By Susan Lesh
Martin Luther King Jr. said in a speech to Spelman College, “if you can’t fly, then run; if you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl; but by all means keep moving.” We’ve been talking about the challenge before us that is Joe’s retirement. We have always had a leader; for most of us that leader has been only Joe. We may spend some time without a leader as the search for an interim leader continues. So what does that mean for our Society?
Many of our routine functions will continue to happen. We are in good shape structurally with paid positions of Administrative Director and Director of Ethical Education. David Bland as A.D., with past A.D. Linda Bennett, who is still a very active member as treasurer, takes care of the daily running of the Society. They both have a long history with the Society and are both devoted members. Samantha Stankiewicz is a longtime member whose children are in the Sunday School. While this period of restrictions due to COVID-19 has been very challenging, she and the entire Ethical Education Committee and Sunday School staff are working hard to keep our children engaged and relationships strong.
Our committee structure here at Bergen is excellent, and except for a Platform chair, filled with committed lay leaders. Our Platform Committee has filled most of the calendar up through March, with people following up leads for the rest of the year. As Janet Glass mentioned in her “Update on the search for an interim leader” article (see page 2), we will be joining the Philadelphia and Baltimore societies for Hugh Taft-Morales’ first Sundays platforms, beginning in February. We have the good fortune to have many members with experience in Ethical Culture as well as many new members who are eager to participate. The Nominating Committee will soon begin the task of looking for committee chairs and I urge you to please seriously consider responding with a yes if you are able. If not, please consider joining a committee. Most of them are having monthly meetings via Zoom, like our Sunday platforms, and it’s a way to see members more than just on Sunday. I know that I feel part of the larger community working together and socializing together over the month.
I’d like to leave you on a celebratory note. Joe’s well-deserved retirement begins at the end of December. We have several ways to honor Joe this month. Beth Stein and Theresa Forsman are collecting member tributes to Joe to put into a book illuminating his abundant legacy. If you haven’t contributed your tribute yet, there’s still time…the deadline is Dec. 10. While we can’t have an in-person celebration yet, get your anecdotes about Joe ready for our Dec. 27 platform. Our “Do Tell Diner” platform (see page 4) will be devoted to Joe as the focus of our storytelling. We all have a tale or two about Joe and here’s the place to share them.
See you in December!
Susan Lesh is president of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County.