What’s an Ethical Society For?

What is an Ethical Society for? We live in a larger world that increasingly encourages polarization, to privilege those who are already powerful while treating as disposable those who are not, and to economically value a narrow range of “productivity” over work that...
people sit on a bench in front of rectangles on wall of many faces

Inspired by Those Unlike Us

Alicia Garza wrote, "I'm so inspired when I see people who have a way that they do things, have a way that they think about the world, and they're courageous enough to be open to listening to what the experiences are of so many of us who want to live in a world that's...

Our Identity

Over the summer, I planned to present two Sunday platform talks on key foundations of our Ethical commitments:  to human worth and to human relationship.  The one on human worth has been presented (and is on our Facebook and YouTube pages as a recording), and the one...
Red, white, and blue buttons with the word Vote, sitting on top of the Declaration of Independence, with the words We The People.

Doing Our Part for Democracy

Democracy means rule of the people, where a majority can take action, while protecting the rights of vulnerable minorities.  But democracy doesn't work if the people don't speak up. There's another election coming up this month in New York City.  I urge you, if you...
International Day of Friendship concept: hands in shape of heart on blurred background

The Story of Love

I've been thinking a lot about love lately.  Not the kind of intimate partner love (though I'm glad to have that in my life), but the expansive love that is wider than our personal relationships.  The Revolutionary Love conference reminded me again of the power of...
image of brain synapses with words in background, including: feeling, belief, emotion, reflex, dread, bias, meaning, alignment, urge, fear

Emotions: A Humanist and Ethical Culture Perspective

To be a humanist means in part to accept that we are human beings, not angelic beings or robots. We are messes of emotion and reason, and sometimes the two are hard to separate.  As Ben Franklin said (with updated language): “People are reasonable animals. We can find...
Two turtles, the front one larger, on a log that is partially in water, reflecting the turtles.

Lessons Learned

"The base of all things is love, respect." -- Vickie Downey, TEWA/Tesuque Pueblo In 1992, almost 30 years ago and near the beginning of my work as an Ethical Culture Leader, I attended a workshop supposedly about "Native American Spirituality and Lore."  Because I'd...
Platypus swimming at the surface, rocks and weeds in background

Ethical Culture Is a Platypus

When Europeans first encountered the platypus in Australia, the first assumption was that it was a hoax. A duck’s beak and webbed feat on the body of a beaver-like mammal? An aquatic mammal that gives birth by laying eggs? Instead of trying to pigeonhole it into...
annoyed or angry woman in white shirt

Community’s Challenges

Being in community — especially a community committed to inclusion and diversity — can sometimes be challenging.  Henri Nouwen, a spiritual teacher and activist, once wrote that community is “the place where the person you least want to live with always lives.”

What Is Beloved Community?

“Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and...

Jone Johnson Lewis

Society Leader

As Leader at the Riverdale-Yonkers Society, Jone Johnson Lewis speaks from our platform at least once a month, is available for pastoral counseling, performs life passage ceremonies including weddings, memorial services and baby namings, and strives to expand the Society’s work in social justice and lifelong ethical living and learning.
Jone has been an Ethical Culture Leader since 1991. Before coming to the Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture, she served Ethical Societies in Chicago, Northern Virginia (DC suburbs) and Brooklyn.  She served at Brooklyn half-time through June 2019, while serving part-time at the Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture, where she began in March 2015.
Jone’s work with the American Ethical Union, the federation of Ethical Societies, has included serving on a variety of committees, as Interim Executive Director, and on the Board.
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More About Ethical Culture Leaders including some of our past Leaders.

More About Jone

Jone is a third generation humanist, raised in the Midwest. She studied business, math and history, was a computer programmer and systems analyst, and managed information technology education departments for several Fortune 500 companies, before turning to congregational leadership as a profession.
Jone is also an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. She served a congregation in southwest Michigan and was the first cyberminister for the Church of the Larger Fellowship.
Jone is a graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago (M. Div.) and of the Humanist Institute. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at Meadville and as a faculty member of the Humanist Institute. She did undergraduate work at the University of Chicago, and has a B.A. from the Women in Management program at Mundelein College, the last private Catholic women’s college in Illinois, founded by a justice-oriented women’s religious order.

Jone is also a transformational (life) coach in private practice, serving clients who are undergoing life change. She was, for 19 years, the expert behind Thoughtco.com’s Women’s History site (formerly About.com), although she is no longer producing content for that site and cannot make any corrections or authorize any reuse of that content.  For more than 25 years she’s maintained a quotations website: Wisdom Quotes.

Jone’s many interests also include social justice, communication skills, science, religion, history and philosophy. She actively studies Compassionate Communication (also known as Nonviolent Communication) and meditation.
Jone is married to Bill Lewis, a retired transportation planner and electrician.  Jone has two adult sons and Bill has three adult children; Jone and Bill enjoy keeping up with the lives of their children and grandchildren.
On this site, Jone posts an occasional Leader’s message and other blog posts.

Send an email to Jone

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