March 2010 Newsletter
Dear Seattle Atheists Members,
Welcome (nearly) to spring! As the length of daylight continues to grow, so too do the events, projects, and plans of Seattle Atheists!
Our February membership count is at 241 individuals. We are a fast-growing organization! Annually, our treasurer will send you renewal forms to keep your membership up-to-date. Your tax-deductible membership fee gives us resources to add to our repertoire of events, projects, publications, and outreach efforts. All of our committee chairs and board members volunteer their time. Please renew your membership as a small token of thanks for their work!
As our membership continues to grow in number, we are also expanding our geographic footprint. While we love for you to continue your direct involvement with Seattle Atheists, there are various clubs and groups in the greater Seattle area dedicated to atheist and freethought activities that hold events near you! Check out <http://northwestfreethough.org>. Meanwhile, if you have concerns about transportation to/from any Seattle Atheists events, please contact Becky, Member Relations committee chair, at email@example.com.
Darwin Day Recap
On Feb. 19, Seattle Atheists sponsored the Northwest Freethought Coalition celebration of Darwin Day. Held at the Juanita Community Center in Kirkland, the day featured a Wait, wait! Don’t Tell Me it Took More Than 7 Days! panel game show, a kids’ activity room, evolution raffles, and cake in honor Charles’ 201st birthday. We offer huge thanks to the many who planned, prepped, wrote, cleaned, managed, and participated! This was also the inaugural event for our newly appointed Events Committee chairperson, Casey. Thanks, Casey!
Bus Signs Update
In December, you received a letter from Seattle Atheists VP Amanda about raising funds for expanding our educational advertising campaign. Thank you—we received targeted donations that will permit us to purchase five exterior bus signs! Designs and dates are in the works. If you would further like to support this effort, contact our Treasurer Jerry <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Every third Thursday of the month, a group of atheists, agnostics, and questioners meet at Blue Star Cafe & Pub, 4512 Stone Way North in Seattle for socializing and tasty grub. Please check <http://meetup.com/seattle-atheists/> to make sure the event is “on” and the location hasn’t been changed.
The Seattle Atheists Board has recently refocused its committee structure and appointed preliminary committee chairpersons. At our March membership meeting, members will have a chance to hear about and join committees, or sign up to be on a general volunteer involvement list. If you can’t make it on Sunday, just email <email@example.com> and we’ll point you in the right direction.
Education: Ranjan and Eliza (co-chairs)
Member Relations: Becky
Our next membership meeting will take place Sunday, March 21 at 2:00 pm at the Greenwood Library (8016 Greenwood Avenue North). Seattle Atheists member Casey will present a talk entitled “Epistemology: A Critical Approach to Apologetics.”
This presentation will be a basic overview of the philosophical notion of epistemology, more commonly known as the “theory of knowledge,” and how thinkers from Ancient Greece to the Enlightenment and through the Modern Era have approached the question of how it is that we come to “know” anything. Casey will focus specifically on belief as a component of knowledge, how all of us (atheists included) rely heavily on beliefs to understand the world around us, and how standards of evidence that we use to justify our beliefs can differ drastically. Lastly, he will address common theological arguments and help arm quick-witted atheists with some counter-apologetics when someone claims to *know* that “God exists.”
Following a Q&A session with Casey, we will have a short break and reconvene for our Membership Volunteer Fair. This is a great opportunity to learn about how you can participate in the wide range of activities, events, and projects Seattle Atheists is embarking on this year!
Community Service and Social Justice
There is great concern about donor fatigue in the wake of the Haiti earthquake. Several regions around the world have also been struck by recent disasters, including a Chilean earthquake that, while far less deadly, has left tens of thousands homeless and with meager basic supplie s. Other areas have seen typhoons, ice storms, and disease outbreaks. Members have recommended the following non-sectarian foundations for helping improve our global community:
AmeriCares Disaster Relief <http://www.americares.org/>
Non-Believers Giving Aid <http://givingaid.richarddawkins.net/>
The Red Cross <http://american.redcross.org/>
Here at home, we encourage you to bring non-perishable food items to our events for our year-round Seattle Atheists SeasonLESS Food Drive. We donate items we collect to Family Works, Northwest Harvest, and Volunteers of America food banks in the name of Seattle Atheists. Requested items include whole grain pasta, tomato sauce/paste, brown rice, oatmeal, low-sugar canned fruits, low-fat meals, powdered milk, baby formula and food, infant cereals, and baby diapers.
Seattle Atheists is also collecting books for Operation Paperback for our troops overseas. Donated books will have a little sticker inside to show that they were donated by Seattle Atheists. Troops have requested: action, bestsellers, biographies and memoirs, fantasy, history, horror, mysteries, scifi, and true crime. Our troops have received a disproportionate amount of romance novels, so keep those for yourself!
Finally, Seattle Atheists is seeking volunteers for the KUOW spring pledge drive on Sunday, April 11. If we have six or more volunteers, Seattle Atheists gets an on-air mention! If you are interested, contact pledge drive coordinator Megan <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Keep In Mind…
Late spring is the beginning of fairs and festivals season in the Seattle Metro area. Keep your eyes peeled for info about how you can march in parades, staff information booths, cook food for picnics, and have fun with Seattle Atheists this summer. On behalf of the Board and our committee chairs, we hope to hear from you and see you this spring!
