Ethical Society Leader Welcomes All


Ethical Society Leader Kate Lovelady cuddles an elderly tegu named Tesl at the World Aquarium in downtown St. Louis.

Ethical Society of St. Louis Leader Kate Lovelady began her journey of
making positive change as a poet and a writer, but to make an even greater impact, she eventually transitioned into her true vocation as an Ethical Leader.

“I realized I could probably do more good in the world as an Ethical Leader than as a writer,” she said. “Many of the goals are the same, like being a public learner, trying to understand human life and sharing sources of meaning, comfort and inspiration with others, especially to help more people have more meaningful and pleasurable lives.”

Kate’s Background

After earning her Certificate in Pastoral Counseling from the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, Kate served as a Leader-in-Training under the Ethical Society of Northern Westchester Leader Robert Berson.

She accepted her first professional Leader position in 2005 at the Ethical Society of St. Louis (ESSL), the largest Ethical Society in the world, after four years of study and internships through the American Ethical Union Leader training program.

“I think my biggest accomplishment was being entrusted with the Ethical Society of St. Louis as my first professional Leader post,” she said.

Ethical Culture

ESSL is a diverse, ethics-centered community of caring people dedicated to deed before creed. Members strive to bring out the best in the human spirit while appreciating the uniqueness and worth of every individual. People from various religious backgrounds, as well as agnostics and atheists, are welcome to join the community.

In her capacity as Leader, Kate is on the Advisory Board for Senior Connections, which trains volunteers to visit older people who could use a friend.

She also serves on the national level as chair of the Leadership Training Committee of the American Ethical Union (AEU), where she helps recruit and train the next generation of professional Leaders of Ethical Societies.

“Having a diverse and talented pool of Leaders is crucial to the future of Ethical Humanism, and it’s exciting to be part of that process and especially to mentor new Leaders in Training,” she said. “I am also planning a mini-sabbatical in Spring 2018, during which I will be adapting the AEU Leader training process so that it can be shared with more members of our movement as part of our adult education and lay leadership programs.”

Kate’s Deeds

Her primary duties at ESSL are to present Sunday Platforms and other programming, provide pastoral care and counseling of members, and lead the organization by helping the community live up to the values of Ethical Humanism.

“Although they are also sad occasions, some of my favorite times at the Society have been presiding at the memorials of members, hearing about their early lives and stories by family and friends and getting to celebrate their legacy,” she said. “I have met so many amazing and inspiring people here, and not just those who’ve done ‘great deeds,’ but those who’ve simply tried their best to be good people and do their part however they could.”

In her spare time, Kate enjoys gardening and community improvement. She is a member of Wild Ones St. Louis, an organization of native-plant enthusiasts, and the Dogtown Ecovillage, a community of neighbors interested in sustainable living.

“Kate lives her environmental values, and thus sets an example for others,” said Ed Schmidt, Ethical Society member and former board president. “She started the vegetarian dinner group and is a practicing vegan. She also chose to buy an older house in the city rather than a new one in suburbia. She leads by example, and the Ethical Society is a better place because of her efforts.”

She also volunteers Wednesday mornings with the Forest Park Nature Reserve Team, battling invasive species and planting natives in the restoration areas of the park.

“Every year is the best year of my life,” Kate said. “I truly feel that way, both because every year compounds the wonderful gift of my family, friends, and worthwhile work, and because I have a terrible memory.”

All are Welcome

She wants the ESSL membership to grow and invites people of all ages and
backgrounds to visit its home at 9001 Clayton Road in St. Louis on Sundays for platforms at 11 a.m. Platforms include inspirational talks and music but do not include rituals or prayers.

“If you are thinking of visiting, just come,” she said. “You have nothing to lose but loneliness, meaninglessness and inactivity. If you’re shy, bring a friend – ask them to come even if they aren’t interested, just to keep you company. Or, email me or our Outreach Director James Croft, and we’ll find someone to welcome you and have coffee with you afterward.”

Kate believes the most important advantages to being an ESSL member is ownership.

“The most exciting thing about a humanist community like ours is that it truly is shaped by its members,” she said. “This Society can be anything its members decide it can be, do anything its members want to do. And, if you don’t know that you need this community now, joining will ensure that it will still be here when you do need it.”

To learn more about the Ethical Society of St. Louis, contact Kate at