What Is an Ethical Humanist Leader?
Ethical Humanist/Ethical Culture Leaders are the professional clergy of the Ethical Culture Movement. Just as clergy in traditional religions serve their congregations, Ethical Humanist Leaders serve Ethical Societies and the broader community, providing pastoral support, inspiration, and a grounding in our deepest values. While many Leaders serve Ethical Society congregations, some are chaplains in health care and university settings, and still others are directly engaged in service to non-profit organizations.
What do Ethical Humanist Leaders Do?
Ethical Humanist Leaders serve Ethical Societies and the broader community as clergy, providing pastoral support, inspiration, and a grounding in our deepest values. If they serve a congregation, Leaders give inspiring talks on Sundays, provide educational programs and ethical action opportunities, and tend to the health and growth of the community. Leaders also bring the ideals of Ethical Culture to the wider community through their work on social justice initiatives and in collaboration with organizations that share our priorities. They also officiate life passage ceremonies (such as weddings, memorials, coming of age ceremonies, and baby naming ceremonies), collaborating with people to create unique and meaningful experiences.
What is required to join leadership training?
Trainees come to Ethical Culture Leadership Training with varying educational backgrounds and life experiences; therefore, individualized training plans are developed for each trainee. The requirements to be considered for training include the following:
- An understanding of Ethical Culture/Ethical Humanism
- References from three individuals who know trainee well and can assess or affirm the applicant’s leadership potential
- An undergraduate degree or the equivalent is recommended
The expectation is that a trainee will take two years to complete the module requirements and then have an internship period at an Ethical Society. The application process includes a conversation with the Dean, an application, interviews, and a background check.
How are Ethical Humanist Leaders Trained?
Ethical Humanist Leaders are trained in a wide variety of areas required of professional clergy, such as the history and philosophy of Ethical Humanism; organizational development and congregational growth; public speaking; and pastoral care and counselling. This training is provided by the American Ethical Union Leadership Committee and certified (similar to ordination) by the AEU Board. Some receive supplemental training from (and go on to teach courses in) the Humanist Studies Program.
What is the National Leaders Council?
The National Leaders Council is the professional organization of certified Leaders and Leaders-in-Training, and is an affiliate of the American Ethical Union. Through their work in the National Leaders Council, Leaders engage in continuing education, mutual support, and movement-wide collaboration.