Humanists of West Florida

September, 2014 Newsletter

In This Issue...

• From the President

• First Friday FreeUp: Dan Dennett (TEDTalk) "Let's teach religion--all religion--in schools."

• Share Your Voice

• It's time to RENEW your HWF membership, or become a member, today!

• Get Involved! HWF Committee Action

• Opportunity to make a difference!

• Partners for Secular Activism

• Dale McGowan: "In Faith and In Doubt"


From the President...

I have been out of town almost all August, but I see the Committees have met during August and had real good meetings. The full board will meet in September to set budgeting and programs for the fiscal year to July of 2015.

We invite you to send us any ideas for projects or events you may have in mind, as we are always considering what might be appealing to our membership. 

Please consider renewing your membership for 14-15 so that we can continue to grow and develop our fledgling chapter, and I'll see you around town at our Humanists of West Florida events.

Andre "Buz" Ryland,
President of HWF



First Friday FreeUp: Dan Dennett (TEDTalk) "Let's teach religion--all religion--in schools."




Friday, September 5, 5:45-7:00 pm 

Bayview Senior Center

2000 E Lloyd St, Pensacola, FL 32503
Cross Streets: Near the intersection of E Lloyd St and N 20th Ave on Bayou Texar north of Cervantes

The Topic: Dan Dennett (TEDTalk) "Let's teach religion--all religion--in schools."

Join the Humanists of West Florida at our monthly First Friday FreeUp for some thoughtful discussion to energize your weekend. This month we'll be viewing Dan Dennett's TED Talk "Let's teach religion — all religion — in schools." Philosopher Dan Dennett calls for religion — all religion — to be taught in schools, so we can understand its nature as a natural phenomenon. Then he takes on The Purpose-Driven Life, disputing its claim that, to be moral, one must deny evolution.

After the FreeUp, join the group at a local eatery for some good food to go along with the good conversation.

These events are free but donations are accepted to cover the cost of the facility rental.


Would you like to guest post in our newsletter or our blog?

We want to keep our newsletter informative, and local. If you are interested in writing about local events and activities, inform readers about local personalities activities in our greater communities, or even have photos or artwork related to humanism you'd like to share, please submit your 500 words or less article by the 20th of each month for consideration. (Not all submissions will be published, depending on the space available.)


HWF Board of Directors

President: Buz Ryland,

Vice President: Suren Shah,

Treasurer: Amanda Kondrat'yev,

Secretary: Kay Rudolf,


• Michael Fulford,

• Charles Stauffer,

• Sedona Strong,


Did you say you want to make a difference?

Here's the dealio. I want to make a difference, too! How about me and you, we get our resources together. My little bit, and your little bit, they'll make a bigger bit. Then, lets get some more people with little bits and put it all together...

I've had a lot of people tell me that they like what we're doing. They want to help out, some how.

Here's one BIG way you can help out in a small way. If we continue to increase our membership, HWF will become eligible for more grant money. More grant money means doing more good. More membership also means that maybe we can get recognition for the good work that we do. More recognition might mean that people will take a closer look at what it means to be a humanist, what it means to do good for the sake of doing good.

Here's your one and only piece of homework: Right now, click HERE and become an HWF member. 

Have NO money at all? That's ok. We need to count you in our numbers as an ASSOCIATE MEMBER. No cost, you just don't get to have a vote at elections.

Money's super tight but you'd like to have a vote? We have a STUDENT/HARDSHIP MEMBERSHIP that is only $10 a year! That's right, it's an inexpensive way to have a voice in what's happening.

Money not so tight? Great! We won't be bugging you for handouts, unless you really want to donate more money, yeah, we'll take it. But a REGULAR MEMBERSHIP is only $25 per year!

Looking for a place to donate money for a tax deduction? HWF is a 501c3 nonprofit and your generous donations are tax deductible!

If you haven't paid membership dues in the last few months, your membership has expired and WE NEED YOU TO RENEW! Please. :)

So don't wait any longer! Empty out the change dangling in your pocket or the bottom of your purse and become an HWF member today!

Here's a list of some of the things we've done so far:

• Gave out Personal Care Packets for the Homeless

• Adopted 2 miles of Nine Mile Road for beautification

• Purchased and gave out 500 pounds of food to families in need

• Began monthly FreeUps to build social community and spark discussion

• Received $1500 grant from AHA

• Received several generous donations from local businesses and individuals

• We'd like to do so much more, but we need YOUR help! Come join us!


Get Involved!


Want to get involved in some of our activities and help build our humanist community? Contact the committee chairs and find out how you can help!

You can find a brief outline of our committee structure HERE.


