Volume 15   Number 8
August  2014
Board Members:

Richard Dewey

Vice President:
Henry Geist

Tim Bedient

Rebecca Beltran

Program Director:
Al Wendler

Members at Large:
Vici Duarte
Ann Marie
Eisentraut /
Bruce Stiles
Michal Otten
Anita Romanowski

Committee Chairs & Other Leadership:

J.B. Wright

Bruce Pettycrew

Ariane Apler

Anita Romanowski

Property Management:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Facility Use Management:
Vici Duarte

Food Management:
Kathy Pettycrew

Linda Wendler

Science Night:

Book Club:
Roy Towne

Inquiring Minds:
Kevin Moriarty

Game Nights:
Bruce Stiles
Ann Marie

Service Outreach Coordinator:
Michal Otten

Immediate Past President:
Shelley Newman (2011)

President Emeritus:
Susan Sackett

President's Message

We had fun again in July and our reach keeps getting bigger and bigger. We're up to 857 followers on Meetup and 414 Facebook members! There have been some great discussions on Facebook this month too. We're also continuing to make some great upgrades to our facility and we're looking to do even more. I would like to emphasize again that there are still many Humanists in the Valley who don't know that we're here and you can all help get the word out by talking us up wherever you think that would be well received. At some point, we would like to see Humanist centers all over the valley.

In this article, I'll give a brief review of what happened in July and the status of some of the projects that we're working on. Check out the rest of the newsletter for some details on what's coming up, and more useful information about our organization.

Events in July

Our Inquiring Minds Discussion Group went after a provocative topic this month, "Where is the boundary between personal and social rights?". We even had to work on defining "rights" first. And then the discussion took off in several different directions. This topic is obviously a hot button in our society today (no surprise, right?) and that was true within our group as well. It was really interesting to hear so many different perspectives on this. Unfortunately, we didn't solve the problems of the world yet but I think we got one step closer. The discussions are always well attended and fun. If you like provocative philosophical discussions, check it out.

The HSGP Humanities Project did it again with seven outings and one in-house event this month. There is much more culture in this valley than most know and these people know how to find some very interesting and fun events. The outings this month included four concerts, two lectures, and a "Creative Expression & Spoken Word Workshop". The in-house event was a film screening and open discussion featuring "The God Who Wasn't There" which was well attended and very interesting. A number of people stayed after the meeting was over for some long discussions. Keep an eye on our schedule and Meetup page to see what they are planning and be sure to check frequently because many of the events are announced at the last minute.

I made it back to Game Night this month, even if only for a short while, and met some new folks that I really hope keep coming back. I brought my usual dice game which is always entertaining for a little while. Two other tables had to be set up to accommodate the crowd that had gone to an impromptu dinner at a local Columbian restaurant first (myself included). The place was already packed when we arrived and not all of us wanted to play the same game so we set up two new tables and immediately got to work having a blast. Isn't it nice that we have our own building and can do things like that? Game nights are always popular and you can get into almost anything and meet some fun people in the process.

Our first Sunday speaker this month featured, Ernie Ortiz, from the St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance, who gave us an informative and fascinating talk about the history and inner workings of the food bank and the great work that they are doing over most of the state of Arizona, feeding hungry people. I had no idea how big this organization is and what all is involved in getting food to locations all over the state and then preparing the food for the needy. It is amazing. And what's more amazing is how they manage all of that with a limited number of employees and volunteers. They also have a network of grocery chains that regularly donate large quantities of food. It's all quite impressive! The name is certainly related to the church because that was who sponsored them in the beginning but this organization is no longer affiliated with the church. A more detailed summary of this presentation can be found at St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance.

The HSGP Glendale Meetup group met this month and had a discussion around a podcast about "The Myth of Gay Reparative Therapy". This group, and the HSGP North Phoenix Meetup group, meet once a month and could use help getting the word out about them. I'm sure that there are many in those parts of the valley that would love to join them if they only knew about them. If you know folks in those areas who might be interested in joining one of these groups, please pass the word. You can find information about their meetings on our Meetup page at Humanist Society Meetup.

