Future Directions for Success in a Broader Community

The Ethical Society of Boston has taken giant steps toward sustainability by moving back to Harvard Square where our activities will be more central to all, and by engaging in a strategic planning effort. We need all members and friends to help ESB capitalize on these steps by being actively committed to ensuring that these changes do indeed help us achieve successful outcomes. We will need collective action to recruit new members, expand our activities, and collaborate within a broader humanist community.

The Humanist HUB, located at 30 JFK Street on the 4th floor, is a welcome strategy developed by the Humanists at Harvard to build a connected community of like-minded individuals in the greater Boston area. Our co-location in this new center can bring a sense of revitalized energy to our group. As an all-volunteer organization, we have done so much for our small group of members and friends. However, we need to think BIGGER.

By deciding to engage in a strategic planning process, we’ve set the stage to begin to think bigger. The Board of Trustees took the sense of the membership from meetings held last year, and moved forward by engaging a consultant, Mary Schaefer, to help us in the process. Mary came to us with significant experience in such endeavors, including having been a Founding Executive Director of the MIT Leadership Center. She has interviewed Board members and others from our community, facilitated a group process on our needs, and helped craft and distribute a survey to all members. Following her analysis of the results of the survey, Mary will debrief with the Board of Trustees, and help us define where we want to go to follow-up on the priorities we’ve all identified.

Change is difficult for most organizations and for most people. But in looking back over the past ten years, we can see that the Ethical Society of Boston needs to change in order to continue to exist. Our membership is aging, and we need to build connections to more people who share our views. We know from the Pew research studies that more people, especially younger people, are interested in the humanist approach to life and religion.  By committing to actions to build our Society within the Humanist HUB, our current members likely will become more fulfilled in their engagement with ESB, and we all will be revitalized by the kinds of activities that we, with younger people, can develop. Sharing in a multi-generational community will strengthen us all.

As we look toward our annual spring Members’ Meeting to be held in June, let’s be mindful that we all are responsible for building the community we want. If, at that session, we can see a new, expanding Society with a philosophy that embraces all comers, and offers activities that all can enjoy, then we will have begun to deliver on the promise that the decisions we made this year were the right ones.

Submitted by Andrea Perrault