December 2018 Newsletter
Upcoming HAAM Events
Winter Solstice Party
Saturday, December 15th, Norwood Community Centre, 87 Walmer St
Door opens at 5:30 – potluck supper at 6:00
Make sure to read the full event post for important information about what to bring.
Saturday, January 12th – AGM and monthly meeting (topic TBA)
Sunday, January 20th – next HAAM and Eggs Brunch
Our Events calendar will be updated once we finalize the details.
With the approach of the New Year, it’s membership renewal time. HAAM operates on a calendar year, meaning that our membership fees come due in January.
NEW members who join HAAM for the first time this fall (between September 1st and December 31st) pay the full annual fee but are considered paid up for 2019. Everyone else needs to renew.
Our membership fees are affordable and include a ‘limited income’ option if applicable (and they haven’t gone up in 10 years!). Memberships can be renewed anytime by credit card using the PayPal link on our website, by cheque in the mail, or by cash or cheque at any event.
What’s the money for?
HAAM is entirely run by volunteers, but like every organization, we have expenses that need to be met just to keep afloat. They’re pretty minimal. Here’s a brief run-down of what your membership dollars are spent on.
Rental space – our biggest expense. We need a place to hold our meetings and other events. There’s even a fee to reserve the picnic site for our summer Solstice party.
Guest speakers – Many of the guest speakers at our meetings don’t cost anything. Others receive a small honorarium, depending on their circumstances. Very occasionally, we book a professional speaker. Regardless of whether the speaker receives any compensation, we always cover the cost of their dinner while attending the meeting.
Equipment – miscellaneous stuff we need for our meetings and events. Most of these items are one-time expenses (like a video projector), but this past summer we had to replace 2 folding tables that were stolen from our Outreach booth in Stonewall.
Supplies for social events – like food and condiments for our summer Solstice party
Community Outreach – fees for booth rentals at summer fairs, printing costs for brochures, business cards, and posters, and an occasional advertisement or donation to a Humanist cause or charity
Office supplies – stationary, printing, postage
Administration – fees for maintaining our website, bank, MeetUp, and PayPal accounts
We count on our members to support HAAM’s continuing work in providing a community for non-believers. A larger membership base also gives us a larger voice in the public sphere.
We don’t turn people away if they cannot afford a membership – but it’s a pretty good deal. How many organizations can you join for as little as $10 per year? Please support the group that supports you!
Note – if you plan to participate in our AGM in January, dues MUST be paid in order to vote.
Your HAAM executive is busy planning meetings and events for the winter/spring season.
Got any ideas? Is there a topic you’d like to learn about, or a speaker you’d like to hear? An issue you’d like to discuss? Do you know of an opportunity for outreach? A fun group activity?
We welcome our members’ ideas and involvement. Contact us with your suggestions – or just show up at one of our events. We’d be happy to chat with you in person.
Ways to celebrate the winter solstice
December is dark, and we can’t change that. So why not embrace the darkness, instead of letting it get you down?
Here are a few suggestions for how to do that (besides attending our Solstice Party, of course):
- Curl up by the fire and relax with some mulled wine
- Cover a pinecone with peanut butter and hang it on an evergreen tree for the birds
- Or decorate a whole tree for the birds if you have one
- Take a walk after dark and look up at the stars
- Meditate over hot tea and a sugar cookie
- Make an old-fashioned orange pomander
- Turn off the lights and have a feast by candlelight
- Print this picture and color it (click it to enlarge and download)
- Make an evergreen wreath
- Stay up all night to welcome the return of the sun
Book of the Month: I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas
Bah Humbug! Comedian Lewis Black is sick of all the syrupy yuletide marketing ad nauseam that is shoved down people’s throats after Labor Day. In this short book, he delivers a stinging indictment of the greed and hypocrisy of the ‘holiday season’, with some warmth and humor mixed in to temper the message.
Black has made a career of talking about subjects that make other people squeamish, and this book is no different. He tackles our obsession with the over-priced, over-hyped, over-sentimentalized, and over-rated holiday season, ripping into traditions like Christmas cards, dinners, toys, advertising, shopping, trees, carols, and gifts. His suggestions to improve this time of year – spend time with your friends, give to others, and quit letting advertisers, retailers, and religious fanatics dictate how to spend the holidays.
All our library books and DVD’s are free to borrow for paid HAAM members.
Visit our library page if you would like to borrow this book.
Godless in Dixie
Were you unable to attend our November meeting with special guest Neil Carter (Godless in Dixie)? You missed a great conversation! But thanks to Paul Morrow, we got it all on tape. You can catch it on our YouTube channel.
And while you’re on our YouTube Channel, check out some of the videos from previous guest speakers. There’s some great stuff on there.
The ratings winner so far is Richard Carrier’s talk from last summer about the historicity of Jesus, with almost half a million views. But there are also great presentations on religious schools, the ethics of counter-apologetics, blasphemy laws, grieving without religion, the limits to freedom of speech, Humanist values, and more.
Make your voice heard!
Don’t forget the Calls to Action from last month’s newsletter.
There are links 3 petitions to sign. Links to all of them are on our Home page.