The Book Club, reviewed another good book this month, "The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use "Plain English" to Rob You Blind" by David Cay Johnston. Here's a quick review from Amazon:

"David Cay Johnston, the bestselling author of Perfectly Legal and Free Lunch, is famous for exposing the perfidies of our biggest institutions. Now he turns his attention to the ways huge corporations hide sneaky stipulations in just about every contract, often with government permission.

No other modern country gives corporations the unfettered power found in America to gouge customers, shortchange workers, and erect barriers to fair play. Johnston shares solutions you can use to fight back against the obscure fees and taxes, and to help end these devious practices."

Sounds like a good read about something that affects all of us!

Our second Sunday speaker this month was yet another of our own members, Tory Anderson presenting the "Arizona Legislative Wrap-up" for this year. Tory is the lobbyist for the Secular Coalition for Arizona (SCAZ) and is a high-energy, high-impact speaker who is continuing to fight hard for the separation of church and state in Arizona and is making a huge impact. In addition to her review of the bills that she had significant influence on this year, another of our members, Zenaido Quintana, who is also the Executive Director of SCAZ, introduced Tory and after she spoke, he made a plea for help to keep the organization strong and successful. This talk was very informative (if not a bit scary at times) and was a must for any of us who want to have our rights protected from religious infringement in Arizona. There is a great summary about the presentation at Tory Anderson.

What else happened in July?

We made some great progress on our sound and video system in the meeting hall. Some of you may have noticed that we now have the projector hung from the ceiling, not only making more room for chairs up front, but removing an unsightly trip hazard of cords that were routed to the projector when it was still on a stand on the floor. The cables were routed through the walls and the ceiling. We still have to tidy up some, but this is a huge and long awaited improvement. We also still have some issues with the sound system that we're working on and we expect to get them resolved soon

While that was going on, we also had new power routed over by the coffee pot area including new breakers so we can run all the coffee pots on the same circuit. This also was a great improvement.

I'm sure you all are very excited about the solar panels. Well, they are not only installed, but they are now connected and supplementing our power! Actually the SRP connection date was August 1st but I'm not waiting another month to write about it, so there. As you may recall, this was entirely donated, both materials and labor. That is huge and VERY much appreciated! We expect to save money on our electric bill from here on, but mostly in the summer when it's most needed. We're getting "greener"!

We did have some wind damage during storms this month but luckily, it was limited to broken branches. Our members Bruce and Kathy Pettycrew (who do so much already) were out there quickly and cleaning up the branches and hauling the mess to the dump. Thanks Bruce and Kathy!!

Lastly, you may remember that we have been fighting a roof leak. With the recent storms, the fix has been tested and we found that we need to do more work. So that job is continuing and some other options are being reviewed. We'll keep you posted on the progress.

In other news, there is a new Humanist Invocation in the lower right corner of the newsletter. This one is from our friend Herb Silverman. I hope you enjoy reading it. If you have suggestions for next month, please email me at the address below. All Humanist poems, prayers, invocations, inspirational quotes, etc. will be considered.

And now for the statement that only changes occasionally, (again, not this time). As always, we are interested in any feedback that you might have so please feel free to email me at humanist@hsgp.org or find out who your board members and committee chairs are, on the left side of this page, and talk to them! Enjoy the rest of the newsletter!

Richard Dewey
President, HSGP

Turn Business into Fundraising for HSGP

One easy way Humanists can raise funds for HSGP is by giving our business to businesses that return a percentage of the proceeds to HSGP. For example, Basha's, Fry's and Albertson's grocery stores will return a percentage of the money our members spend at their stores. Amazon will also donate a percentage of sales that are made through the HSGP link. But first you need to enroll in the program(s) of your choice for this to happen. See article at lower right for more information.

HSGP member and Professional Realtor Vici Duarte has announced that she is offering a similar program. Vici will donate 10% of her net commission to HSGP. If you plan to buy or sell a home, speak to Vici at any HSGP event, or contact her by email at viciduarte@cox.net.

