Almost a year ago, Sarah and i started a humanist social group in Winchester. We meet monthly in a wine bar, on a sunday morning, for breakfast and coffee, and stimulating conversation.
I always look forward to the group: i’ve made some really good friends, and we go out for other social occasions outside of the monthly group. It has really replaced the sense of community that i felt i was lacking after leaving the church.
Today i felt very proud of what it is becoming. Fifteen people turned up today. That was twelve adults, two children and a baby. We had some really good intellectual and personal conversations, and a fairly intense debate about the meaning of marriage outside of a religious context: why people choose to get married and what they understand of it, and how the state should recognise relationships.
Some people were there for the first time today and got talking to each other and very clearly benefitted from the conversation they had. One person had only recently started openly admitting their non-belief, and there was such a sense of support and encouragement among people who understood and could relate to similar experiences.
I feel proud. Not because i made it happen. All i did was help set off something that has grown into a place where these things can happen naturally. Everyone today expressed their gratitude that the group exists. I am delighted that people bring their kids, and it has such a friendly welcoming atmosphere.
We are part of the South Hampshire Humanists: southhamps.humanist.org.uk