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Want to learn more about our community and our work? There’s a new cover story about us in the July/August issue of Yale Alumni Magazine — check out a short excerpt below, and then pick up a copy or head over to their website to read it in full.
On Sunday, in a sunlit attic on Chapel Street, a group of 20 people are gathered in fellowship. Convened by a young man with religious training, the group has come together to socialize, share thoughts on what they believe, and listen to a sermon of sorts on how to improve the world. In many ways, it is like countless other services happening in churches around the city. But one thing sets apart these people, half of whom are Yale-affiliated: most of them don’t believe in God.
The Green Light Project is an initiative to bring an original, interactive sculpture to the community, to be displayed on the New Haven Green during the darkest and coldest months of the year. The purpose of the sculpture is to enhance the luster of the seasonal display on the Green, create a focal point for congregation and connection, and express our commitment to the well-being of the people who inhabit our city, nation and world. The sculpture will also house a time capsule filled with words of wisdom and well wishes for humanity from perhaps thousands of members of the Greater New Haven community, connecting community across time. The time capsule will be opened in the year 2138 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the founding of New Haven, CT.
YHC has commissioned Edwin “Ted” Salmon to create this symbol of the human spirit in community. Salmon was chosen from a highly competitive lineup of artist submissions for the Green Light Project. The sculpture will take on the concept of the obelisk —reminiscent of a lighthouse and adorned with silhouette images representing various facets of community—and will stand 15 feet high and be visible from all sides of The Green.
As a part of the campaign, YHC is hosting a number of events to give the community an opportunity to engage with and contribute to the Green Light Project. All events are open to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend. These events include:
- An Evening with the Artist, Overshores Brewing Co., 250 Bradley St. East Haven, CT, 5:30 – 8 PM, 4/15/2016
- Humanist Haven with Yarrow Dunham, The Grove, 760 Chapel St. New Haven, CT, 1 PM, 4/17/2016
- Strange Ways Pop Up, Strange Ways, 910 Whalley Ave. New Haven, CT, 12 – 4PM, 4/23/16
- Vintanthromodern Pop Up, Vintanthromodern, 938 State St. New Haven, CT, 2 – 6 PM, 4/24/16
- Artist Talk and Dessert Reception, New Haven Museum, 114 Whitney Ave. New Haven, CT, 7 PM, 4/27/2016
- Humanist Haven with Kenneth Morford, The Grove, 760 Chapel St. New Haven, CT, 1 PM, 5/1/2016
- Westville ArtWalk, Edgewood Park, New Haven, CT, 5 PM, 5/6/2016
- Westville ArtWalk, Edgewood Park, New Haven, CT, 9 AM, 5/7/2016
- Final Day of Campaign Celebration, Location TBA, Time TBA, 5/11/2016
For parties interested in learning more or donating to the Green Light Project, please go to http://bit.ly/GLProject
For press inquiries, questions, or more information please contact Director of Operations Nancy Kelly at 203-900-7YHC (203-900-7942) or email@example.com.
The following message was shared over YHC’s mailing list. If you you’d like to recieve regular updates about YHC programs, sign up here.
Looking for a community? Want to learn more about Humanism? Join us for the third annual Yale and New Haven Humanism Week, April 2-9, 2016!
We’re excited to announce our third annual Yale and New Haven Humanism Week lineup, featuring talks by award-winning authors, service projects, a full day conference, a party, and an animal gratitude ceremony. All are welcome — we hope to see you in April! Scroll down for details.
SATURDAY, APRIL 2
Connecticut Assembly for Reason and Ethics Conference
Join us for the Connecticut Coalition of Reason’s full day conference with speakers, workshops, and community building! Speakers include Hemant Mehta (the “Friendly Atheist”), The Citizen Lobbyist author Amanda Knief, and Jason Heap, National Coordinator for the United Coalition of Reason. Visit conference.ctcor.org to learn more and register.
SUNDAY, APRIL 3
‘Mommy, Who is God?’: How to Talk to Kids About Religion When You’re Not Religious
Wendy Thomas Russell
At this Humanist Haven—YHC’s semi-monthly Sunday community gathering where we come together to explore big questions and build a sense of community—author Wendy Thomas Russell will offer nonreligious parents a playbook for addressing faith issues with young children. Children are welcome to attend, and child care will be provided.
Wendy Thomas Russell is the author of Relax, It’s Just God: How and Why to Talk to Your Kids About Religion When You’re Not Religious. Russell hosts the blog Natural Wonderers for the Patheos faith network and writes an online parenting column for the PBS NewsHour.
