The last wave of Northern Virginia students will go back to school this week. I always look forward to the start of a new school year. New teachers, new haircuts, new friends, new ideas, and new chances! Don't get me wrong, I love sleeping in, swimming and traveling all Summer. But as the Summer comes to an end, I am always glad to see the return to a stable routine. There's something soothing about the rhythms of routine in our daily lives. And the highlight of my weekly routine is attending the Northern Virginia Ethical Society on Sundays for fellowship with other Ethical Humanist families. Our school year for NOVES begins Sunday, September 9th at 11:00 am. I hope that your family can join us this year!
The NOVES Sunday School Team of teachers and committees have been meeting throughout July and August to prepare an excellent year for our youngest freethinkers! We have 2 levels of curriculum that will address World Religion: Holidays and Holy Days (a hands-on craft based curriculum for ages 3-9) and Comparative Religion (a philosophical class partnered with tours to the following houses of worship: Jewish, Hindu, Coptic Christian, Sikh, Ba'hai, & Muslim) In my opinion, no other curriculum is as important for developing a peaceful worldview for our children than this one. How better to put into practice the values that we aspire to teach here at the Ethical Society than by studying the variety of philosophical opinions and the myriad of belief systems that different world cultures practice in their daily lives. Some of the ethical values that this curriculum will highlight are as follows:
“I am free to choose what I believe”
“I am free to question”
“Every person is important & unique”
“I can learn from everyone”
“Every person deserves to be treated fairly and kindly”
“I am a member of the world community which depends on cooperation of all people for peace & justice”
The only way we can really “strive to live these values” is to make connections with people who are different from us. To ask with an open heart to learn about a way of life or belief system different from our own. By educating our children (and ourselves) on the many different types of world regions, we become more connected to one another in our world community, able to thrive on what we have in common as human beings, instead of being divided by what we do not.
In addition to our blockbuster curriculum this year, we will undertake at least one service project per month. The plan I have laid out for this year's service projects really gets the kids involved in variety of charitable activities. Our kids will help to serve the Ethical Society by making cards for use by our own NOVES Caring Committee, dipping ice cream on Darwin Day, and performing music and puppet shows during platforms and festivals. They will help to serve our environment by holding a Wands for Wildlife drive and cleaning up a local stream. They will serve other children by trick-or-treating for Socktober, creating blankets for the foster care system and raising money for Kakenya's Dream – a girls school in Africa. Our Charities Committee graciously coordinates some of the congregation's weekly Sharing of Responsibility collections with our Sunday School Service Projects. By adding a monetary contribution to the children's labor, we can make an even greater impact to the organization we have chosen to support. On behalf of the Sunday School, I'd like to thank the members and visitors to the Northern Virginia Ethical Society that donate to the charity of the week. Your generosity helps to support the children's charitable endeavors.
One final thing that I want to let you know about our upcoming year is that we are planning some speakers and workshops that will support YOU as parents of these freethinking kids. While your children are growing and learning in Sunday School class, it is important that you are receiving support and tools for how to raise these intelligent, empathetic, kind and fair future leaders. Resilient children who will greet the world with open hearts and open minds and leave a legacy of ethical impact for future generations to come. Please check out the plethora of events, platforms and workshops that will be offered this year. Content is constantly being added and can be found in our weekly newsletter, on our web page, on our Facebook page and sent to Sunday School parents via email reminders throughout the year from yours truly!
I hope you are as excited about the NOVES Sunday School this year as I am. If you are a parent of a returning student, you are already registered for Sunday School this year and we will see your smiling faces on September 9th. If you are interested in visiting us on a Sunday to see what we are all about and join in on the fun, email me at DEE@noves.org to let me know to be on the lookout for you.
Here's to a great year, great friends and great fellowship!