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


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Canadian Atheist

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/11/20

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.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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