Humanism is a positive philosophy with much emphasis on actively taking part in society and culture in order to better the world for everyone. There are many ways in which humanists get involved in their local community and give their time voluntarily to charities and other good causes.
Working in the community
Many of our members are very active at a local level. There are many different roles which people play to support others in their community as well as participating in local democracy. For example:
Some humanists volunteer to visit, listen to, and talk with non-religious people in hospitals, prisons and universities alongside the Chaplaincy teams of those organisations. They offer support and a listening service to people who do not wish to go to religious individuals in times of need.
‘Inter Faith’ Work
There is much discussion about the place of humanists in work considered ‘inter faith.’ Humanism is not a ‘faith’ but can share certain concerns and issues with religious groups. The BHA believes that working together can help to build bridges and work to break down barriers across communities which can lead to conflict. By working on initiatives that are inclusive humanists help to add to social cohesion. For this reason, some inter faith groups have a humanist representative. However, some inter faith groups and forums do not welcome humanists as members or have constitutions or terms of reference which speak directly of God or gods making humanist involvement inappropriate. Others may not even have thought of including humanists in their work. Despite this, where this work is undertaken it is often very valuable.
The BHA welcomes the opportunities offered by participation in interfaith organisations and does its best to find volunteers to take up local invitations. Experiences in these groups vary and a couple ofcontrasting experiences are given here.
Some of our members give up their free time to go into schools and sixth forms to give talks about Humanism. They run assemblies or give talks to classes to help young people understand the non-religious worldview on important issues ranging from life after death to the foundations of morality. They also speak about their personal views and why Humanism is important to them.
Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education (SACRE)
Members who are involved in Education sometimes represent Humanism on these local authority bodies. Find out more about humanist work on SACRES by emailing us.
Human groups are run by dedicated volunteers who sit on committees. They take on various roles within the group to keep it running smoothly and to support membership. Groups do various sorts of work in their local community including taking part in community events and organising discussions and trips. More information about local groups.
Local Development Volunteers
Local Development Volunteers are members of the BHA who have volunteered to work closely with their local authority. They work with the local structures dealing with diversity and equality and any projects dealing with social cohesion. In some cases it may not be appropriate to be a full member but being an advisor, contact point or observer could also be valuable. The work usually includes meetings within their locality, being a representative on committees and being a contact point for local consultations. Find out more about the Local Development Project.
Some humanists also contribute to society through their work as celebrants, helping the non-religious to mark important occasions in their lives in humanist ceremonies for baby namings, weddings, civil partnerships and funerals.