We HUUmanists have accomplished a lot this year in our quest to be a stronger voice for reason and compassion in Unitarian Universalism and in our society at large. Let me bring you up to date:
HUUmanists Association was enthusiastically accepted as a full member organization of the Secular Coalition for America at the SCA Annual Board meeting last January. By joining the other ten freethinking organizations we gain the opportunity to leverage our activities in defense of First Amendment principles. In turn, our partner organizations in SCA will benefit from the synergy of joining forces with thousands of Unitarian Universalists for whom the separation of church and state is a moral imperative. As specific issues emerge, I’ll be calling on you to add your voice to our efforts.
Bill Murry’s book, Becoming More Fully Human: Religious Humanism as a Way of Life, was published by our new publishing arm Religious Humanism Press (RHP) in the fall of last year and has been very well received. Sales are going so well that we have recovered all the costs of publication and are planning on a second printing this summer. If you haven’t bought your copy yet, you can order it on-line on this web site. Volume discounts are available for study groups and congregation bookstores.
I am delighted to report a special gift to HUUmanists from the Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Lafayette, CO. The letter from BVUUF states, in part: “Please accept the enclosed checks for a total of $326.05 from the Sunday Plate collection from members and clergy… We seek to lead generous lives that align our values with our actions, and have decided to donate ½ of our offering plate each week to other organizations and causes that align with our values of love, reason, justice, and compassion.” Thank you BVUUF!
Our paid membership is growing steadily. We expect to make our goal of attaining a balanced budget by the next fiscal year, 2012-2013. We can now even more actively pursue programs in our focus areas of (1) Scholarship, Teaching, and Ministry, (2) Promotion and Communication, and (3) Advocacy. I want to especially thank Greg Seaman, our Treasurer, for keeping our fiscal house in order.
The HUUmanists Board has unanimously voted to appoint Neil Gerdes to fill a vacancy on the Board. Neil is Library Director and Asst. Prof. of Bibliography at Meadville Lombard Theological School. Welcome Neil! He joins us at a very opportune time. HUUmanists are committed to fulfilling our responsibility as stewards of UU Humanist historical materials. Neil has agreed to join us in these efforts. Our goal is to bring together Humanist archival materials from all sources (including Meadville Lombard and other sites across the country), catalogue them for accessibility, and find a single site where they can be safely stored and easily retrieved for reference purposes. Scanning and electronic storage will also be investigated. If you are (or know of someone else who is) storing any Humanist publications or historical records that could be of use to scholars or students please let Neil and/or me know about it.
The 2012 UUA “Justice” General Assembly in Phoenix will be a very special one for UU Humanists. Our keynote presentation, our booth presence, and our annual meeting/reception will all be clearly focused on the GA theme of Economic Justice.
Bill Murry will provide a keynote address entitled “Economic Justice: A Moral Imperative for UU Humanists,” which is scheduled for Friday, June 22, 2012, at 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM in Room 120 BC in the Phoenix Convention Center.
Our booth in the exhibition area will be organized around the theme of economic justice and we will share it with several local social justice groups including the Secular Coalition for Arizona. A special issue of our journal, Religious Humanism, dedicated to the GA theme will be available at the booth, along with other publications and membership opportunities.
The HUUmanists Annual Meeting and Reception will beheld at approximately 9:00 PM, Friday, June 22, 2012, at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel. Like last year, we expect to have dozens of UU Humanists (and fellow travelers) join us for fun conversation and refreshments. After a short business meeting, there will be presentations on important economic justice issues by representatives of local groups, including the Secular Coalition for Arizona, an update on our forthcoming publications, and a progress report on our archives project.
I’ll be sure to keep you informed as our plans for GA become more definitive.