Volume 16   Number 11
November  2015
Board Members

Richard Dewey

Co-Vice President:
Seráh Blain

Co-Vice President:
Chris Wojno

Tim Bedient

Rebecca Beltran

Program Director:
Al Wendler

Property Director:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Membership Director:
Anita Romanowski

Members at Large:
Vici Duarte/Ariane Apler
Michal Otten

Committee Chairs & Other Leadership:
J.B. Wright

Bruce Pettycrew


Safety Officer:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Service Outreach Coordinator:
Michal Otten

Facility Use Management:
Vici Duarte

Food Management:
Kathy Pettycrew

Linda Wendler

Science Night:

Christina Sampson

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

Wow! October was one rockin' month! I think that we need to name it something important but I don't know what yet. Suggestions? I abandoned the habit of doing a blow-by-blow of the previous month quite some time ago but this deserves a bit of an overview. It was that good.

For a quick overview, we had two very prominent Humanist leaders/activists that spoke to us this month at our Sunday meetings, and both had new books to sell and autograph. The first was Roy Speckhardt, the Executive Director of AHA, talking about Creating Change through Humanism (also the name of his book). He heaped massive praise on HSGP and stated that we are the "model" Humanist organization in the nation! We have done so much because of the awesome membership that we have. More on that below.

Our second speaker was Sikivu Hutchinson, an American feminist, atheist and author who also happens to be one of the most influential Humanist leaders in the country. She spoke to us about Humanism, Race Relations, and Feminism and her talk was quite moving to say the least. Both of these speakers traveled from out of state just to come and speak with us and we were quite proud to have both here.

Another great thing about October was our Humanism Lecture Series. I believe that this was our fourth run at this and all four lectures this year were spectacular (yes, I did present one of them - I'm kind of arrogant that way :)). We had a great turnout for all four lectures and I believe that everybody in attendance, lecturers included, learned much about Humanism which was, of course, the whole idea. I even had long-standing members who stated that they were surprised at how much they learned. We may wait a couple of years before doing this again but I'm sure that we will do it eventually. This is too important not to repeat.

And of course there's always the FSM party (Flying Spaghetti Monster) which is always a blast and this year was no exception. We had a fantastic turnout again, possibly a record but I won't know for sure at least for a couple of weeks, and more spaghetti than that huge crowd could possibly eat. I had a great time, as usual, and really enjoyed the crowd, the costumes, the slide show, the music (btw, for those that didn't hear, the one and only song played that night is titled "Flying Spaghetti Monster" - no kidding). And I want to make a special note about the volunteers for that event. What an incredible crew!! We had a galley crew that worked almost the whole night. And I'd like to say something extra about Ann Marie Eisentraut (the "Captain") who organized the whole thing and worked so hard to bring it together. She and hubby Bruce Stiles did a very impressive job of setting it up and then took all the dirty dishes home with them to clean when it was all done. Ann Marie was back on Sunday morning to finish cleaning up. That's either incredible dedication or a touch of insanity, I'm not sure which (leaning toward the former :)). So I'm already looking forward to next year. I wonder if Ann Marie is .....

So the above is just the highlights. Obviously there was much more that happened in October and it was exactly the "monster" month that I hinted at in last month's newsletter. And now for some more interesting things that are going on.


Many have noticed that we have had some guests camping out on the property and, as a result, we have started to learn a bit more about what it means to be experiencing homelessness. Our former Co-VP Seráh Blain has shared quite a bit with us about her work with the homeless in Phoenix but many of us only now have really gotten to know some of these folks, heard their stories, and started to feel quite compelled to act in whatever capacity we can to help them out. It's been an eye-opener for many HSGP members and we're doing something about it. There are too many details to get into here but we did form a task team and the team is rapidly forming lists of available resources, first contact information to help us understand their needs, ways of connecting and keeping in contact with them while we work to provide whatever help is appropriate, and just getting a better understanding of the issues that these folks face. One thing became immediately clear - they are not used to being treated as fellow humans and the kindness that they have received from our members has really touched those that we are working with and those that have already taken their first steps back to integrating with the community at large.

Some of you heard an impassioned speech from me at the last Sunday meeting about this issue and there was a very personal reason why I was so worked up about it which I'd rather not get into but which changed my perceptions about homelessness dramatically. I'll probably be talking about it again at future meetings and as the task team develops protocols and learns what works and what doesn't. This will be especially true when we have some successes! I would like to throw a shout out there right now, and I'll certainly repeat this at other opportunities, about the need for something as simple as any kind of work, even part-time, that any business owners in our group might be able to offer these folks just so they have some income coming in and a way to get their self-esteem back. Obviously the work would have to be within walking distance of wherever these folks are laying their heads at night which, for the folks that we've been working with, is near the HCC. I mentioned above about some who have taken first steps and that's how it was done. Someone gave a couple that we met a few weeks back a chance at some simple work and now they both are working and, with money to help pay rent, are staying with friends and are able to contribute. I ran into them last Sunday and they are both all smiles now. Things are looking up for them. We helped only peripherally but they are very grateful in any case. So if you can, or you know someone who can, give somebody a chance, it could make a world of difference for them.


