What We Live For; Bart Worden, Executive Director American Ethical Union

In 1876 the founder of the first Society for Ethical Culture, Felix Adler, said the following in his inaugural address: “There is a great and crying evil in modern society. It is want of purpose. It is that narrowness of vision which shuts out the wider vistas of the soul. It is the absence of those sublime emotions which, wherever they arise, do not fail to exalt and consecrate existence.” Adler’s hope was that Ethical Societies would inspire people to experience profound purposefulness, coupled with an expansive vision of humanity and a passion realizing each person’s worth and dignity—and that would lead us toward a richly humane and just society. How well does Adler’s concern reflect our concerns today?

Bart Worden, a longtime member of the Ethical Culture Society of Westchester, was recently named Executive Director for the American Ethical Union, and continues to serve the Westchester Society as their Leader. He has been an active participant with a number of AEU committees and task forces, has served on the AEU board as a National Leaders Council representative, and is a faculty member for the AEU Lay Leadership Summer School.

Bart obtained his bachelor’s degree from Hope College in 1978 majoring in Philosophy of Religion. In 1983, he obtained a masters degree in social work from N. Y. U. and then worked as a social worker and psychotherapist for adults with psychiatric disabilities. He currently serves The Guidance Center of Westchester as the organization’s Associate Executive Director. Bart graduated from the Humanist Institute 1997 and worked as a leader intern at the New York Society for Ethical Culture prior to his appointment as Leader for the Westchester Society in 1998.

Bart’s wife, Ruthanne, introduced him to the Westchester Ethical Society twenty-seven years ago, and their sons, Gary and Jeff, are graduates of the Sunday school.