| RECENT EVENTS
Harrow's Holocaust Memorial Event
Our Events & Meetings
HUMANISM & SECULARISM LINKS
ANNUAL REPORT 2017-18
|Officers and Committee members
Committee meetings were held on 7 April and 10 November 2017.
Membership: We had 22 paid up members including one free membership
for an asylum seeker. Attendance at meetings varied between 12 and 17.
- April 2017: 'The Hidden Abuse of Apostates' Aliyah Saleem is
an ex-Muslim atheist who attended an Islamic school in Britain for five
years and studied the Quran in Pakistan, Having left Islam at 19, Aliyah
has since spoken about ex-Muslim issues as well as advocating for secular
education. She is the co-founder of Faith to Faithless which is now
an official programme of Humanists UK. Aliyah has written about her
work and experiences for the Times and is a board member of the Atheist,
Humanist and Secular students. Aliyah told her story and discussed the
general picture of apostasy and closed communities across the UK. She
feels the issue has now entered into public awareness and that change
- June 2017: 'How Do We Understand and React To Terrorist Attack'
A video viewing of Maajid Nawaz on his personal journey of reform and
the need for the 'conversation' about Islam, followed by discussion.
- September 2017: 'The Hypocrisy of the Church of England' Michael
Lawrence spoke on his research into the real motives of the Church of
England in its centuries-long excursions into education, slavery, and
many aspects of British public life.
- November 2017: 'Pacifism and Remembrance' In Remembrance week
we took a look at the secular history of the Cenotaph in London and
how Remembrance Sunday has inserted religion into a secular event. We
also watched a short video extract of a debate between Prof. Bryan Caplan
and Prof. Jan Ting on the merits and de-merits of liberal intervention
and the 'Just War', followed by a discussion on war, pacifism and secularism.
- February 2018: 'The IHEU and the Growth of the Global Humanist
Movement' Giovanni Gaetani (Growth and Development Officer with the
International Humanist and Ethical Union) talked in a very informative
and entertaining way about the work of the International Humanist and
Ethical Union. He gave a good worldwide overview of the development
and priorities of humanist groups and the formidable issues they face
in some countries, such as the death-penalty, persecution, and discrimination
for atheism and 'blasphemy', FGM and anti-LGBT legislation. We also
discussed current threats to humanism such as populism and extremism,
and the need for cultural change aligned with legislative progress.
- March 2018: 'The work of Atheism UK and why it's needed in
today's world' Norman Bacrac (Atheism UK Council member; Trustee of
the Ethical Society and former Editor of the 'Ethical Record') outlined
the history, structure, and remit of Atheism UK, whilst also projecting
its plans for the future. He then opened up a group discussion on key
elements and definitions of humanism based on a document he had written
for RE teachers.
Harrow Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education (SACRE)
Harrow's Agreed Syllabus Launch 20/06/17 at Norbury School
Julie and David as members of Harrow SACRE had a stand at the Agreed Syllabus
Launch event explaining Humanism and advertising our school visitor service.
We made some useful contacts with RE teachers and department Heads. Julie,
as Chair of Harrow's Agreed Syllabus Conference (ASC), made a speech outlining
the production of the Syllabus. All local authority, community schools
should be using this document as their guidance on the teaching of RE.
With the changing landscape in RE, and the recent publication of reports
and Commissions on the subject, the future form of RE and SACREs is uncertain.
A national entitlement for RE would be a step towards the most desirable
national curriculum, but this may mean the end of SACREs. However, the
various faith groups on the SACRE wish to preserve the status of both
the curriculum and SACRE.
Humanists UK Education Day 25/11/17 for school speakers and SACRE
David attended this event which combined and replaced the SACRE representatives
AGM and the School Speakers Training and Networking Event. Alan Brine
from The Commission on Religious Education talked about the report which
the commission will publish at the end of 2018 and which could significantly
effect the status of SACREs and the structure and scope of RE teaching
in the future. There were very useful workshops and discussions for school
Harrow Humanists (HH), Harrow InterFaith (HIF) and local community
David acted as a Humanist representative on Harrow Interfaith during the
period 03/2017 to 03/2018. And has been re-elected to the HIF executive
committee for 2018-19. He was also on the organising committee for Harrow's
Holocaust Memorial Day Event in January 2018 which was held in front of
a capacity audience of 400 people at the Harrow Arts Centre. It is hoped
that HIF will help Humanism gain a higher local profile.
Remembrance: a secular reflection - November 2017, Fitzrovia Chapel,
Defence Humanists held a secular reflection on Armistice Day. The event
consisted of readings from members of Defence Humanists, talks from Humanists
UK's Chief Executive Andrew Copson and Defence Humanists patron Professor
AC Grayling, alongside music from the London Humanist Choir. The event
was funded by the Ministry of Defence, underlining their commitment to
support humanists and those of no religion who work within the department.
Several Harrow Humanists attended this event and it was refreshing not
to feel excluded by the obligatory Anglican prayers and hymns which inevitably
characterise Remembrance Day events.
We have begun to keep records of our school visits, as of July 2017. The
number of requests has increased from that time to the present, perhaps
due to the publication of Harrow's Agreed Syllabus and the event publicising
it. The increase may also be due to a greater awareness of Humanism and
also of the historically changing needs of multi-cultural schools.
|| STUDENT TOTAL
|Edward Betham CofE Primary, Greenford (David & Terry)
|Ruislip High School (David)
|Elmgrove Primary (David & Terry)
|Hatch End High (David & Terry)
|Hatch End High (David & Terry)
|St Margaret's, Bushey (private school) (David)
|Sudbury Primary School (Julie)
||4 & 6
|Sudbury Primary School (Julie)
We continued to have weekly "drop-in" coffee mornings on
Tuesdays but have changed the venue to Pret à Manger in St Anns
Road. The regular Sunday brunch continues to be held in Debenhams café.
For the annual summer outing in July 2017 Charles organised a very enjoyable
day in Cambridge. Lunch at Loch Fyne restaurant in Trumpington Street
was followed by a visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum. We then went to see
Peterhouse, the oldest of the colleges (1284), and were able to go inside
the Hall, the oldest part of the college. We also visited the Chapel,
the Lubbock Theatre, and the recently built Whittle building with the
jet engine on display. We then had tea in the University Centre, Granta
Place, overlooking the river before returning to London.
In addition to the traditional pub lunch in August, we were also royally
entertained by Terry and Maureen with a lunch in their delightful garden
"taverna" with food contributions from everyone and great conversation.
To celebrate midwinter in 2017, instead of an evening party, we had a
December lunch at ZaZa in Pinner.
JC April 2018