Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix   - -
Board Members
Richard Dewey

Co-Vice President:
Seráh Blain

Co-Vice President:
Chris Wojno

Tim Bedient

Rebecca Beltran

Program Director:
Al Wendler

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

Committee Chairs & Other Leadership:
J.B. Wright

Bruce Pettycrew


Anita Romanowski

Property Management and Safety Officer:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Service Outreach Coordinator:
Michal Otten

Facility Use Management:
Vici Duarte

Food Management:
Kathy Pettycrew

Linda Wendler

Science Night:

Michelle Rose

Information Technology:
James Osborn

Odyssey of the Mind:
Brian Calaway

Lego League:
Brian Calaway

Girl Scout Troop:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Book Club:
Roy Towne

Inquiring Minds:
Richard Dewey

Ted Talks:
Anna Carter

Game Nights:
Bruce Stiles
Ann Marie Eisentraut
Anna Carter

Immediate Past President:
Shelley Newman (2011)

President Emeritus:
Susan Sackett

President's Message

I have truly decided that Facebook is an evil conspiracy to significantly reduce productivity. I have been sitting here for hours trying to write this article and I keep getting sidetracked on FB threads (all very interesting of course) and not getting any work done. I'm sure that any of you reading this who are aware of the activity going on at the end of May know at least part of what I'm talking about. Even if I'm not actively participating in the threads, I am drawn into reading them and thinking deeply about the comments. A very serious problem when you're trying to get into a writer's groove. But I am determined to write this, so here it goes, even if I have to wing it.

May did seem a bit slower than recent months but I guess that it's a bit like breathing, and we just exhaled. Time for another breath. There is much to do and so little time to do it all. But we are a persistent bunch and we will make stuff happen one way or another. For now, let's take a look at some interesting things about where we're at and what this community means to us all.


These are numbers that I like to brag about because they mean so much about where we've come from and where we're going, at least in terms of growth. We owe much of our success over the last few years to the Humanist Community Center and all the freedom that owning it brings us. We can never thank the people that were involved in the purchase and renovation of this building enough! They are truly my heroes (you know who you are). And this is what has happened as a result. In May, our Meetup page hit 1162 members, up 33 from last month. Our Facebook Group is now up to 691 followers, an increase of 10 since last month and our Facebook Page/Community has 331 followers, which is another increase of 28 since last month. I have neglected to mention in previous articles that our Girl Scout Troop, Troop 1080, has their own Facebook Group and they are up to 22 adults on that page as well. It's a closed group so you probably should have girls that can be in the troop to be on that page (except me - I'm special - JK). I will talk more about the troop below. Lastly in the popularity category, our dues-paying members have stayed constant at 313 since last month, but what is notable is that the number of members has been consistently much higher every month this year than in any previous year. And with summer upon us, some believe that we may stay fairly flat for a few months and then see more increase in the fall. Actually, our Membership Chair, Anita Romanowski, is currently tanning herself on Florida beaches so I prefer to believe that that is the reason we haven't seen an increase and it will go up when she returns. The eternal optimist. We'll see.

There was a total of 18 officially sponsored events, three of which were outings. We also listed two other non-HSGP sponsored events on our Meetup page. The reason for the latter is that there are several other like-minded groups in the Valley that frequently have events that our members might also find interesting. I'll list a few here including links to their activity pages so you can check them out as well. There are the Phoenix Atheist Meetup Group, the Americans United - Greater Phoenix Chapter, the Freedom From Religion Foundation - Valley of the Sun Chapter, and the Phoenix Skeptics in the Pub. That last really needs a new leader as they been inactive for a few months, but they were a blast when they were going strong and I'm sure they will be again if somebody will step up to organize it. I'd like for us to eventually find a way to put all the local like-minded group activities on one website but I'm not sure how that can be accomplished. It would be nice though.


I'll do a bit of a follow-up from last month here although I don't intend to do this often, it makes sense here because of how important this activity is to Humanism. We did have an event this month, at UMOM New Day Centers, which is the largest homeless shelter for families in the state of Arizona. We were looking a bit bleak on the volunteer side a couple of weeks prior to the event so we put a shout out for help to make sure we could still do the event. Wow, what a response! A big crowd jumped on it and volunteered and before we knew it we had well over 20 volunteers signed up! That was spectacular and really made us feel good. I'm a bit red-faced because on the day of event, I had to beg out due to a moderately serious back injury the day before. But the event was successful. We did end up having quite a few no-shows besides me, which was most unfortunate, but we still had enough to get the job done and be appreciated for our help. I intend to do whatever I can to attend as many of these events in the future that I can (I'll be more careful in my workouts in the days prior) and I really do hope that we not only continue to see so much enthusiasm in this effort, but even more.

