Volume 16   Number 8
August  2015
Board Members
Richard Dewey

Co-Vice President:
Seráh Blain

Co-Vice President:
Chris Wojno

Tim Bedient

Rebecca Beltran

Program Director:
Al Wendler

Members at Large:
Vici Duarte/Ariane Apler
Ann Marie Eisentraut
Michal Otten
Anita Romanowski

Committee Chairs & Other Leadership:
J.B. Wright

Bruce Pettycrew


Anita Romanowski

Property Management and Safety Officer:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Service Outreach Coordinator:
Michal Otten

Facility Use Management:
Vici Duarte

Food Management:
Kathy Pettycrew

Linda Wendler

Science Night:

Michelle Rose

Information Technology:
James Osborn

Odyssey of the Mind:
Brian Calaway

Lego League:
Brian Calaway

Girl Scout Troop:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Book Club:
Roy Towne

Inquiring Minds:
Richard Dewey

Ted Talks:
Anna Carter

Game Nights:
Bruce Stiles
Ann Marie Eisentraut
Anna Carter

Immediate Past President:
Shelley Newman (2011)

President Emeritus:
Susan Sackett

President's Message

So I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to start this article with something a bit more interesting than the usual and few ideas are coming to mind. I had thought that maybe if I posted some nude pics on here, that would grab your attention .... but that thought didn't last long. Who wants to see pictures of famous statues anyway? You can go to a museum for that. I played around with a few other ideas too before realizing that I was just procrastinating and I finally decided to just get on with it and fill you in on what's going on at HSGP. So here it goes again. I'm going to go over some interesting tidbits about us that you might not be aware of and toot our horn a bit. But sorry, no nude pics ..... this time.


I really enjoy talking about this every month because we just keep growing! That is always exciting to see and speaks directly to the hard work that our board of directors, committee chairs, and volunteers are doing to make us more and more successful. Their hard work and enthusiasm are really getting the word out about us, not just locally but around the country and even internationally!

To start, the number of dues paying members that we have now has risen to 317, yet another all-time record high. And it's still in the middle of summer! I can't tell you how good that makes me feel when I realize that in the middle of Arizona, a Humanist community is making some serious waves! We really rock! We also saw yet more followers on our Facebook group, with an increase of 17 since last month to a new high of 720, an increase of eight on our Facebook page (not the same thing) to 351, and a whopping increase of 27 followers on our Meetup page to 1,229! That is very impressive indeed! Let's keep that trend going. We will take over the world before too long!

Speaking of Meetup, I gather that many of our long-standing members have yet to discover the joy of Meetup, possibly due to social media phobia. :) The first thing to know is that you can view the HSGP Meetup event listings without ever signing up: all you need to do is go to Meetup.com, search on HSGP, then click on the image labeled “HSGP”. If you are not a member of the group, a short intro to HSGP is displayed and you are given the opportunity to join the group. To join, you will need to be a member of Meetup, but if you don't want to join, you can just scroll down through the list of HSGP Meetup events. You will see a list of HSGP events as well as other events that HSGP thinks its members might be interested in but which are not listed on the official HSGP website. You can even see what HSGP events occurred in the past if you're interested. If you would like to receive email notifications about events and are not a Meetup member, then you will need to sign up with Meetup using the “Sign up” button at the top of the Meetup.com home page. This is a simple process and just about the only information you need to provide is a screen name, an email address, a password you will use for Meetup, and if you so desire, a zip code so that Meetup can tell you about other Meetup group events in your area. There is a profile page (click on the button that shows a face in profile within in a circle) where you can specify your personal settings, including the option for email notifications (or not.) Once you are a Meetup member, you can return to the HSGP Meetup and select the “Join Us” button. For the adventurous, there are many, many groups on Meetup. Go to the Meetup.com homepage and search on anything that interests you or just search on what groups meet within a specified distance of you. You might be pleasantly surprised!


Our board of directors has approved a request for us to host the "Unbeliever's Radio Podcast" in our building! We still have some details to work out to get it started but I believe it should be up and running as early as this month. This represents a fantastic opportunity for us to collaborate with a crew of very bright and talented radio personalities who cover a range of topics that would be of great interest to our community and will give both them and HSGP some great publicity! We are envisioning many other opportunities with this move as well and only time will tell what we can come up with. For more information on their show, go to Unbeliever's Radio. Note that our own co-VP, Seráh Blain, was featured on one of their previous podcasts (a really good show btw) as well as a number of other very famous people in the Humanist/Atheist community at large.


