Category: Chapter News

HMN’s Audrey Kingstrom Gives Secular Invocation at Legislature

Audrey Kingstrom, HMN program coordinator and a humanist celebrant, gave a secular invocation at the beginning of a House legislative session in February.  The sessions normally open with a prayer, so this was a wonderful opportunity to exercise the separation of religion and government.

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A Tribute to Dale Heffron

Dale Heffron, a longtime HumanistsMN member, died on Dec. 14. Following is a tribute by his brother, HMN Founding Member Paul Heffron.

Dale Heffron was my only brother, my big brother by three years. He was my best friend and my model. He had my back. We were often together, although we each had our group of friends by age group. Increasingly he included me in his circle.
Dale got us into the Catholic Youth Center, where we took boxing lessons and had bouts in a real ring.

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Summertime and the Livin’ Is Easy…at the HumanistsMN Picnic!

Humanists gathered at the Jaycees Shelter in Roseville in July for food, games, and comradery at HMN’s 2022 annual picnic. Activities included giant Jenga, bean bag toss, a trivia contest led by President Ellie Haylund and door prizes handed out by Stephanie Schwinn to “the mostest” picknickers (youngest, traveled the farthest, etc.). 

Our great humanist …

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National Day of Reason 2022

After a two-year pandemic-related absence, HumanistsMN returned to the State Capitol on May 5 to observe the National Day of Reason, which honors the principles of secular lawmaking and separation of religion and government. As in 2019, we joined hands with First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, and Or Emet – the Minnesota Congregation for Humanistic Judaism to sponsor a breakfast with legislators to affirm that policy should be based on reason, science, and evidence, not on religious preference.

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We Did Good in Our Community!

Humanists were out and about during HumanistsMN’s participation in the national Secular Week of Action, coordinated by Foundation Beyond Belief. Our events:

 Fifteen people worked hard at The Food Group, packing boxes of meats for the program that supplies food at wholesale prices in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

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Looking for Helpful Alternatives to ‘Thoughts and Prayers’?

HumanistsMN is participating in the nationwide Secular Week of Action. We are sponsoring events from April 20 to May 14 (a broader range than the national event to include more activities). Help show how humanists do good in our community! Please consider participating in one of the following activities:· Pack and sort food at The Food Group on April 20. The food will be distributed to more than 200 food shelves.

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HMN Honors Paul Heffron With a Scholarship for Secular Students

In commemoration of HumanistsMN’s 35th anniversary, the Board created the Paul Heffron Scholarship for Secular Students. Board Member Suzanne Perry made the following remarks at our Winter Solstice celebration in December before presenting a framed certificate announcing the scholarship to Paul.  Photos of Paul over the years follow.

We’d like to take a moment during …

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Winter Solstice 2021 Event Showcases Humanist Talent

Humanists and other freethinkers celebrated the Winter Solstice in secular style on Dec. 18 at the Humanities Center in St. Paul.

Organizers of this year’s “Festivus for the Rest of Us” decided to draw on talent that is right under our nose — that of our members! Board member Jerry Smith served as M.C. for …

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A Tribute to Kerry Lund and Gene Kasmar

By Kristine Lund

My mom, Kerry Lund, and her life partner, Gene Kasmar, are no longer with us in their embodied forms. They spent their last years in Oklahoma City, having left Minnesota to escape the snow. They also left behind their activist life, focusing more on gardening and traveling. Although Kerry and Gene left the Midwest in 1997, Humanists of Minnesota was an important part of their activist lives.

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May 2021: Annual Meeting Reviews Past Year, Elects Board Members, Votes on Bylaws

HumanistsMN members met for an online annual meeting in May.  They elected a new Board of Directors, voted on proposed changes to the HMN bylaws, and reviewed the last fiscal year’s activities and finances.
Our organization had many accomplishments last year, including a record-high membership, strong programming despite the pandemic (thanks especially to Program Coordinator Audrey Kingstrom), a healthy budget, and vibrant social-action and community-service programs.

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HMN Elects New Board Officers, At-Large Members

HumanistsMN members elected four officers and four at-large members to the  Board of Directors at the May annual meeting, including Harlan Garbell to his second term as President.

They also elected Ellie Haylund Vice President, John Walker Treasurer,  Mitch Thompson Secretary, and Dave Guell, Nick Haylund, Suzanne Perry, and Jerry Smith to at-large positions. Dave …

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New Member Spotlight: Frank Sachs

Joined HumanistsMN: January 2021.

Profession/Residence: I was an educator for 46 years, the bulk of them spent working for The Blake School in Minneapolis as the Director of College Counseling and a member of the Social Studies Department. I most recently taught AP U.S. Government and Politics, U.S. Constitutional Law, and a variety of American History electives.

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I Remember Suzie

By Paul Heffron

The message was not unexpected: Suzie had died. A combination of diseases together took her from us. Suzanne Leavitt, a longtime member of our humanist organization, was known to her family and friends as Suzie. I remember her with love and admiration. She and her husband, Curt Leavitt, were best of friends to my wife, Peg, and me. She was one of those persons who lifted your spirit. Her presence brought more smiles, laughter, and energy, and enlivened conversation all around. To say we will miss her is a big understatement.

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HumanistsMN Financial Report

The HumanistsMN board has agreed to publish regular financial reports in this newsletter. This report covers the first seven months of our fiscal year (June to December 2020).

Income: $7,106.  Same period in 2019: $8,721.  (Decrease of 19 percent.)
Expenses: $1,588. Same period in 2019: $7,827. (Decrease of 80 percent.)
Net Income: $5,518. Same period in 2019:  $893. (Increase of 518 percent.)
Total Assets: $44,993 (savings, checking and investments). No liabilities.

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New Member Spotlight: Alfred (Alfy) Wolfram

Joined HumanistsMN: November 2020

Profession/Residence: I began my professional career as a teacher of American history, speech, and theater in high school. After a decade, with a wife and new baby to support, I decided to go into business. I spent 23 years in insurance and investments. However, all the while I only wanted to realize my desire and need to be an actor.

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