By Susan Lesh
Well, the trees are really turning and the winds are really blowing….change is in the air!
I participated in the AEU’s ethical action to help with change; I wrote postcards for the Center for Common Ground’s Reclaim Our Vote (ROV) campaign. They went to rural areas in Georgia. As I was printing the message, I had dim memories of receiving a handwritten card urging me to vote when I was in my 20s. Glad to be on the writing end of the process now and giving back! I’m also participating in the Anti-Racism Book Discussions that the AEU is sponsoring. I’m reading Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism.” This is a really provocative book and I’m finding it much easier to read and discuss it within a group. I’m finding support for expressing my thoughts and hearing some resonance with others’ experiences. There’s still time for some of these book discussions as they go through December; you can find out more here. We change as we challenge ourselves to become better humans, and these discussions are helping with my change.
Here at Bergen, we are preparing for Joe’s retirement. This is a momentous change for our Society, as Joe has led us and the Ethical Movement for 47 years. His leadership has certainly shaped our community and he has left an astounding legacy. We are creating a booklet that illuminates some of his legacy and we want you to be involved in it. Member Beth Stein is collecting member tributes to Joe. The deadline is December 10, but if you get them to her by November 20, they will be included in December’s Focus newsletter. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Leadership Advisory Committee has determined that searching for an interim leader to help the community transition to a new leader will be an important step for us; the search for this interim leader is now underway (see related article, below). The Leadership Advisory Committee will gather resumes and winnow the applicants down to a few for the Board of Trustees to interview. We are hoping that this process will be completed by January 1. A search committee will then begin searching for a permanent new leader.
Our Re-Opening Task Force has given guidance for in-person activities and we had two successful hybrid (on Zoom and in-person) platforms in Joe’s backyard. The set-up and breakdown of the technology was a bit of a bear and I thank members Perry Stein and David Bland for their terrific efforts in making these platforms happen so well. The plan is to continue hybrid platforms once we are back in the building, and since the technology will stay in a relatively stable position, we hope the set-up and breakdown will become much easier. We are changing back to Zoom-only platforms for the foreseeable future as we head into colder, wetter weather. We also continue to meet in person with informal small-group social gatherings in the fall and possibly winter. In November we will shift to walks or hikes as the weather becomes too cold to sit in backyards. Please look for announcements from member Diane Koszarski to attend one (see this month’s outings, page 4).
As we change into fall and winter, I hope to see you at one of our many events, either in person or online.
Susan Lesh is president of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County.