Nelson Mandela passed away in December, leaving a legacy that will teach and inspire Humanists for generations. I did not realize just how much Mandela’s vision reflects Humanism and Ethical Culture values until I heard a talk this past October by Ebrahim Rasool, the Ambassador of South Africa to the United States.
One of the best gifts to yourself is a healthy dose of gratitude. I am not talking about gratitude that others show you, although that is a very nice present to receive! I am speaking of the gratitude you express to others,…or to the planet, or to your pet, or just about anything. Studies have shown that feeling and expressing gratitude contributes to your mental and physical health.
Our upcoming pledge drive will honor our commitment for last year and “pay it forward” for next year. The first pledge honors the commitment we made for the 2013–2014 fiscal year budget. The second pledge will help us make a sound decision when we approve our budget for the 2014–2015 fiscal year. This means asking all of us to plan further ahead than usual, but I’m confident we will succeed.
Most of you know that while you see me at work in Baltimore, I live inside the Washington, D.C. beltway. As a result I felt the impact of the federal government shutdown in a number of very concrete ways. To begin with, my wife Maureen was furloughed. An analyst for the Library of Congress, she was sent home as “non-essential.”
More families and children are coming to the society to take advantage of our Sunday School. With them they bring a sense of energy and vitality that we want to sustain and grow. In September, we reached a peak of eleven students in the main classroom of our Sunday School.
Large-scale plans for hydraulic fracturing and natural gas export in Maryland have recently been set in motion. From my vantage point as a scientist let me point to some clear dangers that result from hydrofracking.
At the Baltimore Ethical Society (BES), whenever the topic of Ethical Culture’s unique place in the secular-religious spectrum comes up, people express a wide diversity of opinions. Some members embrace Ethical Culture fully as their religion. Others say that for them it is not a religion at all, but more of a philosophy or a way of living.
Humanists across the United States and the United Kingdom are coming to realize that building local communities enriches the lives of their members and helps to grow the broader Humanist movement. Many have come to believe that forming more local communities is vital for Humanism to gain widespread popular support. Ethical societies have offered nontheistic communities for close to 140 years.
In September of 2012 our Sunday school chose Frisky’s Wildlife and Primate Sanctuary for a community project. Frisky’s does the good work of taking in wildlife that has been injured, orphaned, abandoned, or displaced.