| RECENT EVENTS
Harrow's Holocaust Memorial Day
Our Events & Meetings
HUMANISM & SECULARISM LINKS
ANNUAL REPORT 2014-15
|Officers and Committee members
||John Rayner (until May 2014); Charles Rudd (from June
||Rosemary Bennett (until November 2014)
||David Cryer (co-opted)
Committee meetings were held on 10 April and 13 November 2014
Membership: in April we had 23 paid up members. By November we
had 15 active members and were still in touch with 9 other members who
for various reasons were unable to attend meetings. One member resigned
from the society. Some potential new recruits have attended one or more
of our meetings.
Death: Sadly, our long serving Treasurer John Rayner passed away
in May and many of our members attended his funeral on 12 June. The eulogy
consisted of memories from many of us read out by our Chairman.
Resignation from Committee: Due to persistent ill health and with
great regret our very long serving member and previous Secretary, Rosemary
Bennett, had to resign from the committee. A small commemorative gift
was presented to Rosemary in thanks for her immense contribution to Harrow
Our programme of meetings and social events was advertised in local newspapers,
on our website and in the BHA e-bulletin.
- In April 2014 Gill Chapman, an outreach worker for Wormwood Scrubs
prison, told us about the Inside Out scheme for mentoring prisoners
in which volunteer mentors are matched with prisoners and support them
during the last three months of their term and for about six months
after their release.
- In May we had our Annual General Meeting.
- In June, Sylwia Sawa from Home Instead Senior Care led a Q&A
session about their work in providing non-medical care for older people
in their homes.
- Our summer outing in July was to Margate with particular focus on
the Turner Contemporary Gallery where an exhibition of Mondrian's work
was the main feature.
- In August 16 members and guests enjoyed a social lunch at the Preston
- Our September meeting took the form of a discussion of the World
Humanist Congress (see below).
- In October we planned to have a workshop
- In Defence of Humanism
- led by a member of North West London Humanists and Secularists but
at the last minute he was unable to attend and our Chairman gallantly
substituted using some of the speaker's presentation.
- In November we had Steve O'Kane from the Defence Humanists (previously
the UK Armed Forces Humanist Association) who told us about his personal
history in relation to Humanism and the history and present situation
of humanists in the armed forces.
- In December we had a Yuletide party at the Secretary's house. Everyone
contributed to the refreshments and the atmosphere was more convivial
than previous such events which had been held in our usual meeting room.
- In January 2015 we had a pleasant New Year lunch of Italian food
at ZaZa in Pinner.
- In February one of our members, Prof Tim Crow, lead a discussion
- Beliefs and False Beliefs
- . Tim recounted documented beliefs of four famous historical characters
and invited us to guess who they were. We guessed Joan of Arc and Adolf
Hitler but not Isaac Newton or Auguste Strindberg. The following discussion
ranged widely and included the concept of delusions and how they affected
these four people.
- In March we had Rachel Wright together with one of her colleagues
from Voluntary Action Harrow Co-operative telling us about the work
of that group and the co-operative movement in general.
Several of our members attended the World Humanist Congress which
was held in Oxford in August. Plenary sessions were held in the atmospheric
Sheldonian theatre and there were also many multiple parallel smaller
group sessions covering a wide variety of topics of interest to humanists.
Some of these were led by well known people from academic and media backgrounds.
The theme of the congress was expressed by the adoption of the Oxford
Declaration on Freedom of Thought and Expression which has the following
- The right to freedom of thought and belief is one and the same right
- No one anywhere should ever be forced into or out of a belief
- The right to freedom of expression is global in its scope
- There is no right not to be offended, or not to hear contrary opinions
- States must not restrict thought and expression merely too protect
government from criticism
- Freedom of belief is absolute but the freedom to act on a belief is
BHA Group Representatives Annual Meeting (GRAM)
David Cryer and Terry Lilley represented Harrow Humanists at the BHA GRAM
at the Clerkenwell Centre, in November. There were excellent presentations
about: the BHA work at the UN Human Rights Council, reports from BHA Groups
country-wide, Humanist pastoral support at Guy's and St Thomas's, working
with young humanists, Humanist celebrants and the work of the BHA Dialogue
Officer for engaging with faith and community groups.
Julie continues to represent Humanism on Harrow Standing Advisory Committee
on Religious Education (SACRE). The Harrow Agreed Syllabus for teaching
Religious Education is in the process of being revised and she has been
asked to chair the Agreed Syllabus Conference (ASC) of the SACRE which
is the body responsible for approving the new Syllabus.
In July two of us attended an RE presentation at Newton Farm Junior School
in Rayners Lane. We had a stall and talked to parents and children about
Humanism. The children presented audio-visual summaries of their RE lessons,
and it seems they learn about Humanism in Year 6.
Informal meetings for general chat and exchange of views continue to be
held on Tuesdays from around 10.30-11.00am in the upstairs café
of BHS in St Ann's shopping mall, Harrow. Any members and friends are
JC April 2015