Volume 16   Number 5
May  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:
Alisha DeCou

Book Club:
Roy Towne

Inquiring Minds:
Kevin Moriarty

Ted Talks:
Kevin Moriarty

Game Nights:
Bruce Stiles
Ann Marie Eisentraut
Anna Carter

Immediate Past President:
Shelley Newman (2011)

President Emeritus:
Susan Sackett

President's Message

It would appear that spring has already passed us by and summer is upon us. At least it feels that way on my motorcycle - which is to be expected I suppose. I'm also being invited to pool parties already which is another indication. In any case, it's getting warm out there! So get ready for it. That, of course, does not mean that we're slowing down! April was crazy busy and May is looking to be more of the same. If you are keeping up with our calendar, you already know that. If you're making it to all of our events ... well never mind. You couldn't make all of them. As usual, our event leaders and volunteers are keeping quite busy. But I'm not going to go back to the habit of giving you a blow-by-blow. I'm only going to fill you in on some background info and highlight some key events that took place that you might not know about or why they're important.


First, let's review our most important numbers. The number of dues-paying members hit yet another record at 313! We just keep growing! I think that we'll soon have to move into the apartment complex next door (either side) to make room! As I said last month, our dues-paying members are the people who have decided that they love us enough to support us and they are usually the ones who step up to volunteer and/or donate as well. And they get to show their membership card as a sign of their commitment to making the world a better place for all of humanity. That is saying something important! So we are quite proud of the increasing numbers and we'd love to see that trend continuing.

Our Facebook Group now has 681 followers (27 more than last month) which is another awesome record. Our Meetup page now has 1129 members (44 more than last month) and our Facebook Page/Community has 303 followers (28 more than last month). To repeat what I said last month, exactly; remember that our Facebook Group and Page are different. The group is for interesting articles and discussions that would be of interest to our members and followers, and our page is for tooting our horn about who we are, what we do, and what we stand for. The link to our FB page is Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix Facebook Page. The Facebook Page is quite interesting as well so check it out if you haven't already.

In April, we had 27 officially sponsored events with a whopping 13 outings! We also listed three other non-HSGP sponsored events on our Meetup page. All of this makes for some very busy people who evidently like what we do. Let's keep the momentum going!


I just want to throw a few words out there about the importance of community service to the whole philosophy of Humanism. That is one of the reasons that Humanism is capitalized. It is part of what defines us. One of the main tenets of Humanism is compassion for all of humanity, and showing compassion, through action, is an important part of what we do. It's not just something that we feel. We work to help the disenfranchised, disadvantaged, oppressed, and anybody else who needs assistance to get a leg up on life. Humanist communities all across the county, and indeed the whole world, are working tirelessly to do good works and are doing it out of compassion, not for some reward. That's part of who we are. HSGP does have a Service Outreach Project and we are always looking for new projects to help the above mentioned people and we are always looking for more people to step up to help make a difference. It is a very rewarding experience just from the sense of goodness one feels at the end of it, sometimes even without the people that we help knowing who we are. If you haven't been a part of any of our projects, please consider it. The more we do, the more we make the world a better place for all of humanity!

For more information, check out our Service Outreach Project coordinator's article in this newsletter to the right. Her name is Michal Otten and she is truly awesome.


One of the special events this month is directly related to the above. We did run a table for two whole days, with quite a few volunteers, at the Phoenix Pride Festival this last month. This is the first time that we ran a table. In previous years, some of us marched in the parade which was, in itself, quite an experience. So why is this related?? As Humanists, we recognize that the world is a better place when all people are treated as equals. That certainly applies to the LGBTQ community and we want the Phoenix community to know that we support them and want equality for them as well. This is certainly a worthy cause and is quite educational and interesting too. Besides being a bunch of fun folks, they are just plain nice to be around. Some of them are also Humanists and some are also members of HSGP!

Another special event that we had this month was a meet-and-greet with Richard Carrier, a world famous atheist activist, author, public speaker, and blogger. He is mostly noted as a renowned historian who has focused a fair amount of his career on the history of Christianity and, more importantly, the evidence that there never was an historical Jesus. He had given a talk the night before at ASU at an event sponsored by our friends in the Secular Student Alliance. In fact, the current President of the ASU SSA, Forrest Schreick, housed Richard for his stay here and brought him to our center to meet, and chat with, members of HSGP just for fun. After very little sleep, he came to our community center to party with us! Shortly after he walked in the door, he made himself at home, starting chatting with everybody that wanted to talk, engaged in some very interesting discussions, and was still going strong when I had to beg out from being too tired to continue (oh, to be young again!). It was a fun evening for sure.


