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


Safety Officer:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Service Outreach Coordinator:
Gwindolynn Gentry

Facility Use Management:
Vici Duarte

Food Management:

Linda Wendler

Science Night:

Christina Sampson

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 could swear that it was just the other day that I wrote the last piece but I guess it's already been a month. January has come and gone already and, as always, it was yet another good month for us. We certainly do have some interesting people at HSGP and our family is growing fairly quickly and it is never a dull moment. Let's see if I can capture where we're at now.

The big news is that we have already ironed out a budget for 2016 and it is quite different from years past. If you weren't aware of it, we have to do this at the beginning of the year every year so we can plan on staying above water throughout the year. The process can be grueling and it often takes a big chunk of our first board meeting and this was no exception. We took a different approach this year because of our growing confidence in the future success of HSGP. We ended up with a budget deficit for the first time with revenues calculated based on last year and planned expenses around $7700.00 over that. Yep, I really did say that and that really is accurate.

We are counting on doing a better job of raising funds this year because the additional planned expenses are for very worthy causes and we know that our members will support the plan. We are planning on giving a large donation to Camp Quest Arizona this year because that is one of the most worthy children's programs that we are involved with and we haven't provided much support in the past. You'll hear more about that if you come to the next regular Sunday meeting. We also set aside more money for out-of-town speakers which I'm fairly certain our members will appreciate if we can bring some well known speakers in. And we budgeted for a serious upgrade to our current security system to ensure the safety of the property and members. There was more too but these are the big ones.

But in case you are not particularly thrilled with deficit spending, no worries if we aren't completely successful making up the difference this year. Thanks to the generosity of our members in the past, we do have some money in the bank. So there's a bit of information that I don't normally share but I do believe it's important for our members to realize that these things are happening in the background. Your board is a busy lot working hard to make HSGP even better every year.

Two out of three of the following I've mentioned before but they do bear mentioning again. First, we still have a relatively new member, Rada Bittner-Rozenberg, who is organizing blood drives with United Blood Services as often as she can donate herself. This, of course, is a very worthy cause that actually saves lives so do consider joining the crowd doing this when you can. The group usually either hits a coffee shop or restaurant after and it's a fun group. Keep an eye on our Meetup page (see the links below) to find out when the next one is planned.

Second, our Membership Director, Anita Romanowski, (see her article to the right of this one) is restarting the plarning (that's crocheting with yarn made from plastic bags) project to make sleeping mats for people experiencing homelessness. This too is a very worthy cause and the recipients are very appreciative indeed. We are always trying to find more ways to help this community as it appears that the state isn't interested in doing anything in spite of their claims.

And third, I gather that our Property Director, Ann Marie Eisentraut, and her husband, Bruce Stiles, are periodically doing a karaoke night at their home and, while I don't have the guts to do that, I hear that the attendees are having a blast with it. That's something I haven't mentioned before largely because I didn't know if it was a one-time thing or not. Now I gather that it may be recurring occasionally. Sounds like fun to me so I may just check it out the next time just to listen. Again, keep an eye on our Meetup page to find out more details about either of these last two items as well.

I really like this part because it's always so positive. Regarding social media, we now have a whopping 1405 followers on Meetup (WOW!), 438 on our Facebook page (a different way of letting the world know who we are and what Humanism is all about), and 766 on our Facebook group (where we post articles and have some very interesting discussions on important topics of the day). As I said above, the links for these webpages are below. But the really big news (in my mind anyway) is that, as of this writing, we now have 325 dues-paying members!! That is yet another record and a fair jump up from last month. We're busting at the seams! Let's see if we can keep that trend going.

As promised, here are links to some of our important webpages. Our Meetup page is at HSGP Meetup. Our Facebook page at HSGP Facebook Page. Our Facebook Group can be found at HSGP Facebook Group. 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

Darwin Day Celebration

Please join us at our annual Darwin Day luncheon and eating festival on February 27. For details click on the fish.

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', Fry's and Albertson'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
Feb 06th
How can the education system be improved?
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Topic: How can the education system be improved?

The subtopic on this is "Testing Methodology" but the discussion can have a much broader range than that. Possible subtopics include: Should the system be run at the federal level or state or where? Are charter schools good or bad? Voucher systems? How to get religious doctrine out of the school system? etc. And, of course, should I be required to go back to school to learn proper grammar? Since we have numerous teachers in our Meetup followers, as well as other professionals in the education system, I suspect that this will be a very informative discussion. I hope you can join us!

