The Cowtown Humanist
The Official E-Mail Publication of the Humanists of Fort Worth
A chapter of the American Humanist Association,
and allied with the Council for Secular Humanism
October 2002 Volume 4, No. 7
REGULAR DATE/TIME FOR NEXT MEETING
As you know, we had to change the normal date of our September
meeting, due to a "Service of Remembrance" of 9/11/01 at the
Westside Unitarian Universalist Church. However, we are back to our normal date-and-time for our October, and subsequent meetings. We will meet on Wednesday, October 9, 2002 (2nd Wednesday of each month) at the
aforementioned Westside UU Church. It's in the northeast corner of a small shopping center at 6901 McCart Ave., Suite 125, in south Fort Worth. (Just south of the first traffic light south of Alta Mesa.) There will be a pre-meeting dinner get-together at Luby's Cafeteria, 5901 S. Hulen Dr. at 5:30 PM. The location is on the east side of Hulen, just north of Granbury Rd.
NEXT MEETING TOPICS
The speaker for the October meeting will be Don Fielding, whose
topic will be "The Sea of Faith." According to Mr. Fielding, the
"Sea of Faith" is a new "religious" movement in England and New
Zealand based on the thought of the Cambridge philosopher of religion Don Cupitt. It is composed mainly of Anglicans, Quakers, Unitarians, and humanists. He wants to talk some about Cupitt's philosophy and some about his ideas and how you can learn more about the "Sea of Faith" in the U.S.
Mr. Fielding was born in Oklahoma City in 1938, and completed a
B.S. in 1969, and an M.S. in 1971 in geology from the University of
Missouri - Rolla. He worked for fifteen years as an exploration geologist in Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Alaska. He began a second career in 1988 by completing an M.A. degree in Religious Studies from The University of Iowa with an emphasis in the area of Religion and
Personality. He entered Meadville/Lombard Theological School, a Unitarian Universalist seminary in Chicago, and completed a D.Min. in 1990. He was ordained in 1990 by the Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City, and served as the minister of two Unitarian Universalist societies (the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Dallas in Oak Cliff).
Don brings a background in science to the study of religion. As a scientist, minister, and a student of the discourse between religion and science, Don is interested in the light that that dialogue can throw on ethics and preservation of values.
He has also taught at the college level. He is married, the father of three grown children, and lives with his wife, Brenda, in Plano,
REPORT OF THE SEPTEMBER MEETING
As previously announced, in September Chairman Mike Haney conducted an open membership meeting. He wanted to try to get a feel for what the members expected from their local Humanist organization. At the meeting, he indicated that this and future meetings would likely be a bit more structured than in the past, to promote an atmosphere for more member
Mike commented on the purpose and philosophy of the Humanists of Fort Worth, as stated on our web page, which is taken from our bylaws. He also informed of the board's consideration of making a gift to the Westside UU church for use of the building, and/or affiliating with the church as a covenant group.
Treasurer Delores Ruhs provided an up-to-date financial report, and informed of some changes in compensation procedures for our speakers. There were announcements for the pending Godless Americans March, and Death Penalty Forum (see "Bulletin Board section below), and the September 22nd Banned Book Reading. Mike also noted that the next trash pickup date for "our" portion of Old Granbury Rd. will be in late October.
GOALS AND AVENUES
Chairman Haney sought membership input on what goals we wanted to adopt, and how we should proceed. He provided a list of potential goals to fuel the discussion. The following is a list of these goals together with some suggested ways of achieving them discussed at the meeting:
1. Offer thought-provoking programs, such as (a) discussion of
American Humanists vs. Secular Humanists; (b) discussion of the Humanist
Manifestos I, II and III; (c) variety of speakers, group discussion, or both; (d) educational forums, or formal debates; (e) videos.
2. Engage in social activities, such as: (a) dinner before the meeting; (b) dinner at the meeting, such as pot luck at the church, or personal "brown bags"; (c) field trips; (d) group breakfast following trash
pick-up; (e) a holiday party
3. Serve as a Humanist voice to the community by: (a) street clean-up; (b) the use of Humanist-emblazoned T-shirts, literature, or brochures; (c) volunteer-service activities; (d) AIDs walk, etc.; (e) provide a speakers bureau; (f) attend city council meetings; (g) present magazine gift subscriptions to libraries
4. Increase membership and publicize our activities by : (a) posting flyers; (b) distributing the newsletter and brochures; (c) contacting local colleges and universities; (d) sending letter to visitors inviting membership; (e.) advertising in publications such as the FW Weekly, or local shoppers guide.
