The humanist community: Alive and well in the D.C. area

Monday, November 15, 2010; 9:04 PM

As a member of the clergy at one of the region's humanist congregations, I can answer Petula Dvorak's question: What do humanists have to offer in terms of religious community? ["An intensifying tug of war over Christmas," Metro, Nov. 12.]

Like all religious people, we seek to find ways to live our values, to create rituals that are meaningful, to raise our children surrounded by love, to work for justice. Our Sunday mornings don't look that unusual. We gather, sing, meditate, listen to a reflection and share our thoughts, take a collection. Sometimes we dedicate babies in our naming ceremony, sometimes we gather to mourn those we have lost.

For me, humanism is not about the rejection of something else but the affirmation of the human spirit, of the preciousness of every person. For those who gather with us each Sunday, it's often simply about finding a community that helps them through their week, a community that gives them hope and shows them love.

We're not the only congregation in town; humanists are welcomed at other Ethical Societies, Unitarian Universalist and Humanistic Jewish congregations across the D.C. area. So if you are a humanist, part of an interfaith couple, or just looking for a community: You are welcome here.

Amanda Poppei, Washington

The writer is senior leader at the Washington Ethical Society.

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