Past Events

For Book Club selections, click here.

Past Meeting Topics


January                            Secular Options for End-of-Life…Vaughn Seavolt, Life Story Funeral Home

February                            Darwin’s Theory of Evolution…Greg LaCross, Northwestern Michigan College

March                            Local and Global Reproductive Issues…Janna Deering, Planned Parenthood

April                            Invasive Species in Grand Traverse Bay…Christine Crissman, Inland Seas

May                            Creationism’s Trojan Horse…Barbara Forrest (video…Eric Berling cancellation)

June                            Evolutionary Biology and Genetics…Christian Orlic, Michigan State University

July                            Evolution and Morality…Eric Berling, Michigan State University

August                            Constructing a Humanist Morality…Roy Speckhardt, executive director, AHA

September                            Gabriel said ‘Wamb:’ My Journey to Humanism…Mark Gustafson, retired prof.

October                            Roundtable: Individuals’ Journeys to Humanism

November                            Highlights from the AHA Conference…Larry Dean, GTH member

December                            Green Burial (Conservation Cemeteries)…Kimberli Bindschatel



January                            Global Freshwater Issues…Carl Ganter, Circle of Blue

February                            Adult Vaccination…Dr. Karen Spiers, Munson Medical Center

March                            Domestic Violence…Valerie Kirn-Duensing, Women’s Resource Center

April                            Community Sustainability and Resiliance…Dave Barrons, retired broadcaster

May                            Roundtable: Being a Humanist in a Religious Society

June                            Secular Treatment Options for Addiction Recovery…Doug Moser, Munson MC

July                            Humanism, Film, and the Grail…Mark Gustafson, retired professor

August                            Turning Sewage into Water…Scott Blair, Traverse City Wastewater Treatment

September                            Science and Morality, Sam Harris TED lectures (video…Dan Scripps cancellation)

October                            Critical Thinking: An Unnatural Act?…Dave Terrell, retired NMC professor

November                            Roundtable: Skeptics Night, Michael Shermer and James Randi TED lectures

December                            End of Life: the Humanist View…Linda Wasielewski, attorney & Vaughn Seavolt



January                            Eastern Religions: What do 2.8 Billion People Believe?…David Bunce, educator

February                            Roundtable: The ‘Collins Effect’ (discussion of Francis Collins as head of NIH)

March                            Women’s History Project of NW Michigan…Kathy Houston and Nancy Bordine

April                            Dare to Be Radical…Dean Robb, attorney

May                            Afghanistan, Libya, and the Greater Middle East: America’s Changing

                           Relationship to the Islamic World…Jack Segal, former political advisor to the

                           commander of NATO

June                            Galapagos, Darwin, and Evolution…Mark Elliott, GTH member

July                            Can We Be Good Without God? A Discussion of Three Films…Mark Gustafson

August                            Sleeping Bear Dunes…Kerry Kelly, Chairman of Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes

September                            Roundtable: What’s in a Name?(Humanist, atheist, agnostic, freethinker…)

September 26                           Peter Popoff and his Television Miracles…Jim Skinner, history professor

October                            Secular Allies…Kendal Taylor, Petoskey’s Freedom From Religion Foundation

November                            Roundtable: Current Issues in the Separation of Church and State

December                            End of Life: Munson Hospice…Kristin Harrison and Patty Amalfitano



January                            Campaign Communications and the Media…Stephen Tuttle, columnist

January 30                           Antarctica…Bo Clampitt, explorer

February                            Roundtable: Humor in Humanism

March                            Women of Humanism…GTH members DeAnna, Mary, Kieran, Gail, Jennifer

April                            Global Freshwater Studies Program…Constanza Hazelwood & Hans Van Sumeren, NMC

April 30                           Filling out our End of Life Notebooks…Kimberli Bindschatel & Larry Dean

May                            Report on the Reason Rally and AA Convention…Heather and Scott, GTH members

June                            Roundtable: The Face of the Secular Movement

July                            Working with What Is…Mission of Humanism…Suzanne Paul, UU minister

July 30                             Celebration of the Arts…GTH members

August                            You Are What You Breathe: The Biology of Air Pollution…Dr. Robert Brook, U Mich

September                            Israel and Nuclear Iran…Jack Segal, NATO advisor

October                            The Danger of Relativism in Reason…Mella McCormick and Chris Kuchuris, NMC

November                            Roundtable: “Election Dissection”…How do the election results affect Humanists?