On a side note, we have a new member who is also organizing regular blood drives. Rada Bittner-Rozenberg just came to us in January and is already stepping up into a leadership role. I'm not sure yet what her plan is for continuing this activity but I do hope more people jump in on this. Keep an eye on our Meetup page for details.


We did have a special event this month but it wasn't at the HCC. We celebrated the National Day of Reason at Casey Moore's in Tempe this month and it was just a kick-butt fun party! Besides the great crowd, the food was fantastic. I had a plate full of Oysters Rockefeller and an oh-so-delicious serious drink (of the rum variety). Twas a fine night indeed.


I thought that this month I might promote two very interesting and provocative activities that we do regularly. If you don't know about these already, you might want to check them out. We do get into some very deep discussions. I'll cover more interesting regular events in future articles.

Ted Talks: This event occurs on the first Wednesday evening of every month. The idea behind this event is to show one or more "Ted Talks" videos, which are essentially very interesting short presentations, from some very highly educated or successful people, about interesting topics that are quite informative and sometimes provocative. The videos don't necessarily have to be "Ted Talks" but could be any short video on an interesting topic that interests the crowd, who vote on what topics that they want to explore. After viewing each video, much discussion ensues and I gather that it can get pretty deep. The start time only recently changed to 7:00 pm and so I have had a conflict with my work schedule up till now. I plan on going to some now that I can. I gather that there is typically a crowd of 20 to 30 people in attendance. The host of this event is Anna Carter who brings a strong background in education making her a good fit for this. As I said, if you haven't checked it out yet, you might want to consider it. It will certainly break up the monotony of your work week and keep the brain juices flowing.

Inquiring Minds: This event is always on the first Saturday morning of the month and starts at 9:30 am. This might not work for folks who like to kick back on their Saturdays but there is apparently a sizable group of people who are early birds even on the weekends. We get good turnouts pretty much every time. For this event, we pick the topic at the end of the meeting the month prior. We usually have a good list to choose from that are suggested by the crowd in attendance and the topics tend toward just about anything that can be controversial or can provoke some serious philosophical discussion. We go from 9:30 to about 11:30 am before going around one last time to hear people describe what they got out of the discussion and then decide on the next month's topic. We wrap fairly close to noon each time and then, usually, some of us go to a local restaurant for lunch. That takes up a big chunk of a Saturday but I find it quite worth the time. I'm hosting this event these days and I genuinely look forward to this every month.

Both of the above events occur right there in the meeting hall of our community center. These are among the many varied uses that we've found for that room and we are quite grateful. Feel free to join us at these events any time and you, and your unique perspectives, will be most welcome.


I know that I've mentioned them before in previous articles but I thought that I might say a bit more this time as this addition to the HSGP family is indicative of an important trend. We are slowly but surely getting more families involved at HSGP and this is one way, and a very interesting way at that, to do it. Traditionally, people tend to think of the Girl Scouts as more religion based and many whom I've told about this troop are surprised that they are connected to us, an obviously secular organization. Well as it turns out, the Girl Scouts of America have a different view on that than the Boy Scouts of America. There is no conflict here so the troop is completely free to explore critical thinking, secular ideas, and stay clear of anything based on religion. So far, it's working quite well and the troop is doing exceedingly well and growing. They have been doing some great activities, including some fun fundraisers, field trips, nature exploration, and more. I'm not too much in tune with what they're up to so you have to do some research to find out more. If you know of any families who might be interested, or if you have girls that might be interested, check out the troop's Facebook page at Troop 1080 Facebook Group.

On a very tragic sad note, the troop lost one of the girls early this month. Clara Bergen, aged 7, was in a terrible accident playing in their back yard and was lost to us. Her parents and sister are very dear to us, as was Clara, and we grieve for/with them in their loss. They have our support and much sympathy. An article giving more details about the incident is at AZCENTRAL STORY.


As always, each month is full of activity so be sure to keep an eye on our website at 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 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! But wait, there's one more thing. If you've gotten this far, then email me with the name "Gandolf" in the subject line and you will win a prize. You have to be at one of the next two Sunday morning meetings to collect (June 7th or World Humanist Day on June 21st). Make sure that I know your name too (somewhere in the email if not obvious in the address).

Richard Dewey
President, HSGP

Humanist Prose Writer's Circle Taking a Vacation

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

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

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

Turn Business into Fundraising for HSGP

One easy way Humanists can raise funds for HSGP is by giving our business to businesses that return a percentage of the proceeds to HSGP. For example, Bashas', Fry's and Albertson's grocery stores will return a percentage of the money our members spend at their store's. Amazon will also donate a percentage of sales that are made through the HSGP link. But first you need to enroll in the program(s) of your choice for this to happen. See article at lower right for more information.

