Northern Virginia Ethical Society (NoVES)

Sunday Platforms

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The platform of an Ethical Society is itself the altar; the address must be the fire that burns thereon.

Felix Adler, Founder of Ethical Culture

What to Expect

Our platform meetings typically feature a thought-provoking talk on a topic of ethical interest, along with responses, music, a story for children of all ages, and more. We meet from mid-September through mid-June (see topic listings below).

Our Sunday School is devoted to teaching children how to make ethical choices, with a thoughtful, age-specific curriculum and a friendly, supportive environment.

All are welcome to attend a Sunday meeting and to bring children along for Sunday School. Casual, comfortable dress is the norm, we want you to feel at home.

We follow the more formal part of our meetings with a coffee and conversation time hosted by our members -- a chance to continue the conversation about the topic, to get to know each other, to learn from each other, and to find others with shared values and concerns.

A few times each year, we have inter-generational festival celebrations instead of talks at the Sunday platform meeting. In these events, we celebrate the natural flow of the seasons, honor the universal human concerns behind holidays, and enjoy a shared meal together.

Each Sunday, we pass the basket, giving members and friends an opportunity to help support the Society and its values. Half of all undesignated donations are given to a charitable or service organization or project; the Ethical Action committee selects and announces each week's recipient organization or project.

Sample Sunday Program

 11:00 AMOpening Words and Music   
 Welcome and Greet Your neighbors
 11:10 AMStory Time (kids gather up front)  
 11:15 AMKids go to Sunday School
 11:20 AMPlatform Speaker Introduction
 11:20 AM-11:50 AMPlatform Address  
 Response Period and Sharing of Responsibility (collections)
 12:00 PMClosing Words  
 12:15Conclusion of Sunday School  
 12:00 PM-1:30 PMSnacks and Social Time

Upcoming Topics

    • Sunday, December 12, 2021
    • 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

    "We need to change the future, starting by how we view the past."  What if almost everything we have been led to believe about the benefits of civilization being inextricably linked to the coercive power of the state, with its hierarchical authority structure and vast disparities in power, wealth and resources  between the "haves" and the "have nots" is not the only historical possibility?  What if there are other ways to think of human nature beyond those offered to us by Rousseau and Hobbes?  "Over the last few thousand years we have come to be trapped in such tight conceptual shackles that we can no longer imagine the possibility of reinventing ourselves."  Andrew Orlans will discuss the life and work of the anarchist anthropologist, social critic, and activist David Graeber who died unexpectedly at the age of 59 1/2 a year ago.  David Wengrow collaborated with David Graeber for ten years on "The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity".   During the writing of this 700 page book they came up with ideas for three more books which, sadly, or hopefully depending on one's perspective, are now left for others to write.  For those wishing to learn more about Graeber's works before the talk there are two shorter, easily accessible books: "Bull**** Jobs: A Theory" and "The Utopia of Rules: on Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy".  For those wishing to challenge themselves a bit more there is his 2012 book "Debt:  the First 5000 Years," described by Bloomberg Businessweek as "an alternative history of the rise of money and markets, a sprawling, erudite, provocative work."

    This is a hybrid meeting with both in-person and Zoom participation.  The Zoom Link is below.

    We are happy to be back in person. We ask that all adults who attend be fully vaccinated and willing to wear a mask. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided for you. No food will be served this Sunday.

    • Sunday, December 19, 2021
    • 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

    Join Doris Justis and her friends for a Musical Celebration of Home.

    Randy Best will give a short platform on Winter Solstice.  Bring your favorite memory of your childhood home, or a winter solstice tradition, as we listen to our musicians and sing together. 

    We are modifying covid guidelines by singing together without masks, while standing apart.  If you are feeling unwell, please do not come to Green Hedges. The zoom environment will allow all to participate.  

    Cookies and juice will be served after platform.

    We are happy to be back in person. We ask that all who attend be fully vaccinated and willing to wear a mask. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided for you. 

    Here is the zoom link:

Directions to Sunday Platform

Green Hedges School

415 Windover Avenue NW

Vienna, VA 22180

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.

Questions or platform topic recommendations? Contact the Platform Committee

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