July 2017: Seth Andrews of the Thinking Atheist, open board positions, and wall troubles

President’s Message

Happy belated Solstice and aphelion my Humanist friends! Once again, we’ve had another month jam-packed with events and fantastic speakers. This month, I’ll fill you in about the issues regarding a shared wall with our neighbors, board position openings, and our events with LuAnn Dahlman and Seth Andrews of The Thinking Atheist!

You could be our next Property Director

To start us off, I’d like you to consider joining our board. It’s an excellent opportunity to add some garnish to a resume and give back to our community. Our candidate criterion include:

  • A love of the Humanist Society and the Humanist Community Center
  • Dedication to the mission of fostering the secular community and the values of secular Humanists
  • A passion for doing good for good people
  • Ability and willingness to invest a few hours each month performing tasks and attending our monthly board meeting.

If you love The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix and our community center as we do, we would love to have you join our board of directors. Contact me at president@hsgp.org, today!

Secular Coalition for Arizona needs you!

I’ve been asked by our friends at the Secular Coalition for Arizona to spread the word about board positions opening up with them.

Candidate criteria include:

  • Demonstrated commitment to secular government
  • Willingness to invest requisite time, talent and treasure to Secular Coalition activities (financial commitment is a personal decision; we ask for a personally meaningful gift annually)
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively and constructively with diverse groups
  • Preference for key skills needed on the BOD, i.e. legal, financial, info tech, political, etc. expertise
  • Preference for diversity candidates

Contact Linsay Evans of the Secular Coalition for Arizona if you’re interested!

Wall Next Door

As you may have seen, there is a low wall separating The Humanist Community Center and the Butterfield apartment complex to the West. Over time, it appears as though the wall has been vandalized. Multiple bricks have been broken off and the structural wire has been bent and twisted. I want to assure you that this destruction has not gone unnoticed. Unfortunately, that wall is the property of the Butterfield complex and we cannot make improvements on it without their involvement.

We’re actively working with the various management companies at Butterfield to get this wall repaired or, alternatively, have a bench installed in its place. That way, the bench is less likely to be vandalized and should be more sturdy than the retaining wall that is there now. We’ll keep you posted on the progress of the wall and bench!

LuAnn Dahlman’s Hot and Getting Hotter

Back by popular demand, our very own member LuAnn Dahlman gave a well-researched and sourced presentation about our impending doom climate change. In the talk, she covered the evidence and latest predictions about the regional temperatures of our planet. Thanks again, LuAnn, for another wonderful presentation. We’re honored to have you with us and to talk with us about your field of expertise.

One Packed House: Seth Andrews

And now, I’d like to talk with you about our extremely successful event with Seth Andrews. I am pleased to share that this was a collaborative effort with the Flagstaff Freethinkers who generously helped pay for a portion of Seth’s travel and honorarium expenses. If you’re ever up in Flagstaff, drop by Brian Wallace and his group and say thank you and hello from all of us in the valley.

At our event, we had over 200 RSVP’s on Facebook and Meetup! The room was completely full. Alex Zygmunt, our VP, did a head-count and came up with at least 160 people in attendance. We used every chair we had, including lawn chairs, folding chairs, and the chairs in the library. Even after using every chair we had, we STILL had people standing at the back and on the sides.

Standing-room only crowd at the Humanist Center in Mesa, thanks to a visit from The Thinking Atheists podcaster, Seth Andrews

During the presentation, Seth ruminated on his experiences with Christianity through the 20-20 lenses of hindsight and new perspective. He spoke about his rocky relationship with his parents and family whom he still sees and with whom he enjoys spending his time. His focus, however, was on the ridiculous religious claims that he was forced or cajoled into accepting as a Christian. It was a superbly entertaining presentation that took a lot of time and effort to put together from both Seth and those of us at HSGP.

To wit, I would like to publicly thank Anita Romanowski, our Membership Director. Thanks to her, we had 4 greeters doing tours and helping move traffic and answer questions. We had so many people, we had to start writing information down on paper so that Anita could collect it later. Our greeters helped people meet others and learn about our community. They were also instrumental in helping us relocate the tables to make room, as I’ll detail below.

For our children’s program, Henry Geist helped us out big-time by stepping in for our normal child care professional who had a bit of an emergency in the morning. Thank you for providing a fun and safe place for our young Humanists!

Thanks to the help of Christina Helper, Seth nearly sold everything he brought with him. Although, given her open appreciation for Seth’s work, she may have gotten the better end of that deal as I believe she may have had a dream come true that day by meeting a personal hero.

Speaking of dreams coming true, I’d like to talk about our Vice President. Thanks to Alex Zygmunt for taking me to CostCo to buy the food as well as helping load and unload it. We had just the right amount of food and supplies for breakfast.

However, buying the food is only part of the equation. I’d like to convey a huge thanks, again, to Steven and the breakfast crew for making and plating everything we had. We had lots of volunteers for breakfast and everything was well-prepared and beautifully laid out.

