Humanists of West Florida

March, 2014 Newsletter

In This Issue...

  • From the President
  • Florida Humanist Association
  • March First Friday FreeUp: Julia Sweeney (TED Talk)
  • March Community Service Project-Adopt-a-Highway Pickup
  • Looking ahead to May: Family Picnic AND a speaker for the National Day of Reason
  • HWF Committee Action!
  • The Origins of Humanism Online Course begins March 1, TODAY!

From the HWF President...

reader, our January New Year Reality "Revival" with Tom Nielson, and our Mobile (portable) Food Pantry project in February started the year out with a BANG!

We have a lot more coming up throughout the rest of the year so be sure to keep in touch by visiting our website, joining our community service meetup group, or just join in the conversation on Facebook! See links at the end of this newsletter to ALL of the ways you can keep up-to-date with what's going on.

I need to ask a favor of you. Our board of directors has been working very hard to pull together the structure of our chapter so that we're ready for our members to jump in and help wherever they are most interested in helping. So tell us! How do YOU want to be involved? We want to make it easy for you to participate. Tell us how we can do that, please!

It's MY community and it's YOUR community! It feels really great to do things together with similar-minded people. Thank you to everyone for joining us in building this community! 

In this newsletter, find out about our next First Friday FreeUp, learn about our committee chairs and team leaders, and see our exciting events coming up in May!

Thank you!

Rose Jansen, HWF President

HWF joins the Florida Humanist Association

Bridget Gaudette invited our chapter to become an affiliate of the Florida Humanist Association based in Tallahassee and the HWF board unanimously agree was a great idea! The benefits of becoming an affiliate are having our group listed on their website and assistance with financing and procuring speakers for our area (see info about our May speaker-Thanks FHA!). FHA hosted the Florida Freethought Conference in Orlando in 2013.

First Friday FreeUp:

Julia Sweeney “Letting go of god”

Join us for our next First Friday FreeUp on March 7, 5:45-7:00 pm at the Long Hollow Meeting Room (behind Open Books Bookstore), 1040 N Guillemard St, Pensacola, FL 32501. Join us after the FreeUp at a local restaurant to continue the discussion.

The Topic: Julia Sweeney "Letting go of god"
 (TEDTalk video)

Julia Sweeney (God Said, “Ha!”) performs the first 15 minutes of her 2006 solo show Letting Go of God. (TED Talk) When two young Mormon missionaries knock on her door one day, it touches off a quest to completely rethink her own beliefs.

First Friday Free-ups occur every other month and have a format that we will follow. When attendees arrive we will take 15 minutes of social time to get to know one another. Following our social a speaker or presenter will have a 20 minute “Free Talk”. Discussion on the presentation will be encouraged for the next 30 minutes and anyone interested in discussing the topic further is encouraged to go meet at another local establishment to continue the conversations.

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

Join us for our next trash pickup day!

We have a tentative date for Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 10am

Don't forget! You can't work on the Highway Cleanup unless they have WATCHED the VIDEOs (2-see below). They are a total of only 10 some minutes, so not much time, but you must watch and then SIGN the attached form, and get it back to us. If you watch them BEFORE our March 8 FFF, you can come to the FreeUp and tell us, and sign the paper then.

This is the video: Please view the above video and sign this sheet and email it back to us.

We have to give the signed sheets to DOT before we can proceed with a pick up.

Adopting a highway means picking up trash on a 2-mile section of highway (Nine Mile Rd-Cove to Hummingbird), 4 times a year with a 2 year commitment. 12-15 year olds can participate with their parent or guardian. Participants are required to view a safety training video and sign a release form.

Mark your calendars for May 2 and 3!

We have a GREAT weekend planned for the beginning of May! 

May 2: For our first May First Friday FreeUp we'll have Dr. Ryan Cragun, Assoc. Professor of Sociology at the University of Tampa, and author of, "What you don't know about religion (but should)." Todd Flynn, Editor of Free Inquiry describes Cragun's book as "a witty, concise, trenchant yet many-faceted summary of the phenomena of religion in contemporary society," and we hear that Dr. Cragun is an entertaining speaker with personal experience growing up in Mormonism. Don't miss this opportunity! NOTE: This First Friday FreeUp is being co-sponsored with the UWF Secular Student Alliance and will be held at UWF instead of the usual FFF location.

May 3: National Day of Reason Family Picnic, 2-7pm. Dr. Cragun will stick around to join us for our picnic PLUS we'll enjoy music from Mike Potters! We're still finalizing the location and will announce that as soon as that is settled.

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: Suren Shah - Email:
  • Team Leaders: Buz Ryland, Michael Fulford, Rose Jansen


  • CCP Chair/Contact Person: Rose Jansen - Email:
  • Team Leaders: Michael Fulford, Dayna Beddick, TBA


  • PPE Chair/Contact Person: Buz Ryland - Email:
  • Team Leaders: Barry Fulford, Dayna Beddick, Suren Shah

Team leader emails:

Michael Fulford:

Barry Fulford:

Dayna Beddick:


The Origins of Humanism--
CFI Institute Online Course
March 1 – March 31, 2014

Instructor: David Koepsell, JD, PhD

Humanism traces its roots, and that of related philosophical schools of thought, not only to ancient Greek philosophy, but also to philosophers in the East. Modern humanists can learn much about their worldviews through exploring these roots primarily in Greek thought but also some Eastern philosophy, and we will read not only some primary texts, but also discuss a bit the history of humanism through the Renaissance.
Class will consist of readings, forum discussions online, and at least one live discussion online through Google Hangouts. Everyone should create a Google account in anticipation of the course so we can conduct our online discussions. 

 For general information about our online courses,
please visit the CFI Institute Online.

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.