MONDAY, APRIL 4
Day of Action: STEAMMM and AIDS Project New Haven
Acting to improve the world is central to Humanism, so we’re hosting a day of service to the community. The first opportunity to serve will be our monthly STEAMMM (science, technology, engineering, art, math, and medicine mentoring) activity with youth at Clemente Leadership Academy. All are welcome to volunteer!
The second opportunity to serve will be our monthly Needs of New Haven meeting. April’s guest will be a representative from AIDS Project New Haven, who will discuss the organization’s work and how you can help impact the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS in Greater New Haven. Please bring non-perishable food items to benefit their Caring Cuisine program—a program that delivers prepared meals and grocery items to individuals living with HIV and their families. This event is organized in conjunction with Pride month at Yale.
TUESDAY, APRIL 5
Question All Authority: Intersectional Journalism as a Humanizing Force
Jamil Smith, a Senior National Correspondent with MTV News, will discuss how journalism about the underrepresented aids the purposes of humanism, why intersectionality is key to telling stories, and how his perspectives on faith and doubt have been affected by covering human struggle and tragedy. With special guest Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib. This event is hosted in collaboration with the Poynter Fellowship in Journalism and the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale.
Jamil Smith is a Senior National Correspondent for MTV News and former Senior Editor at New Republic, where he was host of the magazine’s first podcast, INTERSECTION. He has served as a producer for MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “Melissa Harris-Perry,” and won three Sports Emmy Awards during his six years with NFL Films.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6
Join us for a celebration launching our crowdfunding campaign for the Green Light Project, an initiative to create a seasonal nonreligious art installation for the New Haven Green! Hosted in the Happiness Lab at The Grove—a crowdfunded community space—we’ll celebrate with food, fun, fellowship, and door prizes from great New Haven businesses. Come learn more about our ambitious project to bring light and warmth to the Green through an interactive sculpture that will go up for decades to come and house a time capsule to be opened on New Haven’s 500th anniversary. With support from BL&D, The Happiness Lab at the Grove, Strange Ways, Vintanthromodern, and others to be announced.
THURSDAY, APRIL 7
The Agnostic Adventure: How Mystery and Doubt Keep Us Human
Going beyond worn-out stereotypes to explore the vital role of both mystery and doubt in keeping us human, psychologist Lesley Hazleton will celebrate the agnostic stance as an invitation to an ongoing, open-ended adventure of the mind. This event also serves as the East Coast book launch for her new book Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto, released April 5!
Lesley Hazleton is an award-winning writer who has written for Time, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Harper’s, The Nation, and The New Republic, among others. Her book After the Prophet was a finalist for a PEN Center USA Literary Award, and she is the recipient of The Stranger’s Genius in Literature Award.
FRIDAY, APRIL 8
Twenty Gods or None: Belief, Unbelief, and the Making of a Nation
From the very beginning, the United States was shaped by remarkable religious diversity. Examining this forgotten history through a controversy involving Thomas Jefferson’s supposedly “atheistical” library, Peter Manseau will recount America’s past from the perspective of believers and non-believers whose stories have gone untold. This event is hosted with support from the Yale Seminar in Religious Studies.
Peter Manseau is the author of several books including the new retelling of American history One Nation, Under Gods. A founding editor of KillingTheBuddha.com, he received his doctorate in religion from Georgetown University and is currently curating an exhibit on America’s diverse religious past for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.
SATURDAY, APRIL 9
Animal Gratitude Ceremony
This nonreligious animal gratitude ceremony, inspired by the Catholic tradition of “animal blessings” and led by Canine Cognition Center at Yale director Dr. Laurie Santos, will allow us to communally express gratitude toward our own companion animals and publicly appreciate how our lives have been enhanced by our animal friends. This event is hosted in collaboration with the Canine Cognition Center at Yale and the New Haven Animal Shelter.
Please bring a photo of your pet for the gratitude ceremony. Well-behaved/socialized dogs are also welcome to attend in person.
Dr. Laurie Santos is an associate professor of psychology at Yale University and the director of Yale University’s Comparative Cognition Laboratory. Her scientific research has been featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Economist, Forbes, The New Yorker, New Scientist, Smithsonian, and Discover. She was voted one of Popular Science Magazine’s Brilliant 10 Young Minds.
*In the event of inclement weather, this event will be moved to The Grove, 760 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT.
