Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix   - -
Board Members

Richard Dewey

Vice President:
Chris Wojno

Tim Bedient

James Osborn

Program Director:
Al Wendler

Property Director:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Membership Director:
Anita Romanowski

Members at Large:
Vici Duarte
Linda Wendler

Committee Chairs & Other Leadership:
J.B. Wright

Bruce Pettycrew

Christine Walden

Safety Officer:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Service Outreach Coordinator:
Gwindolynn Gentry

Facility Use Management:
Vici Duarte

Food Management:

Linda Wendler

Science Night:

Matt Ferrin

Information Technology:
James Osborn

Girl Scout Troop:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Book Club:
Roy Towne

Inquiring Minds:
Richard Dewey

Ted Talks:
Anna Carter

Game Nights:
Bruce Stiles
Ann Marie Eisentraut
Anna Carter

Immediate Past President:
Shelley Newman (2011)

President Emeritus:
Susan Sackett

President's Message

I didn't have any trouble finding a topic this month. In fact, I came up with two good ones and one fairly weak one (at least at this point). The first topic, which I am formally committing to tackling next month, relates to a discussion that I seem to get into quite a bit with people and is quite an interesting topic at that. That is about why in the atheist community, there persists an ongoing debate as to whether atheists should categorically state that "there is no God" or "there are no gods" as opposed to "I don't believe in any gods but I can't say for certain that there isn't one as there is no proof one way or another", or something to that effect. Trust me, that topic is quite interesting and I hope that I can do it justice after doing some more research. Unfortunately, I have already told some that I would tackle that topic this month but something else has caught my eye and I want to share this with you. I hope that this sparks some good discussion while introducing a Humanist that many of you may not have heard of yet. This topic is about Tracey Moody's recent trip to the Ark Encounter and her subsequent report on her trip and her discussion with Ken Ham himself.

Tracey is a frequent contributor to the Friendly Atheist online blog and co-moderator of the Friendly Atheist Facebook page. She has been a very vocal opponent of the Ark Encounter (referred to as AE from here on) from the first moment that she heard of it and joined the fight to prevent the project from ever coming to fruition. But last year, at an AE press conference, she had an opportunity to meet Ken Ham in person and came away with a very different, and in my opinion a very humanistic, perspective. She wrote all about it, shortly after the AE opened for business (in Williamstown, Kentucky), in a blog entitled Ken Ham Isn’t a Big Bad Ogre: Why I Feel Bad About Ark Encounter. Click on the title if you want to read her blog in full. Considering that the project cost approximately $100 million, and is patently ridiculous as well as completely unscientific, her kind and compassionate words about the man himself drew some serious criticism from many of her followers. She has been quite clear that she is still very opposed to the project, finds it harmful to impressionable people not to mention the taxpayers in Kentucky, and can't wait for it to close, but finds no useful purpose in attacking the man behind it all but found him "to be quite intelligent and crafty in his endeavors, however misguided they may be." She seems to feel that as ridiculous as his beliefs are, he seems to genuinely believe that he is doing the right thing and that what he believes is absolute truth. She found the humanity in him and feels sorry for him due to the evident failure of the project to even come close to opening projections, and its very likely demise. I was quite impressed with her, again in my opinion, very humanistic approach to the whole thing.

She later (and only just recently) addressed her critics and further defended her position, in a Youtube video entitled Response to "Ken Ham is not a Big Bad Ogre". Again, click on the title if you want to watch the video. She has an interesting use of language in the video that may not be suitable for children, so be forewarned. I found myself quite impressed with her composure in this video, especially when reading posts from critics, and I think that she did a great job of reiterating her position and reinforcing the Humanist perspective at the same time. I have no idea if she considers herself a Humanist but, from this episode, I believe that she is even if it's only been a recent development in her worldview, possibly triggered by her first interaction with Ken Ham. I also think that it's quite telling how someone's perspective can change dramatically when addressing a person face-to-face. One of the biggest problems that I see with interactions on the internet is that people can be, and often are, anonymous and therefore have a tendency to dehumanize the people that they are interacting with. That can be a serious detriment to useful dialog. Even when not being completely anonymous, I've noticed that people often attack other people's character when they would never say such things in person.

