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


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

As is often the case, I'm deciding what to write here as I sit down to write. It's kind of an odd way of doing things but sometimes the gears don't start moving until I give a little push, and hitting a deadline without a clue about the content that I want to share is a bit of a push indeed. So here it goes.

I've been having conversations with people lately (and actually for quite a while) about how we, as an organization, should treat people who are marginalized, disenfranchized, or otherwise discriminated against in our culture, or around the world for that matter. Sometimes, we aren't sure what is the right thing to do or what might actually be counterproductive, offensive, or even hurtful. And different people have different ideas based on their general knowledge and experience with said people. I recently had a very painful experience related to this which, I hope, taught me a valuable lesson but certainly hasn't diminished my passion for trying to do the right thing. And I know that many of our members feel the same way, maybe even stronger than me.

So what people am I referring to specifically? The people who come to mind immediately include; people experiencing homelessness, LGBTQ people, immigrants with or without official documentation, people of color (according to our cultural norms anyway), and Native Americans (yes, I did separate them out from "people of color" on purpose and for good reason, I believe). I'm not trying to include every group that fits into the category because I don't think I can for one and for another, that would diffuse the point.

There is one thing that all of these people have in common - they are human. And if Humanism isn't about having compassion for, and a willingness to help, all humans, then we are nothing more than a country club, and by golly, we are NOT just a country club!! Here's a short quote from the Humanist Manifesto III - "Humanists are concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity, and respect those of differing yet humane views". I believe that explains what I'm trying to say at least in part and is only one of several places where compassion for all of humanity is referenced when discussing Humanism.

So let me explain why this is on my mind, starting with the people experiencing homelessness. We have had quite a few interactions with these folks at our center over the past year. In attempting to help, we started a team to get organized, figure what we could and could not do, find out what resources are available and where, and learn how to work with these people in a respectful and helpful way as much as we can with our limited understanding and resources. It has been heavy on my mind for a while because I "adopted" a married couple who have been down and on the streets for over a year. To make a long story short, I get a lot of advice from well-meaning people who haven't interacted with these folks anywhere near as much as I have and may not fully appreciate the extent of their suffering. It has also come to my attention that I may have been unknowingly enabling a very serious problem that may have been keeping them from moving forward. I'm hoping that they have both worked through it and have taken some positive steps toward getting back on their feet, but time will tell. I still feel much compassion for them and I will not judge. I can't even imagine being in their shoes or what that would do to me.

Then there is the LGBTQ community. We do have some in our membership and I have come to know one in particular who may well be one of the most artistic people I've ever met. But that's not why this is on my mind. We ran a booth at the Phoenix Pride Festival (many thanks to the volunteers and especially Chris Wojno, our VP, for putting it all together) and I heard that there was some discussion about why a group of cis-gendered straight people would run a booth at Pride. I think that the best answer to that was in the overwhelming positive response that we received from attendees at the event! Just in the time that I was there, several people came up to our booth with great excitement that we were there, that such a thing as HSGP even exists in the Phoenix area, and everything that we stand for! They clearly understood that we are "allies" and very much appreciated us being there showing support. Nuff said.

Of course one of the big things in the news lately has been the political wrangling during this election cycle over immigration. So many seem to think these people aren't human, or don't have hopes and dreams and talents that would greatly enhance our society. I even had a rather terse discussion with my congresswoman about the Syrian refugees. So yes, this has been on my mind lately too. It's been brought home even more by my experience meeting a couple who run a coffee shop near where I work. They are from Iran. And they are truly wonderful people whom I've had the great delight of having long conversations with (and enjoying some really good mochas!). To think that some people would judge them as not good people just because of where they're from sickens me. I could say much more on this topic alone but this is already getting long and I think you get the point by now.

People of color: how to reconcile science with culture and history? I'm reading a really great book right now (yes, I'm finding time to read, but it's hard) titled "The Myth of Race" by Jefferson M. Fish, PhD. This book reaffirms, again, what I've always believed. Biological "race" is an illusion. Race, as we know it, is very much a cultural thing which becomes very evident when you understand how other cultures define races. Brazil is mentioned quite a bit as an example. All good but this doesn't discount or diminish the history of racial discrimination and horrific brutality of people of color in this country at the hands of people with light skin, even in these times. We have so much to do to heal the wounds and set things right. That should be one of our top priorities. Can we do that at the same time grasping the truth that "race" is just a cultural thing? I hope so.

Last but not least in this column is the Native Americans. I've always had a fascination and great respect for these folks but only in the last year did I begin to understand that they are the most marginalized people in our country. They suffer from malnutrition, lack of safe drinking water, lack of decent homes, theft of their land and natural resources with direct violations of treaties, and they are also the most likely people to be shot by police (surprised to hear that? I was). And to them, we are the immigrants. And the worst part is that they are hardly even talked about in political circles. There doesn't appear to be any political will to improve their plight. Granted, it would be a long and complicated process and it would be very easy for well-meaning people to do the wrong thing, but as Humanists, it seems that there should be something that we could do that would be helful if we focused some attention on them. It would be good for us too. Their varied cultures are some of the most beautiful in our country.