We are looking for other business people who might be interested in increasing their sales and then giving back to the Humanists. If you have an interest in a business, consider if you would like to offer a way to increase your business and support HSGP. Please contact Ariane Apler at ariane.apler@arcor.de about setting up a similar program.

Upcoming Meetings and Topics
Aug 23rd
No book club meeting in August
event:  Book Club
The book club meeting for August has been cancelled on account of summer. Meetings will resume Sept 27.

Aug 23rd
Brainstorming Session for Fundraising Ideas
Event:  Brainstorming Session
Come help us brainstorm fundraising opportunities for HSGP!

We will be talking about:

• Fall Fundraiser (Bazaar, Sale other options?)

• Fundraising during our Solstice event

• Grant ideas and possibilities

• Events at local Restaurants (that will donate proceeds to HSGP)

• any other fundraising ideas

Please come and join to brainstorm, share ideas and most importantly help us put some of these events together!

Aug 24th
Chaco Mystery Solved?
Speaker:  John Ware

With its monumental architecture, exotic artifacts, and immense scale by regional standards, Chaco stands out as different from any other archaeological expression in the northern Southwest. Like the blind men examining the elephant, archaeologists have touched Chaco and found Mesoamerican traders, complex chiefdoms, city-states, ritual landscapes, a destination for pilgrims, and some have even argued that on a global scale, Chaco may be unique – tantamount to picking “none of the above.” In this presentation, Ware argues that the key to understanding Chaco may lie in understanding the descendants of Chaco: the historic Pueblo Indians of New Mexico and Arizona.

A fourth-generation Arizonan, John Ware is an anthropologist and archaeologist whose research and teaching focus on the prehistory and ethnohistory of the northern Southwest, where he has worked for over 40 years. Ware earned his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Colorado in 1983 and was director of the Laboratory of Anthropology and founding director of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe.

Doors open at 9:00 am for socializing with an optional breakfast available for a donation of $5. The meeting begins at 10:00 am.

This program is made possible through Arizona Humanities.

Sep 04th
SMoCA - Photography Panel: Seeing Suburbia - Free
Event:  Humanities Project Outing: Photography Panel
Photography Panel: Seeing Suburbia

Join Claire C. Carter, SMoCA’s Assistant Curator; Rebecca Senf, Norton Family Curator, Center for Creative Photography and Phoenix Art Museum; and Bill Jenkins, Associate Professor, Arizona State University for a discussion about the work of photographer Bill Owens.

In collaboration with INFOCUS, the Phoenix Art Museum’s photography support group and the Photography program at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University.

In SMoCA Galleries.

Free event. Please arrive early to claim one of the limited seats.

Sep 05th
Event:  Humanities Project Outing: Art Exhibit
Sep 06th
Event:  Humanities Project Outing: Fiesta
Sep 07th
Speaker:  Alain de Botton via TED Talk video
Sep 12th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Sep 13th
event:  Work Party!
Sep 13th
event:  Work Party!
Sep 17th
Event:  Humanities Project Outing: Free Film
Sep 21st
Speaker:  LuAnn Dahlman
Oct 10th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Oct 19th
Speaker:  TBA
Nov 01st
Event:  Flying Spaghetti Monster Dinner
Nov 09th
Speaker:  TBA
Nov 14th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Nov 23rd
Speaker:  TBA

The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix is open to presentations on a variety of topics, many of which are controversial. Please note that the opinions expressed by our guest speakers do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or philosophy of HSGP.

Membership Matters

by Anita Romanowski

Payments to HSGP:
The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix (HSGP) is just one among hundreds of chapters of the American Humanist Association (AHA). Occasionally we receive a check made out to the American Humanist Association. HSGP cannot accept donations designated for another organization. Please be aware that when making out or designating a check for dues or donation, it needs to be made out to HSGP or Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix. Please refer to JOIN AHA and CSH at the end of this newsletter.

