Category: Diary

Midsummer Social

Summer food, summer music and conversation in summery Suffolk, near Hadleigh. It’s a bring-a-plate tea – everyone brings a plate of food to share. Ask what’s needed.

Members and invited guests only. If you want an invite, email us.

Members, please email anyway ASAP to let us know you’re coming.

We don’t do gurus

feng shui crystalsI’ve met quite a few people I’ve come to think of as ‘seekers’. They’re religious people without a religion. They may try out various religions or sects, rejecting each one in turn when they fail to come up to expectations. We even had a C of E rector in our village who’d done this – he’d tried various denominations. The last I heard of him, he was doing missionary work in Africa. Poor Africans.

A woman who contacted me about joining our Humanist group was keen on crystals. She clutched them, apparently, because they did something or other to calm her. I’m afraid she lost interest in joining the group when I commented that I didn’t think that clutching crystals was any more likely to benefit me than clutching a pair of wellies. Stroking the cat’s a different matter; there is evidence that cat stroking (or stroking any furry pet) lowers your blood pressure. As my blood pressure is already very low (an effect of ME), I have to ration my cat stroking for fear of going comatose. Being stroked by someone you love is quite nice too!

The youth of today, eh?

THE Church of England has debunked the widely held view that young people are spiritual seekers on a journey to find transcendent truths to fill the “God-shaped hole” within them.

A report published by the Church today indicates that young people are quite happy with a life without God and prefer car boot sales to church.

If they think about church at all, the images young people come up with are “cardigans”, “sandals and socks”, “corrupt”, “traditionalist” and “stagnant”.

Link: Church seeks spirituality of youth . . . and doesn’t like what it finds – Britain – Times Online


CloudsI’ve been trying to avoid joining things because I’m already a member of too many organisations to give them all the attention they probably deserve. By joining an organisation you might feel obliged to participate in some way, so if you don’t, you feel guilty. However, I’ve recently joined an organisation that won’t make me feel guilty because I’m already doing what it stands for, every day. I’ve joined the Cloud Appreciation Society.
All that being a member of the society involves is appreciating the beauty of clouds and rejecting what its founder, Gavin Pretor-Pinney, calls ‘blue sky thinking’. In a previous thought for the day, I’ve spoken about my irritation with weather forecasters who apologise for wet weather. What is there to apologise for? And isn’t an unbroken blue sky boring?

Suffolk College’s Christian Civic Celebration

Suffolk College affirms that minority ethnic individuals are entitled to the same equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities as the majority population. This is outlined within the College’s Equal Opportunities Policy. The College strives to ensure that, whatever the heritage and origins of members of the College community, everyone is equally valued and treats one another with respect.
This policy serves to remind us all that diversity in our society is a strength and we must ensure equality and equity having regard to issues of gender, age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and culture.

Link: Suffolk College

The above is from the college’s Racial Equality Policy, yet the college’s Civic Celebration of Community will be a Christian service, not a religiously neutral secular ceremony. I’ve had an invitation from Prof. Dave Muller, Principal of Suffolk College, to the event on 9th June. The covering letter begins,

I am delighted to enclose for you an invitation to attend the above event on Friday 9 June 2006 at 1200 noon at St Mary le Tower Church, Ipswich. This Christian service is being held in collaboration with Ipswich Borough Council and St Mary le Tower Church, and is celebrating the involvement of the college with the local community.

Last year, as a representative of Suffolk Humanists, I wrote to decline the invitation, pointing out that Ipswich’s community is diverse and that the college isn’t a religious institution, so why have a Christian service?

Alan Johnson MP – The new Education Secretary

Link: Biography – Alan Johnson MP – Labour MP for Kingston Upon Hull West and Hessle

Having lost nearly 300 local council seats in yesterday’s elections, Blair has shuffled his cabinet and Alan Johnson’s in charge of education. Will he be a better Education Secretary than the very religious Ruth Kelly? Will it make a difference to the faith schools issue? Probably not. Johnson voted against a rebel amendment requiring faith schools to take 25% of their pupils from ‘other backgrounds’, which doesn’t bode well. I can’t find anything online about his personal religious background – can anyone provide any info on this?

Humanism in America

From all we hear about Christianity in America – creationism, intolerance, ignorance and so on – it appears to be devoid of rational Humanism. Not so. Among others, there’s a local Humanist group in the Greater Sacramento area, California. HAGSA’s President and newsletter editor is Bill Potts, who was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire. Bill says he didn’t discover Humanism until 1963, while he was living and working in Canada. He recently joined the BHA and takes a keen interest in British Humanism. We exchange newsletters with HAGSA. You can download their latest in PDF format.