One of the things that Tracey said in her blog was "Ad hominem attacks are the last resort for people who have nothing intelligent to say". One online definition of Ad Hominem attacks is "marked by or being an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made". As can be seen repeatedly on many online exchanges by people with differing perspectives, this approach usually devolves into something ugly and rarely changes anyone's beliefs. This has been quite apparent recently, even in our own community, during online discussions about our current presidential race. Considering how important this election cycle is, I would say that that is truly tragic. The same could be said about climate change, veganism, vaccinations, etc. Some of these issues can have a profound effect on the future of humanity so it behooves us to clearly communicate concepts and ideas in a much more constructive way. This speaks to how we, as Humanists, are likely to be more effective at communicating with people that we strongly disagree with, no matter how absurd we feel that their beliefs are. I believe that she has shown a good example for the rest of us to follow. I also feel that Tracey is someone that we should keep an eye on in the future. She apparently has much to offer our community.

If you would like to comment on any of this, please feel free to email me at the address shown below or post something on our Facebook Group page, the link to which is also shown below. I would enjoy a good conversation about this.

Here are links to some of our important webpages. Our Meetup page is at HSGP Meetup. Our Facebook Group can be found at HSGP Facebook Group. Our Facebook page at HSGP Facebook Page. And lastly, since you're reading this, you probably already know but our main website is at HSGP website.


You can email me at or look on the left side of this page to find out who your board members and committee chairs are to contact to them.

Richard Dewey
President, HSGP

Reminder to re-enroll in Fry's VIP Community Rewards Program. How to enroll in other similar fundraising programs.

August is the time of year to enroll or re-enroll in Fry's Community Rewards program to benefit HSGP. This program and the others described below allow you to generate income for HSGP by shopping without adding anything to your cost.

Fry's Community Rewards Program Fry's distributes from 3% to 6% of eligible purchase amounts semi-annually. Every time you make a purchase using your VIP card, you donate to HSGP.

You need to enroll or re-enroll in August of every year using these instructions.

* You first need to have a Fry’s V.I.P. card. If you don’t have a card, you can get one from the store’s courtesy desk or a cashier.
* Go to If you have not set up an account, click on Register and follow the prompts. You will need your VIP card number to set up a Fry's account.
* Once you have an account, sign in to display your account page. Scroll down to Community Rewards and select Edit. You will be asked to enter the name of your designated non-profit. You can enter Humanist and then select Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix when it is displayed. Select Enroll to connect your card to HSGP.

The amount Fry’s pays varies depending upon the amount that has been spent in a 6 month period. Note that several categories are excluded, such as pharmacy, alcohol and gasoline.

Bashas' Grocery Stores Community Gift Card program

The Basha's program works through the use of gift cards that are tied to HSGP. You will need to pre-pay or load the gift card before using it to pay for purchases. You can add funds to the gift card in any amount and as often as you wish.

Basha's gift cards already tied to HSGP are available on the bulletin board at the rear of the Humanist Community Center. Note that these cards have a zero balance and you will need to add money to the card before using it.

When you need to add to your gift card balance, just load (prepay) the card at the register. It is important to do this before the checker starts to ring up your purchases.

These cards can be used at Basha’s, Food City and AJ’s stores.

HSGP earns 6% of your total amount loaded onto the gift card and HSGP gets paid monthly from this program

Amazon Smile Program

Amazon's Smile program returns a percentage of purchases to HSGP.

Please bookmark and use this link for all Amazon-related purchases:

When using the link for the very first time, you will be asked to select a charity. Make sure you search for and select Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix. On future screens, this may be displayed as American Humanist Association, but it is actually linked to HSGP.

Once you are signed up, please start all Amazon purchases with this link so HSGP will receive a percentage of all your eligible purchases from Amazon.

Turn Business into Fundraising for HSGP

One easy way Humanists can raise funds for HSGP is by giving our business to businesses that return a percentage of the proceeds to HSGP. For example, Bashas'and Fry's grocery stores will return a percentage of the money our members spend at their store's. Amazon will also donate a percentage of sales that are made through the HSGP link. But first you need to enroll in the program(s) of your choice for this to happen. See article at lower right for more information.

HSGP member and Professional Realtor Vici Duarte has announced that she is offering a similar program. Vici will donate 10% of her net commission to HSGP. If you plan to buy or sell a home, speak to Vici at any HSGP event, or contact her by email at

We are looking for other business people who might be interested in increasing their sales and then giving back to the Humanists. If you have an interest in a business, consider if you would like to offer a way to increase your business and support HSGP. Please contact our fundraising committee at about setting up a similar program.

