Engaging Issues at Church Stretton

Engaging Issues in Church Stretton has topics that may well interest humanists. Please note that this organisation is not connected with Shropshire Humanist Group and SHG is not responsible for the accuracy of this information.

The Engaging Issues series of talks resumes for its 13th season on Tuesday 3 October 2017 at the United Reformed Church, 73 High St, Church Stretton SY6 6BY at 7.30pm.
The guest speaker is Jean Jarvis MBE, the CEO of the Local Furniture Scheme, which also runs various other ventures including several Community Centres including those in Ludlow (Rockspring) and Craven Arms (CasCA). The talk is entitled The Rise & Rise of the Social Enterprise – A business pattern for the future?

You can download the programme here: Season 13 final Engaging Issues leaflet 2017

Advertisements

Humanists UK and Humanist Students announce free membership for students

From Humanists UK:

Last week, Humanists UK took the step of making student membership of Humanists UK absolutely free for all students in further education for the duration of their degrees.
We have done this to integrate the memberships of dozens of university humanist societies across the UK, so that they can be more joined-up with each other and the wider humanist movement. Members of student humanist societies can now also directly elect the President of Humanist Students, our student section, through an online vote each year.

This is just one of the ways that we’re bringing non-religious people together to develop their own views and an understanding of the world around them. Working together, our members and supporters across the country help us to champion ideas for the one life we have, promote human rights and equality, and oppose religious discrimination.

This community of supporters has, in the last few days, allowed us to promote new ideas for reforms to the RE curriculum; to criticise faith schools at the UN; to advance the decriminalisation of abortion; to condemn religious persecution overseas; to stand up to extreme animal cruelty in the name of religion; and much more.

If you’re not already a member, then do join today or ask a friend to do the same. For students, it’s free. Together, we can work towards a secular UK where rational thinking and kindness prevail.

Humanists UK: Oppose plans for a surge of religiously segregated schools by writing to the Education Secretary

Jay Harman, Education Campaigns Manager of Humanists UK, writes:

Take action! Oppose plans for a surge of religiously segregated schools by writing to the Education Secretary today.

Last year the Government announced proposals to usher in a massive expansion of religious discrimination and segregation in the education system. Under the plans, the current requirement that all new ‘faith’ schools keep at least half of their places open to local children, irrespective of religion or belief, would be scrapped, meaning that all ‘faith’ schools could once again become entirely segregated in their intakes.

But now, after almost a year of campaigning by Humanists UK and its supporters, the Government is considering a u-turn.

All the evidence suggests that religious selection leads to greater segregation along religious, ethnic, and socio-economic lines, and reduces the access of local families to their local schools. In our increasingly diverse society, we should be encouraging those from different backgrounds and with different beliefs to come together, not introducing policies that will only drive them further apart.

Some people have already written to their MPs about this, or responded personally to the official consultation last year. If you are one of those people, thank you for your support, but now it’s crucial that you express your concerns directly to the Secretary of State for Education.

Please email the Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening and urge her to abandon plans to drop the 50% cap on faith-based admissions.

Our view is that there should be no ‘faith’ schools at all, but that as long as they do exist, they should have no right to discriminate. The 50% cap is an important step on the way to achieving that goal and to realising the fair, open, and inclusive education system we all want to see.

We’ve provided a template email on our website, which will be automatically emailed to the Secretary of State. You’ll also find suggestions there for how to make your response as personal as possible. The more customised your emai is, the more impact it is likely to have.

Please take action now!

Shropshire Humanist Group at the Multicultural Fun Day in Shrewsbury

Shropshire Humanist Group is taking part in the annual Multicultural Fun Day held by the Shrewsbury Interfaith Forum on Saturday 9 September, 12-4:30pm. It is held at the United Reformed Church near the English Bridge in Shrewsbury.

As in previous years, there are many varied entertainments planned, and also a children’s corner with supervised activities. John Mustafa is arranging the fine weather again and so the hall will be mainly used for refreshments and some of the entertainments. John will also very kindly provide some delicious food at a reasonable cost, and the proceeds go straight back into the Interfaith Forum to provide further funding.

Represented so far: Islam, Nichiren Buddhism, Judaism, Humanism, the LDS Church, and also the URC church. SHG is taking part to reflect our welcome of human diversity, our support for human rights and our stand against discrimination, and to emphasise that, although we live without religion, we support cultural and religious freedom, as well as freedom to live without religion.

 

Oswestry Culture Fest – Saturday 19th August

This Saturday 19th August, we have a presence at the Oswestry CultureFest to reflect:-

  • our welcome of human diversity
  •  our support for human rights
  • our stand against discrimination
  • and to emphasise that, although we live without religion, we support cultural and religious freedom, as well as freedom to live without religion.

We hope to see lots of our humanist members there and, if anyone would like to help man our stall, please email our chair – Dr. Simon Nightingale.

