One of the unfortunate downsides to the passage of time is the inevitable ‘passing of the torch’ that occurs across a host of contexts in our lives. One of those ‘passing of the torch’ moments takes place this month for NoVES with the release of the final issue of our newsletter with Andy Stanton as editor.
Andy has served off and on as NoVES’s newsletter editor since first taking on the role in 1997 and it is altogether fair and accurate to say he has been singularly responsible for producing/editing more editions of our newsletter than any other person. In addition to his editing efforts, Andy has contributed countless newsletter articles as a board member, committee member, and as President. Though he now resides in St. Louis, I am hopeful we will have the opportunity to continue to experience Andy’s newsletter article contributions.
On behalf of the board and the whole of the NoVES community, I thank Andy for his many hours of service in the preparation of NoVES’s newsletter over the years. It represents a significant and noteworthy contribution to the vitality, continuity, and endurance of NoVES.
In recognition and appreciation, the following is an excerpt from an article penned by Andy as our President in November 2015. It was and is an article that has stuck with me as a reminder that Ethical Culture is not just a set of ideas, but a call to action.
“Ethical action has long been an important component of Ethical Culture. Our guiding principle, “deed not creed” is a reflection of this. In 1877 the New York Society, under the leadership of Ethical Culture founder, Felix Adler, started the District Nursing Department, which organized a team of nurses who visited the home bound sick in poor districts. A year later, in 1878, the Society established a Free Kindergarten for working people's children. The kindergarten provided basic necessities for the children when needed, such as clothing and hot meals. It evolved over time into the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, which is still in existence today. In 1897 John Lovejoy Elliott, one of Adler's associates in the New York Society, began The Hudson Guild, a settlement house in New York's impoverished Chelsea district, which provided a variety of programs and services, including after-school care, professional counseling and community arts programs. The Hudson Guild is still ongoing and provides valuable services to the poor. Many other projects and programs have been run by Ethical Culture societies throughout the country and have provided help to people in need. Ethical Culture has also been involved in non-economic reforms as well as international reform movements.
Throughout the Northern Virginia Ethical Society's existence (we began in 1983), we have recognized the importance of ethical action and have engaged in many such activities. For instance, when my daughter was in the teen program she helped out at a D.C. shelter once a month. We have given gifts to needy families through a Secret Santa program. We have engaged in letter-writing campaigns to members of Congress on various issues. For the past several years the Society has donated a portion of our collection to worthwhile causes, leading other Ethical Societies to follow our example. I am pleased to see us renewing our emphasis on ethical action and I hope all of us will get involved in ethical action activities over the coming months.”