In order to make a payment through HSGP's website (internet payment) you need to have a PayPal account. This is the only way HSGP can accept credit card payments. To make an internet payment, simply log on to www.HSGP.org and select Membership to initiate or renew your membership. Select Support HSGP to make a donation.

Additionally, when making a payment from a company, please provide your name and personal contact information. We'd like to know who to thank.

Welcome New Members:
Aaron (Chris) Miller
Dave & Nancy Hill

  Member Announcements:
If you would like to have a personal event, i.e., anniversary, birthday, birth of child or grandchild announced in this column, send me an email.

Also, please let me know if you have a change of address, phone number, or email. This information is for our records only and will not be published.

Anita Romanowski
Chair, Membership Committee

HSGP Service Outreach Project

by Michal Otten

St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance

HSGP members have been volunteering for 2 years at St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance. We will be volunteering at St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance on the second Saturday of every even month through the end of 2014. Our next outing is coming up on Saturday, August 9th from 12-3 PM. Please consider joining us! For details and to RSVP, visit our Meetup page. 
St. Mary's is a non-sectarian, nonprofit organization that serves two-thirds of Arizona's 15 counties. St. Mary's has a program, called Hunger Heroes, to recognize and honor the organizations that make a large impact in the community. Hunger Heroes requires a donation of $1,000, 1,000 lbs of food, and 100 volunteer hours. You can track our progress by checking the whiteboard tally at the Sunday meetings. We have exceeded our monetary and volunteer hour goals, and we are a mere 50 pounds away from our food goal! We are well on our way to being named Hunger Heroes, but we can’t stop yet! Please consider or donating food to help our efforts. And even though we have met our monetary and volunteer hour goals, please continue joining us as we support this amazing organization. 

Please Help the Valley’s Veteran Furniture Center
By Dolores Ratcliff

The Veteran’s Furniture Center opened in 2009 to help veterans in our area with furniture, household goods, and food when they are transitioning from homeless to an apartment. They also provide food and toiletries for homeless veterans. The magnitude of the struggles of some of our veterans is more desperate than anyone can imagine. The Phoenix area alone has approximately 3,500 veterans that are sleeping on the streets every night! Bruce and I took food down when a friend had this picture on her Facebook page. When we brought the food, they said that this picture is the way it looks at least once a week.

Donations can be made at 2319 W. Holly Street. Pick up can be arranged for larger items. Call 602-303-6112 with questions and open hours.

Open Call for Ideas

Are you interested in seeing HSGP get involved with a certain charity or volunteering with a certain organization? Michal is always looking out for new ideas and suggestions. Send her an email at

Keeping Up With HSGP
Social Media Tips and Hints #14

by Jennifer White

As Brian Callaway will be speaking to us this month about the HSGP Odyssey of the Mind team, I decided to repeat this recent article about it.
What Odyssey of the Mind After School Is About
from Coaches Brian Calaway and Lorna Calaway:
“Odyssey of the Mind After School is dedicated to providing access to the creative problem-solving program that encourages students to be as creative as possible using STEM skills and presenting solutions using the Arts in the form of an 8 minute skit with costumes, props, and backdrops. 
Student teams work on solutions to long-term challenges and practice spontaneous problems to become fluent creative problem-solvers.
Students learn what teamwork means. They solve complex challenges using common everyday types of materials. Engineering skills are developed. Performance skills are honed. Crafting abilities are put to use. Creative ideas are built upon to evolve into something so much better because of team members. “

Here are some links for the OOTM teams coached by Brian and Lorna:
Odyssey of the Mind After School – Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Arizona-Odyssey-of-the-Mind/190401588893
Odyssey of the Mind After School – web site - www.odysseyofthemindafterschool.org/

Most OOTM teams represent schools. A few represent churches. It seems that the HSGP team is the ONLY one that represents a Humanist group, or any specifically non-religious group, for that matter!

