Upcoming HAAM events

Monthly meeting – Get to know your Inner Fish

Saturday, February 13th, online via Zoom, 6:30 PM

February 12th is Darwin Day – the holiday that commemorates the birth of naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin in 1809. This holiday brings attention to Darwin’s contributions to science, and is also used to highlight the importance of science in general.

Although we can’t share birthday cake in honour of Darwin and his contribution to science, we can raise our glasses in a virtual toast. To celebrate Darwin Day this year, we will be hosting a watch party, featuring the first episode of Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish. This video takes us on a journey into the 3.5-billion-year history of the human body.

After the video, we can discuss the episode, Darwin, science in general, and whatever else comes up. The science is irrefutable – our ancient ancestors were fish! So join us, and get in touch with your inner fish.

Everyone is welcome! See you on Zoom!

New! To ‘attend’ (participate or just listen), CLICK HERE TO REGISTER for this meeting. After you complete the registration form, you will automatically receive the Zoom link to join.

Using registration makes it easier for us to securely share our events. You do NOT need to have your own Zoom account, just a computer, tablet, or smart phone to open the link. You can also dial in by phone (audio only) if you do not have access to internet.

Stay connected

We can continue to interact, support each other, and maintain friendships online. If you are not a member of our private Facebook group, and would like to join it, contact us. It is open to anyone in Manitoba who identifies as a Humanist/atheist (i.e. you do not need to be a paid member of HAAM).

New! In between regular monthly meetings, we may hold informal get-togethers on Zoom for conversation or games. These impromptu events may not appear in our newsletters if they are planned on shorter notice.

Keep an eye on our Events calendar, Meetup page, or private Facebook group (NOT the public page) for up-to-date information about HAAM events. (Join the Meetup group to be automatically notified and reminded of all events by email.)

Did you renew your membership yet?

Please renew your membership now (or join for 2021) if you haven’t already. HAAM memberships run on a calendar year (January to December). Fees start as low as $10 a year for those on a limited income. Memberships can be paid online at anytime, or you can mail a check. Details and instructions are on the Join Us page of our website.

We need your support now more than ever, during this challenging time, if we are to continue to create a supportive community and provide a voice for non-believers. All our activities will be virtual or outdoors only, until we can safely resume regular in-person meetings and activities.

Other online events of interest

Check out all these great offerings from the following organizations:

Dying with Dignity – Winnipeg Chapter

Presentations are continuing via Zoom this winter.

The next Advance Care Planning workshop will be February 2nd.

The next topic in the Death Matters series is Your Letters of Love and Legacy, on February 9th or 16th.

Next MAiD Talk: What is MAiD? An interactive lecture and discussion, on February 23rd.

These events are free, but registration is required. Visit the Chapter Events page for details and the full schedule.

Skeptical Inquirer

Are you starved for real information about the pandemic? Skeptical Inquirer Magazine is continuing their series of online (Zoom) lectures by experts in science, skepticism, medicine, media, activism, and advocacy, all devoted to the cause of advancing science over pseudoscience, media literacy over conspiracy theories, and critical thinking over magical thinking.

QAnon: Blood Libel for the Digital Age – February 4th. The origin of QAnon, its destructiveness, and why it must not be taken lightly or ignored.

The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet – February 18th. Climate scientist Michael E. Mann shows how fossil fuel companies deflect blame and responsibility and delay action on climate change, and offers a battle plan for how we can save the planet.

These lectures are free but require advance registration. Visit Skeptical Inquirer Presents, to learn more about these topics and to register. Recordings of the previous lectures are available on the same site (scroll down below ‘upcoming events’).

CFI Canada

The ‘Virtual Branch’ of CFI Canada holds regular online secular chats and support groups for people Living Without Religion. They also host occasional presentations on some varied and provocative topics.

Basic Income for Canadians: from COVID-19 emergency to income security for all – February 6th. How has the conversation about Basic Income changed in the wake of the pandemic?

Rejecting Retributivism: Free Will, Punishment, and Criminal Justice – February 27th. While retributivism provides one of the main sources of justification for punishment within the criminal justice system, there are good philosophical and practical reasons for rejecting it.

Visit CFI Canada’s Virtual branch MeetUp page for more information and to register for these events. If you missed any of the previous presentations and want to catch them on video, check out CFI’s Youtube channel.