5. Effective organization: (a) limit speaker to 45 minutes; (b) hold business meeting (no more than 30 min.) before speaker; (c) limit number of committees; (d) become an AHA Membership Chapter; (e) prepare a budget.
The members who participated offered support for many of the suggestions, and dissent on others. They also advanced additional thoughtful suggestions.
Members present were: Joel and Charlotte Bailey, Bruce Berggren,
Reed Bilz, Jim Cather, George Cramer, Jim and Beverly Fogleman, Mike Haney, Wallace Harrison, John Johnson, Sandra Langley, Pennye Lewis, Lisette Phara, Bettina Pfeffenberger, Don and Dolores Ruhs, and Dick Trice.
(Editor's note: Much of this report is compiled from timely information supplied by secretary Reed K. Bilz.)
FROM THE CHAIR
I would like to thank all of our members who attended last month's meeting and provided many helpful suggestions about what the Humanists of Fort Worth should be doing for it's members and for our community. However, in order to accomplish anything in life, it takes more than talk. If this organization is going to be something other than just a place for people to come hear a speaker once a month, more participation will be required by all of us. To pursue the goals we discussed at the last meeting, I am asking our members to work together in the following areas to recommend specific courses of action: Programs, Social Activities, Community Outreach, and Publicity/Publications. In particular, we need someone who is willing to take the lead in each of these areas and solicit ideas from other interested volunteers. Last year's Chair, Jeff Rodriquez, has already agreed to co-ordinate the search for relevant speakers for our programs.
Please contact me before the next meeting and let me know the area or areas where you are interested in helping.
- Mike Haney
YOUR OFFICERS, AND HOW TO REACH THEM
Chairman: Mike Haney, Fort Worth 76114; Ph. 817-737-7047; firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice Chair and Newsletter Editor: Wallace Harrison, Fort Worth 76109;
Secretary: Reed Bilz, Fort Worth 76133; 817-292-7974, email@example.com
Treasurer: Dolores Ruhs, Benbrook 76126; 817-249-1829, firstname.lastname@example.org
Immed. Past Chair: Shane Taylor, Dallas 75219; 214-526-8258;
Mark your calendar: The Humanists of Fort Worth will hold it's monthly meeting Wednesday, October 9, 2002 at the Westside Unitarian Universalist Church at 6901 McCart Ave., Suite 125, Fort Worth. The business meeting will begin at 7 PM, with the discussion topic, "Sea of
Faith," to follow immediately afterward. The pre-meeting dinner/get-together will be at Luby's Cafeteria, 5901 S. Hulen Dr. at 5:30 PM.
DEBATING THE DEATH PENALTY
On Monday, September 30, the Tarrant County League of Women Voters, the Greater Fort Worth ACLU, and the Texas Wesleyan School of Law will present an educational forum on capital punishment. The event will be held from 7 to 9 PM at the Intermodal Transportation Center in downtown Fort Worth (next to Fort Worth Rail Market). Edith Jones from the League will moderate the panel of three consisting of Professor Earl Martin providing basic information; Professor Don Jackson speaking against; and Chuck Mallin speaking for keeping the death penalty in the State of Texas.
Professor Martin is Professor of Criminal Law at Texas Wesleyan School of Law; Professor Jackson teaches at TCU and is a member of the local ACLU Board; and Mr. Mallin is an Assistant Tarrant County District Attorney who is Adjunct Professor of Criminal Procedure at Texas Wesleyan School of Law. Following the presentation by the panel members, the floor will be open for written questions.
GODLESS MARCH ON WASHINGTON
On Saturday, November 2, 2002, "Godless Americans" -- individuals and representatives of the nation's diverse community of non-religious people -- will make history and march on Washington.
The event is currently scheduled for Saturday, November 2, 2002. It will be held on the National Mall, west side of the U.S. Capitol Building from approximately 11 AM to 2-3 PM. American Atheists are currently negotiating with the Service and other area agencies for a March down the mall (beginning on the east side of 14 St., Washington Monument area) to the rally location. The rally will include speeches from representatives of various Atheist, Freethought, Secular Humanist and other related national, regional and local organizations. If interested in participating, contact group leaders at http://www.godlessamericans.org/