Saturday, 28 February 2009

Friends of Secular Hall

As part of my humanist activities I've re-created the group "Friends of Secular Hall" on Facebook. This was lost when I moved and closed my Facebook account. I'm also aiming to reconnect with some old friends in Leicester.

The informal Thursday meeting for Hastings Humanists this week only atracted Ann and myself, so we will discontinue these for the time being, to concentrate on the main monthly events. I hope to prepare a one-page Newsletter to send to everyone before the meeting on 12th March.

Any ideas for contents of the Newsletter, or for our future programme are welcome.

Friday, 20 February 2009

More Publicity

A report I wrote on our inaugural meeting has appeared in today's (20th February) Hastings Observer in the "News from the Clubs" page 27. Besides a link to this blog, it also gives my name and telephone number at the end for anyone to ring who has queries.

Yesterday evening our first informal meeting in the bar-room of the White Rock Hotel from 7 to 8 pm attracted just three people, Eileen, Ann and myself. Much of the conversation was on our personal background and local news rather than humanist issues, but that is part of the purpose of these social events.

We will continue with these at least until the next formal meeting on 12th March and then assess whether to continue, or to try another venue or time. Some people may perhaps prefer a day-time meeting.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Hastings Humanists Facebook Group

I just rejoined Facebook and set up a Hastings Humanists page there. I located three of those who attended the inaugural meeting as being on Facebook, namely Ann, Dean and Rose, and sent them invitations to become Friends.

The reason I left Facebook was that I had a lot of difficulty changing my details when I moved from Leicester and also got a new email address. In particular it didn't appear to have any knowledge of the existence of Hastings UK, as opposed to lots of other Hastingses in US states. Hopefully it now does, thanks to our efforts. Because of this difficulty I decided to give my "hometown" as London, since that's where I was born.

As an illustration for the group I uploaded this photo of sunlight and clouds over the sea that I took in December as being an appropriate image for Hastings.

Friday, 13 February 2009

All Right on the Night

Despite my fears that I might be the only one at the meeting, it went off very well last night, with nine people in attendance besides myself. My thanks to Ann, Eileen, Paul, Mike, Rose, Dominic, Linda, Patrick and Dean for their lively contributions.

We began by introducing ourselves, and finding out our previous experience of humanism. I think three of us were BHA members. Two mentioned going to previous humanist meetings in Hastings over ten years ago.

The intended debate on the proposition that "Evolution implies Atheism", despite two attempts at launching it, got diverted into other discussions, mainly on attitudes to life and death and on humanist morality, which are of course important issues to us all.

We concluded with views on how to continue the Hastings Humanist group, and provisionally decided to meet at the same venue again in a month's time (12th March) but for a shorter time 7 to 8:30pm. Meanwhile I hope we can keep in touch and exchange ideas on setting up a programme for future meetings and actions.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Disappointing Response

The lack of response to this blog so far has been disappointing. I gave the URL on all the leaflets I distributed, and it was on the notice in the Observer (they put in an unnecessary "www" but this doesn't seem to matter, it still takes you to the same site). I distributed copies to various likely outlets, and emailed various organisations whose members I thought might be interested, but have also had no response from those. I begin to wonder if I will be the only one at the meeting! We shall see.

The Jehovah's Witnesses paid a call on me again this morning. They were here in January as well. I had quite a long conversation with them, as I usually do. I invited them to the Hastings Humanists meeting, and passed them one of my leaflets, but I think they have a meeting of their own this evening. The lady who did most of the speaking said she did not believe in evolution, though she liked watching David Attenborough's programmes. There was not much meeting of minds.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Noticed in the Press

We have a small Notice in Hastings Observer today, in the "More News from the Clubs", page 23. This is the result of a Press Release that I sent them (by post and by email). The letter I also sent has not been published, but there is only one page of letters and four of "Hastings under snow".

Alongside the Notice however is a long acount of the "Carlyon Paranormal Research Group". Kevin Carlyon, the local "White Witch", had a full centre page spread of 'Horrorscopes' in last weeks Observer. In my letter I wrote: "... it is surely contrary to Advertising Standards for Mr Carlyon to be able to claim that 'if anything negative comes up I can fix that through my practise of Earth Magic'. Is he claiming he can fix anything negative at all? (How about the credit crunch for a start?) Or does he just mean that he will change his predictions if we don't like them? In the 21st century it is surely time for newspapers to stop endorsing this superstitious nonsense."

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

East Sussex SACRE

A meeting was advertised of the East Sussex SACRE (standing advisory committee on religious education) to be held at County Hall in Lewes. I was thinking of going, but only got as far as Warrior Square station, where the ticket office was closed, the ticket machine would only accept coins, and there were threats of a £20 fine for boarding without a ticket. Also the notice-board said the train service was still disrupted and that the next train was for Charing Cross, though the one that came in was going to Victoria, via unstated stations. So, not being terribly excited by the prospect of a boring and possibly cancelled meeting, I decided that maybe I could find better things to do.

PDFs are available giving details of the SACRE membership and the East Sussex RE curriculum, among other information. The latter has no mention of "humanism" or "humanist", but "secular" does occur five times.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Our Inaugural Meeting, Darwin Day

Hastings Humanists are invited to a gathering on Darwin Day, Thursday 12 February 2009, at the Notley Room, White Rock Hotel (next to the White Rock Theatre and opposite Hastings Pier) from 6pm to 9pm. The purpose being to set up a formal Hastings Humanists Group. The group will be independent, but will probably choose to be affiliated to the British Humanist Association. There will be a charge, probably £2 (depending on the attendance), to cover the costs such as publicity and rent of the venue.

The purpose of the group will be to provide a place where people of humanist views can meet and find mutual support, discuss the issues of the day from a humanist standpoint, and plan actions and projects to further humanist aims in Hastings and more widely in East Sussex. The plan is to hold regular meetings, at least monthly. If we attract sufficient members we will be able to invite well known speakers and afford a larger venue. For our first meeting we will discuss (from 7pm) the controversial proposition that "Evolution implies Atheism".