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Re: [NOVA-Atheists] UU churches

From: user 1.
Sent on: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 8:45 AM
You failed to mention the Fredericksburg UU Congregation.  We have a very secular community and would welcome visitors.


From: Woody Lipinski <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Wednesday, January 2,[masked]:35 AM
Subject: Re: [NOVA-Atheists] UU churches

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I prepared for you some information about three Ethical Organizations and a list of UU churches in the Washington DC area (MD, VA).  They are friendly to atheists and no religious people.  My Secular, Skeptics, Science, and Philosophers Calendar has a goal to inform about all events where non-theists can meet and talk to each other.  I will stop sending my emails when active organizations will publish calendars not only about own meetings, lectures, and other their events but about others events too.

Woody Lipinski, member at least ten secular and related groups and organizations

In January 2013

The Baltimore Ethical Society (BES)
306 W. Franklin St., Suite 102, Baltimore, MD[masked], [masked]


at 10:30 a.m.

JANUARY 6, 2013
“Political Activism: A Journalist's Perspective” by Lisa Simeone, Radio Host, Writer, and Activist

JANUARY 13, 2013
“End the Death Penalty” Hugh Taft-Morales, Leader, Baltimore Ethical Society

JANUARY 20, 2013
“The Ethics and Morality of Restitution of Art” by Monique Goss, Artist and Holocaust Survivor

JANUARY 27, 2013
“Let's Be More By Sharing With Each Other: An Introduction to Time Banking” by Tam Kelley, Baltimore TimeBank Co-Chair and Michael B. Marks, Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.

Northern Virginia Ethical Society (NoVES)
Mailing Address: 200 Lawyers Rd NW #984 Vienna, VA and NoVES at Green Hedges School, 418 Windover Ave., NW  Vienna, Virginia 22180

Northern Virginia Ethical Society meets on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. from September to June, and provides a Sunday School for your children. Address: 225 Nutley St., NW, Vienna, VA 22180. For driving directions and more information about NoVES, please visit the website,  We are also on Facebook at

Directions to the Northern Virginia Ethical Society.  We meet at the Green Hedges School at 229 Nutley Street, N.W., Vienna, at 11:00 a.m. on most Sundays from September through June. 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 mailbox for Number 227 Nutley on your right.  Just past this mailbox is 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.  From 11:00 a.m. until 12:15 p.m., unless otherwise noted, followed by refreshments. 

Platform Meetings and Sunday School

at 11:00 a.m. 

January Platforms 

January 6, 2013
WINTER FESTIVAL Come enjoy Winter Festival with us.  
This is a celebration for adults and children, members and visitors.  We’ll have songs, stories and poetry on this year’s theme, Joy.  And there will be plenty of food – a ham and turkey provided by NoVES and side dishes from our members.  We ask that you bring donations of warm clothes for a local homeless shelter. 

January 13, 2013 
Jone Johnson Lewis, Leader od Northern Virginia Ethical Society: "THE ECOSYSTEM OF DEMOCRACY" 
Back from sabbatical, Leader Jone Johnson Lewis will discuss democracy.  As Jone notes, Walt Whitman wrote, “Did you, too, O friend, suppose democracy was only for elections, for politics, and for a party name?”  What is this deeper democracy and how does it relate to our ethical values?  What does it take for a democracy to thrive? 

January 20, 2013
Marv Friedlander, President of Northern Virginia Ethical Society: "WHY GOOD PEOPLE BEHAVE BADLY - SOMETIMES" 
We place healthy relationships toward the top of our list of things that matter yet we so often mess up...why?  Enjoy a platform of humorous stories that contain a dollop of truth.  Marv spent his 42-year career with the IRS.  After leading the agency's Exempt Organizations Technical Division, he now has plenty of time to aggravate his spouse and two teenage children. 

January 27, 2013
Jeremy Haile, The Sentencing Project 
Jeremy Haile, coordinator of The Sentencing Project's federal advocacy effort and formerly a legislative counsel in the U.S. House of Representatives, will discuss ways to bring about a fairer and more effective criminal justice system.

