New Year; New Board; Search Update; Excitement & Enthusiasm; Celebrations & Concerts – January/February 2019

Sorry for the lateness of the first newsletter in the new year! Exciting things are happening…

Incoming President’s Message

Carole Abele and Alex Zygmunt at Solstice Celebration

It’s a New Year and that means a New Board of Directors

Welcome to the incoming board members for 2019:

  • President:  Alex Zygmunt
  • Vice President:  Pam Heward
  • Treasurer:  TBD (Election to be held February 24)
  • Secretary:  Kathy Pettycrew
  • Program Directors:  Ron Russell & Roxanne Ereth
  • Property Directors:  Howard Johnson & Steven Metzger
  • Membership Director:  James Osborn
  • At large (Fundraising):  James Woods
  • At large (Communications):  Jennifer White

A heartfelt Thank You to all previous board members

For decades the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix has been a beacon of progress for the humanist community in Phoenix. So much work has gone into creating a vibrant, loving, and active association, one is remiss to omit appreciation for those who have toiled before us. Their guidance, love, and attention to detail have made our community what it is: amazing!

This year I look forward to what the present Board has in store

An awesome team of talented individuals has been assembled to continue the tradition of progress for HSGP. Some stepped into their roles before official installation into their positions! I can already tell that passion for the community center abounds.

So far, the new board has identified several goals that tickle the imagination and inspire wonder. We are looking into adding a broad and diverse array of events that illustrate the humanist message, including a relaunch of the popular Philosophy Under the Influence meeting, a new Teen Humanists group, a new Questioning Religion group, and more! Don’t forget to regularly check our events on Meetup and the website. Details will emerge after our board meeting on February 24, following the Sunday Speaker meeting. As always, members are welcome and encouraged to attend, observe, and provide input to the meeting.

We’ve already held some amazing events at the Humanist Community Center in this new year

Our fantastic team of Program Directors booked a return performance by Roy Zimmerman, on February 1st, who was as entertaining as ever! They also booked a spectacular performance by Shelley Segal the following night, February 2nd. I was especially excited to hear her sing! I’m also excited to announce that we’ve teamed with Camp Quest Arizona to create a monthly meetup for the kids! And our weekly SMART Recovery program has had such success that we added a second evening. Now, both Monday and Tuesday evenings are available for those needing help with addiction of any kind.

My thanks go out to all our Event Leaders and Volunteers for making our community such a vibrant and thriving place

We literally could not do this without you!

We are always looking for more hands to help and more ways to serve the community. If you’d like to see an event, lead or co-host an event, or volunteer to help these events run smoothly, we very much welcome the assistance. Please consider contributing to the continued success of the Humanist Community Center. It’s a great way to make amazing friends and have fun!

A Final Note

I am continuing the tradition of transparency and openness to suggestions. Feel free to email me at if you have thoughts to share.

Cheers to an exciting new year!

Yours in reason,

Alex Zygmunt


Incoming Vice President’s Message

Pamela Heward, Vice President

Pam Heward and Randy Jones celebrating Solstice

HSGP Up Close

Are you a new member? Are you an existing member who has been away and is back to see what is going on today at HSGP? Or are you a member who just wants to know what is going on?

So much has been happening in the last few years and I find that when I am at meetings there is a renewed energy and excitement about what is in store for 2019.  Some of the events we are planning involve getting to know our members and their families. We want to find out how we can support and inspire you and possibly connect you with others addressing similar life issues. No one achieves success in a bubble, and one thing I know for sure is we have some brilliant, compassionate, take-action members who want to help and be there for others.

We are currently putting together a new member orientation (also for our not so new members) to share our passion for Humanism and what we are doing at HSGP to support each other and our community. There is so much great work happening within HSGP and its sister organizations.

We also want to hear about you! What is your story? How do you want to be a part of the HSGP community?

So here is what I am requesting.

Please email me at and tell me what would be useful and helpful for you to know about HSGP and Humanism in general?  What do you like about what is happening, what would you like to see in 2019?  We will be rolling out the member orientation program soon and knowing what is important to you will help us make the program relevant and impactful for all.

I am excited for 2019 and all that we are going to accomplish.

I believe there is a place for all of us in the HSGP community to get involved and help and support each other.  I hope to hear from you soon!

Your New Programs Team

Roy Zimmerman cracked us up February 1, 2019

Shelley Segal delighted us February 2, 2019

Roxanne Ereth and Ron Russell

The new Program Co-Directors have jumped in with all four feet

by booking several speakers for the upcoming year, including the singers for the Secular Power weekend.  The Co-Directors have eased the burden of tracking and following all of the potential speakers suggested by designing a web-based data-system.  We have also created a Suggested Speaker form on our website at  All information entered will populate the data system.  It would help us immensely if you could submit your suggestions there with as much information as possible to help us when we do follow up.  If you can’t submit it in that format, please feel free to  email us at or  We’d love to hear from each of you about topics of interest as well!

We are also excited about the prospect of bringing both Seth Andrews and Matt Dillahunty to HSGP sometime in the late summer or early fall.

Hopefully, this will be a big fundraiser for us and will attract new members.  Because Seth, alone, filled our building to well-over capacity a year ago, we are hoping to find a large venue located closer to central Phoenix.  If you have any suggestions or access to discounted rates for a venue that can accommodate about 300 people, please let us know via email or in person!

Check out our scheduled speakers that have been booked through March as well as other events scheduled throughout the Valley at Humanist Events.

So, how’s the Executive Director search going?

By Jennifer White, Leader Hiring Committee

The answer: Great!

We formed a hiring committee consisting of a nice mix of board members and non-board-members. The five people on the hiring committee are:

  • Jennifer White
  • Kathy Pettycrew
  • Ron Russell
  • Susan Sackett
  • Philip Lentz

The committee cannot yet talk about who has applied and how they are doing in the process. However, I can tell you that we have received, and are continuing to receive, quite a few resumes. We have identified some top candidates who we are scheduling for interviews. And we expect to add more candidates who we will want to meet and interview.

So, the interview process is beginning. We are making history. Again.

Ours is the first Humanist chapter with its own building. Now we are on our way to being the first Humanist chapter to professionalize.

We are conscious of the enormity of our endeavor. And we have taken the first steps toward our goal: that our brand new Executive Director will be hired and start in April!

You may contact me at

And finally,

Happy Birthday Charlie

On the afternoon of February 10, 2019 at the Humanist Center, we celebrated Darwin’s birthday with primordial soup, our common ancestors (fish) and modern dinosaurs (chicken). Songs led by Bruce and Dolores Ratcliffe, a 50-50 raffle, and several readings from On the Origin of Species were delightful. Socializing with our friends and fellow humanists made the day complete.

Darwin’s birthday was celebrated with gusto at HSGP.

“It makes the works of God a mere mockery and deception; I would almost as soon believe with the old and ignorant cosmogonists, that fossil shells had never lived, but had been created in stone so as to mock the shells now living on the sea-shore.”  Chapter 5, Laws of Variation


See you soon at the Humanist Center!