300 HOPE Dinners and counting

By Kim Brandon

On the third Sunday in May, 1993, four guests and twice as many volunteers sat down together in the Dempsey Center here in Brooklyn to begin a journey of building community in the face of one of the worst epidemics of our time.  We are still far from a cure for AIDS, yet there have been strides made that have increased awareness, treatment and understanding.

Over the past 25 years, the HOPE Dinners have provided a sage and nourishing environment to celebrate personal and collective milestones, declare our hopes and dreams and mourn our losses.  One constant throughout the years is the love that has found its way into the home-cooked, nutritious food, the friendly conversations and the material and spiritual support for our guests.

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the HOPE Dinners.  We have served over 20,000 guests and hosted 300 HOPE Dinners and counting.

We would like to acknowledge our Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture member, the late Donna Roberts, and Rev. Janine Deitz for starting the HOPE Dinners.  Thank you, Donna and Janine, for showing us the powerful legacy of building helping and
healing communities.

Thank you for coming to Families Celebrate Africa (and pictures)

This past Monday, January 15th, 2018, we gathered with hundreds of families to honor and celebrate the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Together we sang, danced, heard stories about those who have dedicated their lives to the fight for human and civil rights and shared with our children our hopes for a more just and kind world.

Kindness really was the key word to define this event, which depended on the kindness of many to happen:
Thank you to the 5th Prospect Park BPSA scouts for helping us set up, decorate and for designing the beautiful signs that covered our walls all over the building. Thank you to Fiona and Janice (for all you do), to Prajna, who was the amazing face painter to hundreds of excited kids basically on her own, to our amazing teachers and friends, Simba, storae, Lea, DuPree and Barry, who helped make the magic happen,  to Tahra, who was there with me from noon to 10pm, decorating, welcoming people and cleaning and always with a smile, to the parents (and your kids) who showed up and helped us set up and staff our many stations, spread the word and made donations, such as Kymberly, Clyde, Stella, Columbia, Ted, Gus, Claude, Rachel, Lucy and many more in all kinds of ways. Thank you to the members who showed up to help us run the event, such as Nancy, Burt, Lisel (and the wonderful volunteer family you brought with you), to Jason for being so helpful when I asked for things to be changed and moved around, and the members and parents who helped us by coming to the event and helping us publicize it. Please forgive me if I have forgotten anyone or was not aware of what you have done. We thank you all.

Below a few photos from our event:

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TeaXchange – Life Reflections in the Lens of Tea

What is tea? In a world as complicated as our human society, tea has been processed, marketed and sold in many ways against what tea is. Tea is a fascinating world in itself. Let’s go to the basics, sort out some nouns and verbs and then you can start your own exploration.
The theme for February’s gathering is:

OOLONG – PERFECT TEA FOR GAIWAN
Oolong, also called wulong, is one of the six categories of tea. The tasting profile can vary vastly depending on what type of oolong you try. This workshop is about oolong, about the makings of this tea, about the brewing, about the connections of history, tradition, culture, and people through this tea. Join us for an afternoon of tea and conversation with three amazing oolongs.

Ethics for Children – First Day of 2017/2018

Dear parents
We were so happy to see you all on our first class September 10th! It was exciting to meet so many new friends and to welcome our old friends back to Ethics for Children. Below you will find a short description of our classes and what is coming in the weeks ahead.

We have one more trial day scheduled for September 17th, so feel free to come back if you were trying a class, and tell your friends. To sign up for the trial class September 17th, please visit:
http://bsec.org/trial-class-for-ethics-for-children/

Ready to register for classes? Sign up at:
http://bsec.org/sign-up-for-ethics-for-children-classes/
Please note that nobody is ever turned down for inability to pay. If you need to discuss scholarships, please email Taty at efc@bsec.org 

What did we do on our September 10th classes?

Exploring Ethics (ages 3-6)
Teacher Simba Yangala

Our first day of Ethics for children in Exploring Ethics. It was a fun Sunday morning to see all the beautiful children. Our high light was the story “A Sea of Pink”. It’s a story a boy who was told on his first day of school by other children who were not so nice to not wear pink t-shirt. Other children came to his rescue and made a day of children wearing pink shirts. He felt welcome and safe.Sea of Pink is the story that originated the Pink Shirt to School day, a worldwide anti bullying campaign. It’s about the power of kindness and getting together to do what is right. With our beautiful tangled up yarn, we made a web of friends together. Learn more about it by watching the video below. See you next Sunday.

Growing Ethics (ages 7-9)
Teacher storae michele 

The Growing with Ethics group created a roadmap of the year together! We discussed dates and holidays we were excited about and discussed what our journey into the future will look like. Afterwards, we wrote letters to our future-selves, that will be mailed at the end of the year. These messages included our personal hopes and dreams for the year.

Living Ethics (ages 10-12)
Teacher Lea Bender
After a sweet opening circle in the playground with all of the age groups, our Living Ethics group gathered in the Poly Prep library for our first meeting of the school year! Our theme this month is Welcome and Community. We shared times we felt like outsiders and also about places where we feel welcome. Gus said he felt like an outsider on the first day of EfC last year, but now EfC is one of the places where he feels safe and welcome. We also talked about times we helped others to feel welcome when they were new or felt left out. Later, we got on our feet with some get-to-know-you games and finished class by talking through the monthly themes for the year. Next week we will also be making creative maps of our lives. I’m already looking forward to next Sunday!

See you all on Sunday, September 17th!
Taty Sena