In 2016, Westwood Unitarian Congregation embarked upon a journey to be more welcoming, inclusive and respectful of those Humanists, Atheists, Agnostics and FreeThinkers. This effort was guided by the criteria for FreeThinker Friendly designation from the Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association.
We are proud to have been designated as Canada’s first Free Thinker Friendly Congregation
The program challenges us, as a Congregation to:
- Be explicit in our welcoming statements and other language that atheists, agnostics, Humanists and Free Thinker are both welcomed and respected for their beliefs.
- Discuss within our Congregation ways we both support and discourage those with these religious and non-religious outlooks.
- Offer time and place for alternate religious or non religious groups to socialize, network and learn from each other
- Reach out to the Atheist and Humanist communities in the city and the province.
To meet these goals we have been examining our language (and this website) and are sponsoring a FreeThinker Friendly Book Club. We welcome comments and suggestions for ways that we can expand our inclusiveness towards these individual and communities.
FreeThinker Book Club
As an educational component of our FreeThinker Friendly Congregation, Westwood Congregation is facilitating a monthly discussion group this fall.
The book club is designed to:
- provide participants with a broad and balanced look at the major ideas of atheism, humanism and ‘free thinking’
- provide a critical response to atheism and
- examine issues related to parenting secular children.
The book club meets in the basement of the Church on the last Wednesday evening of the month 7:00-8:30 PM. In true Unitarian tradition theists, atheists, post-theists, agnostics and the unclassified are all invited to participate in one or all book club meetings.
Recent Posts and Events relevant to our FreeThinker Friendly Program
We had a great discussion in March and were “blessed” with participation by two friends from Society of Edmonton Atheists. Hopefully we will be able to induce the SEA president Karen Kerr to talk to us on a Sunday morning next year. In line with the CUCs focus on water issues this spring, , the
Many Freethinkers (also often referred to as Humanists) have trouble with Christmas. This is not only because of excess consumption, rabid commercialization or sentimental angst. Rather we have trouble getting over the distinctive “Christian narrative” that for some makes “Jesus the (only!) Reason for the Season”. This severely limited view of the annual celebration completely
Westwood Freethinkers’ Book Club Trigger Questions. Nov. 2018 Nov. 28, 2018 Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker (below from Amazon, the publicist and retailer!) If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our
Coming off a record breaking attendance at October’s meeting – 14 people, The Free Thinker Book club next discusses Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now. For those who’d rather listen than read, the audio book can be borrowed from the library or there are numerous videos on YouTube in which Pinker talks about the Enlightenment 7:00 PM,
The FreeThinker Book club meets in the basement of the Westwood Unitarian Church at 7:00 PM on the last Wednesday of the month from Oct-March. The format varies but typically begins with a round table check-in and first reactions to the book. This is followed by a free ranging discussion, triggered by questions from other
Another celebration of our community – hold the date May 27th! May 27th, 2018 from 12-2 p.m. we will hold our Annual General Meeting. We will also be celebrating 10 years with Rev. Anne, our Free Thinker certification thanks to Terry Anderson, and The Spirit of Truth with the children. Keep your eyes open