Charity of the Month – Resource Assistance for Youth

This past year has been financially tough on many people, and equally tough for many of the charities and organizations that assist those who are facing tough times – a double whammy, so to speak. In the absence of in-person monthly meetings, it has also been tough for HAAM to collect donations for our Charity of the Month program. Of course, many of our followers are facing tough times themselves and are unable to contribute to charity.

So in the spirit of Humanism, we are continuing to promote local charities that could use a boost right now. This spring, we will be featuring some great secular organizations that we have supported in the past, in hopes that a few of our members will be able to support them again. Please give if you can – every small contribution helps.

Way back in 2014, we supported Resource Assistance for Youth. RaY is a non-profit agency on south Sherbrook Street that works with homeless and street youths up to age 29. Their programs and services include life skills education and work skills preparation, a drop-in center and street outreach for immediate needs, housing assistance (including bed bug prevention, budgeting, and help finding accommodation and furniture), and health care (access to mental health supports, addictions counselling, and a nurse practitioner).

They also operate two business ventures that generate some income to support their programs, as well as provide work experience for their clients. One is a Gift & Thrift boutique downtown, and the other is the RaY Moving Company (which has been forced to suspend operations due to the pandemic).

Everyone in society benefits when young people receive assistance with housing, employment, mental health, and addictions. If you are able, please chip in to help this valuable organization continue its work.

Please use the ‘Donate’ button (either in the right sidebar or at the bottom of this page) to support this charity.
Just include a note that the money is for the charity of the month.
Tax receipts will be issues for donations over $10.

Latest News

AGM report and 2021 Executive

We were pleased (and, frankly, surprised) to see such a great turnout for our AGM in January. A big thank-you to all who took the time to participate and/or listen.

There were no new faces elected to our executive for 2021. Given the kind of year it’s been, and with no in-person events since March of 2020 (except our Summer Solstice party, which was outdoors), recruiting new people would have been difficult. That said, however – most of us on the executive have been on there for several years already, and we would definitely welcome some help.

So if you have ideas for events, or news, or are willing to assist with planning, publicity, or anything else, we’d love to have you help out on an ad hoc basis – just contact us or share your ideas at a meeting. Getting involved is also a great way to get to know your fellow Humanists and make friends.

This year’s exec (photos here):

  • President: Pat Morrow
  • Treasurer: Henry Kreindler
  • Secretary: Cheri Frazer
  • Members at Large: Tammy Blanchette, Karen Donald, Tony Governo, Donna Harris, Sherry Lyn Marginet, Arthur Prystenski, and Dorothy Stephens

The winner of the facemask made from the Atheist “A” print fabric was Janine Guinn. Congratulations Janine, and thanks for attending our AGM!

What is it like to be part of a cult?

The Church of God Restoration near Steinbach has been in the news several times recently as their members participated in protests against the mask regulations and lockdowns aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19.

Local Humanist Gloria Froese knows first-hand what it’s like to be a member of that cult. She escaped from it in her late teens, and recently told her story to a Manitoba news site with a largely Mennonite readership. Read her incredible story in the Mennotoba.

How does the pandemic affect religiosity?

Back in July 2020, we surveyed our readers, asking whether they thought that the pandemic would have any effect on religiosity, and if so, whether it would cause religious belief to increase or decrease. The results were published in our August issue.

In January, there was an interesting article on this topic in Friendly Atheist blog about a Pew Research study done last summer, asking people in a number of different countries if the pandemic had strengthened their faith.

Key results:

“If you’re very religious, then the crisis made you cling to religion even more tightly. If you weren’t all that religious, then the change is much smaller. In most countries included in this survey, the change is barely a blip.”

But guess which country was an outlier among the results?

Read the full article, and see how Canada compared. And stay tuned. If we discover further reports about the effect of COVID on religiosity, we’ll be sharing them here.

Event report – Beer, chat, and games night

Our first informal games night was a huge success! A big thanks to Doreen and Grant Wuckert for organizing it and providing us with a seemingly endless supply of jokes and puns. It was great to see people ‘in person’ – almost like an actual party.

It was also another step on the learning curve of Zoom meetings. We figured out how to divide people into ‘teams’ in breakout rooms for the trivia questions. No idea who won, though, as we weren’t keeping score and we mixed up the teams partway through. It was just for fun anyway.

Of course, there are no photos of the event. We are doing out utmost to protect people’s privacy.

We will likely plan more events like this for fun and conversation, so watch for announcements. If you’re new to Zoom, don’t hesitate to join us – someone will assist you.