Ask Minister Poppei 2 – “Act So As To Elicit the Best In Others and Thereby In Thy Self”

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Minister Amanda Poppei is a Senior Leader & Unitarian Universalist Minister at the Washington Ethical Society (Ethical Culture and Unitarian Universalist). Here we talk about ‘standard’ services for the UUs and ethical societies.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Let’s talk about some of the functions within the community, what is the standard service repertoire – and proper terminology for everything within it – in a Washington Ethical Society Service?

Minister Amanda Poppei: Our “flow” on a Sunday morning looks pretty similar to a Protestant service, although we use different language for many elements…and of course all of it is from a humanist orientation.

We have Opening Word and an Opening Song (which is usually a sing-along), a Welcome and Community Candlelighting (when we say, every week: We kindle within us the warmth of compassion, the light of understanding, and the fire of commitment to build a bright future for all), a Meditation and music that goes with it, a Platform Address and a musical response to that, Community Sharing when people can share what resonated for them or what they are taking away from the morning, then Collection, a Children’s Sharing which might be a story or might be hearing from the kids about their classes, and then Appreciations and a Closing Song (again usually a singalong, and usually the same for the whole month because it will fit with the month’s theme) and Closing Words. The whole thing, from start to finish, is called a Platform Service. 

Jacobsen: How does this differ from other ethical societies? 

Poppei: Not all Ethical Societies light a candle or do a meditation, and not all use a monthly theme the way we do. All of them have a Platform Address, and almost all of them have something like Community Sharing, though for some it might be a Q&A format, whereas ours is just hearing from people without responses from the speaker. We also have more music, and definitely more singalong music, than most other Ethical Societies. 

Jacobsen: Also, what is the code of conduct or the means by which to standardize, for base consistency, the messaging, imagery, topics, and presentations of the ethical societies, at least in the United States? 

Poppei: There’s really no means of standardizing–it’s up to each Ethical Society to create what is meaningful for their community. 

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Minister Poppei.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-booksfree or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

Canadian Atheist Associates: Godless Mom, Nice Mangoes, Sandwalk, Brainstorm Podcast, Left at the Valley, Life, the Universe & Everything Else, The Reality Check, Bad Science Watch, British Columbia Humanist Association, Dying With Dignity Canada, Canadian Secular AllianceCentre for Inquiry CanadaKelowna Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists Association.

Other National/Local Resources: Association humaniste du QuébecAtheist FreethinkersCentral Ontario Humanist AssociationComox Valley HumanistsGrey Bruce HumanistsHalton-Peel Humanist CommunityHamilton HumanistsHumanist Association of LondonHumanist Association of OttawaHumanist Association of TorontoHumanists, Atheists and Agnostics of ManitobaOntario Humanist SocietySecular Connextions SeculaireSecular Humanists in CalgarySociety of Free Thinkers (Kitchener-Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph)Thunder Bay HumanistsToronto OasisVictoria Secular Humanist Association.

Other International/Outside Canada Resources: Allianz vun Humanisten, Atheisten an AgnostikerAmerican Atheists,American Humanist AssociationAssociação Brasileira de Ateus e AgnósticoséééBrazilian Association of Atheists and AgnosticsAtheist Alliance InternationalAtheist Alliance of AmericaAtheist CentreAtheist Foundation of AustraliaThe Brights MovementCenter for Inquiry (including Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science), Atheist IrelandCamp Quest, Inc.Council for Secular HumanismDe Vrije GedachteEuropean Humanist FederationFederation of Indian Rationalist AssociationsFoundation Beyond BeliefFreedom From Religion FoundationHumanist Association of IrelandHumanist InternationalHumanist Association of GermanyHumanist Association of IrelandHumanist Society of ScotlandHumanists UKHumanisterna/Humanists SwedenInternet InfidelsInternational League of Non-Religious and AtheistsJames Randi Educational FoundationLeague of Militant AtheistsMilitary Association of Atheists and FreethinkersNational Secular SocietyRationalist InternationalRecovering From ReligionReligion News ServiceSecular Coalition for AmericaSecular Student AllianceThe Clergy ProjectThe Rational Response SquadThe Satanic TempleThe Sunday AssemblyUnited Coalition of ReasonUnion of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics.

Image Credit: Minister Amanda Poppei.

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