Northern Virginia Ethical Society

"Act so as to bring out the best in others, and thereby in yourself"
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Welcome to NoVES!

We are a humanist congregation that practices Ethical Culture, a movement begun in 1876 by Felix Adler.
The mission of the Northern Virginia Ethical Society is to bring out the best in others and thereby in ourselves, strengthen our relationships with one another, and build a more humane world by offering a program that promotes ethical growth and learning, builds and sustains community and implements ethical action beyond our Society.

We invite you to visit us on a Sunday morning.  You might find the kind of caring, welcoming community you didn't even know was out there - just waiting for you to become part of it!

Platform Update

We are happy to announce that NoVES will resume normal meetings in September, 2022.  We will continue to monitor both State and CDC guidelines about the pandemic, but at this time we feel good about sharing time together.  Watch this space for summer activities and we hope to see you in the fall. 

NoVES response to the Supreme Court Decision about Roe v Wade.

 Ethical Culture has eight commitments that help shape our behavior in life.

1.      Ethics is central.

2.     Ethics begins with choice.

3.     We choose to treat each other as ends, not merely as means.

4.     We seek to act with integrity.

5.     We are committed to educating ourselves.

6.     Self-reflection and our social nature require us to shape a more humane world. 

7.     Democratic process is essential to our task.

8.     Life itself inspires religious response. 

By taking away a woman’s right of reproductive choice, the Supreme Court violated at least three of these principles.  A woman is now treated less respectfully than a gun owner, without bodily autonomy, agency, or self-reflection as to humane, moral, or ethical behavior. The American democratic process was completely thwarted and the wishes of a majority of US citizens were ignored. 

 Respecting each person’s right to choose includes not only health related decisions, but also religious and moral decisions.   Reproductive choice is a complicated and deeply emotional decision that is different for each person’s life situation. The decision includes financial, social, and emotional issues as well as the moral framework of each person’s life.  The decision is often made in response to a medical emergency like an ectopic pregnancy, a proven deformed fetus, or an incomplete spontaneous abortion (miscarriage).  Forcing pregnancy when the life of the mother is at risk is not acceptable. Neither is denying the right to control your own body and requiring someone to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

 America’s founders created our form of government specifically to protect religious freedom. Many of them had been persecuted in their home countries, and came seeking a way to practice their own beliefs openly.  Ethical Humanists seek the same thing.  Our philosophy and religion are based on human derived moral and ethical principles, not belief in any sort of higher power. We should be allowed to make the choices that make us comfortable within our moral framework. 

 Another source of concern are laws in some states encouraging people to “turn in” a friend or neighbor who seeks an abortion for a monetary reward.  This technique is practiced in totalitarian states.  Where does this trend lead in the long run? 

 The best response to these threats is the ballot box.  We must do everything we can to ensure that reasonable, thoughtful people are elected to represent us at EVERY level of government from local School Boards and City Councils to State legislatures and Federal representatives.  

Iris Woodard, NoVES Board President & Randy Best, NoVES Leader

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New Bylaws adopted Oct 18, 2020

At our General Membership Meeting on Oct 18, the members present approved changes to the Bylaws that reflect our more gender inclusive attitude. You can view this updated version of our Bylaws in the Members only section.  

Volunteers Needed

  • Do you enjoy weddings? Consider being a NoVES officiant. Contact Randy Best if interested.
  • Do you have time to spare to deliver a meal, provide a ride, or just be a companion to a fellow member in need? If so, contact Iris Woodard with the Caring Committee.
  • Want to learn more about our website? Do you have a passion for mass emails? Please follow up with the Communications Committee to join our web team! 

If you are purchasing items from Amazon, please register NoVES as your charity under the Smile Program so NoVES receives a percentage of your purchase amounts.

Clink on the logo to learn more about Ethical Culture, ethical action nationwide, and AEU resolutions on national and global issues.

Directions to Sunday Platform

Green Hedges School

415 Windover Avenue NW

Vienna, VA

Driving Directions: Take the Nutley Street North exit from Route I-66.  At the fourth light, cross Maple Avenue (Route 123) and start watching your odometer.  At 0.2 miles, you will see a driveway with “Watch for Turning Vehicles” and “Green Hedges” signs.  There will also be an Ethical Society sign next to the driveway.  Turn right into the driveway, park in the lot, and take the nearest entrance into the building.

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