Wondering why I haven’t responded to your email in a timely manner? Hey, at least this time I have an excuse!
Last week I spent several days hosting the Humanist Clergy & Organizer Collaboratory, the second iteration of an international gathering of humanists that I co-founded in 2017. For our first Collaboratory, we focused on bringing together Ethical Culture Leaders, Unitarian Universalist ministers, and humanistic rabbis, with the hope of building relationships among those groups. And it worked! This time around we wanted to expand the guest list, focusing especially on the relationships between congregationally-based, or religious, humanism (like WES) and secular humanism (like American Humanist Association chapters, Camp Quest, and other secular groups). We also sought to amplify the voices of people of color, queer folx, and women–those who haven’t historically been centered within institutional humanist leadership. We hoped to have conversations about what we think humanism is, who “owns” humanism, how we honor humanism’s history, and what we imagine for humanism’s future. And…it worked!
But first, who is this “we” I’m talking about? The organizing team included Unitarian Universalist minister Patrice Curtis and ministerial candidate Leika Lewis Cornwell; Ethical Culture Leader Mike Franch and Leader in Training Christian Hayden; and secular organizers Diane Burkholder and Luciano Gonzalez. I said several times during the planning that if the whole Collaboratory itself was a bust, it would still be worth it for the time I got to spend learning from and working with these amazing people. Together, we crafted an agenda that focused on questions and connections, and was flexible enough to change entirely if we felt the group needed something different–a flexibility we implemented on Tuesday when we shifted to a more focused concentration on relationship building and began to imagine what “products” we hoped to create coming out of the Collaboratory.
One of those products was a conversation with WES members on Tuesday