Last month, I mentioned that our Membership Chair, Anita Romanowski, is leading a recurring project to crochet sleeping mats for people experiencing homelessness. The material being used is just plastic grocery bags. I just thought that I would mention this again because it is strongly related to the Service Outreach section above and the project is still in process. This is also a very worthy cause and the people involved have a blast doing it as well. Keep an eye on our schedule for upcoming sessions and consider joining in. The more the merrier.

By now you should be aware that we have a Girl Scout troop (troop 1080). The troop is going strong and is quite active. They also have their own Facebook Group at Troop 1080 Facebook Group. All of the parents are very actively involved as well and I gather that they enjoy it just as much as the girls. If you have girls, or know parents of girls that might be interested in this, check it out. There's always room for more.

Here's some big news. Our Odyssey Of The Mind team is going to World championships again this year!! They won the regional competition, and made second place at State, and that qualifies them to go to the World Championships. We are so proud of these kids and excited for them. The trip, however, does cost a fair amount of money and we are trying to raise funds to help cover the expense. There is a GoFundMe project at HSGP Odyssey Of The Mind GoFundMe. Please consider helping out if you can.


As I said somewhere near the beginning of this article, May is looking to be an exciting 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. 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

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
Jun 03rd
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 Kevin Moriarty

Jun 06th
Trans Pacific Pact (or Partnership - TPP)
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Topic: Trans Pacific Pact (or Partnership - TPP)

Understanding it; what's in it?; NAFTA on steroids?

Some related articles to read prior to the discussion:

U.S. Trade Representative.

Huffington Post Article.

Noam Chomsky's criticism in Salon.

Please consider doing some research of your own and see what you can find out!

And a quick review of last month's meeting is at:

May Inquiring Minds Summary.

Hosted by Richard Dewey the first Saturday of each month.

Jun 07th
The Old Spanish Trail
Speaker:  Dr. Reba Wells Grandrud

The Old Spanish Trail

Is the name a misnomer? Was it old? Was it even Spanish? How did the Ute Trail, Apodaca Trail, Old Conejos Lane, or the Trappers' Trail fit into what is now called the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, the fifteenth National Historic Trail in the nation, the second National Historic Trail in Arizona? This presentation provides “tales of the trail,” fascinating stories of what has been called "the longest, crookedest, most arduous pack mule trailin the history of America.”

Reba Wells Grandrud, Ph.D., enjoys being a Road Scholar and an active volunteer for diverse nonprofits, such as Partnership for National Trails System, Old Spanish Trail Association, Arizona History Convention, Westerners Corrals, Pioneer Cemetery Association, and the Sunnyslope Historical Society. In 2012, Grandrud co-authored an award-winning Arizona Centennial Legacy book, "Addie Slaughter: The Girl Who Met Geronimo". Her book "Images of America: Sunnyslope" was published in 2013. Grandrud was honored in 2010 as an Arizona Culturekeeper for her work in teaching.

The meeting is free and open to the public. Doors open at 9:00 am for socializing with an optional breakfast available for a $5 donation. The meeting begins at 10:00 am.

Please consider volunteering to help make this event possible. Click on the SignUp Genius button below for a list of volunteer opportunities.

Sign Up Now!

Jun 07th
Odyssey of the Mind (OOTM) is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college.

Odyssey of the Mind coaches Brian and Lorna engage kids of all ages in creative fun while the adults are enjoying the Sunday Speaker in the main hall.

Drop-ins welcome!

Jun 12th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Jun 13th
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
Jun 21st
Speaker:  World Humanist Day
Jun 27th
Event:  Service Outreach
Jun 27th
Event:  Book Club
Jul 01st
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Jul 04th
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Jul 10th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Jul 11th
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
Jul 18th
Event:  Service Outreach
Jul 25th
Event:  Book Club
Jul 26th
Aug 01st
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Aug 05th
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Aug 08th
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
Aug 09th
Aug 14th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Aug 15th
Event:  Service Outreach

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

. . . bring May flowers.

Everything is blooming and budding, birds are chirping, butterflies fluttering, bees buzzing, noses running, eyes watering, sniffling sneezing noses. Ah, welcome sweet springtime.


