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Atheists Etcetera Message Board › Meeting to discuss growth opportunities

Meeting to discuss growth opportunities

Carmel, IN
Dear Organizers and Atheists Etc members,

Good evening!  I would like to schedule a meeting to discuss everyone's ideas for growing our group on the north side of Indianapolis.  I spoke with a few of you about the long term prospects for our mission and possibly buying a foreclosed church.

A few challenges that come to mind are growing number of members and venues to meet, direction of the group, negative stigma of Atheists in the community, formation of 501(c)3 and I hope you'll have many more.  One philosophy I try to follow as often as possible is to "Begin with the end in mind."  I think if we can collectively come up with a mission statement and direction for the group that will help us avoid problems in the future.  Up until now, this group has mainly been only for social purpose only with an occasional opportunity to help the community.  As we continue to grow we will need to think about meeting the challenges that come with growth.   I'm excited that we've been able to grow our numbers in such a conservative area of the U.S. and look forward to finding ways to better serve the community in which we live and keep the social aspect intricate to the group.  Please leave comments as to what day and time works best for everyone and also additional topics for discussion.


Ellen T.
user 46495552
Indianapolis, IN
Post #: 1
I'm very interested and no time is better or worse for me.

I really like everything you mentioned! I often get upset at the tone the local newspaper (Fishers Current) takes with respect to non-believers. I wonder if there is an opportunity to do something in there (they have a pastor that submits something every few weeks - I wonder if we could do something too).

Having our own building would be awesome, and I would LOVE if some activities could include kids.

What about renting space somewhere (I know there's a church around here that's been renting a local public school for Sunday services - I bet we could rent some space at a local public school too) as an experiment to see if we could get enough people donating enough money to sustain a mortgage payment? If we rent a space and do pitch-ins or (cheap) catering (or just snacks, or no food), we'd still probably save everyone that came some money, so maybe donations wouldn't be hard to arrange.

With a little structure, we could do food/clothing/etc drives in addition to going out and doing community service, to help fight the negative view that much of the community holds against atheists.
Mc Cordsville, IN
Post #: 10
Hi Ryan,

I hope you are doing well!

While I appreciate your enthusiasm and ideas, I have to say that neither Paul nor I are really interested in anything more than AE as a social group . We both have other interests in our lives and don't want to be committed to anything that is more formal and certainly not anything that requires the upkeep of a building other than our home.

I can't speak for the other members of AE, but I get the sense that most of the regular attendees enjoy the social aspect of the group and we usually make sure that new people know that if they want more than a social group that they should probably get involved with CFI downtown.

I wish you well in your endeavors but I think you can count Paul and me out on this one.

Josh W.
user 3742504
Indianapolis, IN
Post #: 18
I first got involved in the atheist community in FL in 2006, where there is a thriving social and activist community, often facilitated by the same local group.

I'm interested in activism, and in my chats with other AE members, I'd estimate that 25-33% have at least some degree of interest in activism as well.

Here's another twist:

My friend Ken Loukinen is the National Director of State/Regional Operations at American Atheists ( Recently he told me that he needs a State Director for Indiana. Below is a paraphrase of what he told me in chat.

I need an activist State Director for Indiana.

It is a volunteer position, but I am looking for activists, someone that pays attention and starts actions on Separation Of Church And State (SOCAS) issues.

Also that represents American Atheists (AA) to our affiliate groups and friends.

A director would be aware of a SOCAS issue, and take effective steps to correct it. First, a polite letter. Depending on the response and issue we could protest, organize a rally or file suit. But we are professional, we follow the law.

But ultimately, a State Director would organize one or two protests for a local group, teaching them how to do it. Then we alert and urge them to protest issues with our support.

We can also help after we train by advertising, bringing in speakers, making contacts with other national speakers, bring regional conferences in.

I would say a busy State Director gives about 10 hours a month... but that is real tough to say, some states are bigger and some are just.... backwards, like most of FL.

Josh W.
user 3742504
Indianapolis, IN
Post #: 19
After rereading your message, it, looks like maybe I jumped to a bad conclusion that you were alluding to activism. Either way, I'm curious!
user 10966059
Indianapolis, IN
Post #: 42

It's an interesting idea and I'd bet there be plenty of people interested. It may not be necessary for for AE to become a 501(c)3 or a stand alone activist group. It may make more sense to affiliate with an existing group, like CFI or American Atheist. Maybe the group would branch into a social side and community activity side.

If we do anything, I wouldn't want it to interfere with the current social aspects of the group.

Anytime for a meetup would be good for me, with enough notice.

Carmel, IN
Post #: 60
I am alluding to the future of the group in general. Where we're headed, what do we stand for(even if that's just social), buying a location(if at all) and some sort of mission statement(if at all). Many of you have emailed me different ideas and that's great but I'd just like to meet to discuss everyone's ideas and interests for the future of the group in general. I feel like we have 358 members now and I don't have any medium to encourage feedback and I would like some. I would like to know what everyone thinks. We have so many people now(most of whom don't participate) and I know everyone has different interests and concerns in addition to myself. I would like to listen to them and work to achieve goals based on the feedback we receive.
@Ellen and Josh These are great ideas to bring to the group. When is the best time for you to meet?
@Stephanie I couldn't be doing better. Our 4 month old baby is healthy and our home is coming along from the 1960's furnishings. I understand that many of you wish to keep the social aspect of the group and I don't wish to infringe on that at all. My concern for the social is the outgrowth of venues that we are meeting.
Right now I'm thinking the normal Sunday brunch will probably be the best time to discuss. Although, I don't know where we could meet if we have a large turnout? Any suggestions? Perhaps the IMAX in Noblesville?

Rick T
Carmel, IN
Post #: 94
Well we'll worry about that when that happens. We haven't gone over 30 yet. And really Ryan the Sunday brunch isn't really the main group Wed night is when most people come. Not to say I haven't thought about it. The movie theater if we can get a room might be an option. But the only thing will be will people go to Noblesville? I don't know.? Its something to keep in mind though. Attendance seems to drop off the further north we go. But already this week we have 24 people coming. I have reservations for 20 see if that can't get us more seats I'll call the restaurant
Carmel, IN
Post #: 61
I doubt people will come to Noblesville through the week but maybe on Sunday. I think members like your Wednesday dinner night just fine like it is. What will we do when it's gets too big for restaurants?
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