Washington Ethical Society's Attendance Increases By Fifty Percent in a Year
The Washington Ethical Society’s second Sunday service, first offered last week, was a dramatic success, shown by the nearly fifty percent increase in attendance in comparison to the same Sunday a year before, Senior Leader the Rev. Amanda Poppei announced today. “Our growth and appeal demonstrated the need for a second Sunday service, and we’re excited about that,” said Poppei; “We were thrilled to welcome about 230 people on Sunday, divided between the two services – and that was a Sunday during Spring Break for many in our community. Last year, that same Sunday had about 170 people in attendance. When we did a major building renovation nine years ago, our theme was opening our doors to the world. Well, we opened them, people came, and they weren’t disappointed!”
WES is a humanistic congregation that affirms the worth of every person; its historic affiliation is with the American Ethical Union, but nine years ago it also chose to also affiliate with the Unitarian Universalist Association. At its Sunday Platform Service, now at 9:30 and 11:30, members of the Washington Ethical Society gather to reflect, to share companionship, and to refresh and renew their commitment to creating a more ethical world. “A religious community for the non-religious,” the Society strives through the relationships of its members to elicit the best in the human spirit, supports each other through life, and nurtures a sense of reverence and responsibility for each other and the earth.
When asked about the landmark growth of the Society, which defies the trend of decreasing membership in religious organizations nationally, Senior Leader Poppei said, “We hear so much about the growth of the nones--those who are religiously unaffiliated. What we've found is that those people are really searchers, looking for something that offers the community and justice orientation of a church but which welcomes folks with many different beliefs, including agnostics, atheists, and humanists. In the last year, our Sunday School has doubled in size, I believe because parents have found a place to raise their children with core values, and along the way discovered that our congregation fills their own needs to live good lives and make the world a better place."
The Washington Ethical Society was founded in 1944 by people active in the religious and civil rights movements. The Constitutional rights of "ethics as a religion" were established in 1957 by a landmark opinion written by Judge Warren Burger in favor of WES and all Ethical Societies. Subsequent legal efforts made it lawful to use ethical rather than just theological grounds for conscientious objections to war. WES is located at 7750 16th St NW, Washington, DC.