Summer 2016 Newsletter

Friday FreeUp: July 1 at Xiscali in Pensacola

Freethinkers MeetUp: July 15 at Bonelli's Cafe Italia


In This Issue...

• From the President 

• Coming events

• Help Wanted: Co-editor/publicist and Social Media Coordinator


From the President...


Happy Independence and Liberty from those crazy Brits!


This is our quarterly newsletter, the Human Element, where we summarize the past three months and announce the next three. Here goes:

The second quarter of the 2016 (but the last quarter of the chapter's fiscal operating year) began with the April quarterly meeting of the Board of Directors. Top on the agenda was approval of the Nominating Committee’s recommendation to accept Sandra Carroll as a new Board member for 2016-18, to fill the only open seat. Sandra will take the seat vacated by Michael Kimball, who recently graduated from UWF and moved away. Michael has been on the Board since 2013 and has been a tremendous help on the Communications Committee as our Webmaster. Michael graciously will continue to serve as our Webmaster for now.  Congratulations and thank you, Michael (and thank you to all of the Board members for serving).

In May we held our Third Annual Tom Paine Day of Reason Picnic at Bayview Park. Close to thirty attended and heard reports from our Civics and Government Team. David Suhor updated us on the Bayview Cross federal lawsuit and the status of invocations at local government meetings. The lawsuit, brought by the American Humanist Association and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, is pending in federal court in Pensacola. The problem with the invocations is that local government boards and commissions have not been allowing invocations from anyone but Judeo-Christian representatives. That changed very recently. For some time I have been on the City of Pensacola's list requesting to give an invocation, and I finally received notice that I would be allowed to provide the invocation at the April 14th meeting. Knowing I would be in New Mexico on that date, I asked HWF member Bob Eddy, a past president of the Humanists of Colorado and a retired Unitarian Universalist minister, to offer the invocation in my place. Bob  gave the invocation on behalf of the Humanists of West Florida. Thanks, Bob! But the struggle over invocations is not ended with this one invocation by a non-theist. The local governments are still not being equitably open to all religions. David will continue the effort to press them to comply with the Supreme Court ruling granting all beliefs equal opportunity to give invocations, and on July 14 will present the Satanic Temple's take on “invoking all humans to righteousness.” Come see and hear—David’s invocations are always worth watching!

Updates continued with Michael Kimberl giving a review of Sean's Outpost and its battle with Escambia County over the Satoshi Forest campsite for the homeless. The county has tried to quash the camp, but Michael is a fighter and we are hopeful he will succeed this month in getting final approval. Our last presenter was James Scaminaci III, who filled us in on the City of Pensacola permitting the erection of the Divine Word radio tower in a protected zone. In addition to the serious talk, we all had a fun time visiting on the bayou.

The month of June brought us some exciting activities. The first weekend of the month gave us the second quadrennial Reason Rally in Washington, D.C. Muffie and I had a really fun time, and we met up with Michael Kimball and Emily, David Suhor, Paul and Connie Goens, and Vince Lauria.

There were thousands of people and many good speakers, nice music, and a lot of fun shirts and signs with messages advocating reason over belief.

Lastly, June saw us celebrating World Humanist Day (actually, the eve of WHD) with our friends in Okaloosa County, the Okaloosa Freethinkers, at a special night with Seth Andrews, The Thinking Atheist, on his speaking tour. He was really interesting and I asked him to return to speak in Pensacola and he said he would. HWF provided some funds to help with the room cost, and at least ten of us traveled over to Santa Rosa Beach and helped swell the crowd to more than seventy people.

That about sums it up for April thru June. Of course we also continued with our First Friday FreeUps and the Gulf Coast Freethinkers MeetUps in mid month. Thank you to Chas. Stauffer for hosting the Freethinkers.

Now, for the next quarter coming up. The new fiscal year Board will meet on Sunday July 10th at the La Brisa Cafe in Gulf Breeze at 10am. Everyone is welcome to attend. We will be looking at the final finance reports of the last operating year, and beginning to plan for the 2016-17 period.