These events are organized with support from the Yale Undergraduate Humanist Society and the None/Others at Yale Divinity School.
Don’t get our newsletter? See below for some of what went out in our most recent e-newsletter, and be sure to sign up here to receive regular updates about YHC programs and special events.
Hello from all of us at YHC! We hope you had an amazing summer. We can’t wait to welcome back everyone who has been away for the summer.
We’re so excited to share some of what we’ve been working on this summer with you. Below, you’ll find details about our full 2015-16 Humanist Haven speaker lineup and our new schedule of recurring events for 2015-16, plus a special event to celebrate the life and legacy of Carl Sagan.
Read on for more information about this year’s Haven speakers, our exciting Carl Sagan Day event, a special dinner at Miya’s happening next month, and much more. Please be sure to save the dates for these events, and let us know if you have any questions. We hope you’re as excited as we are for a new year of Humanist community at Yale and in New Haven!
Chris Stedman, Executive Director
Last year, we were thrilled to see Humanist Haven participation grow from our first meeting in September as you all came back time after time — and brought your friends! Together, we learned more about ourselves and our world, built meaningful connections, and developed a sense of community.
Based on your enthusiasm for Humanist Haven, we’re excited to bring it back on September 6 — and to move forward with hosting more than twice as many as we did last year.
Don’t know what Humanist Haven is? It’s YHC’s community gathering where people from all across Yale and New Haven come together to ask big questions, explore what gives our lives meaning and purpose, and act to make the world a better place.All Humanist Haven meetings feature a thought-provoking guest speaker, and take place on the first and third Sundays of the month at 1 PM at The Grove, 760 Chapel Street New Haven, CT, unless otherwise noted.
With more than twice as many gatherings, we’re able to host a wider range of speakers to address issues that affect us all. We hope you’ll join us for a challenging and rewarding year of learning and growing together. Click here to learn more about the full 2015-16 lineup. We hope to see you soon at Humanist Haven!
Though he died in 1996, astronomer Carl Sagan’s work continues to have a tremendous impact. He influenced a generation of scientists and thinkers, taught millions about the wonders of science, and inspired the world to ask big questions. His work enriched and entertained, from his books like Contact, Pale Blue Dot, and The Demon-Haunted World to his television series “Cosmos” (recently rebooted with new host Neil deGrasse Tyson).
He inspired us to look up to the stars, but also to look inward. He helped us better understand the world around us — and by encouraging us to be curious, courageous, and compassionate, he also helped us better understand ourselves and one another. Carl Sagan was an unparalleled scientist, storyteller, and communicator, and his contributions will be felt for years to come.
This Carl Sagan Day (November 9), YHC is honored and thrilled to welcome a special guest: Nick Sagan, son of Carl Sagan. In a moderated discussion with YHC Executive Director Chris Stedman, Nick will talk about his father’s impact, the connection between his father’s work and Humanism, and his memories of growing up with Carl Sagan — including what it was like to record a greeting for potential extraterrestrials at six years old for the Voyager Golden Record.
We invite you to save the date and join us on November 9 for a conversation with Nick Sagan, and a celebration of the life and legacy of his father Carl Sagan.
Nick Sagan is an author of novels, screenplays, teleplays, comic books, animation episodes and computer games. A prolific filmmaker and writer, his credits include episodes of “Star Trek” and the book You Call This the Future?, which Publisher’s Weekly called a “delightful ‘expedition in search of the future’, providing clear explanations of today’s cutting edge technologies.” He is also the author of the acclaimed Idlewild Series and creator of the Shrapnelgraphic novel series for Radical Publishing. The son of astronomer Carl Sagan and Pioneer plaque artist Linda Salzman, Nick was 6 years old when his greeting, “Hello from the children of planet Earth,” was placed aboard the Voyager Golden Record as a representation of the English language for potential extraterrestrials to one day discover.
Join YHC and our Young Adults, Professionals, and Graduate Student group on September 22 at 7 PM for a night of amazing food at the world-famous Miya’s Sushi — 68 Howe St, New Haven, CT — with proceeds going to fund our work to build Humanist community!
Having been named one of the three most sustainable restaurants in the U.S. in 2012 and one of Gourmet Magazine’s Top Ten Healthiest Restaurants in the U.S., Miya’s is widely acclaimed for its delicious, sustainable, and highly unusual approach to dining.
