By Bart Worden, AEU Executive Director
At the time of our March 14th message, people were rapidly making efforts to adjust their lifestyles to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Since then, all the American Ethical Union (AEU) staff and volunteers began working remotely and all of our member Societies stopped having in-person Platform meetings. This past Sunday, at least eleven Societies held Platform meetings via Zoom video conferences, which included attendees from several other Societies.
Our daily lives are quite different from what we are used to, to say the least, and it is a significant challenge to connect and stay connected with others when we need to be physically apart. With that in mind, the AEU is actively developing supports to help our communities function effectively in these trying times. Our leadership has reached out personally to the Presidents Council representatives of each Society to hear what our groups need now and expect to need in the future. We will be continuing and expanding that outreach.
Here are some things we have put in motion so far:
Connections Web Forum and Calendar
We have launched a new Ethical Community page on AEU.ORG, our main website. This page includes an interactive web forum called “Connections” where we share helpful information, ideas, and resources from inside and outside the Ethical Culture Movement.
You can access the Connections web forum from the aeu.org home page by clicking on the “Connections” graphic. Once there, the web forum will be on the left side of the page. Click on any of the Discussion Categories to view related topics. If you would like to add your own topics or respond to a post, you can join the forum and do that.
The Ethical Community page also has a Connections calendar on the same page as the Connections web forum. This calendar is where you can find online meetings and activities to join. The Washington Ethical Society, Ethical Society of St. Louis, Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, New York Society for Ethical Culture, and Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture have all used Zoom for Sunday meetings and other events. Each Society will determine which of their events to add and has a representative who can post to the calendar. Societies can contact the AEU office for help in getting their events posted on the calendar.
We encourage everyone to participate with their own Society’s programs and also with the programs offered by other Societies that are listed on the Connections calendar. Both the web forum and the calendar are open to the public and continuously growing, so please visit them often and tell your friends about them.
- Virtual Sunday Ethical Education for Kids — a collaborative effort between the AEU and interested Societies that will offer a joint program with breakout rooms for different age groups
- Support Call for Societies with Buildings — a chat on coping with the financial struggles and health concerns caused by COVID-19
- How to Conduct Virtual Platforms and Other Events via Zoom video conferencing
- Online caring and support service for Societies without a Leader
The AEU is working to get these resources in place to help our Societies address the challenges ahead because we know the most important resource we have is each other. Let’s connect, let’s share, let’s together bring as much goodness into life as we can.
These times are scary and unpredictable, but one thing is certain: we will emerge stronger if we pull together now and stay connected with each other. I look forward to working with you to do what we can to bring ethics to life!