December                            GTH Fifth Anniversary…State of the Humanists



January                            Ernest Hemingway’s Search for Truth and Affirmation…Ken Marek, retired professor

February                            The Science of Evolution…Greg LaCross, biology professor, NMC

March                            Atheism 2.0…TED talk by Alain de Botton (video: Chava Bahle cancellation)

April                            No Santa, No Tooth Fairy, No God: The Need to Challenge Faith in America…author Michael Spry

May                            E.E. Barnard: A Lifetime of Astrophotography…physicist Jerry Dobek

June                            Everything You Always Wanted to Know from a Rabbi…Rabbi Chava Bahle

July                            Past, Present, and Future of the State Theatre…John Robert Williams, co-founder of TC Film Festival

July 29                            The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide…Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist

August                            Highlights of the 50th Anniversary American Atheists Convention…GTH Board members

September                            Special viewing and discussion of film God Loves Uganda

October 11                            Hope After Faith: An Ex-Pastor’s Journey from Belief to Atheism…Jerry DeWitt

October                              Great Lakes Water Levels…Hans Van Sumeren

November                            Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and GT Conservation District…land conservancy

December                            LGBT in TC…round table discussion



January               The Art and Soul of Local, Sustainable Cuisine…Eric Patterson

February               Does Religion Make People Better?…Jeremy Beahan of CFI Michigan

March               The Evolution of Morality: Fact and Fiction…Chris Kuchuris & Mella McCormick, NMC

April               Walk This Way…TART Trails and Michigan Land Use Institute

May               Judicial and Governmental Reform…Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Elizabeth Weaver

June               The Writing Life…Robert Downes, founder of Northern Express

July               Winemaking in the Grand Traverse Area…Larry Mawby, vintnor

August               Sierra Club….Rebecca Skeels

September               Handling Non-Critical Thinking with Friends, Family, and Community…roundtable

October               TED talks and discussion…Hans Rosling, Steven Pinker, Jonathan Haidt

November               Devil in the Woods: The Demonization of Fire in our Culture…Jed Jaworski

December               Justice: The Endless Pursuit…Isiah Smith, retired Deputy Assistant General Counsel



January               Water’s Future…Carl Ganter, founder and director of Circle of Blue

February               What’s Wrong with the Middle East?…Jack Segal, former NATO advisor

March               Rehab: Then and Now…Doug Moser, addiction counselor

April               Carbon Fee and Dividend Legislation…Lisa Del Buono of Citizens Climate Lobby

May               Roundtable…Our Secular Community

June               Bad Biology: How Adaptationist Thinking Corrupts Science…PZ Myers

July               Field Trip to the Rogers Observatory…Bob Moler of Grand Traverse Astronomical Society

August               Humanism in the Movies…Mark Gustafson, retired NMC professor

September               Aid in Dying: The Ultimate Human Right…Ed Gogol of Final Options Illinois

October               Who Watches the Watchers? Humanism and Star Trek…Craig Olsen

November               How the Media Controls and Shrinks Our Identity…Mella McCormick, NMC professor

December               Sending Love into the Universe: The Healing Power of Music…Jeff Haas


January               Raptors…Rebecca Lessard, founder and director of Wings of Wonder

February               Planned Parenthood…Carrie Ullery-Smith, education specialist

March               Roundtable: Justice and Redemption…TED talks by Bryan Stevenson, Shaka Senghor

April               Healthy Eating: Rethinking your Plate…Ali Lopez, chef

May               Naneek documentary viewing and discussion…Tim Keenan of Veterans for Peace

June               Reason Rally and 75th AHA Conference Highlights…conference attendees

July             Enduring the Extremes...Cara Ocobock, Grand Valley State University professor

August             “1971” documentary viewing and discussion…John and Bonnie Raines, activists

September   Roundtable: Communication…TED talks by Monica Lewinsky, Celeste Headlee, Sally Kohn

October               Neuroscience and Humanism…Mark Reimers, MSU professor (via Google Hangouts)

November               Homelessness in TC…Mike McDonald of Safe Harbor and Karen

December               Pollinators…Cyndie Bobier-Roach of the Butterfly House and Bug Zoo