It reminds me of the Time magazine article about "Atheist Sunday Schools" that I blogged on back in November 2007.
Here's the introductory part of the recent Washington Post story:
They are not religious, so they don't go to church. But they are searching for values and rituals with which to raise their children, as well as a community of like-minded people to offer support.The news story gives the following background on humanism:
Dozens of parents came together on a recent Saturday to participate in a seminar on humanist parenting and to meet others interested in organizing a kind of nonreligious congregation, complete with regular family activities and ceremonies for births and deaths.
Humanism is both a formal movement and an informal identification of people who promote values of reason, compassion and human dignity. Although most humanists are atheists, atheism is defined by what is absent -- belief in God -- and humanists emphasize a positive philosophy of ethical living for the human good.And here's the rationale behind this conference:
The seminar's organizers wanted to reach out to people like the Proctors -- first-time parents scrambling for guidance as they improvise how to raise their daughter without the religion of their childhood.Regarding the idea of re-creating a church environment (community, values, ritual) without traditional religion, the interesting thing on Hemant's blog was that two readers recommended Unitarian Universalism instead of "reinventing the wheel" for humanist parents (blog comments found here and here).
"I'm often told that when people have kids, they go back to religion," said John Figdor, a humanist master's of divinity student who helped organize the seminar. "Are we really not tending our own people?"
In fact, one reader described Unitarian Universalism as "community without the religiousness."
The news story describes this conference happening in Boston at Harvard University. Boston is the home of the Unitarian Universalist Association and Harvard University has ties to Unitarian Universalism.
I wonder if these humanist families don't know about our congregations (as unlikely as that would be in New England) or if our congregations are not meeting their family needs.
Even if these families do not want to join Unitarian Universalist congregations, I wonder if we can find ways to collaborate with humanist groups with programs like the Our Whole Lives lifespan sexuality education programs and other family support ministries that could be used by these families.