Category: Chapter News

New Member Spotlight: Meet Mary Brill

Joined Humanists of Minnesota: August 2018.

Profession/residence: Retired oncology nurse. After becoming a nurse at age 50, she worked at Abbott Northwestern Hospital for 20-plus years. She has lived in the Minnetonka/ Eden Prairie area for a long time.

How she found us: The American Humanist Association website.

What appealed to her about us: Belonging to a group of like-minded people. “I am not an activist by any means, but am concerned about the role religion is playing in our lives and how those of us without a religion are looked upon.”

Her journey to humanism: She was raised a Methodist, but didn’t really attend church until she had children; she then faithfully attended the same church every Sunday for 20 years. After her divorce, she started to question the politics of her large church and attended several others in search of a new home. But nothing felt comfortable. “After taking a class on the origins of religion I really began to question my beliefs, to the point of just not believing in supernatural powers anymore. I stopped equating being a good, moral person with faith and religion. But I have not stopped being a good, moral person.”

New Member Spotlight: Meet Ed Caldie

Joined Humanists of Minnesota: February 2019.

Profession/Residence: After retiring from a lengthy career in architectural design, I have recently directed my pursuits toward the mastery of creating fine art. Family (and especially grandchildren) lured me back to Minnesota after a 20-year hiatus from winter. Phoenix was my home until this past year when I moved to Woodbury.

How he found us: Frequent attendance at Critical Thinking meetings encouraged me to seek an even more inclusive and organized fellowship. A simple search on the internet led me to my first Humanists encounter and encouraged me to become a part of this community of “like-thinkers.”

What appealed to him about us: An organization dedicated to the idea that pragmatic systems of thinking leave little, if any, room for the power of “faith” in supernatural (or conspiratorial) beliefs.

His journey to humanism:After wrestling for decades to shed the last vestiges of the Pentecostal faith, I took great solace in declaring myself an agnostic.It was only in the past several years that I felt the assurance to abandon that position and adopt an a-theistic persona. I now join the chorus of scientists and practical thinkers in declaring my personal conviction that Mother Nature doesn’t care what you might believe. Because I am sympathetic to those who aren’t ready to examine the origins or validity of their beliefs, I have no intention to proselytize the boundless freedoms that come from liberating oneself from the prolific “stories” that have no basis in reality. I only look forward to furthering my own understanding through knowledge and engagement with fellow humanists.

New Member Spotlight: Meet Ross Meisner

Joined Humanists of Minnesota: August 2018.

Profession/Residence: Managing Director inside Navigant’s Minneapolis office (which we established two years ago). My team serves the med-tech industry, using proprietary analytics we developed to better inform market opportunities and growth strategies. I’ve lived in Fridley for 18 years. Before that: Silicon Valley, Boston, and Tokyo.

How he found us: I’ve been getting more active in the atheist community and learned of like-minded groups such as Humanists of MN from fellow atheists.

What appealed to him about us: I’m getting ever more convinced that wishful thinking – in spirits, gods, or divine interventions – is actually detrimental to society. I strongly support anyone’s choice to believe as they please, but I think it’s better for society, and democracy, if more people make decisions based on rational, secular, and humanist values. So I want to support the people and groups that advocate for such values and are working to make nonreligious attitudes more accepted and mainstream in our culture.

His journey to humanism: I was raised in a casually Catholic household. I was fascinated with religions as a young man, studying and sampling them as I traveled the world. I have all the major religious texts on my bookshelf and often know more about a religion than its members. But this knowledge has only cemented my conviction that religion is a man-made fiction to help some people feel better and to help others gain dominion over their neighbors. Everyone is an atheist regarding all religions except their own, so I was happy to take the next logical step and say they all must be wrong.

Marcy Woodruff Joins Board of Directors

The Humanists of Minnesota board has appointed Marcy Woodruff to fill a seat vacated by Sharon Tornes. Many thanks to Sharon for her service. Marcy describes her background and goals below:

What an honor and tremendous privilege to join the Humanists of MN Board of Directors. I am a 15-year Minnesota resident, having spent the bulk of my life in the southwestern US. After retiring from 28 years federal public service (in the air-traffic profession) in mid-2016, I was looking forward to travel, reading, and spontaneous adventures.

This goal was amended a bit after the November 2016 election, when I felt the need to get active protecting the values I feel are crucial to the common good of humanity and our planet. When I started seeing contingents from HofMN at events like PrideFest, Planned Parenthood Solidarity Day, and March for Science, I was excited to find a local organization that reflected my secular values and took positive action.

Since joining HofMN, I have volunteered at various events and been a part of the Social Action Team helping with secular-values voter outreach. Outside of the Humanists, I also volunteer with the League of Women Voters, Moms Demand Action, and in my local DFL senate district.

As a board member, I look forward to planning more secular-values voter outreach events; cultivating relationships with legislators and promoting secular-values legislation; exploring ways to enhance awareness of HofMN, and working to further social, racial, and environmental justice through partnerships with other organizations. I am eager to get to work!