Ethical Society Mid Rivers


Two phrases you will hear often repeated in the Ethical Societies across America are "Deed before Creed" and "Our goal is to bring out the best in others and thereby in ourselves."

The speakers' topics cover a wide range of interests... from philosophy to social issues to current events to environmental issues.

Children are invited to attend our Sunday Ethical Education for Kids (SEEK) programs while their parents attend the main program.

Our meetings are informal and guests are welcome.

On December 19, ESMR members delivered a load of gifts donated by members to the St. Charles Youth in Need crisis shelter. Pictured (L-R) are Ethical Action chairperson Dee Meyer, ESMR Charter Member Patti Martin, and board president Jill Aul, with one of the youth currently staying at the shelter.

On Saturday, October 18, the St. Louis and Mid Rivers Ethical Societies rounded up some of their families for a fun social activity in Forest Park. About 80 folks enjoyed a 45 minute tractor-pulled hayride all around the park on a chilly autumn evening. Upon disembarking from the wagons, towering bonfires were awaiting our group to warm us up and provide an excellent way to toast lots and lots of marshmallows! To our collective surprise, a full length, professional fireworks display began in the distance, capping off a wonderful evening of community building with a bang. 


Mid Rivers’ board president Jill Aul, and St. Louis’ SEEK director Rachel Valenti, were so pleased that their collaboration on this activity was so successful, that they are planning more fun activities for our congregations to interact together in the future. Stay tuned for details!

Recently the much anticipated visit to ESMR by a the an exceptional leader of the national Ethical Movement, Hugh Taft-Morales, resulted in a weekend of fellowship and studies in the area of Ethical Culture. This video of his platform presentation is a perfect primer for those wishing to get a feel for what the Ethical Society is all about.

Hugh Taft-Morales taught philosophy and history for twenty-five years in Washington, D.C., having earned a Masters in Philosophy from University of Kent at Canterbury, England in 1986 and having graduated from Yale University in 1979. In 2009 he completed a three-year leadership certification program with the Humanist Institute, and he was certified by the American Ethical Union in 2010 as an Ethical Culture Leader.ecently ,

Hugh has been an invigorating presence in Ethical Culture. He has been active in the Washington Ethical Society, serving as director of its Coming-of-Age program (2009-2011), a Board member (2002-2005), and Board president (2006). He has also been engaged in American Ethical Union work, serving on the AEU planning committee for two years, as co-coordinator for the Presidents Council AEU for a year, and as secretary of the AEU National Leaders Council at present. , He is a consulting Leader with the Ethical Society Without Walls and serves as Secretary of the National Leaders Council of the American Ethical Union. He joined the Baltimore Ethical Society as its professional leader in 2010. He also serves as Leader of the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia.

His vision for Ethical Culture is that it flourish as a clearly defined and reenergized movement inspired by Ethical Humanism and effective in collective ethical action and social justice campaigns. He is humbled and grateful for the challenge of working in Ethical Culture as a leader.

Hugh – who lives in Takoma Park, Maryland with his wife Maureen, a Latin American Analyst with the Congressional Research Service – has three beloved children, Sean, Maya, and Justin.

Singing and playing guitar, practicing yoga, and watching “way too much sports” are among Hugh’s enjoyments.

Hugh Taft-Morales speaking at Ethical Society Mid Rivers
A welcoming dinner for Hugh was held at the home of our board president on Saturday evening.
Hugh (left) took advantage of the occasion to do one of his favorite thisgs, play music.
Saturday featured an evening of dinner, fellowship, and music.
Hugh Taft-Morales' platform talk for ESMR
Hugh Taft-Morales' paper on Ethical Society membership
ESMR Press Release about Hugh Taft-Morales' visit

Ethical Society Mid Rivers meets on

Sunday Mornings - 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
University of Missouri Extension Center
260 Brown Road

Saint Peters, Missouri  63376

Sunday, January 25th 10:30 am

Eric Zencey; "Leveling Off Our Economy"

Eric is the author of Virgin Forest: Meditations on History, Ecology, and Culture and the forthcoming The Other Road to Serfdom: Essays in Sustainable Democracy. An internationally published (and nationally best-selling) novelist, Eric holds a Ph.D. in political philosophy, teaches history, politics, and political economy in Prague for SUNY Empire State College's international programs. He has been teaching ecological and steady state economics since the 1980s.

He also teaches ecological economics and serves as project coordinator for the Vermont Genuine Progress Indicator Project as a fellow of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont.

Sunday, February 1st 10:30 am

Dawn Hiatt; "Leveling Off Our Economy"

Our guest speaker will be Dawn Hiatt, who is the shelter director for Youth in Need. Dawn will talk to us about the agency, and the youth crisis shelter which ESMR supports with monthly dinners.

Youth In Need is a nonprofit child and family services agency, headquartered in St. Charles, Mo. Youth In Need is dedicated to building positive futures for the community’s most vulnerable children, teens and families.

April 27th 2014: Rachel Levi: "Understanding the Good Food Movement"

Rachel Levi, Program Director of EarthDance Farms, described the work done on and by EarthDance Farms which is a non-profit organic farm school located at Missouri's oldest organic farm. In her current position at EarthDance, Rachel oversees the organization's various educational programs, seeks funding opportunities, and manages partnerships. Her current position allows her to facilitate transformative hands-on learning for adults and children through EarthDance's apprenticeship and youth programming. She is enthusiastic to continue growing the good food movement!

March 23rd 2014: Jillian Adams: "Affordable Care Act, Medicaid Expansion and Current Reproductive Health Legislation"

Jillian Adams, Planned Parenthood will talk about the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid Expansion and current reproductive health legislation and will offer opportunities for making a healthier community. Jillian Adams, MSW, is the St. Louis-based grassroots organizer for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri. 

March 9th 2014:  "Going Where Gender Isn't," by Andy Semler.

Andy explains; "Genderqueer people are gaining increased visibility within a society that doesn't legally recognize our existence, but we are still a minority within a minority. This talk will explore the social, economic and health aspects of living outside the gender binary in the USA. I will also share from my own 'coming of gender' story, as we begin a broader dialog. What can the humanist community do to create a society where people of all genders flourish?" Andy is an active member of the LGBT Center of St. Louis, the Metro Trans Umbrella Group, and the greater online community of non-binary trans and genderqueer folk everywhere.