Category: Chapter News

October 2020: Religious Nationalism and the Threat to Democracy

Journalist and author Katherine Stewart spoke about her research into Christian nationalism at our October Community Gathering, warning that the Religious Right seeks political power by attaching itself to issues like abortion. Author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism, she said its leaders promote the notion that religion makes us great, not a democratic system of government.

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New Member Spotlight: Asmaa Radwan (Our First International Member)

Joined HumanistsMN:  September 2020.

Profession/Residence: I am a student in Arabic literature, working to be a writer in the near future. I live in Egypt.

How she discovered us:  I discovered HumanistsMN through an American friend who invited me to a Secular Saturday gathering. This was after we had a discussion about religion and the importance of making change to solve existing problems.

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I Remember Vern

By Paul Heffron

I learned in late September from a Facebook posting by HumanistsMN member Steve Petersen that Vern Young had died on March 31 at age 93. Vern probably died in a health care center and evidently no one did an obituary. I couldn’t find one and neither could Steve. I met Vern sometime during the 1990s when he came to a Minnesota Atheists meeting for the first time. He said he’d been an atheist for a long time but had kept it to himself and was very happy he could now be open about it and be part of an atheist group.

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New Member Spotlight: Candee Schlicht

Joined HumanistsMN: April 2020, shortly after meetings went online.

Profession/Residence: I am a software consultant specializing in web development. I live in Eden Prairie and have worked for several companies in Minneapolis and the western suburbs.

How she discovered us: I  had been visiting the website for a while before joining a meeting on mindful creativity.

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New Member Spotlight: Drew Bekius

Joined HumanistsMN: I moved to the Twin Cities from Chicago in October 2018 and started getting active in the local humanist community soon thereafter. Joined HumanistsMN in July 2020.

Profession/Residence: A former evangelical pastor, I served in nonprofit leadership roles and in personal coaching for a little over 20 years. I now work as a financial adviser to nonprofits and other high-impact professionals. I’ve also written a couple books and live with my two teenage daughters in St. Louis Park.

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I Remember Otto 

By Paul Heffron

Otto Link, a longtime HumanistsMN member, died in May in California. For inspiration by the life of an outstanding humanist, I encourage you to read the obituary just published in the StarTribune. I remember Otto in the many conversations we had at meetings, Winter Solstice parties, banquets, and picnics.

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HumanistsMN Elects Four Board Members

HumanistsMN elected four people to fill two-year, at-large positions on the Board of Directors at the annual meeting on May 11.  Seth Engman, Christine Retkwa, and Marcy Woodruff were reelected to their second terms and John Walker won his first term.

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HumanistsMN Moves to Online Gatherings

By Audrey Kingstrom

HumanistsMN has gone viral! Well, in a manner of speaking. As most of you know by now, in this era of social distancing,  we have stopped meeting in person and are offering a good share of our programming online.

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Paying Your Dues Just Got Easier

HumanistsMN has worked hard to keep your annual membership dues affordable and easy to pay. We have now introduced two options to make payments even easier and more affordable. For all HMN members (excluding Student and Trial members): If you pay your annual dues online, you can now choose to have your membership automatically renewed on your anniversary date each year. No more having to add this to your “to do” list, trying to remember to do it, and filling in all the details again!

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In Memoriam: Dick Segers

Harlan Garbell

As many of you know by now, our friend and long-time HumanistsMN member Dick Segers died last week in an automobile accident. Although I was not a close friend of Dick’s, I did have many occasions over the years to be in his company at HMN meetings and other events, including his several appearances at my Coffee and Current Events Meetup group.Colorful and articulate, Dick had a unique view of the world around him.

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New Member Spotlight: Tanner Firl

Joined HumanistsMN: December 2019, after the Festivus for the Rest of Us event.

Profession: I work in the software industry doing a mixture of data engineering and data science.

How he discovered us: Meetup recommended some of HumanistMN’s events to me.

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New Program Aims to Promote Humanist Connections

By Audrey Kingstrom

HumanistsMN has started a new program designed to offer more opportunities for connection within the humanist community. In recent years, we have offered an ever-increasing number of programs, but some members and friends seldom meet. One person might be interested in one program, and someone else in another, that meet on totally different days, at different venues.

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Member Spotlight: Our In-House Creative “Star,” Seth Engman

By Audrey Kingstrom

Many HumanistsMN members may not know Seth Engman, but he played a huge part in the success of our organization’s re-branding initiative last year.  This involved creating a new logo, tagline, t-shirts, bumper stickers, business cards, and other materials.

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New Member Spotlight: John Walker

Joined HumanistsMN: July 2019

Profession/residence: I can go by several different titles depending on whom you ask. Generally, I say I’m a software developer. To those who know the buzzwords, I’m a DevOps Engineer. To those who really know what’s up, I’m an Infrastructure Engineer. I live in Edina.

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May 2019: Annual Meeting and Board Election

The HumanistsMN membership elected a new board at the May annual meeting, including a new president, Harlan Garbell, and vice president, Suzanne Perry. Nick Haylund and David Guell were re-elected treasurer and secretary. Two new at-large members, Jerry Smith and Mitch Thompson, joined the board, and Ellie Haylund was re-elected.

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