For our seating dilemma, Alex also came up with and masterfully executed the table-chair swap. I made little signs that told guests about the removal of the tables. However, Alex did the hard work recruiting helpers to set the chairs up that he and I had prepped the day before. In a span of 10 minutes, they had turned our dining hall into an auditorium. Nice work!

For braving the heat of the outdoors, I want to express a huge thank you to Kathy Pettycrew, our Secretary, for directing cars and traffic into our lot. We could not have done it without you.

After the Sunday Speaker event, we took Seth to lunch before shuttling him off to the airport. I believe that this was the most well-attended lunch we’ve ever had. There were at least 2 dozen people there. We had so many, that we got a little rambunctious and decided to have a bit of fun with our guest.

Humanist rendition of DaVinci’s Last Supper with (left to right) Ryan, ?, Christina Helper, Alex Zygmunt, Randy Jones, Anita Romanowski, Seth Andrews (as Jesus), Chris Wojno, Sharlot Eisentraut, Diane Smith, Paul, Jonathan Love, and Elizabeth.

Seth posted that picture to his Facebook feed and, to date, has been liked, laughed at, or loved over 1,661 times and 60 shares. It may well be his best performing social media post in the last few months! Thank you to Andre Salais, our Program Director, for moving us into position and directing our poses to match the original work of art.

Thank you for a wonderful time, Seth! We hope to see you again soon!

It’s over 2,000!

We’ve reached a huge milestone this month! We broke the 2,000 member record on Meetup.com! Thank you to all of our Meetup Humanists. Here’s to getting 3,000!

Meetup screenshot with over 2,000 members

We did it! We have over 2,000 Meetup Humanists!

What else?

That’s all I have for now. It was quite the whirlwind month! I’m looking forward to (being indoors for) July!

Stay skeptical and I’ll see you at our next Sunday Speaker event with Dr. Sayers about Sex-biased Genetics.

A Message from the Membership Director Anita Romanowski

HSGP has begun utilizing a new database which I am in the process of learning. Due to this, my recent illnesses, numerous doctor and dentist visits, a vacation, and a partially disabled husband, I’ve gotten quite behind in my duties. If you have joined or renewed dues since April and have not yet received your mailed acknowledgement, please email me. If you’ve received duplicate correspondence, please excuse the error.

On that note, this old lady has been the Membership goddess for about eight years now. It’s been an incredible experience. I have so enjoyed this position of recognition, respect and popularity. However, I feel the time has come to pass the torch to some fresh muscle and brainpower.

I’d like to begin training a new, younger, more technologically savvy person than myself. This can be a two person position, along with a support team. I will be leaving the position at the end of 2017 and would really like to begin teaching a replacement as soon as possible.

The Membership Director position is a high profile and prestigious board position. It has been my pleasure to serve in this capacity all these years. If you would like to carry on the torch of soliciting and maintaining a membership that is hoped to become an integral part of creating a better world for all living things and the environment, please consider taking on this task.

I will continue to hold the monthly sleeping mats project, and be an active volunteer with HSGP.

Anyone interested should email me at anita.romanowski@hsgp.org to arrange a meeting.

Continuing Sleeping Mats Workshop:

This workshop is held on the second Saturday of every month, except December. The next one will be held on Saturday, July 8. Here’s the link to my Meetup page, July 8 Crochet Sleeping Mats Workshop. Any questions can be sent to my email address located below beneath my name. PLEASE DON’T BRING BAGS YET, the community center has a basement full of them. Don’t know how to crochet? No problem. You actually don’t have to crochet; you can just make “plarn” (plastic yarn). However, I would like more people to crochet so we can get more mats completed. I or some of the “old-timers” will teach anyone who wants to learn. For those who want to crochet, you’ll need to bring a 10mm (size N) crochet hook. I also have some 10mm hooks available for $5.00.

Come join us in this very worthy project. Make new friends, have fun socializing, bring snacks, learn a new craft.

Optional request: The HSGP Community Center is owned by the members. Subsequently it takes money to run and maintain the center. It would be greatly appreciated if you could see your way to place a small donation in the jar on the card table by the entrance door.

Welcome New Members:

  • Juan Becerra
  • Robert Cohen
  • Timothy Patterson
  • Walt Thome


Prior to every meeting and event a volunteer request is emailed and/or posted on Meetup with a link to SignUp Genius where you can schedule your volunteer choice and time.

If something comes up and you can’t commit to your volunteer choice, please let us know so we will know to compensate for the gap. We so appreciate your willingness to volunteer.

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


Thought for the month

The Freedom from Religion Foundation emails a Freethought of the Day to interested members.  The one for July 3, 2017, although written many years ago, seemed particularly applicable to the times we find ourselves in.  Think about it.

Once we thought the earth was flat–
What of that?
It was just as globos then
Under believing men
As our later folks have found it,
By success in running round it;
What we think may guide our acts,
But it does not alter facts.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman 1860 – 1935:  Lecturer, Journalist, Author, Freethinker