Secretary, Seattle Atheists
December 2009 Newsletter
Dear Members of Seattle Atheists,
I present to you our December newsletter! Please enjoy our updates and sneak peaks.
As Board members sat down to reflect at one recent meeting, we realized that our membership has seen a near 100% increase in the past year and a half. We now total 223 new and returning members! Through education, outreach, and social networking, we aim to take advantage of this momentum to continue to increase our member base. These new faces and new voices help Seattle Atheists become a dynamic and diverse mix of individuals and families whose common support of our purpose and mission unites us. For existing members who may have moved or changed your contact info recently, please contact me or Jerry, our treasurer, so we can keep our records up to date and keep you informed of all things Seattle Atheist.
Also, please remember that membership dues and donations to Seattle Atheists are tax deductible. We welcome your donations for either general activities or in support of our on-going bus ad campaign. Keep your eyes peeled for a forthcoming letter from Seattle Atheists Vice President Amanda with further details regarding this opportunity, and thank you!
Bus ads. Round two of the Seattle Atheists interior bus ads continues to go well. We continue to get regular feedback (of all flavors!) via phone, mail, and website comments on these subtle yet provocative advertisements. The posters appear in 45 vehicles of the King County Metro fleet feature atheist-positive messages from Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Carl Sagan. Keep your eyes peeled through Dec. 27
Seattle Marathon. On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, a dedicated crew of atheists rose before dawn to make their way to the I-90 tunnel in support of intrepid athletes participating in the Seattle Marathon. Throughout the morning, volunteers gave words of encouragement and water to tired marathoners. Every year at least a few athletes stop to get their picture taken under the Seattle Atheists banner, which encouragingly proclaims “We believe in YOU!” Many thanks go to board member Wendy, herself a marathon runner, for organizing this event!
Short-notice food drive. Many of us regularly donate non-perishable goods through the Seattle Atheists SeasonLESS Food Drive. This month, the Rainier Valley Foodbank was burglarized the week before Thanksgiving. Thank you to all those who donated items or money directly to the food bank. They received over $25k worth of food and financial help! Keep the donations coming during leaner giving months, especially after the winter holiday season, by bringing non-perishables to our Jan. 10th Membership Meeting!
Membership Meeting. The November Membership Meeting, held on the 22nd, featured a provocative presentation on honestly teaching world history in public schools. Given the climate of inclusivity fostered in today’s diverse classrooms, teachers can sometimes face dilemmas of how to approach sensitive historical topics and how they intersect with religion. The discussion also explored the issue of job security in the face of honest teaching of historical facts that frame religions and/or religious leaders in a negative light. After a break, the meeting reconvened with a town hall discussion on health care issues facing atheists.
-Ongoing and Upcoming-
Charity Gift Wrapping. As in years past, Seattle Atheists members will wrap gifts at the Downtown Seattle Borders. ALL donations collected are donated directly to Children’s Hospital. This activity helps put a positive public face on atheism at a time when some tend to think we’re out to spoil Christmas (which, of course, many of us gleefully enjoy as a non-religious time to gather with family). Contact Megan (email@example.com) if you and/or a buddy would like to volunteer (no experience necessary!) We still need volunteers for the following shifts:
Mon 12/21 Time: 11 am-3 pm (2 more needed)
Wed 12/23 Time: 11 am-3 pm (2 more needed)
Thu 12/24 Time: 11 am-3 pm (2 more needed)
On Christmas Eve alone last year, we collected $400! Please consider donating your time!
Seattle Atheists and Agnotics Meetup. Join at <http://meetup.com> to get notices about events that atheists in our area organize and attend.
Atheist Cable Access Show. Several members have formed a committee to create a cable access atheist-hosted call-in show. They are soliciting involvement of anyone interested in helping in the studio, serving as a call screener, and being a host. For more info, get in touch with Mike (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Seattle Atheists Holiday Greeting. On Saturday, December 12, about 15 Seattle Atheists members and supporters hailing from Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, and points in between gathered in the chilly morning air to plant our holiday greeting sign on the lawn in front of the state Capitol. Our sign reads: “In this holiday season, let us remember that kindness, charity and goodwill transcend belief, creed, or religion. Happy Holidays from Seattle Atheists.” A cameraman from Fox 13 showed up to take footage and interview members. Afterwards, many of us congregated for impromptu refreshments and shared fellowship at a local coffee shop.
January Membership Meeting. The next meeting will be held Sunday, January 10, 2010, 2:00 pm at the Miller Community Center, located at 330 19th Ave E in Capitol Hill. Parking is available in adjacent lots.
The meeting will feature the presentation “From Fundamentalism to Freedom” from author, artist, and activist Marc Adams. Adams has written eight books, including The Preacher’s Son and The Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing with the Religious Right. He runs the non-profit organization HeartStrong which travels around the country to religious colleges and universities to let GLBT students at these schools know there is a way out. Following Q&A with Mr. Adams, there will be a town hall discussion. The topic is: How should the atheist community react when news involves religion as motivation for atrocities? How can atheists educate the public about the dangers of religious extremism?
This venue is limited to 75 people, so arrive early. Many thanks to Humanists of Washington for co-sponsoring this event with Seattle Atheists.
In concluding this letter I’d like to extend best wishes to all for a safe and happy end to 2009 with hopes for a wonderful and exciting new year!
Secretary, Seattle Atheists
P.O. Box 283, Seattle, WA 98111