Art Show – Bob Charity

January 23, 2023

Bob’s photography will be up through February 26. He is a chemistry professor at Washington University and his photos are all from Missouri natural areas. 

This show will run from 26 February.

All art show posts.

Opening Words from Sun. January 22 by Trish Cowan-Williams

January 22, 2023

Good morning, I’m Trish Cowan-Williams and my pronouns are she/her. I’ve been a member of the Ethical Society for 17 years. My husband, Travis, and I are raising two teenagers and a six-year-old little guy with the support of you all. Travis, the kids, and I have each enjoyed the different ways to engage as members and supporters of the Ethical Society over the years. It’s brought us meaning, a sense of belonging, a way to commit to group projects and initiatives, and an extended family of true friends and loved ones.


Elicit the Best from Sun. January 15 by Kathy Ryan

January 16, 2023

Hi. My name is Kathy Ryan. I was lucky enough to fall in love with psychology almost 50 years ago. I believe that psychology can help to elicit our best.


Elicit the Best from Sun. January 9 by Norm Eisenberg

January 9, 2023

Good morning and happy new year. Welcome everybody!

This is a subject that I AM passionate about, so let’s just hope I can avoid any curse words.



Climate Action Now! EV and Electrification Advances

January 9, 2023

The electrical grid historically was a one-way transfer of electricity.  From major coal, nuclear, or gas fired plants to homes and offices.  Now, the grid is a two-lane highway of distributed energy, electric vehicles, demand shedding, and information.   Recent major investments in EV buses, commercial vehicles, and fleets will shift the energy use portfolio of the US and world.  Join Steve O’Rourke and Gordon Schweitzer to discuss the variety of items related to EV charging, grid electrification, and solar PV!


Gordon Schweitzer III and Steve O’Rourke

Suggested Actions for CAN!

  • Conduct a home energy audit
  • Implement energy efficiency measures, both low/no cost and those covered by the Inflation Reduction Act
  • Install solar PV or purchase renewable energy via a community solar program
  • Purchase an EV or hybrid, and do more to walk, bike and use mass transit
  • Contact elected officials to advocate for more competitive pricing on community solar, like in Illinois
  • Support climate change organizations

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. December 11 by Cathy Pickard

December 11, 2022

Good morning.

Almost forty years ago, my husband, Bob, and I were at the Repertory Theater of St. Louis, and we saw an ad in the play’s handbill. It read, “The Humanists will get you if you don’t watch out”, with a note in the corner that the ad was sponsored by the Ethical Society of St.Louis. Now it just so happened that we were, at that time, the parents of a pre-schooler and a toddler, and we were looking for a place for our kids to get a non-dogmatic religious education. We were intrigued! And so we visited the Society that weekend and regularly, thereafter, for a full year, before joining. We’ve been here ever since. In that nearly four decades, the Society has had six senior or solo leaders, three associate leaders, and three leader interns, counting James three times, as he served in all three capacities. These leaders have all been very different—or as the kids might say, “every one, important and unique”—with their own insights, interests, backgrounds, strengths, passions, causes, writing and speaking voices and leadership styles. I believe that, as individuals and as a Society, we were, in some way, enriched by every one of them.


Climate Action Now! Beyond Coal

December 7, 2022

The main objective of the Beyond Coal campaign is to replace dirty coal with clean energy by mobilizing grassroots activists in local communities, nationwide, to advocate for the retirement of old and outdated coal plants and to prevent new coal plants from being built.”  Join us to learn how you can contribute to the effort to transition to a clean energy future with renewables.


Brian Smith, organizing representative of the Eastern Missouri Group of the Sierra Club,

Suggested Actions for CAN!

  • Volunteer with and/or donate to the Missouri Chapter of the Sierra Club.
  • Write a letter to the editor of a local paper, encouraging Ameren to close its coal-fired plants and to invest in clean, renewable energy.
  • Sign and share this petition, opposing Ameren’s proposed rate hike.
  • Attend the Public Service Commission’s hearing on the rate increase. Details forthcoming, but save the date:  February 9, 2023.

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. 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 Ministry Team Director Amy Miller

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

The Board is excited to announce that we have hired an Interim Ministry Team Director for the Ethical Society of St. Louis! Amy L. Miller will start as our Interim Ministry Team Director 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 Ministry Team Director 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 Ministry Team Director for our current situation.

Amy will start in her role on January 1, 2023, and her first Platform as our Interim Ministry Team Director 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


This social photography & storytelling project gives a voice to a diverse group of St. Louis area women in their upper 70s and beyond in order to provide inspiration for viewers of all ages.  While some cultures revere elders’ wisdom, ours tends not to do so.  This exhibit honors and celebrates these experienced women, breaks stereotypes and provides the viewer with suggestions on how to keep finding joy, connection and purpose despite the challenges that may come with aging.  

Each of these women provided a past photo to help tell her story.  As you will see, some of the images are tattered by years in an old wallet or adhesive photo album making the keepsake even sweeter by illustrating the passage of time.   We also worked together to create a present-day portrait.  I had the privilege of chatting with each woman and chose an excerpt from our conversation to include with the photos.  Some segments of our interview were taped and additional excerpts will be available in the virtual gallery at CLGPhoto (Click “Wise Women”). 

These women shared what has helped them lead meaningful lives including volunteering, advocating, writing, working, learning, teaching, traveling, creating, physical activity, humor, gratitude, faith, patience, self-kindness, hope, pleasure, positivity, problem solving  and connecting with others. I am forever grateful for their time and willingness to share their perspectives on living life.  

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.