To wrap it up, I think that I'll just say that we, as Humanists, are positioned with knowledge and compassion to take great strides in making our society an egalitarian one. I hope that we all go forward with that vision and keep on being as good as we can be.

By the way, I deliberately didn't mention discrimination of, and disrespect for, women in this column. That, I think, is for another column all by itself.

Here are links to some of our important webpages. Our Meetup page is at HSGP Meetup. Our Facebook page at HSGP Facebook Page. Our Facebook Group can be found at HSGP Facebook Group. 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

HSGP at the 2016 Phoenix Pride Festival

Our new and improved info booth at the Phoenix Pride Festival on April 2nd and 3rd was a hit. Many interested people stopped by to ask questions, share their common views with us and sign up for our email list. A good time was had by all. Thanks to all who staffed our booth.

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

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
May 01st
International Space Station
Speaker:  Chuck Lesher
HSGP member and space enthusiast Chuck Lesher will talk about the history of the International Space Station, what we've learned from having humans in space, some of the fascinating experiments conducted in the ISS environment and maybe Chuck will even show us some of the marvelous images captured from orbit.

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 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!

May 04th
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

May 07th
What is the Humanist responsibility to social welfare?
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Topic: What is the Humanist responsibility to social welfare?

I have no idea where this topic will take us, but it should be interesting. We all have different views on what the tenets of Humanism are and this could end up being a very lively discussion.

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.

If anybody can get there early, by around 9:00, I will need help setting up tables and chairs. I'm not supposed to lift anything heavy right now. Much appreciated.

Do some research on your own if you like and find some articles or links to help with the discussion and feel free to post related articles in the comments section on 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.

Please go to our Meetup page to RSVP and to see related articles: HSGP Inquiring Minds Meetup.

Hosted by Richard Dewey the first Saturday of each month.

May 13th
Joke Night!
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Details forthcoming.

BYOB and snacks to share always welcome.

The HSGP Humanities Project holds free and open meetings on the 2nd Friday of each month at 7pm at HCC. The majority of the evening is given over to one or more of our HSGP members or guests, to share with us some aspect of arts & humanities that they are passionate about!

Throughout the year we will invite you to join us at free or inexpensive excursions to various arts & humanities events around the Valley.

We are committed to bringing outstanding people from the world of humanities to present to HSGP at least once per year at the Sunday Speaker Meetings.

Your HSGP Humanities Project Committee.

May 14th
Event:  Game Night - Joint Event with Mensa
May 15th
Speaker:  Tory Anderson
May 28th
Event:  Book Club
Jun 01st
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Jun 04th
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Jun 05th
Speaker:  Andre Salais
Jun 10th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Jun 11th
Event:  Service Outreach - Umom
Jun 11th
Event:  Game Night - Joint Event with Mensa
Jun 19th
Jun 25th
event:  Book Club
Jul 02nd
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Jul 06th
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Jul 08th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Jul 09th
Event:  Game Night - Joint Event with Mensa
Jul 10th
Jul 24th
Aug 03rd
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Aug 06th
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group

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

What do you do with an old board (that's board, not broad)? Well, if it's on your house or fence, there are some very good products you can apply, then cover with a coat of paint, and it's as good as new. Great!! However, what if it's a different kind of board? What if it is the Board of Directors at HSGP?

Many of us are not only aging (gracefully I might add) but have served long multiple terms and would like to attend to other interests. However, not a lot of people have indicated any interest in replacing these old board members.

We (the board) are looking at ways to reconstruct the whole process to make the transitions softer, maybe have half of the board replaced every year, so not as many applicants are required and we have more continuity and less "burnout". At this time, we are requesting those who have any interest at all in being a member of the HSGP Board of Directors to let us know. We can make the process less mysterious and more interesting.

These are the requirements:
1) You must have been a dues paying member for at least 12 months
2) You should be interested enough to attend HSGP meetings regularly
3) It is strongly suggested that you attend some of our monthly board meetings to become familiar with the process.

There are benefits to serving. For instance, you:
Will have celebrity status
Vote on matters that affect how HSGP operates on an on-going basis
Participate in deciding what direction HSGP should be headed in
Contribute to and take pride in what HSGP is doing for its members and the community at large.

Names of the current board members are listed along the left margin of this page. Feel free to contact any of them if you have more questions or an interest in becoming a member of the board of directors.


