Humanist Ethical Society of Spirituality

Overview

The Humanist Ethical Society of Spirituality values the ability of individuals and societies to shape their own destinies with the assistance of reason, knowledge, and inclusive ethics. Since we emphasize ongoing learning and education in all areas of life, we are largely pantheistic with touches of agnosticism. HESS does believe in the universal spirits of love and wisdom –a Spirit or God of Nature and Unity composed of compassion– binding us together into a common circle of humanity. This is why we are very comfortable with servicing both non-religious and traditionally religious families. 

About the Humanist Ethical Society of Spirituality

Thank you for your interest in our work, which we dedicate to the pursuit of emotional and scientific truth, knowledge, wisdom, and artistic beauty in all their forms. We identify as an nontheistic, ethical, and humanist organization. To us, spirituality originates in learning process: it is easier to deny or affirm something exists than to learn through discovery.

A “religion” expresses a generally predictable set of beliefs practiced in a particular way; those who are religious have faith — they trust — in a higher power or higher principles and worship that being or beings as all-knowing and all-powerful. To expand this a bit, sociologist believe that (a) people turn to superstition — religion — when they cannot explain phenomena and (b) anything that binds together individuals is a religion. Given all this, we do not want to take the easy route by identifying superficially some deity or deities as the cause of everything. Instead, we strive to learn more about our interconnections; we have faith in the ability of rational philosophy, wisdom of the sages, empiricism, and artistic spirituality as the means to learning. Faith in God as a collected unity of wisdom and love consitutes our higher power.

Mission Statement

Our main purpose is to help individuals uncover intellectual capacity, and to realize equality, socioeconomic cooperation, and spiritual fulfillment regardless of race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, sexuality, cultural background, or other church affiliations, in the spirit of our Statement of Beliefs.

We believe that explore ways to nurture human interconnections and their relationships is the means to create a more inclusive, liberated, happier, healthier and ecologically balanced society.

We believe in existence of the higher power, which we identify through reason and affection working in tandem, and respect the power of Meditation in Knowledge and Prayer as an Ode to Realize Love to access the truth and beauty of that Higher Power.

We believe that the universal spirit of all living things combined with reverence for wisdom and love comprise this higher power.  We are pantheistic and believe that God is immanent to all of Nature, including humans.  Therefore, we believe in attaining a deep sense of peace through understanding and realizing our interconnectedness to ourselves, each other, animals, and all parts of our environment.

We also respect and value those who do not believe in the same beliefs as we do and those who get their answers through means other than meditation, communication, and active education.

Our organization hopes to contribute to giving all individuals the opportunity to access a well-rounded liberal arts’ education, to do meaningful work and be rewarded justly for their endeavors, to encourage and help others find their purpose, and to achieve a healthy, balanced, non-intrusive self-image.

We believe in embracing individual and collective responsibility for spiritual, material, and intellectual balance and growth.

We experiment with tradition, explore the contemporary, and play with joining the two. We think it is important to honor the past by at least considering its conventions. At the same, we believe that we must become more wise as time passes, and this may require creating new rites, beliefs, and discourse.

We respect the Constitution of the United States of America, and all governments that seek justice, equality, democracy, environmental health, and knowledge for their populaces.

Statement of Beliefs and Faith

We, at the Humanist Ethical Society of Spirituality, constitute an organization that believes that universal compassion, interconnected relationships, care, sympathy, truth, wisdom, and love are the foundation of existence and constitute a Higher Power.

We are agnostic on the question of an existence of an actual deity or deities: we neither deny existence nor affirm existence of a God, Gods, or Goddesses, or the like. As such, we are a largely non-theistic organization. We do, however, put faith in the existence of God as a transcendental unity of Wisdom and Love – Mind and Body.

We welcome and explore all pathways to the full realization of spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being for all; our philosophy derives from historical, reasonable, ethical, humanist, and Epicurean approaches rather than being austere, binary, or ascetic. Thus, we are analytical researchers who respect efforts to bring about inclusive pleasure in its highest form on earth — as determined by its strength or passion, duration, and being unaccompanied by illogical suffering that does not have a greater purpose. At the same time, we believe that patience, humility, thoughtfulness, tolerance, and moderation are necessary to experience pleasure: greed, jealous, and abuse of others and the environment do not lead to more universal harmony. This is what “heaven” signifies for us; in other words, we believe it is possible to realize a heaven on earth in the future – a form of utopia..

We believe that the Arts express a universal language that individuals may understand across cultural and linguistic barriers and should therefore be especially embraced.

We believe in the power of the written and spoken word to express complex ideas, to convey our message, and to communicate.

We believe in the powers of silence and communication to meditate upon beauty, truth, fairness, knowledge, and to attain a state of peaceful bliss.

We value all the viewpoints of our ministers and congregation, however varied and controversial they might be.

We value equality and respect all living things, including animals and the ecosystem.

We believe in religious freedom, as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others.

We believe very strongly in mercy and forgiving. As such, we engage in charitable donations of services and money whenever the Board perceives need and agrees to charitable contributions to help support individuals and families financially, emotionally (i.e. counseling), and to encourage their educational pursuits. The Ministry shall also offer services to any organization that pursues fairness and equality on both material and spiritual planes.

We use teaching material from a variety of sources, as wisdom and love are found in many places and people access them in different ways.