And finally: The big event that we are planning for this quarter is a kite-flying beach-blast on Pensacola Beach. We plan to reserve one of the shelter areas where there are restrooms and life guards. As our new fiscal year begins, this annual (we hope!) party will be an opportunity to let the ideas fly for the upcoming year’s projects. The Board of Directors invite all members and friends to come and “fly some ideas” in front of us all—any and all kinds of ideas. (You might even be tempted to tell some of us to “go fly a kite” when you hear some of the ideas we have….) It is an open party to brainstorm, fly some kites (real ones), have fun and share a potluck feast on our beautiful beaches. Put it on your calendars for AUGUST 14th. Watch for more details and be sure to join us.

That's it for this President’s Report and I thank you all for being members and friends of the Humanists of West Florida.

Yours truly,

Buz Ryland, President

Humanists of West Florida


First Friday FreeUp:

Open Discussion: What's on your mind?

Friday, July 1

6:00-9:00 pm

Xiscali Mexican Restaurant (former location of Hall's Seafood)

920 E. Gregory St., Pensacola, FL
Phone: (850) 435-2907

After our initial meet and greet, we'll pass around index cards for people to propose topics for discussion, then we'll pick our most provocative topics for round-table discussion -- holding each speaker to 90 seconds at a shot to keep the discussion moving. When we wear out one topic, we'll start on the next.

Feel free to propose topics and start the conversation in advance by posting on the event's Facebook website: What's on your mind?


Freethinkers MeetUp


Friday, July 15

6:00-9:00 pm

Bonelli's Cafe Italia
1217 N 9th Ave, PensacolaFL 
Phone: (850) 466-3002

We are the Godfree party, outside on the patio.

Jiah and the other staff are looking forward to providing us with excellent Italian food, service and atomosphere.


Help Wanted

We don't need superheros, but we do need some creative minds to assist with the newsletter and website, publicizing events, and maintaining our presence on social media. Experience NOT required -- just a desire to get the message out!


Buz Ryland,  president@hwfl.org or 

Kay Rudolph, secretary@hwfl.org.


Humanist News Roundup

Check out the latest issue of The Humanist Magazine for interviews with Noam Chomsky and geoscientist Sally M. Benson.

Catch up with the United Coalition of Reason's response to the Orlando tragedy at http://unitedcor.org/category/news/.

Membership: Join or Renew

Membership makes it happen.

In addition to the work supporting the hungry and the homeless, HWF sponsors monthly FreeUps, Freethinker meetups, and periodic picnics and other social events to create a community where non-theists can meet others who share their life view. Through the Gulf Coast Coalition of Reason, HWF supported the “godless” billboards that were placed in Pensacola, Mobile, and Gulfport in 2015, to let non-theists on the Coast know they aren’t alone. 

Your membership and your membership dues make HWF eligible to solicit donations and apply for grants from corporations and larger organizations like the American Humanist Association. Without your support, HWF won’t exist. Why does that matter? How is HWF different from the many other charitable organizations helping the needy on the Gulf Coast? Because of our stand that we’re doing good for our communities because it’s the rational, human thing to do. HWF’s purpose isn’t just to show compassion for the needy, but to demonstrate that compassion isn’t the sole property of religion. And because a person doesn’t need to believe in god to do good and to be good, there is no need for a state religion to dictate how we live and how we treat each other.

You can join by clicking the big red Membership button on the right, and then select whether you are a new or renewing member. You can pay online using PayPal, or you can send a check to Humanists of West Florida, P.O.Box 15328, Pensacola FL 32514. 

We're a 501c3 organization so your donations are tax deductible


Distinguished Donors - Gold and Silver

General:  We have a growing pool of active membership for Humanists of West Florida. We have been discussing at Board level, ‘What we can do to have steadier source of income?’ As you know, the projects can be done only if the funds are available.

We have come up with the following fund raising initiatives and we ask our members who are able, to sign up for either Distinguished Donor Gold, OR Distinguished Donor Silver.

This is a commitment to an annual donation separate from any contributions made towards membership or specific projects, and will be dedicated towards on-going projects and some administrative costs. (Because our work is largely done by volunteers our administrative costs – mainly internet fees – are very small.) 

The Treasurer will send out a note for payment each July at the start of the operating year. 

Note: you can opt out of this commitment at any time by contacting the Treasurer at:


Distinguished Donor Gold:  The member commits to donate $ 200 annually to the General Fund of HWF. 