The Washington Ethical Society (WES)
is a humanistic congregation that affirms the worth of every person. We are located[masked]th Street, NW in DC's Shepherd Park neighborhood, right on 16th Street, with ample street parking. See and and

WES Denominational Affiliations: a member of the American Ethical Union. WES is one of three societies in the greater Washington area.  The Northern Virginia society meets in Vienna, VA and the Baltimore society meets in Baltimore, MD.

Sunday Service

at 11:00 AM

January 6, 2013
Speaker: Mary Herman, Leader for Congregational Life about "An Air Conditioner and the Unexpected Gift".
With music, stories of new beginnings, and ritual, we ring in the New Year and mark our hopes for the coming year. Mary will focus on one story that particularly captivated her on many emotional and symbolic levels. Join us for this special ceremonial platform and the opportunity to reflect on your life and imagine what changes you might make to make your life more meaningful and joyful. Music by the WES Chorus.
Newcomers' Q & A - at 12:45 PM - These brief informative gatherings take place on the first...
Book Discussion Group - at  4:00 PM - Join the WES Bookgroup for a discussion of What...

January 13, 2013
Speaker: Amanda Poppei, Senior Leader about "I'm a Believer!"
Ethical Culture is creedless: there is nothing you "have to" believe in order to be a member of our congregation.  So are we non-believers?  What does that even mean--to believe nothing?  Amanda will make a case that humanists believe quite a lot. . .in fact, that they might even have faith.

January 20, 2013
Speaker: Amanda Poppei, Senior Leader about "Being and Becoming White". 
What does it mean to be white? Or to be any race at all?  Amanda will explore the origins of the concept of race—and racism—and will talk through her own story as a white person struggling to be anti-racist in America. Music for this special Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday from the WES Chorus.

WES is also a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. For information about Unitarian Universalist congregations in the greater Washington area, click here:  See 

What We Believe
We are a positive and optimistic religion
Unitarian Universalism is a caring, open-minded religion that encourages you to seek your own spiritual path. We are united by shared values and a set of guiding principles. Our faith draws on many religious traditions, welcoming people with different beliefs.  Being a Unitarian Universalist takes some effort and personal discipline. You find your own path. We’re here to guide you.  In this religiously pluralistic and open-minded atmosphere, we are building beloved community. Love is the covenant of our faith, but we don't mean romantic love; we mean radical, gut-wrenching love that embraces all. We're all a work in progress.  Meet thoughtful, vibrant, knowledgeable people who will share their spiritual journey and personal experiences. 

Washington, DC, Street Address
All Souls 1500 Harvard St. NW
Universalist Nat'l Memorial [masked]th St. NW
Wash. Ethical Society [masked]th Street, NW

Maryland, Town/City
Cedar Lane, Bethesda
Cedarhurst, Finksburg
Channing Memorial, Ellicott City
Chesapeake,  Saint Leonard
Davies Memorial, Camp Springs
First Unitarian, Baltimore
Goodloe Memorial, Bowie
Harford , Churchville
Paint Branch, Adelphi
River Road, Bethesda
Silver Spring
Southern Maryland, Hollywood
Sugarloaf, Germantown
Towson, Lutherville

Virginia Town/City
Accotink, Burke
Blue Ridge, Sperryville
Bull Run, Manassas
Fairfax,  Oakton
Loudoun, Leesburg
Mt. Vernon, Alexandria
Shenandoah Valley, Stephens City

On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 1:10 PM, Lela <[address removed]> wrote:
First of all, I renamed the thread as this has nothing to do with my initial question regarding inauguration balls :)

Second, I have not been to any UU church yet although several people several times suggested that to me. The thing is, I do not like that they are called churches! The word "church" to me is associated with a place where you go to worship a diety. Why can't we substitute this word with any other non-religious word, I don't understand.

Even though I have a loving immediate family (husband and two kids), I too am very lonely sometimes as I have many friends and relatives very far from here, the other side of the world. I often long for a group of people / organization / society to belong to where I would feel cared and supported like someone else pointed in an email today. Nevertheless, I am reluctant to go to UU as long as it is called church. Oh well...


From: Gloria Chepko <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Wednesday, December 12,[masked]:57 PM
Subject: Re: [NOVA-Atheists] Question to all regarding Inauguration Ball

I don't either. I have found this discussion really eye-opening. I had no idea there were churches around here hat were basically secular until I talked to David at Festivus. And I agree with Janelle, Or society is really a lonely place for people with no or very little family. Having an active support group is absolutely essential even for peace of mind. Thanks to everyone for this discussion.