Do some research on your own if you like and find some articles or links to help with the discussion and feel free to post related articles in the comments section on our Meetup page (see the link 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.

Feb 07th
The Origins of Life
Speaker:  Richard Miller

HSGP member and frequent speaker Richard Miller will be sharing what he has found out about the origins of life from many different sources.

The meeting is free and open to the public. Doors open at 9:00 am for socializing with an optional Continental breakfast available for a $5 donation. The meeting begins at 10:00 am.

Please consider volunteering to help make this event possible. Click on the SignUp Genius button below for a list of volunteer opportunities.

Sign Up Now!

Feb 12th
Darwin Day Lecture: Lee Dugatkin at ASU Tempe
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting

Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting

Darwin Day Lecture: Lee Dugatkin
The Evolution of Goodness, Justice and Empathy

We humans often display acts of kindness and generosity. As it turns out, nonhumans are also good to one another, sacrificing to help those around them. But why? Why do both humans and animals show such altruistic, self-sacrificial behavior? Scientists and philosophers have long pondered these questions. In a fast-moving, action packed talk, I will bring us up to date on what we know and what we don’t know about the roots of goodness by focusing on both the fascinating history of this subject, which includes true stories that are the stuff of movies, and the latest, cutting edge research in the field of evolution and behavior, including my own work on altruism.

Dr. Dugatkin is a Professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the Department of Biology at The University of Louisville. His main area of research interest is the evolution of social behavior. His lab studies the evolution of cooperation, the evolution of aggression, the interaction between genetic and cultural evolution, the evolution of antibiotic resistance, and the evolution of risk-taking behavior. Dr. Dugaktin has spoken at over 125 universities, written 150 articles on evolution and behavior, and authored two widely-used textbooks including: Principles of Animal Behvaior and Evolution.

Biodesign auditorium B105

Lecture Begins at 5:30pm, Reception to follow at 6:30pm.

This is a free event, but you must RSVP with ASU. Please go to Meetup at, where you can RSVP to ASU and to us.

Mike Franklin will be at the entrance of the auditorium (NORTHEAST corner of the building) a little before 5:30. If you run late, go ahead in and we will see you inside.

Afterwards, some of us plan to go to dinner somewhere nearby. You are invited to join us.

***We previously scheduled Poetry Fest for this date, but we couldn't pass up this very interesting and meaningful talk. We apologize for any inconvenience, and we dearly hope that those who signed up will be able to come on March 11 instead.

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!

Throughout the year we will invite you to join us at free or inexpensive excursions to various arts & humanities events around the Valley.

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.

Meet Mike Franklin by the entrance to the auditorium, which is at the Northeast corner of the building.

Your HSGP Humanities Project Committee.

Feb 13th
Crochet Sleeping Mats Using Plastic Grocery Bags, to Benefit Homeless
Event:  Service Outreach - Crochet Sleeping Mats
Anita will be resuming her grocery bag sleep mats crochet class.

This class will be limited to 10 people, first come, first serve. 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!

Feb 13th
Event:  Game Night Fundraiser
Feb 20th
Event:  Service Outreach - St. Mary's
Feb 21st
Speaker:  Seráh Blaine and Evan Clark
Feb 27th
Event:  Annual Darwin Day Celebration
Mar 02nd
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Mar 05th
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Mar 06th
Speaker:  Meeting Date has been changed to March 13
Mar 11th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Mar 12th
Event:  Service Outreach - Umom
Mar 12th
Event:  Game Night - Joint Event with Mensa
Mar 13th
Mar 20th
Apr 03rd
Speaker:  Dr. James Richardson
Apr 17th
Apr 23rd
event:  book Club
May 01st
May 15th
Jun 05th
Jun 19th

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

Helping the Homeless Community:

Most of us take a safe place to live and sleep, available food, water, transportation and steady income for granted. Over the past two decades I have seen human lives that are denied even the most basic comforts and necessities. So, last year I began holding workshops to crochet sleeping mats for homeless people out of plastic grocery bags. I'll be holding my next workshop on Saturday, February 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. I need people to make "plarn" (plastic yarn) for the project and also people to commit to learning to crochet and commit to finishing a mat. This is a much-needed item for the numerous unfortunate homeless people in the Phoenix area. Here's the link to my Meetup announcement for more information: Sleeping Mat Meetup

A few months ago, a large group of people gathered items and compiled "goodie bags" at HSGP to dispense to the homeless population. Some of us took a few each to hand out to people soliciting help on street corners.

