Posted on April 26, 2020 by Jim2Huumanist
Last year we launched the UUHA Ambassador program. The purpose of the program is to strengthen the connection between the UUHA board and congregations. We hope to identify at least one person in each congregation to be an Ambassador. The role of the Ambassadors is to inform their congregations about UUHA and to increase membership in UUHA and thereby help strengthen humanism in Unitarian Universalism. Below you will find information about some of these Ambassadors
If you would like to apply to be an Ambassador, you can learn more about the program and apply online.
I'm the Chief Technology Officer for a company that produces and sells supply-chain planning software. I left Christianity at age 13 with my parent's blessings. My parents taught me progressive values that were in stark contrast to the bigotry, sexism, and homophobia I was exposed to practically daily growing up in a remote town in Appalachia. I've been an atheist my whole adult life with a focus on the intersection of scientific materialism and spirituality. I consider myself a spiritual atheist and a religious humanist.
I came to UU through my wife, who had been involved in it along with her daughter for many years prior to us getting together. I appreciated the welcoming, compassionate nature of UU and our congregation in Winston-Salem in particular. Our minister is a religious humanist and over half of our members are expressly humanists. We are a Freethinker Friendly Congregation. I started Humanism with Heart, our Fellowship's humanism group, in order to make connections with other humanists that are interested in exploring and discussing a wide range of topics through the lens of natural philosophy.
Our group promotes on social media and has been very successful with Meetup. We get a lot of newcomers to both UU and humanism at our meetings. I plan on providing some brief info at the start of meetings to make a better connection between our group, our Fellowship, UU in general, the UU Humanist Association, and the American Humanist Association.
I am a retired fundraiser, having worked for a number of public health and human rights organizations in New York City for over 25 years. I retired to a small upstate New York college town three years ago. I was raised Southern Baptist but was not baptized at twelve after telling the minister I was agnostic. He asked what that meant to me. I told him and he told my parents to leave me to my own spiritual journey. In my 20s I began reading about humanism. In my mid-30s I heard Rev. Forrest Church interviewed on PBS by Bill Moyers, which opened the door to reading his books and becoming a member of All Souls NYC, were I was active for over 25 years and refined my spirituality to humanism.
Unity Temple UU Congregation, Oak Park IL
I have been a UU for 36 years with my first congregation in Upper Montclair, NJ. I had just left the Catholic church and was looking for a more human and tolerant religion. I am currently a member of Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Oak Park Il, the largest UU church in Illinois. I have been a member for 11 years at UT. I have served as Treasurer and currently chairman of the Peace Team among other things.
I came to UU Humanism by facilitating a course on the book: Humanist Voices in Unitarian Universalism. I joined UUHA last year. I am also a UU Lay Minister to the Great Lakes Naval Recruit Base where my emphasis is our Humanist roots.
Our Congregation has a strong Judeo-Christian focus. I am trying to make inroads by establishing a Chapter of UUHA and doing the Ambassador program. Also, I got a nod from our minister to do a Humanist service in the summer.
The DuPage Unitarian Universalist (DUUC) Church
DUUC was founded in the mid 1950s by the Rev. Gene Kreves as a Humanist congregation. From the beginning DUUC was to be an affiliate of both the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the American Humanist Association (AHA).
I had spent three years at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary and two more at Aurora University before returning to Northern to work on a Th.B. Doubt eroded my zeal. I dropped out of seminary and joined DUUC where the UUA and the AHA were important for the congregation.
I renewed my membership in DUUC after attending the 1999 AHA conference that year. Mike Werner and I co-founded the Humanist Discussion Group. The Humanists of West Suburban Chicagoland has now completed 20 years as a active chapter at DUUC, Also, we were recognized as the Chapter of the year by the AHA. I have served on several committees, and three years as a member of the Church Board.
The HWSC meets on the 2nd Wednesday each month. Also we have an Adult RE forum called Science Sunday that meets on the 1st and 3rd Sundays. We expect about three dozen people in attendance.
A welcome to all and the Mission statement and the Seven Principles are on display in big letters for all to see. We have an interim minister, Mike Walker, who is building our church community to be able and ready to call a settled minister in a year or so from now.
I became a humanist in Junior High in the 1960s and learned about Humanism in College. After marrying and having a few kids, I founded the Family of Humanists, which published Humanist material for children including Humanism for Kids and several periodicals.
I did not live in a city with a Humanist Chapter or a UU Church until I moved to Fresno in 1989. Together with William Young, I restarted the Humanists of the San Joaquin Valley, which was loosely associated with the UU Church of Fresno. I taught various UU church school classes including nine sessions of Our Whole Life.
I consider myself a Humanist philosopher and keep a webpage of various essays and talks I have given over the years. Topics include Humanism, Pantheism, how to evaluate scientific and religious claims, and "Enriched Determinism". I have a PhD in Entomology, and a deep interest in all science, particularly the basis for physical reality, life, and the mind. I wrote a booklet called "Why Evolution?".
In 2017 I started UU Humanists of Fresno at our church. We have monthly meetings where we discuss a wide range of topics. We meet together with HSJV, with a typical attendance of 15-25 people. I am a Humanist Celebrant and have performed five weddings including two authorized by the Family of Humanists. I am mostly retired from a career as an agricultural pest management consultant. I play the piano and compose music.
Our church welcomes us. Probably close to half of the church members are humanists to some degree. We do not have a Freethought Friendly designation, but probably would if I asked.
I like the UU Humanist website and appreciate your support.
Interested in becoming an Ambassador?
If you would like to be an Ambassador for your congregation, you can apply online or contact Jim Barnett.
Treasurer, UU Humanist Association
UUHA Ambassador Program Leader
Jim Barnett is Treasurer/Secretary to the Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association (UUHA), and head of the UUHA Ambassador Program.