Apr 21, 2014 · 7:30 PM
Twenty-five years ago Joanie and Bob Rafford teamed up with June and David Schafer to organize a chapter of the American Humanist Association in this area. We invited Fred Edwords, Executive Director of the AHA, as our first speaker. Since there were other AHA groups in Connecticut at the time, Fred suggested we call ourselves the Humanist Association of Central Connecticut, and we did. Bob provided a boilerplate model for our Bylaws, which our 21 charter members rewrote and adopted. (We’ll distribute a list of the names of those charter members at our April meeting.) We’ve held monthly meetings ever since. After a few years we became the only AHA affiliate in Connecticut, so we decided to drop the word “Central” from our name.
Rev. Dr. Robert Rafford had formerly been an ordained Congregational minister, but later, realizing he had become a Humanist, had switched to the Unitarian Universalist ministry, with Joanie’s approval. Twenty-five years ago they both worked at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, where Bob was a chaplain and Joanie was—and still is—a secretary in the Oncology department. Some years after that Bob became a professional genealogist, helping clients learn about their family heritage.
For twenty-five years the Raffords have remained among the most consistent stalwarts of our group, pitching in wherever and whenever needed. Bob has been a board member and Joanie has been a member of our Nominating Committee. Nearly every summer they have held a well-attended and much enjoyed picnic for us at their home in Middlebury, in fair and foul weather. Over the years Bob has officiated at humanist weddings and funerals of several members, most recently the wedding of two of our board members, Carol and Richard Siddall.
Bob and Joanie, with some help from Doug Peary, another charter member, have now prepared a history of a few of the highlights of the past 25 years, and will tell us at our meeting on April 21 what it has meant to them. Come help us celebrate this important milestone! We’ll share an anniversary potluck dinner and cake at 7:30 p.m., followed by the program at 8:15.