Interested in supporting YHC’s work and experiencing how Miya’s “uses the technique of sushi as a medium to explore what it means to be human”? Sign up at http://bit.ly/YHCMIYA and then go to http://bit.ly/YHCdonate and make a donation of at least $50, or let us know during sign up that you plan to bring cash or check. Your full donation will go to support the work of YHC.
With your registration and donation to YHC, you will be treated to a multi-course meal that is sure to be one of the best you’ve ever eaten! Space is limited, so sign up now.
Please note: Drinks are not included. However, you can of course choose to purchase drinks on your own — and we highly recommend that you do! The bonobo juice is legendary, and for those who don’t drink alcohol, the pickled ginger pop is one of a kind.
Check out the updated recurring events schedule in the right sidebar of the most recent YHC newsletter for changes the YHC’s weekly schedule. As you’ll see, some of our program’s days and times are staying the same, while others are moving. A few things to note about the changes to the weekly schedule:
- Humanist Haven will now meet twice as often: On the first and third Sunday of each month, instead of just the second Sunday. We will also now offer extra assistance for families with children at the first Humanist Haven of each month.
- Our regular discussion groups are also meeting twice as often — we’re now offering four different discussion groups, instead of two. These meetings have all moved to Monday evenings.
- The first undergraduate student dinner of each month will now be hosted at YHC’s offices at The Grove.
- SMART Recovery has moved from Mondays to Wednesdays.
- The Grad Students, Professionals, and Young Adults Game Night is moving to the second Sunday of each month (from the first Sunday) and Pub Night is moving to the fourth Friday (from the third).
- Our new STEAMMM (science, technology, engineering, art, math, and medicine mentoring) service program, happening on the first Monday of each month, launches in October.
Please be sure to update your calendar so that you don’t miss any of the events you’d like to attend — we don’t want to miss you!
Our discussion groups were among our most popular — and most thought-provoking — offerings last year. So we’ve listened to your feedback and, beginning in September, we are bringing our discussion groups back, and adding two more!
These groups will meet the first, second, third, and fourth Mondays of each month at 7:30 PM in the Happiness Lab coffee shop(attached to The Grove, 760 Chapel Street). Our new discussion groups are called Needs of New Haven and Unsacred Sacred Texts, while WTF (Who to Follow?) and Practical Humanism are returning. Visit the Discussion Groups page on our website to learn more about each group and how you can get involved.
Students: We’re so excited to welcome you back to campus soon!Weekly undergraduate student dinners, hosted by the Yale Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics, will begin again in September. Most of the time these weekly Thursday dinners will take place on campus, but beginning in October, the first Thursday dinner of each month will take place at The Grove, 760 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT. At those dinners, YHC will provide food from places like Jeera Thai, PitaZiki, Tikkaway, or other New Haven restaurants. Want to request something in particular? Let us know! We look forward to seeing returning students again soon — and to welcoming new students at student event fairs and future meetings. To contact the student Directors of the AHA and join the official list serv to get updates, email them at HumanistYalies@gmail.com.
The None/Others (formerly known as the Open Party) at the Divinity School will soon resume regular meetings, too. The None/Others are a student collaborative for Humanist, Atheist, Agnostic, non-Christian, and/or non-traditional students at YDS focused on opening up multi-faith cooperation and dialogue opportunities for non-religious students, and on fostering fully inclusive community within YDS. They meet weekly for round-table lunches and host several events throughout the academic year. To find out more about joining, volunteering, speaking opportunities, or for general inquiries please contact the None/Others at YDSNoneOthers@gmail.com.
From the thoughtful reflections offered at every Humanist Haven, to the dedicated set up and clean up support we rely on in order to make the space comfortable and welcoming, our Humanist Haven gatherings are driven by the generous service of our volunteers. This year, we’re doubling the number of Humanist Havens, which means we’ll need your help more than ever.
Have you enjoyed a Moment of Reflection, or participated in a Moment of Connection, and thought: “I could do that!” Do you want to help us with our new children’s story time initiative? Well now’s your chance to get involved. Click here to submit your interest and availability to volunteer.
P.S. We’re looking for books — especially ones with Humanist themes — to use for our children’s programs. If you’d like to lend us one, or donate one to our library, please let us know!
YHC has made tremendous progress in its first full-time year at Yale and in the greater New Haven Community, and the number of people working in our office continues to grow. Earlier this year we worked with the Office of International Students and Scholars to welcome a full-time student intern from the University for Humanistics in the Netherlands; most recently, our organization was approved by the Office of Supervised Ministries at Yale Divinity School to serve as a site for its student internship program.