Humanism is defined as an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.

A prime example of this was recently demonstrated by HSGP's Member Support Team members who rushed to the aid of a hospitalized member. The member, who wishes to remain anonymous, found herself in need of immediate surgery. She had no family nearby and no local support system (so she thought). In desperation she messaged HSGP members about the support team.

Vici Duarte, the committee chair was advised of the situation and immediately set in motion help of heroic proportions by the team members.

The hospitalized HSGP member is now home and recuperating. Here's a heartfelt thank you she later posted on Facebook:

"I had a serious medical issue that required hospitalization. I'm here now to thank members of the HSGP Support Team, run by Vici Duarte, for helping me in my time of high need. The team made sure I was not left alone until it was certain I would be OK, called my family in another state to keep them updated, brought food and flowers, listened to my ramblings and bad jokes, told me stories to keep me from stressing, argued with medical professionals when that was needed, and gave me a ride home from the hospital. There were HSGP members not on the team who came during my time of need, and the existence of the Member Support Team allowed them to be part of an organized response that allowed me to mostly focus on just getting better. After this experience, I am sold on the importance of the team for HSGP members. I plan to sign on to be a part of the team. I also highly encourage any official HSGP members to contact the team in the case of sudden emergencies requiring support. They provided an invaluable gift to me, and I don't have enough words to say how grateful I am. The people who came, called and provided help also had the effect of making me feel very loved and cared for, which helped me immensely during the whole process. They also had the effect of keeping my parents relatively calm, and they are now singing praises about humanists, as well. I want to publicly thank the following individuals who were involved; some of whom were on the Support Team and some of whom were not. (And I hope I'm not forgetting anybody.) Vici Duarte, Henry Geist, Michelle Rosie, Michal Otten, Mary McPherson, Kathy Petticrew, Bruce Petticrew , and Gary Henderson Y'all really are made of stardust!"

In a subsequent incident that uncannily occurred the same week, Chris Wojno, one of our co-vice presidents, received the devastating news that his younger brother, Chad was killed while riding his motorcycle. Chad was 27.

Chris immediately traveled out to California to be with his family and help with funeral preparations.

All of Chris' Facebook friends were incredibly shocked and saddened by the news. There has been a voluminous outpouring of sympathy and encouraging Facebook posts from Chris' HSGP friends of which I am one.

Cards can be sent to Chris in care of:

P.O. Box 15112
Mesa, AZ 85211-3112

Welcome new members:

Amy Laff
James & Andrea Sterry
Judd & Christina Sampson
Joshua Dewey

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.

Anita Romanowski
Chair, Membership Committee

HSGP Service Outreach Project

by Michal Otten

Volunteer Outing: UMOM New Day Center

Saturday, May 23rd AND June 27th from 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

UMOM is the largest homeless shelter for families in the state of Arizona. Every night they provide safe shelter and supportive services for over 170 families through their continuum of services. They also offer nearly 300 units of affordable housing across the Valley.

10-15 of us will be in the kitchen to prepare and serve brunch. Some of us may be tasked with some deep cleaning of the kitchen and dining room. If there are additional volunteers, there will be other activities available, such as helping to sort clothes, painting, or maintenance.

Tour/orientation starts at 9:00. Volunteer hours begin at 9:30. If you have not visited UMOM, please consider arriving early for the tour so you can hear about all the amazing programs and services UMOM offers.

Please RSVP on Meetup so we have an accurate count.

Day of Reason - Thursday, May 7 Now, more than ever, America needs a Day of Reason! With the influence of the religious right in Congress, and with the threat to our Judiciary looming large, there has never been as important a moment in which to affirm our commitment to the Constitutional separation of religion and government, and to celebrate Reason as the guiding principle of our secular democracy and our everyday lives.

In honor of the Day of Reason, HSGP will have a social outing to Casey Moore’s Oyster House from 5-8 PM, where our members can enjoy some food and libations and use their reasoning skills and knowledge to play trivia games. Come enjoy your community and help raise awareness about why reason is so important in both social and civic life.

We have reserved a room and will be given Happy Hour pricing for the entirety of the event!

Please check out our Meetup and/or Facebook event page for full details and to RSVP. Space is limited!

Note: You can access the Meetup and Facebook pages by scrolling down to find the icons farther down on this page. They are also available at the bottom of the Home Page.

