Simon Nightingale talking about Humanism on video

Shrewsbury U3A record all their guest speakers and upload the videos to YouTube for all to watch. In April 2017, the chair of Shropshire Humanist Group, Dr. Simon Nightingale, spoke to them about Humanism.

This talk is a well-structured introduction for anyone interested in humanism. There are questions from the U3A audience towards the end.

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Next meeting: 19 October, AGM and discussion on Charity. A great two years!

Painting by Carol Seager

Painting by Carol Seager

In October, the Shropshire Humanist Group holds its Annual General Meeting. We do not have a speaker after the AGM, but we shall have a discussion to which all members and guests can contribute. This year the planned topic is on charity and related issues, following our September talk on “The ups and downs of ‘doing good’”, about a local children’s charity operating in a part of Uganda. Possible matters to discuss include the effects of charity (which Gill Castle talked about at our meeting), distributive justice, unfair inequality and the basic economics of charity.

All are welcome (voluntary donations are requested), and we shall be glad to have new people and ideas involved in our activities. Thursday 19 October at 7.30 pm, University Centre Shrewsbury, Guildhall, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury SY3 8HQ.

SHG has made enormous progress in the last 2 years. Following the move to the University Centre as our regular venue, we have much increased our attendance at meetings and have been able to be involved in new events. We have had more chances to introduce Humanism to the local public and enable people to say, ‘I’m a humanist but I didn’t know that I was’.

We have held public meetings to explain humanism in both Shrewsbury and Telford, followed by courses on humanism in both places. We have also been represented at a number of cultural diversity events in Shropshire. We must not forget the wonderful and creative garden by our member Carol Seager at the Shrewsbury Flower Show, which placed Humanism in front of many thousands of people and won two top awards as well!

Our increased membership has enabled us to support worthy causes, including the fund of the International Humanist and Ethical Union to help people persecuted for their non-belief, and our member Noel Conway’s court case concerning the law on assisted dying.

We shall continue to arrange social events as well as our speaker and discussion meetings. Social events enable humanists and non-religious people to get together, chat and make friends. The latest British Social Attitudes survey shows that 53% of the UK population say they belong to no religion, and that rises to 71% of 18-24 year olds.

So, if you are a humanist or you think that humanism represents your beliefs, or you are just interested in what we are doing, please come along!

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

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!

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