Upcoming Meetings and Topics
Sep 03rd
Topic: The minimalist movement – defined, and “ideas into action”.

What is it? Why would anybody want to do this? Is it catching on? These and many more questions will be explored and discussed. As always, I am sure that this too will end up being a very interesting discussion. We seem to be having a non-stop series of them.

If anybody can get there early, by around 9:00, I will need help setting up tables and chairs. I'm not supposed to lift anything heavy right now. Much appreciated.

Find some articles or links to help with the discussion if you like and feel free to post related articles in the comments section of our Meetup page at the link shown below. If you are interested, a group of us like to go out to lunch afterward. We will wrap up the meeting around noon so you just might be hungry by then.

Please go to our Meetup page to RSVP and to see related articles: HSGP Inquiring Minds Meetup.

Hosted by Richard Dewey the first Saturday of each month.

Sep 07th
Topics chosen by attendees
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group

Attendees who have topics present (5 minutes per presentation discussion lengths vary)

TED video (or any public domain video) is voted on for presentation order

Videos are watched and discussed in order as time permits

Led by Anna Carter

Sep 09th
Evocations: What Moves You?
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
It's been a year and a half since we last offered this--come share with us!

Evocations: What Moves you?

Which feelings are stirred? Love, nostalgia, anger, shame, sadness, patriotism, pride, fear, joy? These are but a few.

And why? Do you even know?

We invite you to come with one or more examples of whatever affects you emotionally and share it with us. Here is a list of possibilities, but don't feel limited by it:

• Music or other audio - cd or thumb drive - or bring your instrument!

• Any printed matter - books, letters, print-outs, etc.

• Artwork - original piece, print or photo - thumb drive

• Photos - originals and/or on thumb drive

We will have a cd player and a computer that we will hook up to the audio-visual equipment.

Feel free to bring more than one item. We will make sure everyone gets to share once, and if time permits, we can go around again.

If you just can't think of anything, or are too shy, no worries! Come anyway and enjoy what others have to share.

Hosted by Zenaido & Jennifer

BYOB and snacks to share always welcome.

The HSGP Humanities Project holds free and open meetings on the 2nd Friday of each month at 7pm at HCC. The majority of the evening is given over to one or more of our HSGP members or guests, to share with us some aspect of arts & humanities that they are passionate about!

We are committed to bringing outstanding people from the world of humanities to present to HSGP at least once per year at the Sunday Speaker Meetings.

Your HSGP Humanities Project Committee.

Sep 10th
Crochet Sleeping Mats Using Plastic Grocery Bags, to Benefit Homeless
Event:  Service Outreach - Crochet Sleeping Mats
Anita is leading this wonderful project on the 2nd Saturday of each month (except December).

Bring your plastic grocery bags. The only bags we can use are the ones they put your groceries in at the register.

For those of you who have attended my previous classes, please bring the crochet hook that you bought from Anita. If you have a 10mm or 11mm hook, please bring it. Anita will have hooks to sell to those who don't have one.

If any previous class attendees have finished or partially done mats, please bring them.

In addition to your Meetup RSVP, please also RSVP to Anita at

See you there,

These are very useful items for people who must sleep on the ground.

Feel free to bring your beverage of choice and if you'd like to share some snacks, it's always appreciated!

Thank you!

Sep 10th
Event:  Game Night - Joint Event with Mensa
Sep 11th
Speaker:  Dianne Post
Sep 24th
Event:  Book Club
Sep 25th
Speaker:  Sept 30 Meeting Date has been changed to Friday
Sep 30th
Oct 01st
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Oct 05th
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Oct 08th
Event:  Service Outreach - Crochet Sleeping Mats
Oct 08th
Event:  Game Night - Joint Event with Mensa
Oct 09th
Oct 14th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Oct 22nd
Event:  Book Club
Oct 23rd
Nov 02nd
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Nov 05th
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Nov 06th
Nov 11th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Nov 12th
Event:  Service Outreach - Crochet Sleeping Mats
Nov 12th
Event:  Game Night - Joint Event with Mensa
Nov 20th
Dec 03rd
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group

The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix is open to presentations on a variety of topics, many of which are controversial. Please note that the opinions expressed by our guest speakers do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or philosophy of HSGP.

Message from the Membership Director

Fry's Community Rewards Program Renewal Reminder

If you haven't already done so, please renew your Fry's Community Rewards designation. Your designation needs to be updated every August. See the instructions on the left side of this page below the President's Column. You will also see instructions for other ways to support HSGP by shopping.

Homeless Community Needs

A few weeks ago Chris Wojno and I took a trip to a homeless community by Central Arizona Shelter Services in Phoenix,

We distributed some plastic sleeping mats, clothing and cases of bottled water. We are planning future trips to this community and will be asking for specific donation items at a future date.

I also want to remind you that Bruce and Kathy Pettycrew have been facilitating an ongoing donation drive for Tumbleweed center for homeless youth. You can find Tumbleweed's wish list at this link:

Donations should be brought to the HSGP Community Center during any Sunday meeting or any other HSGP events. Please place donations in the plastic box marked TUMBLEWEED.  The box is located under the electrical panel in the northeast corner of the meeting room. Your donations will go a long way to help underprivileged and at-risk young people become productive adults.

Plastic Bag Sleeping Mats Project

I am continuing my workshop for making these mats on the second Saturday of each month until November. The next workshop is being held on August 13, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the Community Center. Please RSVP on Meetup at Details are on the Meetup announcement. Any questions can be directed to me at my email address below my signature.

Welcome new members

Bill Bartlett
Robert Jacobs

As always - my monthly blurbs:

Volunteer Opportunities

We are always in need of volunteers to supply breakfast casseroles, help set up before and clean up after meetings and events, serve on various committees. We have a brochure with a complete list of volunteer opportunities on the info table at the front of the meeting hall. Contact Volunteer Coordinator Matt Ferrin at for additional information or questions.

To volunteer for a Sunday meeting opportunity or other event, click on this button and select the event for which you'd like to volunteer.

Sign Up Now!

You can also find the SignUp Genius button on the home page of by scrolling down.

Your Participation is Welcome

This column is for the members. I'd like it to also be about and by the members by encouraging all of you to send me announcements of life events, questions about HSGP, contribute a piece for this column or suggestions of subjects you'd like to see posted here.

Please contact me if you need any membership information or have a change of address, phone number, or email. Anita Romanowski Membership Director

HSGP Service Outreach Project

by Gwyndolynn Gentry

HSGP again had a successful outing to Paz De Cristo this month. We prepared and served dinner and then helped clean up. This time our members were in charge of drinks, sweets and sandwiches as well as the main course. It is so fulfilling to be able to help others by simply giving of our time.

We have received some fancy T-Shirts from Foundation Beyond Belief. I am offering them to volunteers who have come out at least 3 times in the last 6 months. If I have not contacted you yet and you are in that category please send me a note. My email is We have 20 of these shirts, so I will keep offering them to our frequent volunteers until I run out.

In August we would like to create more give-away bags for those experiencing homelessness.  We will send out a list of what is needed, and a time and date when we will meet to assemble them again.

Our upcoming events include going back to Paz on Saturday September 24 at 4pm for dinner service, and a trip to St. Mary's Food Bank on Saturday October 15, from 12pm to 3pm.

We should also have a date from UMOM soon for our chance to serve that population.

Children's Programs

The HSGP-sponsored Girl Scout group is starting with a planning meeting on Saturday, August 13 at 4 pm in the Humanist Community Center. This is an all ages group.

For more information contact

Please note that the Sunday Speaker meetings now have a children's program. For more information see

Keeping Up With HSGP
Social Media Matters

by Jennifer White

Overview and update of our social media/internet presence!


I would say that Meetup has the biggest impact on HSGP’s reach. More people say they found out about us there than anywhere else. As of now (08/01/16), we have 1,620 folks signed up on our Meetup group! Some of them join us at our Sunday Speaker meetings and/or other events like Game Night, Humanities Project, Inquiring Minds, Book Club, Ted Talks/Interesting Discussion, and various charity/volunteer opportunities.

Meetup is how we get great turnouts for special events like the Flying Spaghetti Monster Dinner, the Winter Solstice Celebration, the Darwin Day Luncheon, concerts, and visiting guest luminaries, resulting in income to help pay for our Community Center. A few of these folks even become dues-paying members of HSGP. Join us at Meetup now so you will always be abreast of what’s happening next at the Humanist Center!

