As a Unitarian Universalist parish minister, I have been closely involved with Humanism and Humanists in all aspects of church life for nineteen years. I will reflect on my experience of humanism—both positive and negative—in four separate churches and in the wider denomination. Humanism has greatly influenced my own theological perspective and the ways I minister to people. There will be plenty of time for your questions and dialog.
About the Speaker
Rev. Howard N. Dana has been the Senior Minister at First Parish in Concord, Massachusetts (Unitarian Universalist) since August 2013. Prior to his settlement in Concord, Rev. Dana was minister at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for 13 years.
Originally from a family-run cattle ranch in Montana, Rev. Dana found his way to Unitarian Universalism after college when he moved from Bozeman, Montana to Portland, Oregon. His experience at First Unitarian Church of Portland rekindled a long-felt call to ministry, sending him to seminary at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, California, in 1995.
Rev. Dana has served on the Joseph Priestley District Board, as a Ministerial Settlement Representative for the UUA, as a UUMA chapter president, and on the Ministerial Fellowship Committee. He is currently President of the Senior Ministers of Large UU Congregations (SMOLUUC). In his off hours, Rev. Dana likes to kayak, contra dance, bike, paint, travel, garden, and cook.
Our First Wednesday Dialog series brings in outside speakers to share interesting topics related to Humanism -- kind of like Ted Talk. We socialize and enjoy refreshments until about 7:15, at which point the speakers presents for as long as they choose, usually until 8:00 or so. At this point we pass the mic around and have a group discussion about the topic. When the discussion wraps up, we continue with more refreshments and socializing until around 9:00 when all attendees are welcome to join our open steering committee meeting.
We take donations at the door to cover the cost of the meeting ($5 is suggested). Half of the donations (after we pay the rent) are given as an honorarium to the speaker with a $25 minimum. All regular attendees are encouraged to bring refreshments to share.
Note that we have a large mailing list outside of Meetup.com so the RSVP numbers are generally much lower than the actual attendance.