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Northern Virginia Ethical Society (NoVES)

President's Blog

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  • Thursday, October 27, 2022 11:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Over the last several years the American Ethical Union (AEU) has been hosting more events via Zoom. Besides being useful for Platforms, it's been a great way for people to learn about other Societies. It's also interesting to experience how everyone holds their weekly platforms.

    Currently, the plan is to have All Society Platforms on 5th Sundays of the month (sometimes depending on schedules). This coming Sunday is one of those occassions.

    The Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island was able to invite Former US Senator and current president of the American Constitution Society, Russ Feingold as the Platform speaker. You can read about the platform here

    We have had several All-Society Platforms in the last couple of years due to COVID, but this is a new experience for all societies to plan and experience a platform in a hybrid format together. This means that we will have Zoom active at Green Hedges as always, but instead of having it be a live speaker, it will all be held over Zoom.

    Of course, if you wish, you can Zoom in from home and listen and particicate that way, but if you choose this option, you will be missing the opportunity to have discussion groups in person as well as having the time to mingle during social hour.  Everything will go on as a usual Sunday which means Sunday School will be in session!

    And remember 5th Sundays mean that if you missed your week to contribute goodies, now is the week to make up for it! (That includes me! I forgot my bag of goodies on the counter at home last week, so I'll be bringing in some homemade goodies. My son Henry and I will make our popular cut out sugar cookies decorated for Halloween.)
  • Thursday, October 20, 2022 11:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It takes a lot of people to make Sunday mornings (especially) to work, but the shared work makes it lighter for everything. And the beautiful part of that volunteering to be part of the Sunday morning/afternoon platform preparation, is that you become a bigger part of the community. 

    I get it. It's hard to volunteer. Some of us are pulled really thin in a lot of directions, but most of the work that needs done on Sundays (especially) are small asks. Here is a list of things we need help with:

    • Sound/Audio set-up
    • Tables/chairs set-up
    • Greeters table set up
    • Coffee/snacks table set-up
    • NoVES signs put up at Green Hedges
    • Platform speakers
    • Platform chairs
    • Story for all Ages book selectors
    • Story for all ages readers
    • Musicians (and those to recruit musicians or those to select recorded music)
    • Sunday School teachers
    • Charity selection committee
    • Newsletter editor
    • Board members
    • Festival and event planners
    • Auction committee
    • Books committee, etc.

      (and I know I missed some tasks!)
    And then, when platform is done for the day, we need to pack it all up and clear out of the building to be ready for next week.

    I've done the soft asks (though this is also a soft ask too), but I will be asking individuals where they would like to help. It might be doing something you've done for years and you wish to continue, or it could be something new, but you will be asked by me.
  • Thursday, October 13, 2022 10:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week has been one of adventure for me. For months I had been hoping to get to Pittsburgh to ride the Great Allegheny Rail Trail, but life and circumstances kept getting in the way. Then, I found out very recently that there was a President's Council Retreat I should go to in Pittsburgh. I needed to make both happen. And I did! (email me or talk to me on Sunday about the bike ride and take a ride with me!)

    I'm new to the President's Council, as you all know. I really didn't know what to expect. I wanted to show a positive face and to learn. You all are relying on me to serve NoVES well and I want to live up to that expectation.

    And I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with what we discussed and with the ideas we walked away with. Like we experience with virtual meetings versus meeting in person at NoVES is true for the President's Council as well. There was an energy. The meeting was led completely by President of the AEU Board President, Carolyn Parker. The other board members were active and helped plan the retreat in a thoughtful and meaningful way.

    30 plus people gathered from around the US to learn about  "what's next" and to plan. The event was so successful, we all agreed we should do it again in a year.

    Materials are all being shared over the next few days as the AEU Board gathers all the info gained during the retreat. I will share them as I get them. 

    (And come get an Ethical! button this Sunday)

  • Thursday, October 06, 2022 9:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As soon as I type this up and hit submit, I will be driving to Pittsburgh for this year's President's Council Meeting with the American Ethical Union. It will be the first time for me to attend in this role.

    By the time this is put in the newsletter, I will have been in Pittsburgh for 2 days. I hope I will find it useful and that I will be able to gather information for everyone back at NoVES.

    I will miss seeing you all this Sunday, but I hope you enjoy the Platform and the other activties that are happening in the next few days (Walk, Happy Hour, etc.)

    Until next week. 

  • Friday, September 30, 2022 8:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Free Jigsaw Puzzle Stock PhotoNow that we are up and running, we need to slowly and efficiently add in committees and Sunday morning prep to the schedule. (How nice does it feel for it to happening again?)

    With there being a 2 year hiatus of meeting in person, we have shuffled some things around to fit the Zoom format and we have gained and lost committees because of it. So, please let the president, Melissa Sinclair know what committee you would like to be a contributing member too. 

    Please note, that not all committees are listed here. These are the bare minimum needed to get us going. We will be adding more as we go along and see the need.

