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Northern Virginia Ethical Society (NoVES)

President's Blog

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  • Wednesday, January 31, 2018 9:31 AM | Deleted user

    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.”



  • Sunday, January 21, 2018 3:27 PM | Deleted user

    I was delighted to announce today at our Winter Festival the hire of a NoVES Director of Ethical Education (DEE). Effective February 1, 2018, our new DEE will by NoVES member Kimberly Nyilasi. In my humble opinion, Kimberly's energy, enthusiasm, and creativity make her an ideal DEE and I am excited about the prospects of our Sunday School program moving forward.

    Kimberly has been active on a number of NoVES groups/committees and is a current member of the Board of Directors. Kimberly will continue on with several of those groups/committees (e.g. Navigators, Children's Story, & Sunday School Committee) as they are integral to the DEE position. In order to be able to place greater focus on her new staff position and our NoVES children's ethical education, she will be stepping down as a member of the Board of Directors and will no longer be on the Festivals Committee, the Leader Advisory Committee, or the Platform Set-up Team.

    On behalf of the Board of Directors, I thank Kimberly for her service to NoVES on the board and elsewhere and fully recognize our loss in these areas is more than worth the incredible gain NoVES and our children have achieved with her hire as our DEE. 



  • Thursday, January 04, 2018 6:03 PM | Deleted user

    By now many of you have become aware of this new website which has been in operation at since Tuesday, December 19, 2017. As indicated in the email announcement prior to its launch, it offers all the functionality members have come to expect from our previous site while adding a variety of more intuitive and collaborative functions such as access to individual member pledge data (both total pledged and total paid to date amounts); a more user friendly membership directory (with direct email function); a directory of the NoVES Board of Directors and Staff; a directory of NoVES Committees with their descriptions and contact information; access to blogs maintained by NoVES’s Leader and President; enhanced integration with content from our NoVES Facebook page; a 'NoVES in the News' page; and a host of other functions to enhance communication between our membership and with visitors.

    The board encourages each member to further explore this exciting new collaborative communication tool and to begin to actively utilize it to enhance your interactions with fellow society members. It is a 'work in progress' with additional content anticipated to be added. If you identify any typos or errors or have any suggestions for added content, please advise the communications committee at

    This new website is an initial step towards a broader effort (e.g. a Vision) to increase NoVES’s influence as a whole. An additional step towards this ‘Vision’ has already been established by the board in its meeting of October 2017 wherein the following motion was approved, "The Board resolves to systematically pursue as a strategic goal the increase by June 30, 2020 of the total membership in NoVES to 150 members. Accordingly, the board will actively encourage the NoVES Membership Committee in particular, as well as all Committees, and also all NoVES members, to continue to propose and act on initiatives which contribute to identifying, recruiting, inducting, and retaining existing and new members to achieve this membership target. The Board will regularly review progress towards achieving this goal and consider any additional support which may contribute to achieving this goal."

    The board is actively working to further articulate the ‘Vision’ and I have spoken with several NoVES members to date about it as well as shared a draft outline document of what it might entail (e.g. the ‘NoVES Vision 2020’). The primary intent of this document is to succinctly outline a Vision of what NoVES collectively seeks to achieve in terms of greater influence between now and July 2020 and moving forward. It goes without saying, greater influence should not, would not, and cannot come at the cost of sacrificing NoVES's or Ethical Culture's core humanist values.

    I encourage any member interested in contributing thoughts and ideas or learning more about the ‘NoVES Vision 2020’ to contact me at



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