Introducing our group

A welcome from our committee: Hannah, Rachel, Sarah and Steve (January 2022).

We aim to provide an open, friendly, and welcoming environment for people who share a humanist worldview, and for those who believe that you can live a good and meaningful life without the need of a god. After all, humanists are people who get involved and make a difference, but also find strength in our solidarity with each other.

We hope you would gain stimulation, friendship and support from our group should you decide to join or support us, just as we would be strengthened by your contribution. Please read on to find out more. Be assured you don’t need to ‘be’ a humanist to come along to one of our gatherings, whether that’s in person or online, and no one will try to ‘convert’ you. In other words, please feel free to join us to find out more: we can promise a warm welcome.

The basics

We are a local partner group of Humanists UK and an affiliate member of the National Secular Society. The group is run by a volunteer committee which is appointed at our AGM each February and our aims are laid out in more detail in our constitution.

Our group has been around in various forms since 1965 and we’ve had a number of names in that time. We changed from Cotswolds Humanists to Gloucestershire Humanists (GlosHums) in November 2014. 

We represent atheist, humanist and secularist people in the area and provide a a forum for local humanists to meet, develop our knowledge and thinking and create a humanist community.

We act in our area to promote and increase the understanding of humanism as a positive worldview and seek to provide a balance to religious groups’ influence in local affairs. 

Through our meetings and activities we value the opportunity to meet regularly with like-minded people both to socialise and to explore topics of interest. 

Introducing ourselves

Since humanists tend to be free-thinkers and independent spirits, generalising about the group isn’t easy but here goes:

We are individuals who endeavour to lead good lives without religion and are fundamentally optimistic about the way humans can live together co-operatively.

Many of our members live in or around Cheltenham, where we hold most of our meetings (at least when we’re not online) though we also have members from across Gloucestershire and a few from neighbouring counties. 

Our members vary in age and come from a wide range of backgrounds with different professional as well as personal experiences. Some of us are lifelong humanists whilst others have only recently identified themselves as such. 

We do not always share the same opinions: after all, no stance on any issue is prescribed from ‘on high’. So while most members and supporters enjoy a good discussion, we also value that we share a common methodology as we seek to enhance the quality of our lives using reason and empathy and understanding the natural world according to the scientific method.

What we do

Since the initial lockdown in March 2020, we have largely met as a group through online talks on Zoom as well as fortnightly ‘breakfast’ catch-ups and virtual book club. In this most difficult time, offering community, camaraderie, and companionship have been especially important to us. 

As a group we are involved in a variety of activities: you can read more here. Individually we are involved with all sorts of voluntary work with members also actively engaged in the county’s cultural scene