Around Shropshire: Ludlow and Marches Humanists and Engaging Issues

In South Shropshire, North Herefordshire and the Welsh border areas there is another humanist group, our neighbours the Ludlow and Marches Humanists. A copy of their latest newsletter can be downloaded here and their website is here.

They always have an interesting programme, and the following meetings are planned:

20 February 2018 – “Telling people about Humanism” by Dr Simon Nightingale. Simon is a semi-retired neurologist and chair of  Shropshire Humanist Group. He has given many talks on Humanism and is occasionally heard on Shropshire Radio. He participates in inter-faith discussions and will be considering techniques, tactics and pitfalls when communicating Humanist  messages to people of different outlooks.
Thursday 8 March 2018, special meeting – on Brexit legislative programme by Lord Jeff Rooker: Please note that this meeting only will be in the Zion room at the Methodist Church Hall, Broad Street, Ludlow. Jeff Rooker will be concentrating on the progress of the legislative programme through the House of Lords, full title yet to be revealed.
20 March 2018 – The Reverend Kelvin Price, Rector of Ludlow. Talk title to be agreed. We have not had a formal talk from the Church of England for many years now, and it will be interesting to see his approach to falling numbers and alternative uses of church buildings, as well as the continuing relevance of the C of E as a state religion.
17 April 2018 – Christine Hyde on Greece ”Changed or Unchanged” – Chris and Hugh spent several years in Greece and grew to appreciate the culture, albeit different in many ways from our own. Chris will be concentrating on
the village (Elaia) and area they know best, quote: “I will talk about customs still practiced from Dorian times, the Orthodox Church, and the Evil Eye, ending with a few photos of the wild life. Hence the suggested title”.
15 May 2018 – AGM. As usual, we will try to make this an interesting evening, with cake and refreshments and either a video or a special discussion to follow the AGM.

Engaging Issues is a church-based group in Church Stretton, but its talks are often of interest to humanists and others.

Tuesday 6 February – “Can Christians talk with one voice about God?”. Dr Benjamin Wood is a Quaker ethicist and theologian, interested in the relationship between faith & society, secular politics and the Church.
Tuesday 27th February – “Britain’s Housing Affordability Crisis”. Chrissie Pepler
7:30pm in the United Reformed Church, High Street, Church Stretton. A £3 donation is requested to defray expenses.

Some local events of interest to humanists in Shropshire

Some events that may be of interest to Shropshire humanists. Please note that SHG is not organising these, so we can take no responsibility for the accuracy of this information.

Weds 15 November, 7.30 pm: Birmingham Humanists, Atheism versus Humanism, Moseley Exchange, 149-153 Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham B13 8JP

Mon 20 November, 7.30 pm: South Shropshire Interfaith Forum, Religion and Medicine in Conflict, United Reformed Church, 73 High Street, Church Stretton, SY6 6BY

Thurs 7 December, 10 am: U3A Philosophy Group, Socratic Dialogue on Humanism, University Centre Shrewsbury, Guildhall, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury SY3 8HQ.

Do have a look what is happening at the Ludlow and Marches Humanist Group in Ludlow (email) and Engaging Issues in Church Stretton (Lesley Richards, 01694 722068).

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

29 November: Public talk on Humanism at Engaging Issues forum in Church Stretton

Simon_NightingaleDr Simon Nightingale will be giving a public talk, Humanism, what it is and why it is important, as part of the Engaging Issues series of talks, on Tuesday 29th November at 7.30 pm at the United Reformed Church, High Street, Church Stretton SY6 6BY.
Humanists believe that one can lead a good life and be a good person without religion. The British Humanist Association, with the “happy humanist” logo, is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity.
Dr Nightingale, a retired consultant neurologist from the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, has been working for humanism for some years, conducting humanist funerals and weddings. He is the humanist representative on the Shrewsbury SACRE – the Local Authority committee that oversees Religious Education and Collective Worship in our Shropshire state schools and he is the humanist representative on the Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals Chaplaincy Committee and a member of the Shrewsbury Interfaith Forum. Currently he is chair of the Shropshire Humanist Group.
Dr Nightingale says: “I am grateful for the opportunity to explain the basis of humanism and, in particular, to address some of the myths”. Humanists are non-religious, not anti-religious, and support the rights of those with faith to practise their religions. Humanists collaborate with other religions and interfaith groups, such as The Jubilee Debt Campaign, to promote values we share with most moderate religions. Living without religion does not leave a moral vacuum. Humanists are not moral relativists believing that “anything goes”; on the contrary humanists have strong moral beliefs based on normative ethics and our innate moral instincts. Humanists are not devoid of any spiritual sense and do not believe that our lives are without meaning. Dr Nightingale will show that the myths are far from true.
The talk is for anyone interested in humanism, whether or not they call themselves a humanist. For example, those who believe that it is possible to lead a good life and be a good person without religion may find areas of common interest. Those with religious faith may like to learn more of a rapidly growing, influential non-religious world view. Teachers involved with Religious Education may find the talk helpful and informative.
More information about humanism from the British Humanist Association website.

Engaging Issues in Church Stretton

DSCF1767-edited This is to draw your attention to a series of events in Church Stretton, which cover topics that may well be of interest to humanists. According to its description, there are forums, lectures, questions and discussion on faith and society issues. National speakers are often invited to lead the sessions about science, religion, culture and society.

Unfortunately this post appears too late to inform you of the talk on “Prisoners and Human Rights” by Peter Pack of Amnesty on 6 January, but the next talk is on Tuesday 20th January: “It’s democracy, Clem but not as we knew it”: Democratic participation and accountability in contemporary UK politics with Dr Stuart Wilks-Heeg (University of Liverpool), who explores whether the UK has become more, or less, democratic since the 1940s. And ponders what the politicians of the immediate post-war period might make of modern British democracy.

Dr.Stuart Wilks-Heeg is Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Liverpool. He took a lead role in the 2012 Democratic Audit of the UK.

7:30pm in the United Reformed Church building on the High Street, Church Stretton, SY6 6BY.

All are welcome, a contribution of £3 towards expenses is requested from those who attend. More detail on these events is available from David Howard, 01694 722904.

The Use and Abuse of the Bible: talk in Church Stretton, Tuesday 5 February

Readers may be interested in the following talk organised by a group called Engaging Issues:

The Use and Abuse of the Bible:  a talk by  Trevor Dennis, who is described as  “a wonderful storyteller who  enthrals and leaves you wanting more”.

Tuesday 5th February 2013, 7.30 p.m. at United Reformed Church,  High Street, Church Stretton.

Trevor Dennis taught biblical studies for many years at Salisbury and Wells Theological College, before joining the staff of Chester Cathedral in 1994. There he had responsibility for the education work of the Cathedral, and retained a keen interest in teaching and writing about the Bible, as well as preaching on it. He retired from his post of Vice Dean of the Cathedral in 2010, but continues to go all over the country, speaking at conferences, leading retreats, etc. He is the author of many books, including a children’s Bible and six books on Old Testament and New Testament narratives.

Trevor writes: ‘ Did you know about Gregory of Nyssa’s passionate, biblically-based attack on slavery in the fourth century?  Bet you didn’t!  You might just know about ‘the curse of Ham’, a passage in Genesis which was used for centuries to justify slavery.  This is where we will begin, and we will move on to other case studies, such as the position of women in the Church, and homosexuality.  We will also consider the principles we might follow to establish an intelligent, sensitive and compassionate use of the Bible’.