Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix   - -
Board Members

Richard Dewey

Vice President:
Chris Wojno

Tim Bedient

James Osborn

Program Director:
Al Wendler

Property Director:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Membership Director:
Anita Romanowski

Members at Large:
Vici Duarte
Linda Wendler

Committee Chairs & Other Leadership:
J.B. Wright

Bruce Pettycrew

Christine Walden

Safety Officer:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Service Outreach Coordinator:
Gwindolynn Gentry

Facility Use Management:
Vici Duarte

Food Management:

Linda Wendler

Science Night:

Matt Ferrin

Information Technology:
James Osborn

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

The topic this month is something that has been coming for some time and has now become crucial for our future. We seem to be getting more well known and we have yet to employ all of our ideas on getting our name out there. We are starting to bust at the seams. One suggestion which is picking up momentum is that we should start considering seriously expanding by having additional centers all over the Valley. So let's explore that idea for a bit.

As I said, we are clearly starting to overflow, at least at our bigger functions, such as many of our Sunday meetings and our more popular events/parties. And our parking lot continues to be a problem for us. Our dues-paying membership has been consistently higher this year than any point in any previous year, and that doesn't include people who regularly attend but haven't yet officially joined (paying dues, getting the right to vote and check out items from our library, checking out recordings of earlier speakers, getting personal name badges, etc.) or who only attend certain of our functions but not the main ones. We are also consistently hearing from people that they are coming from all parts of Valley to our center in Mesa and the commute is a challenge. And if we are this popular now, what about all of the people in the Valley, who are potentially Humanists, who have never heard of us? What happens when we really start reaching out and getting our name out there?

The discussion has also touched heavily on how efficiently we are using the facility that we have. Clearly, the building is not open or being used all of the time even though the calendar is looking more and more full as time progresses. There have been suggestions that we start having meetings every Sunday rather than two Sundays a month and that we keep adding functions to reach a wider demographic. Those are great suggestions with a few drawbacks. The first suggestion would require much more work from our already overworked volunteers and/or a complete restructuring of our leadership team. It would also take some special planning to ensure that the programs for those meetings are diverse enough to draw reasonably equal numbers to each event and still not overflow the room. All of that presents a significant challenge. The second suggestion is fine but it does require that leaders step up who aren't already leading something else. Burnout is something we'd very much like to avoid. But we seem to be gradually doing this anyway as people see the need and just step up to take charge. We love folks like that. The problem is that none of this addresses the problem of people having to drive long distances to get to our functions.

So we come to the idea of setting up centers all over the Valley. Any way we do this, scheduling becomes a challenge and we still would need to change our infrastructure to keep it all well organized. That's doable but would require a rewrite of our bylaws and some serious planning. And .... money?? There are three different ways that I've heard suggested to go about this. One way would be to get leaders to start events in public venues much like our organization ran for the majority of our existence prior the purchase of our current property. We did take a stab at that previously but, for various reasons, that didn't work out. And we didn't really pursue it vigorously so maybe we didn't give it enough of a chance. There is also a suggestion of renting facilities until we see how successful we are in that area. That takes more money and that means more donations. Those donations would be not as palatable because rent does not often lead to ownership and and might be considered a black hole for those donations. And that leaves the idea of purchasing property and buildings in different parts of the Valley and seriously pursuing making those venues successful. We would need a massive fundraising effort for that as well as the above mentioned scheduling, bylaws changes, and infrastructure changes, all of which are doable but represent a significant effort. And we would need to find suitable properties in the right areas in the Valley and we would need to have pledged donations, at least, that would cover the cost of buying the property and any renovations. Needless to say, that is no small task.

So just be aware that these discussions are happening in the background and may well pick up much more momentum in 2017. The board will keep you informed of the direction that we are trying to go in and you may well be presented with another massive fundraising drive unless we are lucky enough to find people who, like the donors who bought our current property, can foot most, if not all, of the tab for this. We need to do something soon. Stay tuned.

If you have suggestions or ideas about this, feel free to email me at the address listed below.

Here are links to some of our important webpages. Our Meetup page is at HSGP Meetup. Our Facebook Group can be found at HSGP Facebook Group. Our Facebook page at HSGP Facebook Page. And lastly, since you're reading this, you probably already know but our main website is at HSGP website.


You can email me at or look on the left side of this page to find out who your board members and committee chairs are to contact to them.

Richard Dewey
President, HSGP

6th Annual Flying Spaghetti Monster Dinner
October 29

Yes it's time to dress up like a pirate and say "Aargh" while slurping pasta. Actually costumes and pirate imitations are optional, but having a lot of fun is not.

