In honor of International Youth Day on August 12, we asked young leaders in the Ethical Culture Movement (all under 40) to introduce themselves.
Ethical Culture Leaders-in-Training
I want to be a leader that bridges the lessons and philosophy of Ethical Culture closer to the hearts and minds of people who attend and are invested in Ethical Culture. To inspire folks to be leaders in their own way, and not leading as far as being in charge or having power, but leading as in being brave enough to do what is necessary at the moment—following, listening, being graceful while being held accountable, and challenging the status quo. I live an ethical life, by trying to be reflective and concerned about my impact. My impact on the world, my impact on my community and my impact on those closest to me.
I am here to serve people and support them in re-imagining their lived experience. Fundamentally, ethics has not been fixed in what is right or wrong, good or bad—it is critically examining what good can arrive from the choices we make or what rights can reconcile ourselves with the society we live in. It is with these intersections of truth-building that I have the opportunity to equipment our community with discerning, healing, and seeking understanding. I come to Ethical Culture with the gift and excitement of transformation.
An Ethical Cultural leader provides space for all voices, while facilitating avenues of inquiries, provoking new thoughts and connections. An Ethical Cultural leader expresses their truth and simultaneously critically investigates how that truth emerged. They are exact in their message but free enough to be wrong or challenged. A leader knows that they also don’t know everything, so they must actively listen. They are tasked within live communication to be fully present, willing to listen to the hearts around them, as well as their own.
Sarah Tielemans is a Leader-in-Training in the Ethical Culture Movement. As a settler american who has been socialized as white in a white supremacist society, she is devoted to deconstructing her identity and uprooting the systems of injustice that exist within her. She practices humble curiosity as a path into deeper connection with others. Consistent with the philosophy of Adler, Sarah honors her spiritual aspect and seeks to enliven that in others. She believes that Joy is our birthright and Love is the perfect realization of our interconnectedness.
AEU Board Members
As a lifelong member of Ethical Culture, I believe strongly in the values and ideals that Ethical Culture offers us. This human-centered, ethics-based approach to finding common ground amongst people of all religious backgrounds and working together for a better world has enormous potential in local communities and in our national community. We can provide a home for people for whom traditional religions don’t fit while working together with people in traditional religious circles to uphold and elevate the worth of all people.
I’m an entrepreneur and designer and received my Ph.D. in art history from NYU in 2012. My family joined the Ethical Society of St. Louis when our oldest son was in first grade, and both of my kids have been raised in its SEEK program (they just started high school and middle school, respectively). I served on the ESSL Board of Trustees from 2016 to 2019. I’m excited to join the AEU Board of Directors and look forward to working to help our movement grow and thrive.