President's Corner

The Mission of your Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association (HUUmanists) is two-fold:

1.     Promote a broad acceptance of Humanism in our society, particularly throughout the Unitarian Universalist Association and its congregations; and

2.     Provide an active interface between Unitarian Universalists and the secular community.

Your extraordinary Board of Directors and I strive to make sure that all of our initiatives are clearly mission-based. 

In December, 2013, Maria Greene, formerly the HUUmanist Association secretary, took on the position of  Director of Development and Communication for our Association.  Maria is a graduate engineer, an entrepreneur, and an active local leader in the eastern Massachusetts area Humanists and secular groups.  Thanks to Maria we now have up-to-date and active communications mechanisms, including a vibrant web and Facebook presence.  Activity in our local groups projects and special events have taken off under Maria’s guidance.  You will learn about some of the results of her efforts later in this newsletter.

Our relationship with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) continues to deepen.  Maria, HUUmanist board member Lowell Steinbrenner, a few leaders from the non-UU secular community and I are participating in a video conference with members of the UUA staff.  This activity is called the “Innovative Learning Circle on Humanism in Unitarian Universalism.”  These monthly interactive meetings are sponsored by the UUA Office of Growth Strategies.  The “learnings” from these discussions are passed on to UUA leadership for possible action.  The most recent session covered the use of religious language and the impediment it may cause in attracting young people to UU congregations.  This forum is proving to be an important means to make our case with the right people in the UUA.  We’ll keep you posted.

The UUA has joined HUUmanists in supporting Greg Epstein’s Humanist Community Project (HCP).  Flagship UU programs such as “Our Whole Lives” may be adapted for use by local secular or Humanist groups through cooperative arrangements with the UUA, HUUmanists, and HCP.  HUU Board member, Lowell Steinbrenner and I serve on the HCP Advisory Board.  HUUmanists, the UUA, the Unitarian Universalist Funding Panel, and individual UUs have invested over $25,000 total in HCP.  It was my pleasure to present Greg with a check for $5, 000 from HUUmanist Association at the Grand Opening of the Humanist Community at Harvard’s “Humanist Hub” in Cambridge , MA.  Maria Greene serves as our representative to the HCP project team.  This represents a great opportunity to involve UUs in establishing Humanist communities across the country.

Board member Roger Brewin has been on the road spreading the news about UU Humanism and the two social justice projects that he spearheads: Ribbons Not Walls and the Banned Books Project. You can read more about his travels and those projects in separate articles. Roger's energy and goodwill make him a fantastic embassador for UU Humanism. 

Board member and author Dr. Bill Murry was honored in April by the UU Church of Worcester, MA  with the  2014 Dr. Irving & Annabel Wolfson Award for his contributions to Humanism. Bill gave an inspiring lecture titled “Religious Humanism: Reason and Reverence in an Age of Science”.

Thanks for your continued support of the UU Humanists and I look forward to seeing many of you in person at the UUA General Assembly in June.

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About John Hooper

John Hooper's picture

Dr. John B. Hooper, president of the Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association (UUHA), is a retired research and development director who lives in Connecticut. John, a long-term UU, is a Board Member of The Humanist Institute, The Institute for Humanist Studies, The Secular Coalition for America Education Fund, The American Humanist Association (ex officio), the Yale Humanist Community, and the Connecticut Coalition of Reason. John is also a cofounder of and advisor to Humanists and Freethinkers of Fairfield County, CT (HFFC).

3 Comments

Down here at UUCWC (NJ) we call ourselves "religious" naturalists, deriving as most of us do not from the humanist tradition so much as from the burgeoning understanding emerging from the sciences. In addition, I am a "Big Historian" and explore it here as our common origin story. Think of us as friends and allies.

We are UU group in Kenya that has joined to identify as UU from our long standing humanist and atheist practice; this has led to our strong - hold humanist partners and finders dissociating from us for fear that we are too full of faith or plainly hypocritical. We still feel as humanists and wanted to know IF this organisation is international? We have been founded by Secular Students Alliance way back in 2009 but our 2011 festival enabled a discovery into wonderful aspects of Unitarian Universalism. We would love to venture into establishing "Humanist and Ethical Unitarians of Kenya" to replace Humanist and Ethical Union of Kenya.

WWW.JUUFC.WORDPRESS. COM

Will we join UUHA or is it just American based or rather U.S.?

Hello, Bill and Adhengo. It is good to have friends and allies all over the world.

Bill, I share your interest in Big History. Are you familiar with the work of Michael Dowd?

Adhengo, I have sent you a private email about making connections between your group in Kenya and the UU Humanists. (And I just realized that nobody would know I had done that besides us if I didn't mention it publicly here as well  -- thanks to a friend pointing that out!)