    For now we need people to be on the:

    • Sound Team/Audio-Visual Team (to set up and take down weekly)
    • Sunday School Committee (to work with the Director of Ethical Education)
    • Charities Committee (for selecting the charity for each week or month)
    • Platform Committee (for finding and recruiting platform speakers)

    And then, we are returning to asking for contribution to the Snack Table as follows (please note, this is the schedule from pre-COVID days, so this schedule might be amended if needed). Also, the week you bring in snacks is also your week to help with Sunday Morning Set-up and Tear-Down.


    • First Sunday of the month: A-D, 
    • Second Sunday: E-J,
    • Third Sunday K-R,
    • Fourth Sunday S-Z

    (if your family has more than one last name, choose the first alphabetically for your family).

    This Sunday, conveniently is First Sunday for the month of October, so we ask families whose last names start with A-D to contribute to the snack table and to held with set-up/tear-down. 

  • Thursday, September 22, 2022 10:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This coming week we are continuing the trend of trying something new. This Sunday we are having a discussion platform versus a traditional presentation. Let's see how how we like this format. I think it will be a great way to be more welcoming to newcomers who are trying to get to know us! Plus, it will probably help us gather more ideas for future discussions.

    Speaking of newcomers, people are finding us and members we haven't seen in awhile (thanks to COVID) are returning. Oh, that makes me so happy!

    Keep the feedback coming for ideas you have for activites.

    See you on Sunday (with my bike, again!) Speaking of the bike - I've been thinking of a fall bike ride especially with teens. Please let me know if there is interest. 

  • Thursday, September 15, 2022 11:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Platform was wonderful this past week despite some dust and rust and a few slow starts because of the terrible weather and horrible traffic. You could tell that we were hungry for each other's company.

    How nice was it to see people face to face and to see so many people on Zoom too? It really lifted my spirits to see you all!

    So what about this week? Well, this week is the President's vision for the coming year. My plan is to have this platform to be interactive (much like Randy did a bit of that last week too).

    Sure, I have ideas for this coming year, but I'm just one member. I want us to talk about: festivals, parties, other activities, books, food, etc. 

    Having this break from the routine platform the last 2 years gives us an opportunity to try new things (as we have been. Like, how wonderful it has been to have the Zoom option?). It doesn't mean we would forgo the old style, but we can add in bits and pieces to jazz it up or make it more accessible.

    I absolutely love brainstorming, so I'm really looking forward to people's ideas! See you on Sunday!

  • Thursday, September 08, 2022 9:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It's finally here! It's opening Sunday September 11! I hope to see many faces like we at the opening picnic this past weekend!

    We will have Zoom participation available to all, but we hope to see many faces in house too. There will be baked goodies, coffee, and a warm welcome. So bring yourself, a friend, your kids, and help us start the programming year.

    After platform, (weather permitting) some of us will be riding our bikes along the local bike path just near the school too. Maybe we'll grab lunch and/or a something to drink.

    The board is still looking for input from members on where we want to put our energy this year. I had a chance to talk with several people at the picnic, and at the House 6 Humanist Happy Hour event, but I would love more input so that we can offer several things this year.

  • Thursday, September 01, 2022 9:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I hope we will have a great turnout for our Labor Day weekend picnic on September 4th from 1:30 - 4:00pm at Lake Accotink Park, Picnice Area #4 because I want to hear your ideas and wishes for the upcoming year!

    Opening Sunday is September 11th and I hope many of you can make it! Randy will be speaking, and the amazing Sound Team will be making the Zoom link possible so that we can have many people attend from near and far, and the Sunday School classes will be starting too.

    It has been so long that we have been sheltering at home and doing things mostly virtually, which has been great, but it would be lovely to meet face to face, to share ideas in person, and to grow our small community so that we can sustain ourselves. I'll even bring something delicious to share for the social hour. Oh, how I miss having opportunities to bake for a group! (And I'm working on low-carb recipes to add to some of the Celiac friendly recipes I have too!)

    The following week, September 18th, I'll be giving the platform address and I hope to detail some of your ideas and wishes for the year as well as sharing my ideas too (which are many). I'm enthusiastic and I'm ready for the challenge of the year and I hope you all are too. Surviving Covid-19 has been so hard for everyone and every organization, but part of survival is celebrating too!

    I hope to see many of you at the picnic!

  • Friday, August 26, 2022 10:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Where:  Lake Accotink Park,  Picnic area #4

    When:  Sunday Sept 4, 2022    1:30 - 4:00

    I'm really looking forward to the picnic this year. Once again we are at Lake Accontink which has not only a pavavillion, but LOTS of things to do. Gotta a bike? Bring it! Want to take a walk? Take one with a friend. Want to play a game? Bring one or join in on a game session.

    Invite a friend, bring some music and let's celebrate the end of summer together! Next week I'll talk about opening Sunday!

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