Facebook Discussion Group

This is an open group on Facebook, where people share posts and participate in conversations. Anyone on Facebook can see the fascinating articles and discussions, but you must be a member of the group to post or comment. Just go there and request to become a member. Richard or I will approve you. You must have a Facebook account. We do our best to keep out spammers (trying to sell you stuff) and we don’t allow abusive comments. As of today we have 811 members in our group!

Facebook Page

A traditional Facebook page. Anyone can see it. You can react to and comment on the articles, events, and memes on the page. Only posts by authorized admins will appear on the wall. The public may post, but they will appear to the left of the wall. Stop by the page and check it out - then be sure to LIKE us!

Twitter @hsgp on

Yes, we do have a Twitter account, but it has been all but abandoned. We really need someone who can take it over and start us tweeting again! Let me know if you are interested or know someone else who may be.


Ok, so not exactly social media, but internet presence for sure. When people google Humanism in Arizona, what pops up is our welcoming, attractive, and informative website. It is our face on the internet, where one can learn about Humanism in general and HSGP in particular – everything one needs and wants to find out is on our site, including contact information to find out even more! One can see our upcoming events, read our newsletter (as you are doing now), click on links to HSGP on Meetup and Facebook, learn about the charities and causes we support, use links to find other interesting Humanist sites, and much more.

Questions or need help?

Grab me if you see me at the Humanist Center in Mesa,

Message me on Meetup or Facebook (use links above), * E-mail me at Meanwhile, have fun on the social media!

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Camp Quest Arizona 2016

We just completed our 2016 Camp Quest AZ week on top of Mingus Mountain! HSGP and many individuals donated their money and/or time and talent to make it a very successful week! Thank you so much for all your support.

HSGP Humanities Project Fundraiser
Books & Music Bookshelf

HSGP's Humanities Project has a Book & Music Bookshelf for your convenient shopping pleasure. Books, CDs and DVDs on the bookshelf are for sale at a great price. The deals are even better on the 2-for-a-dollar bottom shelf. The Bookshelf is located under the bulletin board near the entrance to the restrooms.

The prices on these items are so great that some folks are using it like a rental library: They buy a book for a super-cheap price, read it, and bring it back as a donation. The book goes up for sale again, and they "buy" another one! Cool!

Take a look at the Bookshelf next time you're at the Humanist Community Center and consider buying or donating to this fun new effort.

Human Inspiration

"Homo sapiens is the species that invents symbols in which to invest passion and authority, then forgets that symbols are inventions."
Attributed to Joyce Carol Oates.

"The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination."
Attributed to Carl Rogers.

Quotes courtesy of

Programs to Support HSGP from Grocery Stores and Amazon

If you shop at any of the Bashas' stores (Bashas', AJ's Fine Foods, Food City), your local Fry's Food Store, or your local Albertson's HSGP can receive a percentage of the money you spend. In addition, when you shop at using our HSGP link, we receive a percentage of the sale.

To activate any of these no-cost-to-you revenue streams for HSGP, go to the HSGP Supporting Businesses page Supporting Businesses and follow the instructions for the program you want to use.

If you shop at any of the local stores that participate in this program, please consider obtaining and using an HSGP community support card whenever you make purchases. When we support our local merchants, they support us!

Susan Sackett, Certified Humanist Celebrant, would like to remind you that she is available for all your life passage ceremonies, including weddings and commitment ceremonies, baby namings, coming-of-age celebrations, funerals/memorial services, and even divorce celebrations! Special 10% discount for all HSGP members and their immediate families! Humanist Celebrant. Discounts for HSGP members! Contact her at Susan Sackett .

Have you joined our parent organizations? If so, you still must pay dues to be a member of HSGP - your enrollment in either of our parent organizations (American Humanist Association or Council for Secular Humanism) does NOT automatically include membership in the local chapter, HSGP. And conversely, if you join HSGP, you are not automatically enrolled in our parent organizations! Each is separate and must be joined separately. Why not join all three today? Humanism depends on your financial as well as emotional support!
HSGP is a Chartered chapter of the American Humanist Association and also a chapter of the Council for Secular Humanism.

American Humanist Association
1777 T. Street
Washington, DC 20009-7102
Council for Secular Humanism
Box 664
Amherst, NY 14226-0664