For more information on the event, please see the attached – OswestryCultureFestFlyer.

Many thanks as always for your continued support!

Simon Nightingale on BBC Radio Shropshire

The Mike Hough memorial trophy held by Carol and SimonSimon Nightingale, Chair of Shropshire Humanist Group, spoke on BBC Radio Shropshire’s Sunday morning “Faith and Ethics” program. He talked on the sin of certainty, referring to Stephen Cherry’s most interesting and witty book “The Dark Side of the Soul”. He also talked about the humanist show garden that won a trophy and top gold medal at Shrewsbury Flower Show, and about humanist books in schools.

To hear it go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p059xc5r#play and listen on the time line from about 1.19.00 to 1.27.30. This is available for a limited time.

We won! Humanist garden triumphs at Shrewsbury Flower Show

Joe Swift presenting award certificates to Carol Seager

Joe Swift presenting award certificates to Carol Seager

Wonderful news! “Sundance”, the Humanist garden in the Shrewsbury Flower Show, received a Large Gold Medal (the highest award), and — even better — was awarded the Mike Hough Memorial Trophy for best outdoor show garden. The garden was sponsored by the Shropshire Humanist Group, with contributions from Birmingham Humanists and Humanists UK. As it was surrounded by gardens created at huge expense by teams of professionals, it was also a triumph for amateurs and volunteers.

Carol Seager — a member of Shropshire Humanist Group — conceived, designed and created this wonderful garden with a strong humanist theme which is explained below. The photographs don’t really do justice to the beautiful and complex design. Not only did Carol create a fascinating interesting horticultural exhibit, but she herself also made all the additional features, such as the wood fencing and shelter, canopy, batik hangings and painted ceramics – often subtly incorporating the Happy Humanist sign or the new Humanists UK logo.

We had a small humanism stand next to the garden.  Many visitors to the flower shop stopped to view the garden and to talk to Carol, Mal Brown, Sue Falder and Simon Nightingale about the ethos of the garden and also the nature of humanism. The garden certainly helped to raise the profile of humanism for the general public.

Carol has become quite a celebrity. She was interviewed for ITV Midland news on Friday and was also interviewed twice by Radio Shropshire; firstly on Sunday 6 August and again just after receiving the awards from celebrity gardener, Joe Swift. To hear the last interview, go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p059xc5r#play and listen on the time line from about 22.00 to 26.00. This is available on “listen-again” only for a limited time.

Well done Carol!


Please click on pictures to see a larger version.

The Mike Hough memorial trophy held by Carol and Chris

The Mike Hough memorial trophy held by Carol and Chris

Sundance Humanist Garden

Sundance Humanist Garden

Shelter in Sundance Humanist Garden

Shelter in Sundance Humanist Garden

Painting by Carol Seager

Painting by Carol Seager


During the 19th century, American Plains Indian tribes, gathered together annually for The Sundance. This was an opportunity to reinforce relationships with the land, animals and fellow tribesmen, through feasting, dancing and sharing. Inspired by The Sundance, the Humanist Garden promotes the values of living cooperatively, sharing abundance, celebrating creativity and reinforcing caring relationships.

With the rapid decline of the buffalo in the 19th century, many Native Americans succumbed to disease and starvation. Southern Plains Indian tribes fared better as they supplemented their diet with subsistence farming.

The planting reflects the “companion method” of planting as practiced by the Southern Plains Indian tribes. Compatible crops, such as maize, beans and squash, are mutually beneficial. Maize provides climbing support for the beans, which in turn fix nitrogen into the soil. Squash provide ground cover and suppress weeds. Tomatoes, chillies and onions are also grown together. Herbs are grown for their culinary, medicinal and soil enrichment qualities. For example, the inclusion of chamomile, marigold and comfrey, provides calcium, potassium, phosphorus, silicon, nitrogen and magnesium. Flowers such as nasturtiums attract black fly away from beans, and sunflowers attract pollinators. Espalier fruit trees (dwarf stock) are ideal for a small space and add to the variety of produce.

The central sculptural structure in the garden is suggestive of a teepee that appears to be collapsing. This reflects the fate of the Native Americans as buffalo numbers fell from 60 million in 1800 to just 750 in 1890. A pebble fountain bubbles beneath the teepee and yellow stone pathways radiate outwards. Between the rays of the path grow the crops, herbs and flowers. A covered decking area provides shelter and a place for cooking, eating, relaxing and socialising. Artisan arts and crafts such as pottery, basketry, textiles and glass, celebrate creativity and diversity.

Sundance, the Humanist Garden, can be viewed as a metaphor for shared human values, despite differing ethnicity or faith, and for the benefits of both cultural diversity and cooperation. The garden illustrates the co-existence of disparate groups working together in peace and harmony, drawn together by their interdependence and their common humanity.

%d bloggers like this: