C & W Humanists Newsletter November 2020
‘November’ by Thomas Hood
No sun — no moon!
No morn — no noon —
No dawn — no dusk — no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member —
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! —
Atherstone – Bob J and Janet W, Bedworth – Bob C, Coventry – Audrey
Kenilworth – Brian, Leamington – Blake, Nuneaton – Ken, Rugby – Alistair
Shipston – Pauline, Stratford – Jacquie, Warwick – Jane
I took the wreath to lay yesterday evening.
The wreath is the one just left of centre in the picture above.
All the best
Pauline Lucas laid a wreath at Shipston, she writes
Remembrance in Shipston-On-Stour this year was a much quieter ceremony subject to the constraints of the Pandemic. Nevertheless it was emotional, lovely, and extremely sobering. Our presence was much appreciated.
Jane Sault, Mayor’s Chaplain, wreath laying in Warwick.
Podcasts from Humanists UK
Group Treasurer Adrian high lights these brilliant Podcasts from Humanists UK
What I Believe is out now, available on all major podcast platforms! And we’ve got another star-studded line-up this season…
We’re delighted to be joined by prominent guests, such as Dan Snow, Natalie Haynes, José Gonzalez, Joan Bakewell, Leo Igwe, Hannah Peel, Christina Patterson, David Aaronovitch, Stephanie Merritt, and Adèle Anderson.
What I Believe is a unique podcast that explores the lives and the values of humanists in the public eye, giving listeners an insight into the worldviews of their favourite humanists. Season one, which launched this summer, was downloaded by tens of thousands of people in over 100 countries, from Israel to Uganda!
The reviews have been outstanding with the podcast being described as ‘rivetingly enlightening’, with a ‘sparkle of pure gold’. Listeners have praised the format of the episodes which make it ‘an easy, digestible way of delving into humanist ideas’, offering ‘multiple perspectives on… the world we inhabit.’
The first episode of season two is with Nigerian human rights advocate and humanist activist Leo Igwe. Leo speaks candidly about what he believes, touching upon humanist activism in Africa, the harms caused by religion to vulnerable people in Nigeria, and our potential as humanists to change the world.
Listen now and don’t forget to subscribe today. We hope you enjoy!
Jane Sault, ably assisted by newcomer Brian Goredema-Braid, gave an illustrated talk to year 6 at Lapworth Primary School on Thursday 5th November. Hopefully it was something for them to Remember, Remember!
Brian and Jane will be ‘performing’ again on 25th November at All Saints School, Warwick where Jane gave a talk last year. Brian will do one of the classes and Jane the other. When Brian gets a third school under his belt, he will be a fully accredited speaker.
Editor’s note – Brian GB was asked to describe his experience on the Humanists UK course, training to be a school speaker:
School Speaker – Online!!
I had been trying to get enrolled on the Humanist School Speaker programme for quite some time. For different reasons, the Training Day dates clashed with my own busy schedule (and WBA home games!!) Thankfully I so pleased to be accepted for the one-day course in Leicester on 16th May. However, as you already guessed, the coronavirus lockdown put paid to that! But, as you might guess, Humanist School Speakers are a very resolute and determined crew – and an online course was booked for September through Zoom. I am pleased to say that I successfully completed the course.
However, I now need to complete 3 sessions of school presentations before I can formally call myself a Humanist School Speaker. With lockdown still in force, I thought that it would some time before I actually delivered a presentation to a school. Step forward experienced School Speaker Jane Sault. Thankfully Jane asked me to accompany her to deliver an online session to a school in Lapworth. I admit that I was very much a Robin to her Batman (Batwoman!!) The online session was very well received by the children and their teacher. So good was this combination, that the dynamic duo have been booked to deliver two online sessions for a school in Coventry. Jane will lead the first session with me in tow – but for the second session I will be leading and Jane will be Robin!
I must say however, that I am looking to doing a ‘live’ presentation to a group of school children
Ed Note: It all sounds brilliant, thanks Jane and Brian.
A wonderful example of how we can spread the word about humanism, by getting stuck in. If we want to stop over-bearing, faith domination of civil society, putting up an alternative is necessary.
Humanists UK offers different training courses that enable us to prepare for and fill a number of roles.
As Lord Kitchener wouldn’t have said HUMANISM NEEDS YOU!
Suggestions for the newsletter are welcome, the cartoon below comes from Glyn and Heather Evans.
Especially good to hear from Glyn and Heather, we miss you!
However, now you’ve shown willing, a regular slot is reserved for you, in the Newsletter. How can you get out of that? (I’m talking to Donald).
If you pop into C & W Hum weekly zoom gathering, you will have seen some of the Art suggested by Alistair. Over the last weeks he has introduced a number of artists, some with a Humanist or Renaissance feel and some that he just likes.
This week Alistair showed us some of the work of Jennifer Balkans, contemporary artist from the USA.
Here’s one of Jennifer’s pieces. I think I’m right in saying that Alistair “likes the way she lays the paint on thick”.
Wow! He’s right. She does.
Chancellor: ‘This is a secular country’
In an interview with the BBC, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has described the UK as a secular country and explained how Christmas is a festival celebrated by everyone, of all religions or beliefs. Humanists UK has welcomed his comments, as standing in contrast to comments from previous political leaders, when advocating for divisive policies.
On Christmas, Mr Sunak said:
‘Of course this is a secular country. But Christmas is also a national time when regardless of whether you’re going to midnight Mass or to church, it’s a time when most people have time off work, we have holidays, state holidays, it is a time when everyone hangs out.
‘I mean, I’m Hindu, but I’m also equally going to be tucking in to my Christmas meal – the kids are excited about that.’
Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented:
‘The Chancellor’s comments are a very welcome breath of fresh air. He is right that the UK is a country that is shaped by pre-Christian, non-Christian, and post-Christian forces, and today has a highly diverse population. This is also reflected in how national public holidays like Christmas are celebrated with surveys showing that most people who celebrate the public holiday of Christmas are not doing so for religious reasons and are not Christians.
‘Uniquely amongst the four nations, England does still have an established Church, and there are various areas of public policy which privilege Christianity over other religions and beliefs, for example, the presence of bishops in the House of Lords, the large number of state-funded Christian schools, and the requirement to hold Christian collective worship in other state schools. But these are not reflective of the population of the UK today. These matters must be examined, to ensure our state institutions keep pace with the changed demographics.
Editor’s note: It’s strange that in this supposedly secular country of ours,families and children are forced to use faith schools. Humanists UK posts this tale from Cambridgeshire:
The Government has said it will push ahead with plans to open a Christian free school in Soham, Cambridgeshire, ignoring strong opposition from the Council and local schools. St Bede’s Inter-Church School, a mixed Church of England and Catholic school, was approved under Wave 12 of the Government’s free school programme in April 2017.
A secular country? In your dreams Chancellor
Last minute notice of Birmingham Humanists Zoom Meeting this evening:
This is to remind you of the meeting tonight, 19th November at 7.30pm, when Professor Vicki Squire from the University of Warwick will give a talk on ‘Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by boat’.
Here’s the link for joining the meeting:
Meeting ID: 835 8648 0450
I hope you can join us – if you intend to do so, it would be really helpful if you could reply to this email to let us know.
With best wishes
Carolyn Sugden, Secretary, Birmingham Humanist
Some Notable Films and TV Programmes to Look Out for This Weekend
Friday 20th November:
21.00 – BBC2: Royal History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley – This week Lucy Worsley looks at the background and the myths surrounding the October 1917 Russian Revolution. Lots of interesting dilemmas to explore here
22.30 – BBC4: Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool – Documentary profile of the jazz bandleader, horn player and innovator whose restless determination to break boundaries and live life on his own terms made him a star, but also made him difficult to live with. In music and in life. Brilliant from probably the greatest ever trumpet player. Absolute bliss
Saturday 21st November:
15.15 – Talking Pictures: King Creole – Most people’s views of Elvis Presley films are usually negative. However, before he joined the US Army, Elvis did make some good quality films with a good storyline and quality supporting artistes. King Creole is such a film and one his very, very best. Proving himself as an actor with some great songs too ‘King Creole’ and ‘You Looking for Trouble?’
16.50 – BBC2: Brief Encounter – A classic romantic drama. An icon of its time. A suburban housewife meets a married doctor by chance in a railway station waiting room. But as their feelings for each other transform from friendship into passion, both come to realise the affair is doomed to fail. Brilliant performances from Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. Excellent in every way. Repeated on Thursday on BBC4
21.00 – BBC4: The Valhalla Murders – The start of a new Scandinavian detective thriller. Ambitious detective Katrin `Kata’ Gunnarsdottir investigates the murder of an ex-drug dealer found in the old harbour area of Reykjavik, and finds that she does not have as much control of her professional life as she had planned. Icelandic crime drama, starring Nina Dogg Filippusdottir. Episode 2 is at 21.45
21.30 – BBC2: Fela Kuti: Father of Afrobeat – This will probably only appeal to the connoisseurs of African music. But this documentary of the Nigerian musician is absolutely spellbinding. The story of the influential African musician, who is remembered not only as the creator of the Afrobeat genre but also as an outspoken political revolutionary who criticised military regimes in his native Nigeria.
Sunday 22nd November:
15.10 – BBC2: The Apartment – A classic Billy Wilder Oscar winning comedy drama starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. A lowly insurance clerk tries to curry favour with his seedy manager by lending him his flat for his extramarital flings. But the clerk soon grows wise to the nastiness of corporate ethics and infidelity when his heartless boss seduces the elevator girl, whom he has always loved from afar. An outstanding film in every way – just right for a cold and wet Sunday afternoon.
21.00 – BBC1: Small Axe: Lovers Rock – If the breath-taking first episode is anything to go by, this series directed by Steve McQueen looks like it is going to be exceptionally outstanding. This week the drama focusses on the romantic reggae genre and the black young people who found freedom and love in its sound in London house parties, when they were unwelcome in white nightclubs.
22.10 – BBC2: Free State of Jones – A truly outstanding fact-based drama. In the American Civil War a Confederate soldier grows disillusioned by the rebel cause and deserts. Returning to his Mississippi home, he unites a force of struggling farmers and escaped slaves into a militia, fighting to turn their small county into an independent state, free from the rule of both sides. Starring Matthew McConaughey and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
Tuesday 24th November:
21.15 – BBC2: Industry –Drama set in the world’s most pre-eminent financial institution. This new serial got off to a very brisk pace in its first episode. It will be interesting to see if the youthful cast can main the same energy and pace. Well worth watching
Also worth noting that there are some interesting programmes on the subject of Anne Boleyn. Channel 5 has 3 separate episodes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: Arrest, Trial and Execution – presented by Tracy Borman. BBC4 however has just the one programme at 22.00 on Tuesday presented by a combination of Hilary Mantel, Philippa Gregory and David Starkey.
I still have a joke from Brian GB, which has been archived for several weeks and it was going in to this Newsletter UNTIL … I heard this on the Ronnie Scott documentary.
Man loses his dog.
Puts advert in local paper
33rd Zoom gathering next Wednesday 25th November, 7.30 start, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for an invitation
Thanks and stay safe.