Kate Lovelady (2005-present)

Kate Lovelady is our current Leader. For more than ten years she has tended to the health and growth of the community, overseeing major improvements to the auditorium and leading a campaign to hire a second full-time Leader. This effort makes the Ethical Society of St. Louis the only Ethical Society in the world to support two full-time clergy.

Don Johnson (2002-2005)

Don Johnson is the only Leader in Ethical Culture history to serve both the New York and the St. Louis Ethical Societies. Under his leadership the St. Louis Society initiated Great Books discussions. He was know for his poetry-infused Platform addresses.

Judy Toth (1995-2002)

Judy Toth was instrumental in a capital campaign conducted to build an addition onto the west wing of the Society building. In her role as head of staff, she was able to increase services without greatly increasing expenditures, with the addition of part-time staff.

Fred Campbell (1994-1995)

Reverend Campbell, from the Unitarian Universalists, served the Society for one year as Interim Leader as we transitioned from a long‑time Leader and searched for new leadership. He started the Society thinking of developing what has become today's Memory Garden.

John Hoad (1980-1994)

John Hoad brought exceptional leadership skills to the Ethical Culture movement. Through — and beyond — his very popular Platform addresses and writing, he sought to bolster the Society's organizational strength.

J.F. Hornback (1951-1980)

Under James "Jeff" Hornback's leadership, the Society built and moved to its current building on Clayton Road in 1964. The Society continued to use the Sheldon Memorial building for social outreach programs and chamber music concerts for the next 10 years.

Alexander S. Langsdorf (part-time) (1950-1951)
J. Hutton Hynd (1933-1950)

Hynd's ability to synthesize the arts and the sciences inspired members of the Ethical Society of St. Louis. His Platforms, which were deeply influenced by Stanton Coit's reverential style and creative use of ceremony, offered ongoing education in history, literature, philosophy, and comparative religion.

Percival Chubb (1911-1933)

Percival Chubb believed that the primary purpose of congregations is to bring people together, and in this spirit he introduced to the Ethical Society a cycle of festivals to celebrate the rites and seasons common to all cultures.

Anna Sheldon (1907-1911)

Appointed Interim Leader on the death of her husband Walter. A strong and resourceful woman, she led the Society to build a permanent new meeting house — the Sheldon Memorial. In 1910 she married Percival Chubb who was to become the Society's next Leader.

Walter Sheldon (1886-1907)

A seminal thinker in the development of Ethical Culture, Walter Sheldon shared with the congregation his devotion to freethought, his desire to edify working-class citizens, and his pioneering work in the education of children in the importance of living ethically.


1886 to today

Meeting Houses

Memorial Hall to today

The Ethical Society of St. Louis has a long history in the St. Louis community. Our Leaders (that's our word for clergy) have contributed to our community and our city since our founding.