20 September meeting: Humanism in Action

P1030393-shrewsbury square - smThis meeting will showcase the work of humanists in three important areas:-

Maxine Beech, a Humanist Celebrant, will talk about baby namings, weddings and funerals.
Sue Falder, a Pastoral Support Volunteer, will talk about humanist “chaplaincy” work in healthcare, prisons and universities.
Simon Nightingale, a Volunteer School Speaker, will talk about going into RE classes to explain the basis of humanism.

There will be a general discussion of the importance of these activities and available training.

Thursday 20 September, 7.30 pm, at University Centre Shrewsbury, Guildhall, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury SY3 8HQ. All welcome, but voluntary donations requested.

You are very welcome to arrive at 7 pm for coffee/tea and to chat to other members and visitors.

Carol does it again: Garden celebrating humanist ceremonies wins top prizes at Shrewsbury Flower Show

Carol Seager, a member of Shropshire Humanists, has repeated her success from 2017, winning again a Large Gold Medal and the Mike Hough Memorial Trophy for best outdoor show garden. This garden is part of the show theme ‘Times Gone By’ and is entitled ‘Dawn till Dusk’. Its centrepiece is a sundial, a way of marking the passing of time, a metaphor for life’s journey marked by the ceremonies of baby namings, weddings and funerals.

The garden places humanism and humanist ceremonies and the celebrants who officiate at them in front of tens of thousands of visitors to the show.

Congratulations to Carol, Chris and Carol’s team of helpers!

More information later, and we hope to take some pictures in the sunshine on Saturday.



 

Simon Nightingale on radio Pause for Thought: The one life we have

A humanist Pause for Thought about The One Life We Have on Radio Shropshire on Sunday morning.

Listen on the time-line from 1:16:30 to 1:21:00 for one month after broadcast.

It is followed by a brief discussion on the government’s opt-out organ donation legislation.

Simon has provided the following transcript.

I recently went to the Terracotta Warriors exhibition in Liverpool and it was totally amazing. Over 200 years BC, this guy Qin Shi Huang built massive burial chambers with over 8000 life-sized porcelain soldiers not to mention loads of other stuff – just to ensure his comfort in the hereafter. Then of course, there are the pyramids and other massive tombs all over the world.

Even in the west, elaborate religious rituals have been devised to ensure safe passage to the afterlife – and to try and get preferential treatment once you’re there.

From the beginning of recorded history (and even from some prehistoric studies), mankind has always been obsessed with the after life. At present vast numbers of people around the world believe there is one – or a least they hope there is! Why?

Well, in times past, life was pretty rough and often very unfair (less so nowadays though the fact that there’s still huge and unfair inequality is shameful). So a life that’s “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (a phrase used by a great humanist philosopher of his time) – a life like that may not seem quite so bad if followed by a heavenly bliss for all eternity – and eternity’s a very long time particularly towards the end! A few decades of misery down here on earth would seem as nothing compared to eternal heavenly bliss. And if you saw someone doing wrong and benefiting at the expense of others, well that may not seem quite so horribly unfair if you believe they’ll get their “just deserts” in the hereafter.

The beliefs of humanists, who live without religion, are a bit different. We believe that what we are, as conscious individuals with our unique sense of identity, is entirely the result of the amazingly complex and truly wonderful electrochemical activity in our brain. Death occurs when that activity is irretrievably lost – and so death is the end of who are we and what we are.

Does all this really matter? Well, humanists think it does. We believe we just have the one life and that’s why it is so important to have a good life and help others to have a good life. So if other people are in a bad way – do something about it. The “one life” idea is actually sort of empowering. Life ain’t no dress rehearsal – it’s up to us to make the world a better place, now.

OK, I don’t wanna to die any time soon, ‘cos I enjoy life so much – there’s still so much to do. But when death comes, I can face it without the consolation of religion belief. I hope that like the great humanist philosopher, David Hume, I’ll die in a way consistent with how I’ve lived, with composure and joy for the one life I have enjoyed among those I love in our beautiful and fragile world.

And after I die – what then? I believe I will live on. OK, maybe not in my present form, but I’ll live on in my children and their children; and I’ll live on in the hearts and minds of all who’ve known me and in any small changes I have made to the world. Their memories of Simon Nightingale may last just their lifetimes, but if I’ve influenced even just a bit how others feel and how they view the world, that influence they’ll pass on by their interactions with others and so on. In a sense a little bit of the spirit of Simon will be gradually spreading out like ripples on a lake – over time and generations, long after I’ve gone. Now that’s true immortality; that’s a real afterlife.

Video: Teddy Prout of Humanists UK talking to Shropshire Humanists about Faith to Faithless

Teddy Prout, Director of Community Services for Humanists UK, talks to Shropshire Humanists about the Faith to Faithless initiative on Thursday 17th May 2018.

Introduction to Humanism: course in Shrewsbury, September/October

This course, run by members of Shropshire Humanists, has been popular in previous years, so we are running it again in Shrewsbury this year. The six-week course is intended for anybody who is interested in humanism and wishes to find out more about its principles and the activities of humanists.  No previous knowledge of humanism or philosophy is required.

The course consists of 6 sessions, each lasting 2 hours (7–9 pm) on Wednesdays at weekly intervals in September and October 2018. The venue is the University Centre in the Guildhall on Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury SY3 8HQ. The Guildhall is just east of the Welsh Bridge by the footbridge to the Riverside Shopping Centre. It is 5 minutes walk from the rail and bus stations and there is free parking in the evenings. The venue has wheelchair access.

The course will be limited to 20 participants. You do not need to be a member of the national organisation Humanists UK, but we would prefer (but don’t insist) that you are or become a member of the Shropshire Humanists.

A course folder, which is distributed at the beginning of the course, includes all the material needed for the discussions on which the course is based.  Participants are encouraged to read the material in advance, so that they can bring contributions and questions to each session.

The sessions are:

1        What do humanists believe?    Sept 12

2        What are the historical roots of humanism?      Sept 19              

3        Where do humanists get their moral values?    Sept 26

4        Meaning and purpose of life for humanists     Oct   3

5        How do humanists handle moral dilemmas?       Oct 10

6        What do humanists do? Review course.         Oct 17

We plan to have a meal together after the last session. There will be a fee of £20 for the course to cover expenses.

If you would like to come to the course and/or join the Shropshire Humanists, please download and fill in this form. If the course is full, we will return your money and invite you to the next course that we hold.

Some pictures from World Humanist Day, #Shrewsbury

This year we marked World Humanist Day, 21 June, with a display in the Square, in the centre of Shrewsbury. The weather was bright and sunny but a strong breeze meant that we had to be careful not to let things blow away. Our regular evening meeting continued the theme with presentations and exhibitions by members.

Arts and crafts by members.

If you’re wondering about the musical instruments made from junk, see whackitsmackit.co.uk

The puzzles were very popular. Contact our chair, Dr Simon Nightingale, for information.

Humanism in the community.

 

Radio discussion on health care chaplains #NHS

Simon Harrison, president of The College of Health Care Chaplains, was on Radio Shropshire on Sunday 1 July and Simon Nightingale, Chair of Shropshire Humanists, was asked for his thoughts.

Here is the link to listen again (for a month only): https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06b1xg5

Simon Harrison is on from 9.00 to 12.30 and Simon is on from 15.30 to 21.30 on the time line.

%d bloggers like this: