Having A Blast At Skepticon

This weekend I am attending Skepticon 11 in St. Louis, MO with Shawn and Peggy. Skepticon is a free convention for seculars and skeptics.

Shawn and I are having a good time, meeting new people, getting new ideas, and communing with people who have similar world views as we do.

I’ve learned how to make an awesome podcast and how to persuade people on issues I think are important. I also learned about the religious right’s effort to have special laws passed in state legislatures through their Project Blitz initiative. Did you know Ohio has a chapter of the Prayer Caucus? It lobbies state legislators in Columbus.

Shawn and I are bringing back meeting and event ideas for the coming year.

The only misstep to this year’s conference is it being scheduled during the 5th Anniversary of the death of Michael Brown. He was shot and killed by a white police officer just 10 miles away in Ferguson. Until one of the talks this evening, Skepticon made no effort to acknowledge the event. I hope they do better next time in making sure there are no conflicts like that or at least dedicate some time to marking those kinds of tragedies.

Shawn walked around the area where our hotel is located and mentioned to me she saw a lot of homeless people. It made me consider that a convention like Skepticon should include a community service project so participants experience life outside the hotel.

I do want to attend another Skepticon in the future. This type of convention is needed by people in our community.

SHoWLE Board of Directors Elect Officers for 2018-2019

The Board of Directors held their first meeting on October 16th and the first thing on the agenda was electing officers for the year.

President: Doug Berger
Vice President: Shawn Meagley
Secretary: Margarette Webster
Treasurer: Larry Brach

Minutes of the meeting and other news will be shared soon.

We Achieved GuideStar Bronze Level

Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) was recently recognized for our transparency with a 2018 Bronze Seal on our GuideStar Nonprofit Profile!

GuideStar is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations. More than 8 million visitors per year and a network of 200+ partners use GuideStar data to grow support for nonprofits.

In order to get the 2018 Bronze Seal, SHoWLE shared important information with the public using our profile on www.guidestar.org. Now our community members and potential donors can find out more about our mission and programs.

Check out our GuideStar Nonprofit Profile and tell us what you think:

Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie GuideStar Profile

Our Pride Booth Introduced The Group To Many New People

Our booth at Toledo Pride festival

SHoWLE had our first informational booth at the Toledo Pride Festival on August 18th. Doug, Shawn, Margarette, and Larry had over 50 people show interest in the group.

It was a beautiful day with a large crowd visiting all the booths in Promenade Park in Downtown Toledo.

“Having a booth takes a lot of time and effort to pull off,” SHoWLE President Doug Berger explained. “For our first time, we did a great job. I have a lot ideas on how to improve our booth for the future.”

If you be interested in helping staff our booth at other events let Doug or Shawn know.

First Humanist Nooner A Success

Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie(SHoWLE) plans to have many activities that don’t fit into the classic general meeting format. Doug Berger, SHoWLE President, started off the non-meeting programing by hosting a lunch get together at a local restaurant.

The first Humanist Nooner, as it is called, took place at the Panera Bread in Maumee. Even though only four people showed up, Doug considers it a success.

“Even if one person shows up I would mark it as a win,” Doug said. “You can’t start something from scratch and expect a hundred people to show up. I knew that when starting up SHoWLE itself.”

Those that attended were happy with the good service and the conversation included politics, religion, and why Sylvania Township hates TARTA.

Doug will host these lunches each month on the 3rd Wednesday. He is open to suggestions for the next location to check out.

If you want to host your own event, use our contact form to send a message to Doug. The more events there are the better for the group.

We Are Now Offically A Chapter Of The American Humanist Association!!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie is now an official chapter of the American Humanist Association

(Toledo, Ohio, June 7, 2018) – The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) had their chapter application approved by the American Humanist Association.

Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

“This is a major foundational stone we needed for SHoWLE to have a chance at a strong start and become a sustainable long term active group in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan,” SHoWLE President Doug Berger said. “The AHA does a great job supporting their local chapters and it will be a great asset for Humanists in Toledo.”

Media Contacts

Douglas Berger – President
567-302-0209

Shawn Meagley – co-founder
419-266-7945

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Secular Humanists Make The Newspaper

screenshot Front of the Religion section Toledo Blade 06/02/2018

The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie had a nice write up in the religion section of the Toledo Blade. The print version took up nearly half a page and was above the fold. We could never afford advertising that good.

To question whether morals and values can exist apart from theology cuts to the heart of secular humanism. While atheism simply denotes that an individual does not believe in God, secular humanism “kind of takes that a step further,” Ms. Meagley said; it answers the “now what” question that, for some, follows when a person comes to terms with a disbelief in God.

Secular humanism’s affirmation of an ethical life suggests parallels between the ways that a conscientious religious adherent and a conscientious humanist would live. But a humanist, significantly, would do so without tying these views and values to theism or the supernatural.

Good Without God

First Meeting A Success

Nice Crowd at first meeting

Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) met for the first time officially on May 5th. We had a dozen humanists interested in the group and moving forward.

The interest was so great that we were able to have enough AHA members to sign our chapter application and we had several people interested in serving on the steering committee. This committee will help develop the formal structure of the group as we become a chapter.

“I think it shows how needed a group like this is in Toledo and our PR campaign helped get the word out,” Co-founder Doug Berger said. “I am over the moon at the number who attended today without any previous history.”

Berger led the meeting and gave a presentation about the group and what he would like to see happen in the future. There was a good discussion period where the consensus was that there needs to be a group that can help protect the 1st amendment and concern that our group is too small to be effective.

“I understand the concern,” Berger said later. “We need to start small and grow into some of the ideas I have for the group. I have no problem with that.”

The next meeting will be on June 16th 2018 at 11 am at The 577 Foundation 577 East Front St.  Perrysburg, Ohio 43551 (just west of East Boundary St.)

Berger will also being doing a presentation about church and state issues in the Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan area.

All meetings of SHoWLE are free and open to the public.

Here is a clip from the Toledo Blade on May 5th:

Meeting announcement in the Blade
Religion Section Toledo Blade 05/05/2018