a couple months, as my family and I have been out of town most of the summer. I’m going to talk to you this morning about the Society’s budget. I presume that no one has given Opening Words about a topic as exciting as the budget while I was away, but if so, please bear with me.


Help meet our Equity and Diversity Goals!

August 10, 2022

For years the Ethical Society has struggled to meet the equity and diversity goals set by the Board of Trustees. This year, in an attempt to make more progress, we’ve put together a survey to help our members and friends think about what we need to change internally so we reach more, different people. Please take the brief survey below – it will help shape our future conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Society.

Opening Words from Sun. August 7 by Sue Williams

August 7, 2022

Good morning. My name is Sue Williams, and I have been a member of the Ethical Society for about 12 years. I’m here this morning to talk about our Tuesday Women’s Association here at Ethical, and highlight our upcoming year.

The purpose of the TWA is to work for the general good of the Ethical Society, to foster fellowship among our members, to provide programs of interest and to support select social causes.