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-books, free 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 Alliance, Centre for Inquiry Canada, Kelowna Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists Association.
Other National/Local Resources: Association humaniste du Québec, Atheist Freethinkers, Central Ontario Humanist Association, Comox Valley Humanists, Grey Bruce Humanists, Halton-Peel Humanist Community, Hamilton Humanists, Humanist Association of London, Humanist Association of Ottawa, Humanist Association of Toronto, Humanists, Atheists and Agnostics of Manitoba, Ontario Humanist Society, Secular Connextions Seculaire, Secular Humanists in Calgary, Society of Free Thinkers (Kitchener-Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph), Thunder Bay Humanists, Toronto Oasis, Victoria Secular Humanist Association.
Other International/Outside Canada Resources: Allianz vun Humanisten, Atheisten an Agnostiker, American Atheists,American Humanist Association, Associação Brasileira de Ateus e AgnósticoséééBrazilian Association of Atheists and Agnostics, Atheist Alliance International, Atheist Alliance of America, Atheist Centre, Atheist Foundation of Australia, The Brights Movement, Center for Inquiry (including Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science), Atheist Ireland, Camp Quest, Inc., Council for Secular Humanism, De Vrije Gedachte, European Humanist Federation, Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, Foundation Beyond Belief, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Humanist Association of Ireland, Humanist International, Humanist Association of Germany, Humanist Association of Ireland, Humanist Society of Scotland, Humanists UK, Humanisterna/Humanists Sweden, Internet Infidels, International League of Non-Religious and Atheists, James Randi Educational Foundation, League of Militant Atheists, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, National Secular Society, Rationalist International, Recovering From Religion, Religion News Service, Secular Coalition for America, Secular Student Alliance, The Clergy Project, The Rational Response Squad, The Satanic Temple, The Sunday Assembly, United Coalition of Reason, Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics.
Image Credit: Minister Amanda Poppei.