Recent Events (2016)

Our current calendar of events is on our home page and in our newsletter.

When What
Sunday, April 30th
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

April board and standing committee meetings

We held our board meeting one week later than normal to allow members to participate in the Walk Against Hunger.

Sunday, April 23rd
1:00 PM (registration)

Connecticut Food Bank Walk Against Hunger

The Walk Against Hunger was held at Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven. Register for the HAC walk team or make a donation.

Saturday, April 22nd
1:00 PM onward

The March for Science, New Haven

Humanists support science. Humanist Manifesto 3, "Humanism and its Aspirations" says: "Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies. We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence."

The March for Science is the first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments.

Building on the success of the Women's March on Washington in January, the March for Science will be held on Earth Day (Saturday April 22), 2017.

If you can, please attend the main march in Washington, DC. Failing that, please participate in one of the hundreds of satellite marches. including one in Hartford.

The New Haven march was held at the College Woods Pavilion in East Rock Park (the old location for the Walk Against Hunger) at 1 PM.   An hour of community events was followed by a rally at 2 PM and a march (down Whitney Avenue and back up Orange Street) at 3 PM.

Monday, April 17th
7:00 PM

28th Anniversary Meeting: The American Circus, RIP

Our anniversary meeting featured an illustrated lecture, inspired by the recent announcement of the forthcoming demise of the great Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, by Arthur H. Saxon, author of P. T. Barnum: The Legend and the Man; The Life and Art of Andrew Ducrow & The Romantic Age of the English Circus; Enter Foot and Horse: A History of Hippodrama in England and France; and numerous other works dealing with the history of the circus and its figures.

The speaker, who holds a Ph.D. in the History of the Theatre and Dramatic Criticism from Yale University, and who is a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, has been a spectator and occasional reviewer at circuses for nearly eighty years. In addition to touching on his long involvement with that entertainment, he will discuss a number of the circus’s more famous artists and owners; the so-called “Nouveau Cirque” and its best-known example, Le Cirque du Soleil; Yale’s own sometimes embarrassed association with the “big top;” besides boldly addressing the contentious topic of the influence on circuses and zoos of such animal-rights organizations as PETA and the Humane Society. The speaker may have a few copies of his ancient works for sale, and will also exhibit several choice items from his personal collection that will delight both the ladies and the gentlemen.

We started with a pot-luck dinner at 7:00 PM. The main program was delayed due to various technical problems until well after 8 PM.

Saturday, April 15th
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Book Discussion Group: Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel C. Dennett.

Our book for April was “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon” by Daniel C. Dennett.

For all the thousands of books that have been written about religion, few until this one have attempted to examine it scientifically: to ask why—and how—it has shaped so many lives so strongly. Is religion a product of blind evolutionary instinct or rational choice? Is it truly the best way to live a moral life? Ranging through biology, history, and psychology, Daniel C. Dennett charts religion’s evolution from “wild” folk belief to “domesticated” dogma. Not an antireligious screed but an unblinking look beneath the veil of orthodoxy, Breaking the Spell will be read and debated by believers and skeptics alike.

Copies of the book are widely available in public libraries in Connecticut, and at local and online booksellers.

Monday, April 3rd
7:00 PM
New Haven area social dinner at Turkish Kebab House, 1157 Campbell Ave., West Haven Link to map of Turkish Kebab House restaurant location.
Saturday, April 1st
1:30 PM to 4:30 PM

Humanist Explorations: A Face in the Crowd (1957)

We started with half an hour of conversation at 1:30 PM. The movie started at 2 PM and ended just after 4 PM. We finished off with 30 minutes of discussion.

This film, released 60 years ago, about the rise and rot of a populist hero, was prescient at the time, and eerily indicative of our society now in 2017. Observing our currently elected government, it illustrates the evolution of fiction to fact. This brilliant work by Budd Schulberg, starring Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau, and directed by Elia Kazan, will test you in ways you may not have thought possible.

Sunday, March 26th
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

March board and standing committee meetings

Saturday, March 25th
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Special Visit from Evan Clark of The Humanist Experience

In a special event, Evan Clark, co-host of the podcast, “The Humanist Experience,” told us about his work.

The Humanist Experience is billed as a country-trotting storytelling series produced for Foundation Beyond Belief. The creators say, “The main thrust of our work is to encourage people in the secular community to take Humanistic principles out of the realm of pure intellectualism and into action. Our primary vehicle for this is storytelling: usually stories of life-changing encounters with modern social issues, which serve as a catalyst for discussion and emotional education.”

Evan Clark is a facilitator, activist, and designer who is currently the chair of the Secular Student Alliance and has over 10 years experience creating and leading community groups for social change.

Monday, March 20th
7:00 PM

Monthly Meeting: Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower

Can nonreligious people follow Jesus? And if so, why would they want to? Emphatically yes, says Tom Krattenmaker — because it will deepen their lives and help create a more humane world. Krattenmaker, religion-in-public-life columnist and author of the new book, “Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower,” will discuss his provocative claim and show how the figure of Jesus, engaged in a secular way, is powerfully applicable to contemporary life, and how his ethic and example can transform much of what ails us both as individuals and a society.