We believe the wisdom comes with becoming attuned to all in the universe: this means we must achieve a comprehensive understanding of our relationships and uncovering knowledge. While perfect knowledge and harmony have yet to occur, we believe it is possible to momentarily feel very aware of what is real and fictitious by meditating to endeavor to realize desires and attachments.

We believe that natural desires and attachments are sources for creativity, innovation, and future knowledge. By “natural,” we exclude superficial desires and attachments, especially those of possessions outside basic social needs.

We believe in the importance of artistic expression in many forms to uncover beauty, wisdom, and truth. Thus, the Ministry shall provide for “clubs” or “communities” for members of the congregation and others to pursue artistic expression. The Ministry shall also create artistic projects to further illuminate the inner, equal spirituality of existence.

Through our seminary, we explore many faiths and belief systems and seek to rationally and spiritually understand the truths that each of these contain.

Adherence to IRS Guidelines

1. Distinct legal existence. –

The Humanist Ethical Society of Spirituality officially commenced its Ministry in March 2009 under the name of Assembly of Love & Art Fellowship. However, an EIN Number — 26-4302671 — was gained previously. Its current Reverend, Judie L. Guild, has been performing Humanist services in an official capacity for longer. We have created a statement of beliefs and liturgy unique to our community.

2. Recognized creed and form of worship. –

We have a virtually and therefore publicly posted Declaration of Intent and Statement of Beliefs here.

3. Definite and distinct ecclesiastical government. –

As previously noted, we have established an ecclesiastical organization and government in the By-laws founded upon general equality among members and among those charged with tending to the needs of the Ministry.

4. Formal code of doctrine and discipline. –

Our doctrine is to seek spiritual truth and wisdom and adhere to the ethical code of loving-kindness, as expressed in our Statement of Beliefs and Mission Statement.

5. Distinct religious history. –

The denomination of the Humanist Ethical Society of Spirituality has been established. It is particularly distinct from other Humanist Churches and the Unitarian Universalist denomination insofar as our Ministry emphasizes the importance of learning through books, everyday affairs, meditation, and artistic endeavors to higher spiritual truth and wisdom.

6. Membership not associated with any other church or denomination. –

While we do not require that any of our members renounce membership in any other church to which they may belong, most of our members will be exclusively members of the Humanist Ethical Society of Spirituality.

The Ministry will offer membership certificates, to all those who request one.

The Ministry also offers distinct ceremony formats and certificates for Weddings, Baby Blessings, Coming of Age celebrations, and other commitment ceremonies.

7. Organization of ordained ministers. –

Ordained ministers will have the ability to post sermons on the website and be given access to members of the congregation and all who seek the same spiritual knowledge as the Ministry through the internet.

Ordained ministers shall also meet locally with members of the congregation to seek spiritual well-being.

8. Ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed courses of studies. –

All ministers must adhere to the policies and beliefs set forth by the Ministry in general. They must also complete a dissertation after compiling a list of three dozen books in consultation with previously gathered Ministers.

9. Literature of its own. –

The Humanist Ethical Society of Spirituality has a wealth of unique literature. Reverend Judie L. Guild has an e-book and physical books on wedding liturgy and will continute to create additional liturgies over time.

10. Established places of worship. –

The Reverend, the Director of Creative Spirituality, and other ministers have the option of fellowship in our online forum to discuss our sermons.

The Ministry also posts dates and times to meet locally at its home base and at other local sites for fellowship.

The Ministry shall also post dates and times to meet locally for general educational purposes, such as for Photography and Art Clubs.

11. Regular congregations. –

Our ministers and congregants assemble online regularly and on Sunday mornings to discuss every day affairs in a spiritual context and and other times to perform rites of passage.

12. Regular religious services. –

Sermons are available digitally upon request and/or in person at least once monthly and many times more often.

All ministers, all members, and all interested parties are encouraged to submit sermons and comments for online publication, so long as they adhere to the Mission Statement and Statement of Beliefs. Sermons and comments shall be posted on the website to encourage democratic debate and the dissemination of information.

13. Sunday schools for religious instruction of the young. –

We believe that parents are the best ones to instruct their young in their spiritual beliefs. However, we also feel that providing instructional material of a wide-variety of styles and beliefs may help parents or Sunday School teachers enhance their teaching abilities. We encourage our ministers to share their favorite Sunday School lessons to share with the congregation.

14. Schools for preparation of its ministers. –

Upon incorporation, the Ministry shall host a Seminary in which our Ministers must meet the requirements to receive a Certificate to attain the status of Ordination:

1.) Complete sixty credits at an accredited university or college and submit a substantial, academic essay on a spiritual topic.

OR

2.) Complete a course in which they meet with the Reverend to discuss three dozen specially selected books that adhere to the Ministry’s Mission Statement and Statement of Beliefs and Faith. After this, they must complete a substantial, academic essay on a spiritual topic.

 

Judie Guild, now a Cleric, is a former sociology and urban studies’ adjunct professor. In recent years, she created the Humanist Ethical Society of Spirituality and began officiating at weddings, commitment celebrations, vow renewals, baby blessings, and funeral services. Born in Eastern Long Island, she attended the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU and took courses (ABD status) in the Graduate Center. She resides in Queens, New York with her spouse, Liam, and two small dogs.

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