Humanists of West Florida

March 2015 Newsletter

First Friday FreeUp, March 6!

In This Issue...

• From the President

• First Friday FreeUp March 6! 

• Opportunity is knocking! Satoshi Forest gardens update

• Get Involved! HWF Committee Action

• Your Board of Directors

• Partners for Secular Activism: Upcoming Classes Available


From the President...

Hello members, associates, and friends—Happy  Spring!

Your chapter, through it's Home-less Team and Team Leader Cheryl Poister, in conjunction with Sean's Outpost and Michael Kimberl, completed another project by building and planting two raised bed gardens at Satoshi Forest on Massachusetts Ave. on Saturday February 21st. We were fortunate to have a very nice weather day and had a fine turn-out of workers at near 20 some.  To those of you who participated, thank you very much.

Our FreeUp Team which plans the monthly meetings we hold for intellectual and social exchange, usually on the first Friday of the month, and where we offer a subject for discussion from TED Talks, or YouTubes, or a speaker, has just made a change to the location. We are happy to announce that we will now be meeting at Sluggo's Cafe, 101 S. Jefferson St. Pensacola, 32502. Please join us for interesting discussions and fun conversation at a unique venue.     

All of our Teams have a Team Leader who coordinates the actions. Almost all Team communication is done on line, so very few if any physical meetings. If you feel you would like to serve on a Team, or could lead a Team, please let us know. We can always use more members and leaders. So, please consider if one of these Teams is a place you can give of your skill and service and help your chapter continue “Building community for non-theists on the Gulf Coast.”

The Teams are: Fundraising, Events, Food Distribution, FreeUps, Homeless, Invocations, and Mentoring. You can join by emailing to

Buz Ryland, President
Humanists of West Florida



First Friday FreeUp:

TED Talk: Can a non-theist have a spiritual experience? 


Friday, March 6

6:00-8:00 pm 

Sluggo's Vegetarian Restaurant

101 S Jefferson St, Pensacola, FL 32502 (Back room.)

TOPIC: Can a non-theist have a spiritual experience? 

    David Brooks, conservative columnist with the New York Times, started off an interesting discussion on spirituality (though that may not have been his intention) with a column he wrote in December 2014 in which he quoted Christian Wiman: “When I hear people say they have no religious impulse whatsoever ... I always want to respond: Really? You have never felt overwhelmed by, and in some way inadequate to, an experience in your life, have never felt something in yourself staking a claim beyond yourself, some wordless mystery straining through word to reach you? Never?”

    Needless to say, NYT readers had a lot to say about Brooks’ and Wiman’s definition of spirituality—their comments generally coming from the atheistic end of the spectrum, defining spirituality in a completely naturalistic context.
Are those the only options for spirituality—gods and physics? Or is your experience of spirituality something entirely different? When someone refers to their spirituality, what do you imagine they’re talking about? How many different ways do we experience and interpret spirituality?

    Join us for a discussion on the topic, share your own definition, and help us all get a handle on just how diverse a group we humanists can be. 

    Brooks' column (be sure to check out the Readers' Comments for some really great discussion):

    Meet and Greet at 6:00 in the backroom at Sluggos, Pensacola. PICK UP A DRINK ON YOUR WAY IN, BUT HOLD OFF ON ORDERING DINNER. We'll have a break for ordering at about 6:50, and then continue our discussion over dinner.

    Sluggos menu:
(No, your eyes aren't fooling you: Sluggos is vegetarian. It's earned 4.3 stars on google reviews--so try it, you'll like it!)


The gardens have been planted!

Thanks to everyone who pitched in to help with the building and of the garden beds. Many hands made light work for most of us but a special thanks to those who did the heavy lifting and shoveling!

A few have asked to help out with upkeep of the gardens so if you are interested in maintenance or helping with future plantings please contact Cheryl, the Satoshi gardens team leader. You can email her at


HWF Board of Directors

President/Treasurer: Buz Ryland,

Vice President: Suren Shah,

Secretary: Kay Rudolf,


Charles Stauffer,

Sedona Strong,

Amanda Kondrat'yev,

Michael Kimball,

Become an HWF Member!

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 15000 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!


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 February:

Online classes for December and January are announced at and MindfulPathsFor.Us

Discounts are available for forums and workshops! Use the discount code 123645 to get $10 off when registering.

March Webinar with Dr. Richard Carrier – Naturalism as a Worldview: How to Build a Sound Philosophy of Life
– $59

6-month Workshop – Become a Humanist Celebrant, with Han Hills, Professional Celebrant <>
– $59 for six months of access

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. Sign up for email alerts about coming classes at

-- Partners for Secular Activism is a 501c3 nonprofit educational organization, founded in January 2014.

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 - go to


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 Facebook Page

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... 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.