Tom Krattenmaker is an award-winning author and USA Today contributing columnist, specializing in religion in public life, and communications director at Yale Divinity School. His books and articles have been honored by the American Academy of Religion, Religion Newswriters Association, Foreword Reviews, and others. Krattenmaker has spoken at numerous conferences and colleges around the country and has appeared in media outlets including PBS, Fox News, National Public Radio, ESPN, and the New York Times.

The HAC book discussion in May will feature Tom’s book.

Saturday, March 18th
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Book Discussion Group: The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World by Andrea Wulf

Our book for March was “The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World” by Andrea Wulf.

Copies of the book are widely available in public libraries in Connecticut, and at local and online booksellers.

Monday, March 6th
7:00 PM
New Haven area social dinner at Turkish Kebab House, 1157 Campbell Ave., West Haven Link to map of Turkish Kebab House restaurant location.
Saturday, March 4th
2:30 PM to 4:30 PM

Humanist Explorations: The Great Cathedral Mystery

Begun at the end of the thirteenth century and structurally complete by 1418, the great cathedral of Florence, Italy, needs only a dome to enclose its vast altar which spans 150 feet. The problem is that no one knows how to accomplish the task. One man, trained as a goldsmith, and not an engineer or architect, steps forward to build the great dome of Santa Maria Del Fiore. Join us to witness, and understand, this monumental achievement of the Italian Renaissance and its impact on our civilization.

Sunday, February 26th
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

February board and standing committee meetings

All members are welcome to attend.

Monday, February 20th
7:00 PM

Monthly Meeting: Darwin’s Ecological Experiment

To mark Darwin Day, we learned about the bizarre story of the greening of Ascension Island, a project conceived by Darwin's closest friend, Joseph Dalton Hooker.

Saturday, February 18th
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Book Discussion Group: The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart by Bill Bishop

Our book for February was “The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart” by Bill Bishop. Mr. Bishop was a reporter for the Austin American-Statesman when he began research on city growth and political polarization with the sociologist and statistician Robert Cushing. Bill Clinton recommended the book during his solo performance at the Connecticut Forum.

Copies of the book are widely available in public libraries in Connecticut, and at local and online booksellers.

Monday, February 6th
7:00 PM
New Haven area social dinner at Turkish Kebab House, 1157 Campbell Ave., West Haven Link to map of Turkish Kebab House restaurant location.
Saturday, February 4th
2:30 PM to 4:30 PM

Humanist Explorations: Out of My Dreams

As we begin a new year, albeit somewhat inauspiciously, we can celebrate the life and work of one of the true unsung (pardon the unintentional pun) humanists of the twentieth century, Oscar Hammerstein II. In his writing and the lyrics for a thousand songs, he touched upon the human condition in ways rarely exceeded for the sensitivity contained therein. Join us for this informative and uplifting look at one of the true optimists in all of history.

Sunday, January 29th
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

January board and standing committee meetings

All members are welcome to attend. This month's board meeting was postponed a week from the previously announced date to allow members to attend the Women's March on Washington.

Saturday, January 21st
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Book Discussion Group: The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought by Susan Jacoby

Our book for January is “The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought” by Susan Jacoby. We had planned to discuss this in December, but postponed that discussion due to snow.

Copies of the book are widely available in public libraries in Connecticut, and at local and online booksellers.

Monday, January 16th
7:00 PM

Monthly Meeting: A Journey in Spain

January has become the month in which we welcome Steve and Susan Boshi with a travelogue based on their travels the previous summer.

Steve says, “In 711 AD, North African Muslims, or Moors, stormed across the Mediterranean into Gibraltar, and began the domination of the Iberian Peninsula. By 1492, the reconquista had pushed them from Spain, leaving behind Catholic rule, strongly influenced by Muslim culture. Join us for an armchair voyage to this fascinating place where we will explore some of the most important destinations in Spain, including Barcelona, Toledo, Cordoba, and Granada with its magnificent Alhambra.”

We will start with half an hour of coffee and conversation at 7:00 PM. . The main program will follow brief announcements at 7:30 PM

Saturday, January 7th
2:30 PM to 4:30 PM

POSTPONED TO Saturday, February 4 due to snow

Humanist Explorations: Out of My Dreams

This meeting has been postponed until February

As we begin a new year, albeit somewhat inauspiciously, we can celebrate the life and work of one of the true unsung (pardon the unintentional pun) humanists of the twentieth century, Oscar Hammerstein II. In his writing and the lyrics for a thousand songs, he touched upon the human condition in ways rarely exceeded for the sensitivity contained therein. Join us for this informative and uplifting look at one of the true optimists in all of history.

Refreshments will be served.

Monday, January 2nd
7:00 PM
New Haven area social dinner at Turkish Kebab House, 1157 Campbell Ave., West Haven Link to map of Turkish Kebab House restaurant location.

Click here to see some other events we've enjoyed over the years.