As I mentioned above, these people seriously rock! And you can too if you want to step up and help out. As it turns out, several of our board members and key committee members are stepping down at the end of the year and, hence, we will have openings for people who would like to help guide us to an even brighter future. And we are always looking for fresh new ideas and highly energetic people to help with our committees and they can step up to help any time. Either way, if you would like to get more involved in the "behind the scenes" activities at HSGP, all you have to do is notify me, at the email address at the end of this article, or just show up to our board meetings after the second Sunday meeting of every month. If you think that you might want to be a board member, you might want to attend board meetings starting as early as the next one in August, on the 23rd. You would be most welcome and, in direct contradiction to my usual joking around about the board meetings being boring, they are anything but. So feel free to join us!


Let me start by saying that, with all of the great Humanist authors out there, and all of the defining documents, it might appear somewhat brazen for me to think that I can add anything meaningful to the subject. But I think that it might make sense to give some background into what seems to be a recurring theme this year and to give some focus as to the motivation behind the trend that some of you have noticed. Speaking of great authors, I just started reading "Creating Change Through Humanism" by Roy Speckhardt. The book is starting out to be another great one that resonates with me and very eloquently speaks to the reasons why I'm proud to call myself a Humanist. I mention it for two reasons; Roy will be here to speak to us in October, and the first chapter has reminded me of why I, and others, decided to embark on an initiative this year.

One of the most important and widely accepted principles of Humanism is that we recognize the inherent worth of all people on the planet and choose to treat all people with equal respect and dignity, even while we may not agree on a great many things. Out intent is, indeed, to "Make the world a better place for all of humanity" through compassion, reason, rational thought, and positive and constructive activism. Just talking about it isn't enough. We must act! That said, we have to first understand what we need to do. And to do that, we need to see where problems exist. That's why there is a concerted effort to bring an awareness to our community of an area of problems facing a massive segment of the population in this country. Yes, there are problems facing the entire world and we are wise to remember that but we, the team that is working on this initiative, are choosing to focus on one group of problems this year. That would be the pervasive and systemic racism that still exists in this country and that most of us are not even vaguely aware is all around us and, for those of us with light colored skin, is something that we inherently take for granted or are blissfully unaware of since it has no negative affect on us, at least not that we can see. That would be the "water in which we swim", a phrase used by Christopher Driscoll at the 2015 American Humanist Association conference to suggest the pervasiveness of white privilege that many of us don't even notice. The team has been somewhat quietly introducing articles, speakers, book club suggestions, etc., all to raise awareness of why such a large segment of our population seems to be so angry. The panel that Christopher spoke at during the conference included another important figure in this discussion, Sikivu Hutchinson, author of several books including "Godless Americana" which was last month's book club selection. She is coming to speak with us in October as well. I'm looking forward to it. The team is hoping that by bringing awareness of these issues, that we as a community might be better positioned and motivated to lead the way to some very positive change that, indeed, will be better for us as well.

To read Mr. Driscoll's eloquent thoughts on the subject, go to Uncertain Humanism and the Water of Whiteness. If you would like to watch the entire panel discussion, you can watch it on Youtube at Humanism and Race. This was a fantastic panel!


Clearly, we have some very exciting speaker engagements in the coming months. That includes August. We are always having great events and we have two very important speakers coming this month as well so be sure to keep an eye on our website at HSGP.org and our Meetup page at HSGP Meetup. Remember that you can click on the "Our Calendar" icon on the left side of our Meetup page to get a calendar view of all upcoming events for about two months. So do get on Meetup if you haven't already! You can also see what events are coming up soon just by scrolling down below this article.


You can email me at President@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

Humanist Prose Writer's Circle Taking a Vacation

It's summer and lots of folks are fleeing the Valley, including many of the members of the Humanist Prose Writer's Circle. Thus the decision to declare an official summer vacation for the group.

Watch this space for notification of the resumption of regular meetings.

In the meantime, whether you are sitting beside a cool mountain lake, at the seashore, or avoiding the heat inside your own home, consider this an opportunity to make sure you have lots of material for discussion in the fall.

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, Bashas', Fry's and Albertson's grocery stores will return a percentage of the money our members spend at their store's. 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 at hsgpfundraising@gmail.com about setting up a similar program.

