SV Ethical Society online meetings add humor to the mix

Pattie Arduini, Susquehanna Valley Ethical Society president, hoped that the society’s online meetings would lighten the mood of attendees.

LEWISBURG — Laughter will be on the agenda when a local humanist group has its next meeting.

“Let’s Get Silly Together” would be the theme of the Susquehanna Valley Ethical Society (SVES) meeting. Pattie Arduini, SVES president, said the gathering would be at 2 p.m. Sunday via the Zoom interactive meeting app. The SVES began meeting online several weeks ago in view of the COVID-19 health emergency.

“It’s stress relief by way of laughing,” Arduini said. “I’ll start off with just a little bit of a piece by the Mayo Clinic about the importance of laughter in our lives.”

Arduini asked SVES membership to come prepared to the meeting with jokes, funny stories or humorous things they’ve seen.

“It’s just something to take our mind off the news (and) the press conferences,” she said. “We are saying it is kid-friendly. I will definitely make that clear.”

Other than that, the meeting would be wide-open for things to raise the mood of persons who attend. Arduini offered an example from a member who has already shared funny things via email.

“One of the stories she shares was (about) a friend who was a school bus driver,” Arduini said. “One morning the children on the school bus just started singing.”

The driver, Arduini said, recalled that the entire busload of children was singing at the tops of their voices.

“He looked through his mirror back at the children,” she said. “It was evident that none of them were singing the same song. They were all singing a different song or were at different places in the song they were singing. I could picture that.”

Arduini added the SVES was committed to supporting the community in line with humanist ideals, including nurturing relationships which bring out the best in themselves and others.

When it decided to not meet face-to-face, the society followed guidelines set by the American Ethical Union. They began with a Facebook live-stream meeting of a member’s talk from his Williamsport home. Unfortunately, it only permitted a “one way” view.

“What we realized from doing it that was was that we were missing being able to see one another as (he) was doing his talk with us,” Arduini said. “So we started to explore other avenues.”

The American Ethical Union suggested using the Zoom interactive meeting app, said Arduini, who mused that the corporation backing it must be doing well.

The SVES is now using Zoom, but there has been a transition period.

“This is the first time for me to be using Zoom,” she said. “It is new and we are learning as we go.”

Ethical Culture Society members from other areas have helped the local group in using Zoom more effectively.

“Last Sunday was our first Zoom event,” Arduini said. “I think it is a remarkable platform to be using. I haven’t quite gotten the hang of this new transition of having a guest speaker, then moving from the guest speaker to those who signed on to take part.”

Arduini said they have attempted to add some music to their online presentation and they would see how the upcoming program goes.

Staff writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at

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