Frequently Asked Questions
The Ethical Culture Movement was founded in 1876 by Felix Adler. Our
Movement established the country's first Settlement Houses and the
Visiting Nurses Association. We helped initiate free legal aid for the
poor and served as a sanctuary to European refugees during World War II.
The Ethical Society of Philadelphia was founded in 1885 and was, in turn, a
founding member of our national organization, the American Ethical
Union. With chapters from Boston to Los Angeles, our guiding principle
remains the primacy o f ethics in daily life.
Ethical Humanists believe in the dignity and worth of each person. Each
person is unique and can foster uniqueness in others.
Humankind is a part of nature. By paying respect to all that surrounds
us, we create the feelings that are called religious, sacred and holy.
We understand that the welfare of the natural community depends upon
responsible human effort.
Ethical Humanists have faith in the transformation of the human
condition through personal and community effort. We believe that a good
person is a person learning to become more sensitive to the joy and
suffering of others. Members join together in the struggle for social
reform, a healthy environment, and peaceful world.
Ethical Humanists believe that meaning and purpose are found through the
process of redefining values and through acts of loving kindness.
Comfort, solace and support are ultimately found on this earth, in
See the Eight Commitments of Ethical Culture.
Yes, but without formal ritual or creed. We are religious in character
Some members consider Ethical Humanism their religion and others their
philosophy of life.
We are a living religion that encourages each of us to develop a
personal religious ideal.
Life is an ethical experience.
We elicit the best in ourselves when actively bringing out the best in
those around us.
Our love and dedication to others is sacred to us.
We share your search for a meaningful life. Our forums and classes
encourage open, thoughtful discussion and provide the tools to make this
a better world. Our road to happiness is one of honest involvement with
those around us.
We also enjoy many social events. Most activities take place at our
spacious building on beautiful Rittenhouse Square. Camp Linden, by the
Brandywine River in Chester County, is our country home for picnics,
workshops, and programs for children.
The Society is a democratic, self-supporting community. We receive
income from an endowment fund and from rentals, but that does not fully
cover our financial obligations: a paid religious Leader, Office
Manager, building upkeep and program expenses.
Members are expected to contribute annual dues and support fund-raising
events, but exceptions are made when necessary. All contributions are
tax-deductible. Members also serve on committees and the Board of
Trustees and participate in out-reach efforts.
Get to know us. Come to our Sunday Platforms. Make new friends at the
coffee hour. Learn about our history and philosophy through introductory
When you are ready to join, complete an application and meet with our
Leader Richard Kiniry.
As a member, you will find new opportunities for fellowship, growth, and
For weddings, commitment services, memorial services, baby namings (baby
welcomings), and other such ceremonies, we have officiants available.
Please call the office at (215) 735-3456 for further information.
Related or relevant organizations and web sites:
The facilities of the Ethical Society of Philadelphia are available for
rental for Parties, Weddings, Lectures and Concerts.
- American Ethical Union
The Philadelphia Society and 20+ other Ethical Societies and fellowships belong to the American Ethical Union, a federation of Ethical Societies.
- International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU)
International affiliation of the Ethical Society of Philadelphia, through the membership in the IHEU of the American Ethical Union (AEU).
- American Humanist Association
Find out more about humanism from this organization with some overlapping interests.
- Unitarian Universalist Association
Our religious "neighbors" though there are differences in emphasis and philosophy.
Please contact the office (215) 735-3456 for details.
You may reach us through our contact form or through the below contact info.
Ethical Society of Philadelphia
1906 S. Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103
The Ethical Society of Philadelphia is located on the extreme South Western
corner of Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Rittenhouse Square is located between 18th and 20th Streets and Walnut
and Pine Streets.