I will be holding another crocheted sleeping mats class on Saturday, April 9, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Those interest in attending, please sign up on Meetup,

Carpooling: Anyone who needs a ride or would is willing to provide rides to and from HSGP's community center, please fill out the carpool form by going to CarPool Form

The carpool form can also be accessed under the FAQs section of the website.

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.

Welcome new members:

Barbara Fraboni
Fred and Ellen Hairston

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

by Gwyndolynn Gentry

We have exciting news to share from the Service Outreach Project!

* We are being recognized for our service

* We have identified a new resource for helping those experiencing homelessness

* We are actively pursuing new opportunities for our member-volunteers

We have been recognized as reaching Beyond Belief Network Level 3 (the highest level) with the Foundation Beyond Belief! Foundation Beyond Belief is a charitable foundation created to focus, encourage and demonstrate humanist generosity and compassion, and the Beyond Belief Network is a collective of over 110 freethought organizations putting compassionate humanism into action through community volunteering and charitable fundraising.

We have found a new place to help. John Fahrm (from the task force to help those experiencing homelessness) and I went to visit a local community center in Mesa. Paz De Cristo's mission is to feed, clothe and empower those in need. We were impressed by their openness, lack of religiosity, and variety of volunteer opportunities. They help their guests obtain identification, employment, clothing, showers, as well as providing a daily meal and food boxes for those who have housing but still not enough to eat. I will try to set up an outing soon for us to go as a group and either help with the food boxes or help with their empowerment program.

A few more places I've been working on include an Equestrian Therapy program in East Mesa, the Ronald McDonald House, and helping those who are pregnant while in their teens.

I am always happy to listen to your ideas of how we can show our compassion to our fellow humans and do some Good without God.

Planned Events:

June 11 UMOM - 9:30 am to 12:30pm - help prepare then serve lunch

October TBD – St. Mary’s Food Bank

I can be reached at .

Keeping Up With HSGP
Social Media Matters

by Jennifer White


Photo: Some of the campers with their beloved Mythical Creatures. This is our original, award-winning and one of the most popular Camp Quest Arizona activities. The kids combine parts from different plush animals and give them names and stories.

Wouldn’t you like to join us this summer as a volunteer? It’s challenging and fun! The campers will always remember camp week and the volunteers who nurture them. And we cover your bed and food! It’s the best working vacation ever.

Special thanks to HSGP! The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix is one of Camp Quest Arizona’s biggest supporters! On February 7, Richard Dewey, on behalf of HSGP, presented me with a check for Camp Quest Arizona in the amount of $1,200. The donation is earmarked to provide grants to campers who qualify financially. Our philosophy is that all kids who want to come to camp for a week of fun, friends, and freethought should be able to do so, regardless of ability to pay. HSGP’s generous donation will more than cover two full camperships this summer. Thank you!

Individuals make donations as well, and we appreciate you so much! We will have one or two FUNdraisers this spring, such as the Pancake Breakfast. You have always been so generous at those events! Thank you! Donations help us cover costs like more and better supplies and equipment, the care and feeding of the all-volunteer staff, as well as for grants for campers.

More about Camp Quest Arizona: we are a non-profit sleep-away camp especially for kids from atheist, agnostic, humanist and other freethinking families. Our camp week happens on top of Mingus Mountain, above Prescott Valley. It is remote and rustic, yet only about 2 hours from Phoenix. We offer traditional camp activities such as archery, fishing, hiking, campfires, songs, games, arts, and crafts. We also have activities focused on critical thinking, ethics, scientific inquiry, philosophy, and comparative religion/cultures.

Teen campers aged 15-17 are automatically enrolled in our Leadership Track program. They have an enhanced experience with more responsibility, and work as an elite team (very much looked up to by the younger campers). They develop and run team games and the carnival, and help in many other ways during camp week. We have some activities tailored especially for these older kids. The program is demanding and super-fun, and lasting friendships are formed. This is the kind of program that is included on college applications and resumes. Our Leadership Track program is still available for 2016 to qualifying kids who apply.

How you can help Camp Quest Arizona flourish:

If the cost is prohibitive for you, click on the “financial aid” link. It’s easy! You can also make monthly payments. The sooner you register, the longer you can spread out the payments.

2. MAKE A DONATION! Go here to donate online:
If you prefer, you can give me a check when you see me at HSGP, or mail it to PO Box 47096, Phoenix, AZ 85068-7096.

3. VOLUNTEER! Join us at camp as a volunteer. Help supervise kids and assist with activities and programs, while enjoying the rustic life in the cooler piney wilds of Mingus Mountain. We need lots of volunteers—go here to apply NOW: .

4. SHARE! Like ‘Camp Quest Arizona’ on Facebook. Spread the word. Campers call Camp Quest Arizona “The best week of the year”. You help us continue to provide this unique and life-changing experience for Arizona kids, and we deeply appreciate your help!

Thank you!

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