I don't talk about this nearly enough so I thought I'd spend a bit of time on it this month. I mentioned in the first paragraph about why we've been so successful, and I touched on it again when talking about the FSM dinner. We have such an awesome community that we are literally famous in Humanist circles around the country. There are two ways that people have helped us to get where we're at today; volunteering and donations. The volunteer effort has been absolutely phenomenal! There is quite a long list of people who routinely work hard to make our events successful and to get our message out to the Valley and beyond. These people are highly dedicated and clearly love Humanism and all that it stands for. They are what makes our community a real community to be proud of! I can't even begin to give enough thanks for the people doing all the work in the background. The other part of the equation is the donations that we regularly receive without even asking for them! Some of these are extremely generous indeed! If it wasn't already obvious, it costs a fair chunk of change to run a facility like ours and to pay for all of the supplies for our events. None of that is free. Yes, the property is paid for (fully donated btw!) but it still costs to run it and to keep it up. So I'd like to give some very special thanks to those who keep giving to keep us running! Your donations are very much appreciated to say the least. THANK YOU!!


I like doing this and I hope that it's not getting old, but this gives an indication of how many people we're reaching and I think that's important to know. So here it goes again. As of November 1st, the count of our dues paying members is at 314. We've been consistently well above all previous years and I think there is only one thing that could get us into overdrive - that multi-level parking garage I've been talking about for the last couple of years. Now, if we could just get somebody to donate that! Or maybe we need to buy one of the apartment complexes next to our facility ..... Anyway, our Facebook page, which is about advertising our events and tooting our horn (HSGP Facebook Page) is at 373 followers (goes up every month). Our FB group, which is more about discussions about issues of importance to Humanists (HSGP Facebook Group), is at 752 as of now. Not too shabby there either. Our Meetup page (HSGP Meetup) is up to 1331 followers! That is a big increase from last month! It's really amazing to see that number grow.


And now for the usual statement, or some facsimile thereof - 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. It is really helpful to be on Meetup! And as always, you can also see what events are coming up 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

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
Nov 28th

Join us to discuss The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt.

from Amazon
As America descends deeper into polarization and paralysis, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has done the seemingly impossible—challenged conventional thinking about morality, politics, and religion in a way that speaks to everyone on the political spectrum. Drawing on his twenty five years of groundbreaking research on moral psychology, he shows how moral judgments arise not from reason but from gut feelings. He shows why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have such different intuitions about right and wrong, and he shows why each side is actually right about many of its central concerns. In this subtle yet accessible book, Haidt gives you the key to understanding the miracle of human cooperation, as well as the curse of our eternal divisions and conflicts.

If you purchase this book through the Amazon Smile program, HSGP will benefit. Click on the link below.

Nov 29th
Pack Care Kits for the Homeless
Event:  Service Outreach - Care Kits
Several individuals experiencing homelessness have visited and attempted to camp out at the Humanist Community Center recently. While we are having to turn these individuals away from camping out on our premises, we have still chosen to treat them as the human beings they are and try to help however we can. HSGP has recently started a task force to figure out ways to help these specific individuals, as well as come up with ways to help anyone else who comes to us in a time of need in the future.

One way the task force feels it can help is to provide "Care Kits" with essential supplies. These kits will be handed out to anyone who comes our way seeking help. Components may include water, granola bars, canned food, soap, socks, etc. A full list of needed supplies will soon be posted here. You are encouraged to pick up an item from the list, but it is not required; if you do decide to pick up an item, post it here so we don't have duplicates. On the day of the event, we will work to put together kits using donated items.

In the meantime, here is a link to an article with ideas for homeless survival kits:


We may also have some side activities, such as a letter writing campaign to local media. If you have any ideas for additional activities to include, comment here or email me at michal.otten@hsgp.org.

Please go to the Meetup event to see the many updates: www.xxx.com

Dec 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

Dec 05th
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
This month's meeting is cancelled due to scheduling conflicts. Join us in January! Happy holidays!


Hosted by Richard Dewe the first Saturday of each month.

