Who Are We?
The Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture is a humanistic community located in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx, New York City. Our members and friends come from the Bronx, Yonkers and other neighborhoods. We welcome you — come visit, join our activities, and consider membership!
In addition to our Sunday meetings, we are passionate about social justice work and opportunities for community and learning. Our professional Ethical Leader provides individual guidance and coaching on request, on such issues as our relationships or ethical and life choices.
In some ways we function like a traditional religious congregation, but with a different focus from that of major organized religions. We focus on the here and now, what we can do in this life. We know people are not perfect, and always have room for learning and growing. We are dedicated to creating a more ethical world where every person’s worth and individuality might flourish. Compassion and reason guide our actions. We deeply value our connection to each other and welcome new people into that circle of connection.
We are one of 22+ local Ethical communities around the country, tied together by our national organization, the American Ethical Union. The American Ethical Union is a member of Humanists International.
A Little History
The Ethical Culture movement (including 22+ societies and fellowships) began in 1876 with Felix Adler as its founder and first Leader. The original idea behind the Ethical Movement was to create and sustain congregations of diverse individuals, focused not on traditional religious ideas that no longer worked for many people, but on this life and how we act in it.
The Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture was founded in 1948. Dr. Matthew Ies Spetter was our founding Leader. Eighteen years later, in 1966, the current meeting house was constructed, and it was enlarged in 1995.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Our Focus: Inspiring Ethical Living
Our Invitation: Find Community and a Welcoming Home
Our Key Values: Human Worth and Human Connection
Our Commitment: Deed Above Creed
Our Journey: Lifelong Ethical Learning and Growth
Our Hope: Renew Ourselves, Renew the World
Our Future: Build an Ethical Culture Together
We don’t have any required beliefs. These are some ideals that we promote:
- Every person has worth.
- Every person is unique.
- Understanding and accepting differences is as important as finding connection and solidarity beyond our differences.
- Relationships are central to the ethical life.
- Reason, compassion, and responsibility are keys to the ethical life.
- Ethics is a life-long, multigenerational learning experience. We all have room to grow and change.