On January 31, Chris Wojno, Michal Otten and I took a ride to an area near the State Capital to dispense some 30 goodie bags and two bedrolls that we had left. I was shocked at the number of people in need in just this one area. The people who were lucky enough to receive our handouts were extremely grateful and thanked us. One man even shook my hand.

The most disappointing aspect of this social journey was that we didn't have enough for everyone. This is very upsetting to me and I would like to continue providing needed items to these people. Many of them asked if we had water, socks and blankets. One woman asked for a woman's package.

What this is all leading up to is that I'm asking every humanist to think about donating unopened gallons of drinking water, new tube socks, new or old blankets (clean), and women's sanitary products so that we can make this an ongoing project.

Carpooling Program:

Now I want to talk about a program to help people in need of rides to and from HSGP's Community Center. We have created a carpooling form for people in need of a ride and those willing to provide rides. Here's the link to the form: CarPool Form . The link can also be accessed under the FAQs section of the website.

Our esteemed member, Hal Saferstein, has been facilitating the carpooling program. He has requested that someone else take it over.

Volunteer Opportunities:
* Volunteer Coordinator
* Car Pool Coordinator

Anyone interested in either of these positions may send an email to Richard Dewey at or to Chris Wojno at

Welcome new members:
William Baker
Lee Casey
Brian McNeil
Mark & Mary Rice
Ruth Saks
Charli Vark

Your Participation is Welcome:

This column is for the members. I'd like it to also be by the members and encourage all of you to send me announcements of life events, questions about HSGP 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.

Chair, Membership Committee

HSGP Service Outreach Project

by Gwyndolynn Gentry

February Volunteer Event:

February 20th from noon to 3pm
St. Mary's Food Bank
2831 N. 31st Ave
Phoenix AZ

We have been assigned to pack and sort! We had so much fun with this in December. We had music, and some healthy competition between the unloaders and the sorters. :-)

For more information and to RSVP see the Meetup event at St Mary's Food Bank

I can be reached at .

Keeping Up With HSGP
Social Media Matters

by Jennifer White

HSGP has our own discussion group on Facebook! You can go there and see what group members have posted, such as articles/stories/blogs/videos about current events, news, culture, or events coming up. They can also share “memes” that spread opinions, bits of culture or humor. Some posts spark comments and discussion, which sometimes get spirited! And it’s all about Humanism. The group is public, so that anyone can go there and see what is being talked about. Here is where to go and see for yourself: Humanist Society Facebook Group

To make comments and share your Humanist-related posts, you must be a member of the group. This helps to prevent spam and trolling. Becoming a member is easy. Just go to the group page and request to join. I, as admin, and Richard Dewey, as assistant admin, decide whether or not to accept each request. To be accepted, you must:
1. Be a real person, not a robot spammer,
2. Not be a troller, looking to harass Humanists, and
3. Have a Facebook account, so that we can check for numbers 1 & 2.

Occasionally a spammer or troller slips through. If you see advertisements or offensive posts or comments, report it to me. Spammers are blocked immediately. Extreme offensiveness, such as hate speech, verbal attacks, or bombing the page with numerous posts in order to harass the group, also results in the poster being permanently blocked.

What the HSGP Facebook discussion group is: Our group is public, visible to anyone who cares to look. We are an important and public face of Humanism and HSGP, reflecting a significant organization and community. According to the American Humanist Association, “Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.”

My goal is for our discussion group to be a place where people can find out what it means to be progressive, secular, ethical, science-loving Humanists, striving for justice, equality, compassion, and personal fulfillment in our one and only life. I ask that, in our discussion group, we seek to promote these and other Humanistic ideals. For my part, I will post a guideline of what is not okay to post, and when I see something questionable, I will delete it or comment on it, or talk to the poster, as seems appropriate.

I am encouraging vigorous conversation and debate, as long as it is constructive rather than attacking. By all means, call people on something that you don’t agree with, or that is untrue or wrong. If things get out of hand, Richard or I can step in to help. Feel free to message me with any concerns. (You can send messages from the group page.)

Okay. I’m done. Now go to the HSGP Facebook discussion group and talk among yourselves!

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