Distinguished Donor Silver:  The member commits to donate $ 100 annually to the General Fund of HWF. 

How do I sign up? 

You can go to our website, www.hwfl.organd on the right side-bar you will see a big Gold/Silver button labelled 'Distinguished Donor Gold or Silver.' Use the drop down arrow to select Distinguished Donor Silver, or Distinguished Donor Gold, and click Donate. Our screens will guide you through the rest of the steps.

Or, you can mail a check to: Humanists of West Florida,  P.O. Box 15328  Pensacola, FL 32514


Answers to some of your potential questions:

1. Am I signing up for life/afterlife?  What if my financial situation changes? 

Or, I move out of the area?  Or, I no longer want to be active as a member of HWF?

Answer: You can drop out any time by contacting the Treasurer at:     membership@hwfl.org

2. If I can drop out at any time, why an 'Out' reply, and why is HWF asking for this initiative?

Answer: We want to provide an ‘Out’ to a member who no longer wants to participate or cannot participate because his/her financial situation/location changed, and we would appreciate a reply to understand why. We expect there will be 10-15% churn of the distinguished donors every year. However, we are doing this initiative because we are confident that a large majority of participating members will be happy with the work HWF is doing and will be in a financial position to continue their contribution.

3. If you have any other questions, please contact  the Treasurer at:     membership@hwfl.org

We hope to sign up about 20 members for this initiative, and recognize them on our HWF website.


HWF Board of Directors:

President/Treasurer: Buz Ryland, president@hwfl.org

Vice President: Suren Shah, vpres@hwfl.org

Secretary: Kay Rudolph, secretary@hwfl.org


Charles Stauffer, charles@hwfl.org

Sedona Strong, sedona@hwfl.org

Michael Kimball, michael@hwfl.org


Get Involved!


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

Programs, Projects, and Events (PPE) Committee – Buz Ryland (Chair), Suren Shah, Kay Rudolph, Sedona Strong

Civics and Government Team (Buz Ryland, Team Leader): responsible for making sure our voice is heard in the public community, and promoting a positive image in the area.

Events and FreeUps Team (Buz Ryland, Team Leader): responsible for making awesome, interesting and informative social gatherings, special events and picnics to further fellowship within the community.

Homeless and Hungry Team (Buz Ryland, Team Leader): responsible for the homeless outreach programs and coordinating the mass distribution of food to low income families in the Gulf Coast area.

Young and Youth Team (Suren Shah, Team Leader): responsible for identifying strategies to help school children in the area, whether it be academically or with life coaching.


Finance, Fundraising, and Membership (FFM) Committee – Suren Shah (Chair), Buz Ryland, Sedona Strong

Bylaw Team (Buz Ryland, Team Leader):  responsible for reviewing the chapter’s bylaws.

Fundraising Team (Suren Shah, Team Leader): responsible for encouraging donations from individuals and businesses interested in supporting HWF.

Grant Team (Buz Ryland, Team Leader): responsible for soliciting grants from organizations that support to vision of HWF.

Membership Team (Buz Ryland, Team Leader): responsible for rallying the base and building our membership in HWF.


Communications, Connections, and Promotions (CCP) Committee – Kay Rudolph (Chair), Michael Kimball, Charles Stauffer

Newsletter Team (Kay Rudolph, Team Leader): responsible for keeping our membership informed and active through monthly newsletters.

Publicity Team (Kay Rudolph, Team Leader): responsible for developing tools to publicize HWF to build membership and member involvement.

Social Media Team (POSITION OPEN!!!, Team Leader): responsible for cultivating the conversation with the public and keeping our group relevant and fresh.

Website Management Team (Michael Kimball, Team Leader): responsible for designing and managing the humanistsofwestflorida.org website.

HWF Facebook Page

Follow us on Social Media:

Friend us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/humanistswfl/ and join in the conversations about how to create a just and sane society.

We also have a Meetup group where we coordinate our community service and social activities. Please join and sign up to receive emails notices to stay informed: http://www.meetup.com/Humanists-of-West-Florida-Community-Service 


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 the URL into an email or to Facebook or other favorite social media.


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.