Monthly "Scheduled Topic" Forum
The Forums are free and open to the public and all are welcome: humanists, freethinkers, agnostics, skeptics, atheists, and of course, those who are just curious. It is not necessary to be a member to attend. The format and schedule have evolved during the first five years. Because of its popularity forty to fifty people now regularly attend.
The forum topic is announced prior to the meeting. The subject matter is wide and varied. The topic is given a formal introduction and pertinent questions are proposed. An open discussion follows, moderated by the President. The moderator insures that all have an opportunity to speak and that the discussion stays "on topic."
The goal is to create informative, provocative, and unique programs that help to explore the great questions of life through the lens of Humanism. Members are encouraged to submit Forum topics for consideration. Many guest speakers are nationally known authors or scientists. Virtually any topic is allowed as long as the discourse remains civil. The discussions are lively and spirited...and often humorous. All are invited to participate in the Q&A, but many prefer to simply listen. Often those attending will continue the discussion after the Forum over a meal or coffee.
We currently have over sixty members and hope this is an indication that our organization will continue to grow in the future. It is not necessary, though, to become a member to attend most RBH events. All are welcome and we see many familiar faces of those non-members who attend frequently.
A Humanist Salon is presented a couple of times a year. It's a potluck party where we hope to replicate the spirit of a classical French Salon. There is food, drink, music, and conversation of the Humanist kind. We usually have a topic for discussion…that we get to later in the evening. The following quotes give you some idea of the goal of a Salon:
"What if conversations we had with one another went beneath the surface, made our hearts beat a little faster, brought us to life? What if we could have those conversations with our feet up, a warm plate of gourmet food on our lap, and a glass of wine in our hand?"
"A special, serious kind of fun is what salons are finally all about -- which is why it is so hard to capture their spirit. For unlike literature, fun leaves no traces. There is no archaeology of camaraderie."
"The glory, and pathos, of salons... is renewed every time people gather together to engage in that simplest, most difficult, most human of rituals: good conversation."
A few of us get together to have drinks and solve all of the worlds problems - at least temporarily - on the last Thursday of each month. Currently we meet from 8 to 10 P.M. at the Oyster Point Hotel, in Red Bank.
Red Bank Humanists has held monthly meetings since November 9, 2003. A survey was presented at our meeting on February 8, 2004, to gather information about potential members and their interests. It provided much useful information about those who have been participating in the meetings, including their suggestions for meeting topics and an indication of their intended level of participation in the group. A leadership committee was established on April 4, 2004, consisting of: Joe Krimko, Lisa Ridge, Tim Ridge, Eric Seldner, Ron Steelman, Ivan Steinberg, and Tim Zebo. An organizational plan was discussed for the creation of a legal entity to be known as Red Bank Humanists, Inc. Those assembled agreed:
Ron Steelman is to serve as the Interim President.
The group will establish itself as a not-for-profit organization and file for status as a 501c3 educational entity in compliance with the I.R.S. This will enable the organization to accept tax-deductible contributions.
Those present volunteered to serve as the “Leadership Committee” and to assist the Interim President in his planning of the monthly meetings, oversight of organizational funds, helping to publicize meetings and to communicate with members, and to promote membership in the organization.
RBH will seek mutually beneficial affiliations with New Jersey Humanists Network, Council for Secular Humanism, American Humanist Association, and Center for Inquiry.