Couponing Reminder

Many of us have coupons left over from the Sunday paper, or we cut coupons and then they expire before we can use them. Don’t throw them away! Bring in your unused, unwanted, and expired coupons, and we will use them in two ways: our coupon club will use the coupons to shop for items to donate to local charities, and we will send expired coupons to a military family living on a base overseas (they can use the coupons for up to six months after they expire). Only manufacturer’s coupons are accepted – these are the coupon inserts that have “Red Plum” “Smart Source” and P&G” on the cover; please do not send store, restaurant, or internet coupons or ads. Please place coupons in the Tumbleweed donation box at HSGP, or mail them to HSGP (Attn: Michal Otten).

Keeping Up With HSGP
Social Media Tips and Hints #20

by Jennifer White

I have come across some interesting Humanist places on Facebook and I thought I’d share a few of them with you.

The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix has TWO presences on Facebook. We are just cool that way.

First is our public group, originally created by Susan Sackett several years ago. Here HSGP meetings and activities are promoted, as would be expected. Also, questions, observations or articles are posted, which often generate discussions on Humanist-related issues. This group is visible to the public, but only approved members of the group can post and comment. As the host, I accept members as they ask to join. HSGP Facebook Group

More recently created is our page, which is prettier and looks like most Facebook pages you are probably used to seeing. The page also promotes HSGP activities, and articles and memes that reflect Humanist ideas--#soundslikehumanism. Go and “like” it. HSGP Facebook Page

Another interesting one is The British Humanist Association page. They are much like us, only with a British/European point of view. Their credo is similar to ours, yet different:

“The BHA 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.” See for yourself. British Humanist Association Facebook

More far-flung is the Humanist Society (Singapore). They focus on Humanism in Singapore and all Asian countries. They describe themselves briefly: “A society of humanists, atheists & agnostics.” Catch a glimpse of the Humanist views in Asia. Singapore Humanist Society Facebook

I have been watching Nirmukta for a long time. They are a Humanist group in India, criticizing problematic traditions and politics in their own culture. “Nirmukta was founded as a website in 2008, and since then its online presence has grown into three websites: the main parent site at nirmukta.com , the community forums at nirmukta.net and Nirmukta’s Atheist activism arm, indianatheists.org.

Today, Nirmukta is a national organization with regional groups in 5 major Indian cities and plenty of initiative for founding many more all over the country, and bringing about much needed social and political change in India.” Heavy stuff. Nirmutka Facebook

I also know about the public group called African Humanist Associates from Bwambale Robert in Uganda, who is a member of our HSGP Facebook group, and checks in with us periodically. Bwambale is a frequent poster on this public group of Humanists, which welcomes opinions and discussions of the special challenges and joys of the African continent. African Humanist Associates Facebook

You can also check out Bwambale’s own page at Bwambale Robert on Facebook .

Back in the U.S. is a closed group—you must join to see what they post—called Military Atheists and Secular Humanists. Part of their description: “Looking to build a core group of serious and active members, military or civilian, who wish to be a part of a meaningful community. We are Active Duty Soldiers, Army spouses, parents, retirees, from many backgrounds coming together for shared goals and friendship.”

If you have a military connection, you may find this group of great interest. Military Atheists and Secular Humanists on Facebook

According to their description, “African Americans for Humanism is engaged in developing humanism in the African American community.” Also, “Today as in the past, many African Americans question religion and religious institutions. More and more of us stand for reason over faith. Freethought over authority. Critical thinking in place of superstition. Many of us are nonreligious; some are nontheistic.”

I see that Humanists from HSGP and other secular communities have “Liked” this page, so it is familiar to many of you. African Americans for Humanism on Facebook

For women, I found some very local closed groups, like B/N Secular Humanist Women. They are a group of freethinking women who get together to do volunteer work and to socialize.
B/N Secular Humanist Women on Facebook

Though these two pages don’t have “Humanist” in the title, they are close enough! One is Secular Woman, “ a national organization focused exclusively on amplifying the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women.” Secular Women on Facebook

The other is Women Without Religion: “This page is for women without religion and those interested in the perspectives of women without religion. Given that religions thrive on misogyny and subjugation of women it is also about empowerment of all women and equality.” Right on! Women without Religion on Facebook

I hope you find something new to you here, and that you enjoy browsing these Humanist Facebook pages and groups. I’m sure you will run across many others as well. Share them with us on our Facebook group. #ExploreHumanism

Check out this month's Bookworm report by clicking on the Humanist Rising Blog below.

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