Upcoming Meetings and Topics
Sep 02nd
To Be Announced
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Topics chosen by attendees


Attendees who have topics present (5 minutes per presentation discussion lengths vary)

TED video (or any public domain video) is voted on for presentation order

Videos are watched and discussed in order as time permits

Led by Anna Carter

Sep 05th
How can we impact the inequities in our economic system?
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Topic: How can we impact the inequities in our economic system?

Surely one of the most important topics of our time, especially here in the U.S. compared to the economic disparities in other countries.

Find some articles or links to help with the discussion if you like and feel free to post related articles in the comments section on our Meetup page at HSGP Meetup.. If you are interested, a group of us like to go out to lunch afterward. We will wrap up the meeting around noon so you just might be hungry by then.

Hosted by Richard Dewey the first Saturday of each month.

Please go to our website to learn all about HSGP: http;//HSGP.org.

Sep 09th
Event:  Humanities Project Outing: Film Screening
A special co-presentation of VOCES and American Masters

Film Synopsis
Discover the remarkable life and work of Pedro E. Guerrero (September 5, 1917-September 13, 2012), a Mexican American, born and raised in segregated Mesa, Arizona, who had an extraordinary international photography career. Using an exclusive interview with Guerrero along with his stunning images, the program explores his collaborations with three of the most iconic American artists of the 20th century: architect Frank Lloyd Wright and sculptors Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson. Using his outsider’s eye to produce insightful portraits of important modernist architecture, Guerrero became one of the most sought-after photographers of the “Mad Men” era, yet his poignant story is largely unknown. This film is a special co-presentation of VOCES and American Masters.

Reception and preview of the exhibition Yonder Peasant…The Photography of Pedro E. Guerrero immediately following screening.

To reserve your ticket contact Box Office at 480-644-6500.

Meet Jennifer near entrance to Piper Repertory Theater by about 6:50. I don't know if the seats are assigned, so I am not sure if we can sit together or not, but we can at least say hello!

The American Masters and Voces documentary film Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey about Guerrero’s life airs on Arizona PBS on Friday, Sept 18 at 8pm. (Check your local listing.)

Sep 10th
Religious Violence in the Age of EnlightenmentBenjamin Kaplan

As religious violence erupts around the world, we often question how people can coexist in peace when their basic religious identities seem irreconcilable. Benjamin J. Kaplan, a historian and professor of Dutch history at University College London, looks for answers in the religious history of early modern Europe, when issues of religious toleration were no less pressing than today.

The standard histories of religious conflict in Europe claim that by the eighteenth century, under the influence of Enlightenment thinkers, Europeans had embraced reason and toleration and turned their backs on religious fervor. In recent years, this textbook version of western history has increasingly been challenged. In this lecture, Benjamin Kaplan will further challenge this view by offering a case study of bitter religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics that persisted far into the eighteenth century.

Much of Kaplan’s research has focused on religious toleration and religious conflict in European history. He is the author of Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe, and Cunegonde's Kidnapping: A Story of Religious Conflict in the Age of Enlightenment. Kaplan's lecture is part of the center’s Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Speaker Series on Religion and Conflict, which honors the lifelong commitment of Maxine and Jonathan Marshall to promoting the arts, education, civil liberties, and world peace.

A Free Humanities Project Event

Meet Mike Franklin at the entrance.

Sep 10th
Event:  Humanities Project Outing: Talk
Sep 11th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Sep 12th
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
Sep 13th
Speaker:  Jim Richardson
Sep 26th
Event:  Service Outreach
Sep 26th
Event:  Book Club
Sep 27th
Oct 03rd
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Oct 04th
Speaker:  Roy Speckhardt
Oct 07th
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Oct 09th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Oct 10th
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
Oct 11th
Speaker:  MOVED TO OCTOBER 4th!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oct 24th
Event:  Book Club
Oct 24th
Event:  Service Outreach
Oct 25th
Speaker:  Sikivu Hutchinson
Oct 31st
Event:  Flying Spaghetti Monster Dinner
Nov 04th
e:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Nov 07th
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Nov 08th

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

August: blazing sun, more 100+ temperatures, shortening days, swimming, boating, reading books, monsoon season, vacationing, salad days, lazy days.

This month I want to talk about a very special young lady who participates in the Odyssey of the Mind (OotM) program hosted by HSGP. Cienna Collicot is the 12-year-old daughter of Brian Calaway who runs the OotM program at the Humanist Community Center. Cienna is an extraordinarily gifted young lady who has shown exceptional leadership, reasoning and critical thinking skills within the program.