With YHC’s growing intern capacity, as well as our increased programs, community presence, and volunteers, we are greatly in need of technology equipment. Please consider donating your recently replaced laptop-notebook.
Our technology requirements do need to meet minimum capacities and power in order to be effective tools. These are:
PC Systems Minimal Capacities
160 GB HDD
4 GB RAM
MacBook Minimal Capacities
2011 Release or newer
160 GB HDD
4 GB RAM
Donations of goods are fully tax deductible and YHC will give you a receipt for your declared value of the equipment donated. If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Kelly at nancykelly [dot] yhc [at] gmail.com.
Thank you for supporting YHC!
What: Humanism Haven, YHC’s nonreligious community gathering
When: Second Sunday of each month, 1 PM (with refreshments to follow)
Where: Clubhouse at The Grove (760 Chapel St., New Haven)
Who: Open to the public!
January 11: Tom Krattenmaker on what you might not know about evangelicals
What do you think when you hear the word evangelical? Krattenmaker, a self-described secular progressive, will discuss his interactions with and research on American evangelicals. Come learn about the surprising changes in evangelical America—and how the nonreligious might collaborate with some evangelicals in pursuit of the common good.
Tom Krattenmaker is a contributing columnist for USA Today specializing in religion in public life and author of the award-winning book The Evangelicals You Don’t Know on the new evangelicals in post-Christian America. A secular progressive, he joined the Yale community this fall as the new communications director at Yale Divinity School.
February 8: Tony Pinn on his personal journey and Humanism in African American communities
In “When College Is More Than the Classroom: A Personal Journey from Belief in God to Humanism,” Professor Pinn will discuss his movement away from theism toward an approach to life devoid of God and gods. In telling the story of the Humanist he knows best, he will provide a sense of what Humanism means and does within the context of African American communities in larger terms.
The author and editor of thirty books, Dr. Anthony B. Pinn is one of America’s leading scholars on Humanism and African American atheism. Pinn is the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University and serves as the director of research for the Institute for Humanist Studies.
March 8: Vanessa Zoltan on secular spirituality
Once we leave the world of religion, where can we turn for comfort, connection, and wonder? At Humanist Haven, Vanessa Zoltan will tell her story about practicing secular faith by using Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.
Vanessa Zoltan is the Assistant Humanist Chaplain at Harvard and the author of a forthcoming book on Humanism and Jane Eyre. She is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School and has worked in the nonprofit/education sector for over ten years as a teacher, community developer and education policy advocate.
April 12: Melanie Brewster and Chris Johnson on the diverse narratives of nonreligious people
What are the stories of nonreligious people? Melanie Brewster will explore the importance of narrative construction and storytelling in identity development and “coming out” for diverse atheists, including implications for mental health and community building. Chris Johnson will talk about his experiences profiling 100 atheists and how they find joy and meaning—and then he’ll take some photos of members of our community!
Melanie Brewster is Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology at Columbia University’s Teachers College, cofounder of the Sexuality, Women, & Gender Project, and author of Atheists in America, a collection of more than two dozen stories from atheists from diverse backgrounds.
Chris Johnson is a New York-based photographer, filmmaker, and creator of A Better Life, a photography book profiling 100 atheists. He is currently working on the film version of the project. Chris is also the recipient of the Kodak Award for Excellence in Filmmaking and the B.F. Lorenzetti Scholarship for Excellence in Filmmaking.
Other Spring 2015 speakers (on campus), with more to be announced:
February 5: Joshua Greene on moral tribes
Joshua D. Greene is the John and Ruth Hazel Associate Professor of the Social Sciences and the director of the Moral Cognition Laboratory in the Department of Psychology, Harvard University. He studies the psychology and neuroscience of morality, focusing on the interplay between emotion and reasoning in moral decision-making. His broader interests cluster around the intersection of philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience.
April (TBA): Monica Miller on Humanism and hip hop
Dr. Monica Miller is Assistant Professor of Religion and Africana Studies at Lehigh University and author of Religion and Hip Hop, Co-Chair and founder of Critical Approaches to the Study of Hip Hop and Religion Group at the American Academy of Religion, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Humanist Studies, and serves on the editorial board of The Journal of Hip Hop Studies. She earned her Ph.D. in Theology, Ethics, and Human Science from Chicago Theological Seminary.
Want more details about these and other lectures? Be sure to sign up for YHC’s electronic newsletter at http://bit.ly/YHCnews