HSGP member and Professional Realtor Vici Duarte has announced that she is offering a similar program. Vici will donate 10% of her net commission to HSGP. If you plan to buy or sell a home, speak to Vici at any HSGP event, or contact her by email at

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 about setting up a similar program.

Upcoming Meetings and Topics
Jun 30th
HSGP Outreach Event: Come donate blood with fellow humanists at the Scottsdale location of United Blood Services - we can go for dinner together afterwards! Making an appointment is necessary. Please call Bonnie at the Blood Center 480-367-1550 to make an appointment and mention that you are donating with Rada.

Please note - we donate whole blood (it's faster).

If you are already a blood donor, please make sure you have at least 8 weeks between your donations.

After we have finished donating we can go and socialize at a coffee shop in the area.

To learn more about donating blood:

Jul 01st
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

Jul 04th
Topic: Protests, riots, & uprisings: What are the differences, perceptions, and impact? This should be an interesting topic and we hope to address it from an historical aspect as well as with respect to current events, most particularly here in the U.S.

Hosted by Richard Dewey the first Saturday of each month.

Please go to our Meetup page, at HSGP July Meetup to RSVP and to post related articles should you find some that would help facilitate the discussion.

Jul 10th
Zenaido Quintana presents A Musical Tour of South America
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Zenaido is back with one of his entertaining and informative musical tours. This time he will guide us on a trip through South America!

Come and enjoy the music and the camaraderie!

BYOB, snacks and beverages 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!

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
Speaker:  Tory Anderson
Aug 14th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Aug 15th
Event:  Service Outreach
Aug 22nd
Event:  Book Club
Sep 02nd
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Sep 05th
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Sep 11th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Sep 12th
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
Sep 13th
Speaker:  Jim Richardson
Sep 26th
Event:  Service Outreach
Sep 26th
Event:  Book Club
Sep 27th

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

June, the month of graduations, weddings, longer days and the segue into summer.

Currently I'm on a 4 week vacation in Florida, enjoying beach, gulf breezes, reading, knitting, shopping and generally shirking my HSGP duties. And, oh yes, I'm cultivating a wonderful suntan. Therefore, the following post is a encore of my June 2013 post with some minor changes:


Webster's describes humanism as: 1) A doctrine or attitude that is concerned primarily with human beings and their values, capacities and achievements. 2) Absorption in or study of the humanities. 3) A cultural and intellectual movement of the Renaissance that emphasized secular concerns as a result of the study of the literature, art, and civilization of ancient Greece and Rome.

As humanists we sometimes lose sight of the fact that humanism means to respect all life and lifestyles as long as long as they don't infringe on our own personal lives or rights.

At HSGP we want our community to provide a welcoming atmosphere for everybody. Some people who come to our center may be "on the fence" and struggling with confliction and confusion. We want to gently guide them into the philosophy of humanism.

We are many different types of people with differing opinions and views. That's a good thing; it provides for healthy exchange of ideas and ways of thinking. Such discourse is always encouraged.

Hate-mongering does not have a place within the humanist value system. HSGP's primary goal is and should always be to educate, encourage and dispel mythology.

No New Members for May

Humanistically yours,
Chair, Membership Committee

HSGP Service Outreach Project

by Michal Otten

The June 27th Volunteer Outing to UMOM New Day Center has been cancelled due to staffing shortages.

There will be no volunteer outings in the month of June.

Keeping Up With HSGP
Social Media Tips and Hints #21

by Jennifer White

As you may know, I am on the board of Camp Quest Arizona. I am so grateful that HSGP and its members are very supportive of our organization. Because of you, kids from secular families have a summer camp where they can enjoy fun, friends, and freethought!

We are at the climax of camp season. The CQ AZ board and all-volunteer staff are working furiously to tie up any loose ends and bring a super fun week of summer camp to 56 kids who are now packing their hiking shoes, hats, sun screen, and water bottles. Camp week starts this Sunday, June 7!

I can’t believe another whole year has gone by! This will be our 3rd year of Camp Quest in Arizona. The kids are growing up so fast! Many of our campers have been with us since the first summer of 2013. It is so fun to see how they have grown and matured already. And to hear them say they want to come back every year!
Some of the activities that we will offer are:
- Archery
- Hiking
- Star gazing
- Fishing
- Making hiking sticks
- Socrates Café
- Line dancing
- Signature, award-winning Mythological Creatures project
- Mission to Mars activity
- Pinewood Derby
- Dia de los Muertos – making sugar skulls
- Human skulls and evolution activity
- Game Night
- And much, much more!

See us and Like us on Facebook: CampQuestArizonaFacebook

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

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