The HSGP team is smaller, meets less often, and gets less financial support than the more typical school teams. Yet, our team consistently finishes at or near the top in competition. Last year, their first, the HSGP team finished 1st (among their division and problem) in Regional, and 2nd in State. Although they qualified for 2013 World Finals, they were not able to afford the travel and lodging costs, and so did not compete.
This year our team finished first in both Regional and State! The team and their parents worked very hard to raise enough funds to help cover the travel and lodging costs of a smaller team of 3, and, thanks to your wonderful generosity, they went to World Finals in Iowa!

HSGP Humanities Project Fundraiser
Books & Music Bookshelf

HSGP's Humanities Project has a Book & Music Bookshelf for your convenient shopping pleasure. Books, CDs and DVDs on the bookshelf are for sale at a great price. The deals are even better on the 2-for-a-dollar bottom shelf. The Bookshelf is located under the bulletin board near the entrance to the restrooms.

The prices on these items are so great that some folks are using it like a rental library: They buy a book for a super-cheap price, read it, and bring it back as a donation. The book goes up for sale again, and they "buy" another one! Cool!

Take a look at the Bookshelf next time you're at the Humanist Community Center and consider buying or donating to this fun new effort.

Human Inspiration

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."
Attributed to Elie Wiesel

"People who try hard to do the right thing always seem mad."
Attributed to Stephen King, The Stand

Quotes courtesy of http://www.goodreads.com

Programs to Support HSGP from Grocery Stores and Amazon

If you shop at any of the Bashas' stores (Bashas', AJ's Fine Foods, Food City), your local Fry's Food Store, or your local Albertson's HSGP can receive a percentage of the money you spend. In addition, when you shop at Amazon.com using our HSGP link, we receive a percentage of the sale.

To activate any of these no-cost-to-you revenue streams for HSGP, go to the HSGP Supporting Businesses page Supporting Businesses and follow the instructions for the program you want to use.

If you shop at any of the local stores that participate in this program, please consider obtaining and using an HSGP community support card whenever you make purchases. When we support our local merchants, they support us!

Susan Sackett, Certified Humanist Celebrant, would like to remind you that she is available for all your life passage ceremonies, including weddings and commitment ceremonies, baby namings, coming-of-age celebrations, funerals/memorial services, and even divorce celebrations! Special 10% discount for all HSGP members and their immediate families! Humanist Celebrant. Discounts for HSGP members! Contact her at Susan Sackett .

A Humanist Invocation
By Herb Silverman Delivered to the Charleston, SC town council on March 25th, 2003

Each of us is a minority, with respect to something. It might be race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, or any other way we may be regarded as different. Each of us is also part of some majority. It is when we wear our majority hats that we need to be most mindful of how we treat others. We must pledge our best efforts to help one another, and to defend the rights of all of our citizens and residents.

What divides us is not so much our religious differences in this diverse country, but the degree of commitment we have to equal freedom of conscience for all people. We are gathered today, both religious and secular members of our community, with the shared belief that we must treat our fellow human beings with respect and dignity.

I don't ask you to close your eyes, but to keep your eyes constantly open to the serious issues that city government can and should solve or improve. I don't ask you to bow your heads, but to look up at what you can accomplish by applying your considerable talents and experience to the problems that confront us.

As you work together on behalf of all who live in this city, may you gain strength and sustenance from one another through reason and compassion.

I'd like to close in a bipartisan manner by quoting from two presidents I greatly admire-one a Republican and the other a Democrat.

First, the Republican: When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. That is my religion. -- Abraham Lincoln

And then, the Democrat: It's remarkable how much you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit. -- Harry S. Truman
Have you joined our parent organizations? If so, you still must pay dues to be a member of HSGP - your enrollment in either of our parent organizations (American Humanist Association or Council for Secular Humanism) does NOT automatically include membership in the local chapter, HSGP. And conversely, if you join HSGP, you are not automatically enrolled in our parent organizations! Each is separate and must be joined separately. Why not join all three today? Humanism depends on your financial as well as emotional support!
HSGP is a Chartered chapter of the American Humanist Association and also a chapter of the Council for Secular Humanism.

American Humanist Association
1777 T. Street
Washington, DC 20009-7102
Council for Secular Humanism
Box 664
Amherst, NY 14226-0664