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

Dec 06th
Dec 11th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Dec 12th
Event:  Service Outreach - St. Mary's
Dec 12th
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
Dec 19th
Event:  Winter Solstice Celebration
Jan 10th
Speaker:  James Avery Fuchs
Jan 24th
Speaker:  Dianne Post
Jan 24th
Feb 07th
Feb 07th
Speaker:  Richard Miller
Feb 21st
Mar 06th
Mar 20th
Apr 03rd
Speaker:  Dr. James Richardson
Apr 17th
May 01st
May 15th
Jun 05th
Jun 19th

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

November - cooler weather, crisp air, trees putting on fashion shows of brightly colored leaves. And, the crowning glory - THANKSGIVING - the official beginning of the festive season of eating, drinking, parties, presents. Oh, and did I mention eating?


We have two members (a couple) who recently moved to Arizona and are currently experiencing a bit of hard times. One is a full-time student and the other is a small business owner who is working on establishing a customer base. Right now, they don't always have enough money to buy enough food. I'm therefore requesting the membership to buy Fry's gift cards, so that these people can buy enough food to tide them over for a while. Cards can be in any amount you can afford. $10, $20, $50, etc. Please give the cards to either Richard Dewey or myself.

They are too proud to ask for help. I only discovered this situation a few weeks ago, and I am the sole engine behind this drive.

Winter Solstice Party:

Now, please pardon the redundancy, but once again, I'm shamelessly soliciting in-kind donations for the Solstice Party on December 19.

Suggested items:
* Unopened bottles of wine or booze (purchases cannot be consumed on the premises or
* Jewelry
* Small appliances
* Kitchen items, accessories, household linens, dishes, etc.
* Electronics in working order
* Jewelry
* Art
* Handmade craft items or offers to custom make something
* Usable clothing, especially children's
* Toys, games
* Books, DVDs, cds, science/technology magazines, even vinyl records
* Holiday decorations
* Gift cards/certificates to goods or services from local businesses. Email me for a copy of the donation request letter with HSGP's tax number
* Homemade baked goods, packaged and labeled
* Anything you think would be appealing for purchase
* Gift cards, $1.00 lottery tickets, small trinkets we can use for door prizes.

We have receipt forms available for income tax purposes.

Items can be brought to the HSGP Community Center during other regularly scheduled events.

Please affix a note with your name, phone number or email and the estimated value of your contributions. Contact me with any questions or suggestions.

We also need 3 or 4 people who would be willing to join the planning committee.

Membership Committee:

Is there anyone out there who would like to join the all-important Membership Committee? We are in need of the following:
* One, preferably two, people willing to make phone calls on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.
* People willing to become a Greeter to welcome new people at our Sunday meetings. Give them a tour of the Community Center, talk to them about HSGP, get to know them and generally just make them feel that HSGP is a welcoming refuge for secularists.

Ideally we would like to have 6-8 friendly, outgoing people who would do this on a rotating basis; two people per Sunday meeting, so each person would only have to serve every 3rd or 4th meeting. We already have 4 and could use 2 more.

* Contact me for details.

Because of the diligent work of this committee, HSGP has grown to possibly the largest Humanist community in the country. Quite impressive for Arizona. Thank you Kathy Petticrew, Vici Duarte, Jeanne Devine, Chris Wojno and Alex Zygmont.

Welcome new members:
Kathleen Bourque
Laken Collins
Matt Ferrin
Phyllis Johnson
John Myers

As Always:
Please contact me if you need any membership information or have a change of address, phone number, or email.

If you would like to have an announcement or general request appear in this column I'll be happy to post it for you.

Chair, Membership Committee

HSGP Service Outreach Project

by Michal Otten

Volunteer Event: Packing Care Kits for the Homeless. Sunday, November 29 at 12.

Several individuals experiencing homelessness have visited and attempted to camp out at the Humanist Community Center recently. While we are having to turn these individuals away from camping out on our premises, we have still chosen to treat them as the human beings they are and try to help however we can.

One way we can help is to provide "Care Kits" with essential supplies. These kits will be handed out to anyone who comes our way seeking help. Components may include water, granola bars, canned food, soap, socks, etc.

A full list of needed supplies will soon be posted on Meetp. On the day of the event, we will work to put together kits using donated items.

Please refer to Meetup for full event details and to RSVP.

Volunteer Committee

Have you been wanting to attend a volunteer outing, but been unable to do so as a result of your schedule or where you live in the valley? Are you are interested in volunteering for a certain cause, or have a connection with an organization we aren’t working with yet? I am working to put together a committee to help research and schedule volunteer outings for our group for 2016 and beyond. If you are interested, please contact me!

Please also 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

by Jennifer White

Jennifer is on vacation and will resume her column soon.

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