“The Ethical Society’s mission is to give birth to personalities who have attained for themselves an abiding ethical faith and are aflame with it.” – Dr. Felix Adler


The Washington Ethical Society is a congregation that meets every Sunday morning with a lot of offerings the rest of the week. Whether you are looking for a parenting group, a happy hour group, a deepening circle, a potluck within your neighborhood, a social justice oriented gathering, or something in between, WES is a community that is open to all.

WES’s Ends

Ends express an organization’s purpose… what it moves to bring about. WES’s Ends were affirmed by the membership at the WES Membership Meeting, June 7, 2015:

1. Inclusive – Diverse – Interconnected

WES is an inclusive and diverse center for Ethical Culture, humanism, and progressive religion that models the interconnected community we envision for the world.

2. Mind – Body – Spirit – Relationship

WES nurtures children, youth, and adults as whole beings – mind, body, and spirit – who seek their best selves in relationship with others.

3. Justice – Collective Power

WES works with others to build a community with justice, equity, and opportunity for all and uses collective power to eliminate oppression.

4. Citizens of the World – Stewards of the Earth

WES children, youth, and adults act collectively as citizens of the world and stewards of the earth.


Focus Goals

Focus Goals are intended to help WES direct its efforts and expenditures over the span of a year or so in ways that move us closer to our Ends. They are set at the annual Mid-Year Planning Retreat of board, staff, and lay leader members. A Focus Goal may support one or more of our Ends. It does NOT describe a particular program. The Senior Leader works with staff and with member-volunteers to develop programs to meet the Focus Goals. Moving from most broad and visionary (on the left) to most specific (on the right), the relationship look like this:

Ends Focus Goals Programs

The Ends inform the choice of Focus Goals, which in turn inform the development of programs (e.g, workshops, creation of ongoing groups, etc). The focus goals below were decided on at the Mid-Year Planning Retreat in January, 2017.  (Letters are identifiers only, no priority is implied by the order below.)

Focus Goals

A. Develop a system for openly acknowledging monetary contributions, in a manner consistent with WES’ culture and community spirit.

B. Serve as a center for resistance work in this new national environment, including elements of direct response, relationship building, and personal resilience.

C. Assess our readiness for, and develop a plan to move forward with, becoming an increasingly multi-cultural, anti-racist, anti-oppressive, inclusive congregation.

D. Support lay ownership of program areas, in collaboration with the staff to whom those areas report. Build this ownership to include responsibility for outreach, engagement of new members, succession planning for program area volunteer staffing, and accountability for work product.