• FFM Chair/Contact Person: Buz Ryland - Email:

• Team Members: Suren Shah,  Michael Fulford, Sedona Strong


• CCP Chair/Contact Person: Kay Rudolph - Email:

• Team Members: Michael Fulford, Rose Jansen, Amanda Kondrat'yev


• PPE Chair/Contact Person: Charles Stauffer - Email:

• Team Members: Suren Shah, Kay Rudolph, Robin Tillman

Team member emails:

Charles Stauffer:

Michael Fulford:



Thank you to David Suhor for lighting a fire under us! We're working on getting some names on the list for non-religious convocations. Here's a clip of David speaking at an Escambia School Board open forum:

NOTICE: This will continue to run in the newsletter to keep members and friends updated about this opportunity.

Here's your chance to get involved and make a difference, right here in Pensacola!

Old News: The City Council and County Commission still offer invocations (almost exclusively Xtian prayers) before every meeting.

Good News: Anyone can deliver an invocation! You just have to ask. From what I can tell, they need volunteers. I've done it three times, offering non-prayers and mocking pan/non-theist prayers. We need more! PLEASE PARTICIPATE. Here's how.

CITY: Contact Ericka Burnett ( and ask to be included on the list. Don't accept no for an answer. You don't have to be a clergyman, nor should you be put off for months. Currently, they have a list of local churches they ask and they have a hard time finding speakers. Why not fill that list with free thinkers?

COUNTY: Contact a commissioner. They choose who will speak. Yes, they mostly pick Xtians too. Here is the rotation: 

September 4, 2014 District 4 – Commissioner Robinson
September 25, 2014 District 5 – Commissioner Barry
October 9, 2014 District 1 – Commissioner Robertson
October 23, 2014 District 2 – Commissioner Valentino
November 6, 2014 District 3 – Commissioner May
November 20, 2014 District 4 – Commissioner Robinson
December 11, 2014 District 5 – Commissioner Barry
January 8, 2015 District 1 – Commissioner Robertson

PLEASE, let's get some diversity into this archaic, religion-dominated practice. 

Here's some information about giving a secular invocation.

If you'd like to know more about getting involved in offering a humanist/secular invocation at a meeting, or discuss this more, contact David Suhor at 850 512-2220.


Partners for Secular Activism

Partners for Secular Activism is a new nonprofit educational organization based in the Washington DC area. The PSA President is John Shook, PhD., and you can email him at

The mission of Partners for Secular Activism is to facilitate education about secular, scientific, and civic issues and activities for the public. By bringing knowledgeable scholars and expert communicators together with audiences wanting more information about issues that matter to their lives, we will elevate the general understanding of reasoning, science, civics, ethics, and topical issues affecting the public. Courses announced by PSA are open to anyone, and they deliver educational value for everyone. (

Online classes for September:

Special discounts for the summer! Use the temporary discount code 081153 - $10 off many classes.

September webinar – Creating Atheists: The Manual – with Peter Boghossian and Richard Carrier - $59

September workshop – Why Create Humanist Community, and How To Do It – Jen Hancock and Ann Fuller - $49 with discount

These one-month classes are accessible online 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when you have some time. There's nothing 'live' to be missed, and you aren’t using video, just text-based forums. Instructors respond individually to all questions and love extended conversations. So sign up for email alerts about coming classes at

Know someone interested in earning a master’s degree? The ‘Science and the Public’ program from the University at Buffalo, NY, is a part-time and completely online Masters of Education degree. This is America's only entirely online program for the secular promotion of science and science-based policy.


 **Partners for Secular Activism is a nonprofit educational
organization. PSA admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.**


Dear friends,

Just over a year ago, you were one of nearly 1,000 people who completed a survey about secular/religious mixed marriages.

I thought you’d like to know that the resulting book, IN FAITH AND IN DOUBT, is now available at in paperback, audio, and Kindle formats.

Deepest thanks for the time and care you took in filling out the survey! Those answers informed nearly every chapter of the book. I hope you’re pleased with the result.

Kind regards,


Dale McGowan
Author, In Faith and In Doubt

How are we using Social Media?

We now have a Facebook group!

If you hang out on Facebook, please come join us for conversation!

We also have a Meetup group to schedule our community service projects so please join it and choose to receive emails from that group if you'd like to participate! 

Also, please "like" our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, circle us on Google+ (follow links below)!


Please share this newsletter with anyone you think might be interested! If you look at the top of this newsletter in your email box, you should see a link that says, "Display problems? View this newsletter in your browser." Click that link and when it opens in your browser, copy and paste it into an email or on Facebook or other favorite social media.

Not a member yet? Join us today!

 Like what we're doing and want to help HWF out financially? We're a 501c3 organization so your donations are tax deductible! Thank you!


The Mission of the Humanists of West Florida...

,,,is to facilitate the advancement of humanist thought and action in Pensacola and surrounding areas by interconnecting groups of humanists, atheists, agnostics and non-religious. We will strive for equal participation in government and societal life through building strategic partnerships with other humanist and freethought organizations and with our religious neighbors to advance the greater good of humanity.