On Wednesday, December 12, 2012, Stephanie Ragusky wrote:
I agree, Linda. This was interesting.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

----- Reply message -----
From: "Linda" <[address removed]>
Date: Wed, Dec 12,[masked]:57 am
Subject: [NOVA-Atheists] Question to all regarding Inauguration Ball
To: <[address removed]>

Thanks, Janelle – I don’t think you hijacked the thread.  We freethinkers are all about learning and this discussion about UU has been very educational.  The two UU groups I’m familiar with are too “spiritual” for me and tend to sidestep the issue of nonbelief, but they are filled with good people who actively support many of the same causes that secular groups support.

From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Janelle
Sent: Wednesday, December 12,[masked]:46 AM
To: [address removed]
Subject: Re: [NOVA-Atheists] Question to all regarding Inauguration Ball

My UU "church" is actually a "Fellowship," the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fredericksburg.  We were founded by a group of atheists and agnostics and, though the spiritualists have come in, we still have a strong atheist presence.  

I go not to "wean" myself from religion, I never had a religion to wean myself from, but for community.  About 15 years ago, we had the Lisk/Silva murders here in Spotsylvania.  In the midst of that tragedy, I found myself a little envious of the Lisk family.  One of the minor threads of that story was the way the community enfolded this family and protected them.  This went far beyond what I had ever seen any sort of secular community do.  I thought I'd never have that type of a community for myself.  I mentioned this to some people and several recommended I check int the UU's.  I resisted, but then about six years ago, I attended a First Night event at the UU.  I was impressed by the quilt that hung in the fellowship hall (sanctuary) behind the speaker's podium (altar) that had the symbols of many religions, including an atheist symbol (the Darwin fish).  I then read the literature that was there and finally, about three weeks later, I wandered in on a Sunday morning.  

I have found more loving acceptance there than anywhere else.  After the talk (sermon) there is about 15 minutes where we are able to question and even challenge the speaker.  If a "sermon" is too religious, I or another atheist are welcome to stand and respectfully offer a differing opinion.  This is a very different experience from some of the atheist groups I have belonged to where, if I have disagreed with o some of the members, I have been told to not discuss certain topics or not to come (I was defending a woman's choice to be sex-positive and even to choose to participate in sex-work if she was an adult and was participating consensually - the woman with whom I was disagreeing was using some horrible slurs that were really offensive about sex-positive women and sex-workers.  And yes, I have had this conversation with many at the UU, have led discussions on the subject at a UU sponsored group, and my pastor knows all about it and still thinks I am groovy.).  Sadly, some of my experiences with atheists have been more ideologically intolerant than any I have had at my "church" or even with many of the religionists I have known.  Luckily, that has not always been the case and I value my atheist groups as well.  But still, they do not give me the totally accepting, supportive, and ethical community I have found at UU.

So no, my UU membership is not a purgatory.  It is not a substitute religion.  It is a place where, as a middle-aged single woman with no family that I can rely on in a time of crisis, I feel safe and loved and cared for.  And I also recognize that it is not for everyone.  

I apologize if I have hijacked this thread.  Back to defending the separation of church and state!




From: Woody Lipinski <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Wednesday, December 12,[masked]:06 AM
Subject: Re: [NOVA-Atheists] Question to all regarding Inauguration Ball

I think and I see now that UU churches can be used for "purgatory" purpose for many people who gradually can be liberated from obsession of any religion or churches.

What do yo think?

On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 7:25 AM, Anna <[address removed]> wrote:

My parents are both atheist and raised me and my brother in the UU church, because they wanted us to belong to a progressive community, since we were in rural blue collar Michigan.  I've been a member of the Unitarian Churh of Evanston (IL), the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia (even teaching children's religious education - although the books talk about civil rights, rather than god), and the Alexandria UU Church because it is a good host for community activities and a good organization for my daughter to belong to.  However, around here, there are plenty of alternatives, so I haven't been as active as I used to be.  Even for a church where atheist and agnostics are the majority, it still was a bit too religiou

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