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Our Meetings

Our next meeting is on 23rd November 2008 at 11:00 in the Castletroy Park Hotel.

The last meeting was, I think successful. I would appreciate feedback from attendees about the format for our meetings.

The opening round where people spoke of their own experiences and what motivated them to become freethinkers was particularly interesting and I think we should retain it or some version of it.  There may be time constraints but I think we should try to hear from newcomers and anyone with a particular urge/need to speak.  It is a key way of offering support to each other and a very valuable outlet for people who have not have had like minded people to express themselves to before now.

Another section I think we should include is discussion of some current topic/controversy.  This could be led by someone with strong views on or an interest in the topic concerned.  For example we could discuss the church’s role in education.  This would have the added benefit of rehearsing our arguments so that if asked to explain our position in the media we would be able to do so with the fluency that practice brings.

The format for our meetings might be:

  • Opening Round
  • Speaker or Presentation + Discussion
  • Current Topic/Controversy
  • Open Forum (AKA Any Other Business)

I look forward to your comments.

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9 Responses

  1. Beer?

  2. Ok. I share most of these beliefs. nice.

  3. I’ll be honest with you… I don’t know many humanists, nor do I really know much about humanism. I’m going to go wikipedia it now.

  4. I think as the group gets more establised we might be able to have events of different types.

    For example a monthly members meeting (open to all) where we could have a format like Dr O suggests aswell as a ‘lecture’ type event where we have a guest speaker followed by beer. When we don’t have a speaker we can just have beer.

    That way people can choose to come along to the sort of event that interests them.

  5. I’m inclined to disagree with you on the ‘presentation’ front, Doc – speakers are more inclined to draw a crowd and promote attendance (from both repeat and new attendees) – rather than the promise of discussing a topic with the same group that a handful of people will likely monopolise (on that note I should hold up my hand and acknowledge that I am a verbose git and should probably let other people speak for a change).

  6. I like the format, but I think the presentation is a bit wastefull and time consuming when we could simply set an agenda and have an open discussion led by points from the Chair. I think a system like that would make it more open and accessable to everyone present.

  7. I agree with all the above, the opening comments are a good way to get to know people, at least a little bit. I think some structure is important for these meetings as it was clear from the last meeting that some people are naturally more vocal (verbose) than others – and while this is fine, it can have the effect of turning what could be a free exchange of ideas into people just listening and not contributing.

    Everyone should be encouraged to voice their opinions and thoughts, with an emphasis on brevity so that the meeting can flow, rather than becoming bogged-down on a single subject that not may not be critical to all viewpoints. It is here the structure of the meeting, or a fixed agenda, enforced! will be useful. My point i suppose, is that as a group, we only have a limited amount of time to share views, and learn from each-other and we should avoid, where-possible single issues capturing an entire meeting.

    Just my thoughts, i look forward to the next meeting.

  8. I love the idea of retaining the opening comments/introductions as I found it helped us all bond really well by understanding where each of us was coming from, and I would agree that it wouldp robably be best to reserve it for newcomers or anyone who really wanted to pipe up and add their comments. I’m also supportive of preventing the “tangent-fest” from the last meeting. I completely agree with the minutes/summary idea. Anyone want to volunteer as secretary for the time being? (not me!)

  9. I love the idea of discussing certain topics or controversies, like you said, it would provide valuable rehearsal for speaking to those seeking an excuse to dismiss us, and it’d also keep the meeting from devolving into the rabid tangent-fest that was the last!

    If we could be on top of our game and announce what the topic would be in advance of the meeting it’d make for a much more stimulating conversation.

    Also, it breaks my icy-heart to say, but I won’t be at the next meeting – any chance of a simulcast? 😛

    On a serious note, I don’t think that sticking up a minutes/summary of the meeting on the blog could ever be a bad idea.

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