Thursday 19 March: Amanda Jones on Refugees

Amanda JonesAmanda Jones, Director of the Shropshire Supports Refugees not-for-profit Community Interest Company, says: “Shropshire Supports Refugees has been supporting families resettled in Shropshire since 2016. We recognise that it is not enough to just help these few families to integrate and find their feet in a new country, but that it is our duty to also continue to raise awareness and raise the profile of refugees and asylum seekers who are still stuck in horrific circumstances around the world. Nurturing a celebratory attitude rather than just a ‘tolerating’ attitude is the way that we would like to ensure that the families who are living in Shropshire are accepted and welcomed now and into the future.”

 

University Centre Shrewsbury, Guildhall, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury SY3 8HQ, 7.30 pm. You are very welcome to come for tea and coffee from 7 pm to meet and chat with other members and guests. A voluntary donation is requested towards room hire and refreshments.

Noel Conway on radio, talking about empathy and his novel

On Sunday 2 FebruaryNoel Conway gave the weekly “Pause for Thought” on BBC Radio Shropshire’s Sunday morning “Faith and Ethics” program.

Noel is well know to us as an active member of Shropshire Humanists and recognized nationally as an advocate for a change in the law on assisted
dying, a cause of particular relevance to people like him with advanced Motor Neurone Disease. As well as his legal campaigns, he has found time to
write and publish short stories and novels, using voice recognition software as he now has no use of his limbs. To hear his moving talk, listen here between 1.24 and 1.30 on the time line.

Hot potatoes 2020: humanists speak their minds

Another annual Open Mike – Hot Potato evening, which has been such fun over the last few years. The idea is that anybody can speak about anything for 5 to 7 minutes (with or without PowerPoint). The only requirement is that the subject fascinates them and they have to fascinate us! If you’d like to give one of these short presentations, contact Simon Nightingale.

Here is a recording of some of last year’s presentations.

Books on Humanism bequeathed to the Shropshire Humanist Library from the estate of Jonathan Cutbill

Simon Nightingale writes: Geoff Hardy, a member of Shropshire Humanists and a long standing friend of Jonathan Cutbill who died earlier this year, has kindly given 16 books on humanism to the Shropshire Humanist Library.

Geoff showed me around Jonathan Cutbill’s lovely terrace house in Castlefields. I’ve never seen so many books in a private house. Room after room was filled to the roof with many racks of shelving full of ordered and catalogued books. Over many years Jonathan had acquired an extraordinary and indeed definitive collection of LGBT publications. Some rare volumes are of great historical interest. The University of London has been delighted to accept them at Senate House where they will be an important resource for research.

As well as a bibliophile, Jonathan was an ardent and well known defender of LGBT rights and co-founder of Gay’s the Word bookshop in the Bloomsbury district of London. More about his life can be read in this obituary.

Shropshire Humanists, like all humanist groups, strongly supports human rights, including LGBT rights locally, nationally and internationally. Details of Humanists UK’s LGBT community and campaigning can be found here.

We are very grateful to Jonathan Cutbill’s generosity and to Geoff Hardy for arranging his donation. Those who want to see the full list of books available in the Shropshire Humanist Library, can contact our treasurer Peter Cann.

A modest selection of books to borrow or buy will always be available at our monthly Thursday evening events at University Centre Shrewsbury.

Review of Erica Buist’s talk on death festivals

Simon Nightingale writes: Last Thursday we had a good turnout for Shropshire Humanists AGM, but the highlight of the evening was a fascinating talk by Erica Buist, a freelance reporter for the Guardian, Medium, BBC etc. She started with a moving account of the distress she experienced after the awful circumstances of her father-in-law’s death and the subsequent growing realisation that she, like most of us in the West, was quite unprepared to cope with death. She discussed the reasons for this, for example, that in all children’s stories, cartoons and films the good people live “happily ever after” and it’s the only the bad guys that die. Moreover, sometimes the good are effectively brought back to life by Prince Charming’s kiss or clapping for Tinkerbell and so on.
Erica went on to discuss the different ways people view death in other parts of the world. In particular, she has visited seven death festivals. Initially her account seemed a little shocking, but when you understood what was going on in the minds of those celebrating at these festivals, it became very moving.
Erica has written a book about all this, which can be bought online (not via Amazon, I’m pleased to say).

Ludlow and Marches Humanists: talk on 19 November, and Remembrance Sunday wreath laying

Ludlow and Marches Humanists presents a talk on Samaritans by Libby Dolloway and Chery Sell. Samaritans is a registered charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, often through their telephone helpline. Although the name derives from the Biblical Parable of the Good Samaritan, Samaritans is a secular organisation.

Tuesday 19th November 2019, 7.30 pm, at The Friends Meeting House, St Mary’s Lane, Ludlow SY8 1DZ. All welcome. For more information: david215@talktalk.net.

Remembrance Sunday this year is on the 10th November. Ludlow and Marches Humanists will again be laying a wreath at the Ludlow Peace Memorial in Castle Square. Ludlow. Please do join them at 10 am as the Civic Ceremony starts at 10.30 am.

Thursday 21 November: Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion – A Tour of the Case Law by Caroline Roberts

Photo for SH Website_CKR
Caroline is a final year PhD Researcher in Law at the University of Bristol. Her research, supervised by Professor Sir Malcolm Evans and Professor Russell Sandberg, focuses on the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion at the international, European and domestic level. Caroline’s thesis – entitled ‘Reconceptualising the Place of the Forum Internum and Forum Externum in Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights’ – which comprehensively reviews the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights relating to the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, challenges the traditional approach to this right and advances a radical alternative reading.

During this talk, Caroline will introduce the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and take us on a tour of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, to explore the European landscape as a whole and some interesting cases in detail.

Thursday 21 November, 7.30 pm.  University Centre Shrewsbury, Guildhall, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury SY3 8HQ. You are very welcome to come for tea and coffee from 7 pm to meet and chat with other members and guests. A voluntary donation is requested towards room hire and refreshments.

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