For more information, see HSGP's Meetup FSM Dinner or look at the Future Meetings list below.

We need lots of volunteers, so please check out SignUp Genius which will have a list of positions as soon as we figure out what they are.....

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'and Fry'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

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 our fundraising committee at about setting up a similar program.

Upcoming Meetings and Topics
Oct 22nd
House of Rain by Craig Childs
Event:  Book Club

Join us to discuss House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest by Craig Childs.

The various tribes that made up the Anasazi people converged on Chaco Canyon (New Mexico) during the 11th century to create a civilization hailed as "the Las Vegas of its day," a flourishing cultural center that attracted pilgrims from far and wide, and a vital crossroads of the prehistoric world. By the 13th century, however, Chaco's vibrant community had disappeared without a trace.

Was it drought? Pestilence? War? Forced migration, mass murder or suicide? Conflicting theories have abounded for years, capturing the North American imagination for eons.

Join Craig Childs as he draws on the latest scholarly research, as well as a lifetime of exploration in the forbidden landscapes of the American Southwest, to shed new light on this compelling mystery. He takes us from Chaco Canyon to the highlands of Mesa Verde, to the Mongollon Rim; to a contemporary Zuni community where tribal elders maintain silence about the fate of their Lost Others; and to the largely unexplored foothills of the Sierra Madre in Mexico, where abundant remnants of Anasazi culture lie yet to be uncovered.

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

Oct 23rd

Join us for a presentation by Kevin Heade on Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona.

Kevin Heade is a board member of Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona, a statewide, grassroots organization that’s dedicated to eliminating the death penalty in Arizona and promoting awareness of the problems with capital punishment.

Kevin works as a Defender Attorney with the Maricopa County Public Defender office. He is also a member of Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, the Criminal Law Division of the American Bar Association and serves as an Executive Committee Member of the Central AZ National Lawyers Guild. Kevin graduated from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in May, 2012.

During law school, Kevin studied Criminal law and Federal Indian Law while also completing internships in the National Whistleblower Center in Washington D.C., the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Public Defender Office in Phoenix, AZ, and the Maricopa County Public Defender Office in Phoenix, AZ.

Kevin earned undergraduate degrees in Education and Political Science at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. He was a co-founder of the Kent State Antiwar Committee and President of the May 4th Task Force at Kent State. In between undergrad and law school, Kevin taught middle school on the Navajo Reservation and high school in West Phoenix

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

Oct 29th
6th Annual Flying Spaghetti Monster Dinner
Event:  Flying Spaghetti Monster Dinner


Join us for a rollicking good time celebrating the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Pirates all in one event!

May you be touched by a noodly appendage!

Approximate Schedule (Pirates are not noted for adherence to timing and besides the crocodile swallowed the clock.)

5 PM - Happy Hour: Bring your own adult beverage to share (alcohol, soda, etc.). Lemonade, juice, milk and water provided. Appetizers and salad bar available for noshing.

Children's activities will be ongoing throughout the evening.

6 PM - Dinner: Spaghetti, Meatballs, Sauces, Bread (Vegan and gluten-free options available) and dessert

7 PM - Poetry and Prizes: Share your FSM inspired poetry. Raffle and door prize drawings

Pricing (Suggested Donation)
$10 – Adults
$8 - Full Time Students and Seniors (Students eat free of charge if they commit to 1 hour of helping with the event.)
$4 - Children 6 to 13
Free - Children under 6

Prepay option: simply make a one time donation and note that it is for FSM dinner. Note that it is not tax deductible for the market value of the meal. Feel free to round up to the nearest thousand dollars: no one will stop you. Click this link to make the donation: Support HSGP

Volunteering Opportunities: Boatswains, Booty Collectors, Galley Grunts, Scullery Maids, Deck Swabbers and other assorted Tars are needed.

Click on the SignUp Genius button below for a list of volunteer opportunities. (Wait for it!)

Sign Up Now!

Pirate wear or other costumes encouraged, but certainly not required.

Do you know your FSM history? FSM History

Sauce be upon you, but not on the floor, ya scurvy bilge rat!!!

Nov 02nd
Topics chosen by attendees
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group

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

Nov 05th
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Nov 06th
Nov 11th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Nov 12th
Event:  Service Outreach - Crochet Sleeping Mats
Nov 12th
Event:  Game Night - Joint Event with Mensa
Nov 20th
Speaker:  Dianne Post
Dec 03rd
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Dec 04th
Dec 07th
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Dec 09th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Dec 10th
Event:  Game Night - Joint Event with Mensa
Jan 08th
Speaker:  Satanic Temple
Jan 22nd
Speaker:  Saman John Golestan
Feb 05th
Speaker:  Dr. David Williams
Feb 19th
Speaker:  James Richardson
Mar 05th
Mar 19th
Apr 09th
Apr 23rd
May 07th
May 21st

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.

Message from the Membership Director

Can you believe it's October already?! Know what that means? Yep, party, party, party. We are currently in the planning stages for our annual end of year parties.

First off is the Flying Spaghetti Monster Dinner being held on October 29. Details can be found on Meetup at FSM Dinner . Be prepared for pirates, partying and, oh yes, pasta. May all you Pastafarians be touched by his noodley appendage and sauce be upon you. For those of you who are non-FSM converts, here's a link to some evidence-based information on His Divine Noodliness, FSM History .

Continuing Sleeping Mats Project:

My next workshop for making these mats is being held on October 8, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the Community Center. Please RSVP on Meetup, Sleeping Mats . Any questions can be sent to my email address located below my signature.

Welcome new members:
Joseph & Bobbi Khalaf
Teresa Cokl
Elizabeth Moore
Paige Livingston
Helen Dunn


Volunteer Opportunities

We are always in need of volunteers to supply breakfast casseroles, help set up before and clean up after meetings and events, serve on various committees. We have a brochure with a complete list of volunteer opportunities on the info table at the front of the meeting hall. Contact Volunteer Coordinator Matt Ferrin at for additional information or questions.

To volunteer for a Sunday meeting opportunity or other event, click on this button and select the event for which you'd like to volunteer.

Sign Up Now!

You can also find the SignUp Genius button on the home page of by scrolling down.

Your Participation is Welcome

This column is for the members. I'd like it to also be about and by the members by encouraging all of you to send me announcements of life events, questions about HSGP, contribute a piece for this column or suggestions of subjects you'd like to see posted here.

Please contact me if you need any membership information or have a change of address, phone number, or email. Anita Romanowski Membership Director

HSGP Service Outreach Project

Our upcoming events include St. Mary's Food Bank on Saturday October 15, from 12pm to 3pm. See the Meetup at

by Gwyndolynn Gentry

My email is

Children's Programs

The HSGP-sponsored Girl Scout group is an all ages group.

For more information contact

Please note that the Sunday Speaker meetings now have a children's program. For more information see

Keeping Up With HSGP
Social Media Matters

by Jennifer White

Overview and update of our social media/internet presence!


I would say that Meetup has the biggest impact on HSGP’s reach. More people say they found out about us there than anywhere else. As of now (08/01/16), we have 1,620 folks signed up on our Meetup group! Some of them join us at our Sunday Speaker meetings and/or other events like Game Night, Humanities Project, Inquiring Minds, Book Club, Ted Talks/Interesting Discussion, and various charity/volunteer opportunities.

Meetup is how we get great turnouts for special events like the Flying Spaghetti Monster Dinner, the Winter Solstice Celebration, the Darwin Day Luncheon, concerts, and visiting guest luminaries, resulting in income to help pay for our Community Center. A few of these folks even become dues-paying members of HSGP. Join us at Meetup now so you will always be abreast of what’s happening next at the Humanist Center!

Facebook Discussion Group

This is an open group on Facebook, where people share posts and participate in conversations. Anyone on Facebook can see the fascinating articles and discussions, but you must be a member of the group to post or comment. Just go there and request to become a member. Richard or I will approve you. You must have a Facebook account. We do our best to keep out spammers (trying to sell you stuff) and we don’t allow abusive comments. As of today we have 811 members in our group!

Facebook Page

A traditional Facebook page. Anyone can see it. You can react to and comment on the articles, events, and memes on the page. Only posts by authorized admins will appear on the wall. The public may post, but they will appear to the left of the wall. Stop by the page and check it out - then be sure to LIKE us!

Twitter @hsgp on

Yes, we do have a Twitter account and we are planning to start using it actively.


Ok, so not exactly social media, but internet presence for sure. When people google Humanism in Arizona, what pops up is our welcoming, attractive, and informative website. It is our face on the internet, where one can learn about Humanism in general and HSGP in particular – everything one needs and wants to find out is on our site, including contact information to find out even more! One can see our upcoming events, read our newsletter (as you are doing now), click on links to HSGP on Meetup and Facebook, learn about the charities and causes we support, use links to find other interesting Humanist sites, and much more.

Questions or need help?

Grab me if you see me at the Humanist Center in Mesa,

Message me on Meetup or Facebook (use links above), * E-mail me at Meanwhile, have fun on the social media!

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

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 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