November 2016 Newsletter

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Mississippi Humanist Association Newsletter

November, 2016

Greetings, humans!

It’s been a busy month for all of us, and more is yet to come. We’ve launched our big new website. (You're here already!) You can find out what events are coming up, what’s in the works, and read up on humanism in Mississippi and beyond.

One of the first things we used the website to do was announce a fundraising partnership with Big House Books. BHB is a local, Jackson-based charity that provides books to prisoners. It’s a simple system, where prisoners request reading materials and BHB provides them.

They’ve constructed a special wishlist just for our members - the books that have been requested here are exactly the sort of thing we should be sending to people in prisons - and not only that, each of these was requested by someone behind bars.

So far we’ve only gotten THREE books to Big House Books. That’s a sad number. Sad! We were planning on having a packing party at the end of the fundraiser and matching membership donations out of the general fund, but at this rate, one person will simply go to the BHB headquarters, put your donation in a shopping bag, and hand them fifteen bucks. I don’t want to be that person, so please, donate more books.

Don’t want to use Amazon? You don’t have to if you don’t want to - you can bring your books to any of our social gatherings and someone will carry them to Big House Books directly.

Social events? There are three a month - one brunch, one happy hour, and one Atheist Experience meetup. You can bring a book donation to ANY of these. Or ALL of these. Just check the list.

Don’t forget to use Amazon Smile and designate your official charity as the Mississippi Humanist Association when you’re shopping on Amazon, and we’ll eventually receive a small portion of the profits.

Speaking of profits, we operate entirely on donations from the members - and from their membership dues. If you haven’t signed up, you can use our website to do so, and you can also use it to sign up for the mailing list.

But if you’re reading this on our website, why not get great content like this (and much more)? Signing up for the emails is free - and automatically part of your membership.

You’ll find out about stuff like our annual meeting, potential speakers, and hopefully, forums, lectures, and more for the future.

We’re currently interested in booking Seth Andrews, of “The Thinking Atheist,” during his May 2017 tour. If you’d like to help out, or express support, concerns, or let us know how you can help, or even what would make or break this event for you (day of the week, length of the event, etc) please, just reply to this email or use the “contact us” form on the website.

Our coming events are:

Wednesday, November 30th, 6:00 pm - Humanist Happy Hour at Green Ghost Tacos in Fondren (NOTE: This is NOT the County Line/Ridgeland location)  Join the MHA for planning, eating, and drinking, plus our always-scintillating conversations. BRING A BOOK and maybe we’ll give you a T-shirt. Maybe.

If you want to be more informed about our wonderful events, please find us on meetup.com and join up there, we'll keep you busy!

Finally, let’s talk about the end-of-year holidays. Something that always comes up? The blessing of the food. Well, last week, MHA communications officer Patrick Jerome (that’s me) was asked to give a blessing at the annual Farm and Food Summit by the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network. The lavish feast on hand was prepared by local chefs, who were in attendance, and from local materials from Mississippi farms - and the farmers were also there - giving me the perfect opportunity to ask, quite directly, for a welcome thanks.

Given that this time of year often demands words of thanks over family meals, and that no one of any belief should be anything less than thankful for the privilege of plentiful food that we enjoy, I would like to include the well-received speech for those who might need it. Your beliefs should not preclude you from participating in family traditions.


Basic Humanist Blessing:

First, I would ask for a moment of silence in quiet contemplation of those who are not here today, and for those who may not have enough food, or any at all.

Let us not speak now of what we believe, let us give thanks for what we know.

We know how hard it is to get these crops from the Earth. So let us thank our farmers and their families. Let us thank them with our words and our deeds in the days ahead.

We know how difficult it is to turn those crops into the food we see before us. So let us thank the chefs and cooks here with us today, thank them with our words, our support and assistance.

We know that there were many others who gave much to feed us today. Let us thank the truck driver, who drove all night, the repairman who fixed a cooler or a tractor on a holiday or weekend. Let us make their lives better in any way that we can.

Finally, let us thank one another for our presence. May we make one another’s lives better with all that we do.

In these hard times, we need more than thoughts - though thoughts are welcome. We need more than prayers - though prayers are welcome. We need one another, and we need this food we are so thankful for.


 

Well, I hope that comes in handy, and I hope to see you soon. Bring a book! Join the MHA!

Patrick Jerome

Communications Officer
Mississippi Humanist Association