This summer Cienna won the most prestigious award given at OotM World Finals. It’s called the OMER award (Short for Odyssey of the Mind-er and is the name of the OotM mascot). This award is given for extra-outstanding creativity, effort, team spirit, kindness, perseverance despite difficulties and challenges, etc.; anything that really impresses the judges. To give you an idea of the immensity of this honor, out of well over 17,000 of the best of the best from around the globe, Cienna won the one and only OMER award given out! She had to climb down from the top of the jam-packed stadium to receive her award. She had no idea.

Here is Cienna receiving her award from the founder of OotM.

View more images at OotM Image Gallery and Choose Awards Ceremony.

Let's all remember to congratulate her at the first opportunity. This is most amazing and wonderful. I might also re-mention that our team was the only Humanist team from around the entire world that competed at OOTM. We are all so very proud of you, Cienna!

Welcome new members:

Andre Salais

As always, if you'd like any announcement posted in Membership Matters, just send me an email.

Humanistically yours,
Chair, Membership Committee

HSGP Service Outreach Project

by Michal Otten

Volunteer Outing: St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance

Saturday, August 15, 2015
12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

St. Mary's Food Bank
2831 N. 31 Ave., Phoenix, AZ

HSGP is turning out to help fight hunger in Arizona! St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance is a non-sectarian, nonprofit organization that serves two-thirds of Arizona's 15 counties. HSGP members have been volunteering for almost 3 years at St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance. St. Mary’s has always been welcoming to us, and we love helping them with the good work they do for the community. Please consider joining us!

Please RSVP so we have an accurate count. For details and to RSVP, visit www.HSGP Volunteer Meetup

A Plea Regarding RSVPs

I have a very important request to make of our membership. It seems with every volunteer outing, we will have a large number of RSVPs two days before a big event. And yet, the night before an event, it seems that half of the people who RSVPed “Yes” drop out of the event. Also, others do not show up, with no word before or after the event takes place. I understand things happen – something comes up, people forget, plans change. I do it too, more often than I should. However, when I tell an organization that we will have 20 members for a volunteer event out in the community, and only 4 show up, it looks bad for me, and it looks back for HSGP.

Therefore, I make this plea to you – please do not RSVP for a volunteer outing unless you are very sure you can make it. Plus, if you do RSVP and your plans change, please take a moment to change your RSVP as soon as you can so that I have an accurate count ahead of an event. Please be considerate of the work HSGP is trying to do in the community – I do not want us to get a reputation as being unreliable.

I am so grateful to those who have taken the time to volunteer with us, and I hope you will continue to do so.

Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions for future events. I can be reached at Michal.Otten@gmail.com .

Keeping Up With HSGP
Social Media Tips and Hints #22

by Jennifer White

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I am here to thank you for your whole-hearted support of two of our awesome children’s programs: Odyssey of the Mind - East Valley Cre8tive Kids and Camp Quest Arizona! As an organization, HSGP officially made generous donations, and many of you also individually supported these programs with donations, all generous--some wonderfully so!

Odyssey of the Mind, East Valley Cre8tive Kids

Because you are so generous and you believe in the value of OotM, we were able to send a very small team to World Finals in Michigan this past May—no small feat financially! With more than 800 elite teams from all over the world, our team did you proud. While the team of two—Cienna and Bradley--didn’t win a medal, the judges were so impressed with Cienna’s team spirit that she won the most prestigious award at World Finals: The Omer’s Award. Only one award was bestowed, and it went to our Cienna!

To learn more about Odyssey of the Mind, and see lots of amazing pics, go to Odyssey of the Mind

Camp Quest Arizona 2015

With your support, a record 55 kids attended camp on top of Mingus Mountain last month. It was a fabulous week of fun, friends and freethought! With so many great activities that there was no way to do all of them!

Because of your generosity, we were able to give financial aid grants to 11 campers this year, plus 2 more campers were sponsored by an individual and a freethought group. We love that!

See us and Like us on Facebook: CampQuestAZ Facebook

Visit our web site to learn more about us and see more great pics:
Camp Quest Arizona

**We couldn’t do it without YOU! Thank you for your enthusiastic support and confidence!**

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

"Homo sapiens is the species that invents symbols in which to invest passion and authority, then forgets that symbols are inventions."
Attributed to Joyce Carol Oates.

"The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination."
Attributed to Carl Rogers.

Quotes courtesy of http://www.brainyquote.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 .

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