September 2017



Join The Conversation

Secular Conversations —(public welcome) freethinkers participate in respectful dialogue sharing ideas and opinions on a variety of subjects. Videos, essays, participant and guest speakers provide topics at 2:00 pm on the third Saturday each month at Cypress Hall, 8413 SW 80th Street Ocala.

This Month



September 16th: 2PM – 4 PM What You Always Wanted to Know About Trans People But Had No One to Ask

Instructors:  J Sumerau, Robyn Kelly

Transgender issues have been emerging in recent years and creating much controversy in different parts of the US and the world.  Listen and discuss what these experts have to say about:

  • The nature of transgender identity
  • Issues that transgender people face in modern society, including

-Personal evolution as a transgender person

-Challenges faced in the process of coming to terms with a new identity 

-Use of public places like bathrooms, and acceptance or rejection in different social settings

-Problems faced by transgender individuals when accessing medical care

-The public’s perception of transgender individuals and the impact of these perceptions

  • The future of transgender identity as our society becomes more pluralistic

Drawing on experience and scholarship, Dr. Sumerau and Ms. Kelly will discuss everyday experience as well as historical, religious, and scientific considerations transgender people face in contemporary American society.  

Bios:  J.E. Sumerau, Ph.D., is a teacher, researcher, and novelist specializing in intersections of gender, sexualities, religion, and health who has published in over 40 scientific journals and edited collections, and regularly contributes to scholarly and political discussions on Write Where It Hurts and Conditionally Accepted at Inside Higher Ed.  They are also the author of the non-binary, bisexual coming of age novel Cigarettes & Wine, an Assistant Professor of Sociology, and the Director of Applied Sociology at the University of Tampa.   

Robyn Kelly, MS in Human Relations, retired from 30+ years of Government service specializing in systems analysis for Air Force Intelligence operations, Naval recruit education and Army simulation contract management.  Robyn has spent several years as a group counselor/facilitator.  She assisted in establishing Gender Identity in Florida Today in Orange County and served on its board of directors.  Robyn established the Triangle Interweave web site and has served as the secretary of the Board of the Interweave Chapter in Lake County.  She regularly speaks on conditions faced by members of the transgender community and answers questions on LGBTQ issues.

 November 18 2 PM – 4 PM Jesus Without God                                                               

Instructor:  Rod Broker

Jesus without God? Impossible! you may say. Christian writings indicate that Jesus of Nazareth had a deep and personal sense of the imminence of God, to the point of naming this Presence, “Abba/Father,” and often directing his listeners’ attention to “the kingdom of God.” All this “God talk” from Jesus has led some to dismiss everything related to his life and message.

But what if we considered “Jesus without God”? What if we put aside the jargon of Jesus and listened to him within his historical context? What was going on in the very small world of Jesus that might have motivated him? What was the social, economic, political and religio-philosophical context of Nazareth that might have shaped his message? And why might “Jesus without God” still matter to many believers and non-believers alike?

This presentation is designed — not to turn Humanists into Christians, but — to show that one need not necessarily give up completely on their Christian cultural heritage in order to follow a more rational, compelling and naturalistic system of thought. Indeed, the values of Humanism will be confirmed by this look into the historical context of Jesus in all the ways that matter most.

Bio:  Rod Broker is a retired Christian pastor with an undergrad degree from Valparaiso University, and graduate degrees from the University of Alabama and Christ Seminary. Rod is a current Member and former Officer of the Humanists of North Central Florida, and continues to serve as Littler Pickup “Poobah”, and Coordinator of Secular Friends at Home.

December 18 2 PM – 4 PM To Begin the World Over Again: The Life of Thomas Paine


 Freethinkers Everywhere!

To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine
A remarkable and entertaining way to see the American Revolution, the French

Revolution and the Age of Reason through the eyes of the most misunderstood     figure of

          the time, the visionary thinker, and Deist, Thomas Paine.



Secular Friends at Home 

Secular Friends at Home is the name of our
monthly gatherings for Members-Only
on Fourth Tuesdays throughout the year.
Host locations are now being accepted
from HNCFL Members who wish to host either
12:00nn Lunch or a 6:00pm Dinner
on September 26 or October 24.
Host in your home or favorite restaurant.
You make the meal arrangements.
Four to eight other Members sign up to join you.
Good food and conversation builds friendships.
if you have questions or want to Host.

Secular Tables

HNCFL members and friends come together to enjoy conversation over lunch. Held monthly on the first Wednesday at 11:30 AM at a variety of restaurants. We welcome suggestions and input regarding where you would like to meet.

Seating is not prearranged nor tables pushed together preferring instead to have smaller groups at separate tables for easier communication.

September 6, 11:30 AM
Ayuttaya Thai Cuisine
2437 SW 27th Avenue, 34471
RSVP by Sept. 1 to

 For the Right Reason

Save the Date

November 13th is the date for a visit by Herb Silverman, founder and president emeritus of the Secular Coalition for America; founder of the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry in Charleston, South Carolina; and founder and former faculty advisor to the College of Charleston student Atheist/Humanist Alliance. He is a board member of the American Humanist Association; advisory board member of the Secular Student Alliance; and an “On Faith” blogger for the Washington Post online. 

Herb has appeared in a number of debates on topics that include: Can we be moral without God? Does God exist? Is America a Christian nation? He has also debated at the Oxford Union at Oxford University in England on the topic, Does American religion undermine American values? 

After an eight-year legal battle, Herb won a unanimous decision in South Carolina’s Supreme Court, nullifying the state’s religious test requirement to hold public office.

Herb will be touring Florida to talk about and sell his book, “An Atheist Stranger in a Strange Religious Land: Selected Writings from the Bible Belt Atheist”.  Arrangements are underway for this public event to be hosted by the Humanists of North Central Florida and held in the Nature Coast Unitarian Universalist Congregation building in Citrus Springs.



October 20 – 22, 2017, Orlando Florida

FREEFLO (short for Freethought Florida) is the only conference in Florida geared toward Humanists, Skeptics, Atheists, and other freethinkers.

The Florida Humanist Association works to promote humanism across the state of Florida. FHA is a 501(c)(3) educational association comprised of individuals and groups who are working together to create change in Florida. It is the largest state organization in Florida.

Click HERE for details


The Humanists of North Central Florida organization is now a member of the Marion Cultural Alliance as a “business”.  Please do not hesitate to identify yourself as a member/supporter of the HNCFL when participating in events.  This is their latest.

Appleton Museum of Art

We need your help in making the case to Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature that the museum is a important part of not only our community, but the entire state of Florida. We need your help to ensure the museum continues to exist. Here is what you can do right now:

  • Visit the museum for one of their current exhibitions. Record attendance will show how valuable the museum is.
  • Tell your friends and family about the great arts programs available at the museum.
  • Encourage your friends and family to become members.
  • Donate a gift of any amount. Your donations help fund excellent exhibitions and educational programs for people of all ages.

For the past 30 years, the museum has provided great art and educational opportunities for the community and visitors to Central Florida. Please act today to show your support to save our beloved Appleton Museum of Art.

For more information, please call museum director Cindi Morrison at 352.291..4455, ext. 1834.

Your can visit their web site here.

Applaud the Arts-Live Performances and Award

 The Humanists of North Central Florida organization is now a member of the Marion Cultural Alliance as a “business”.  Please do not hesitate to identify yourself as a member/supporter of the HNCFL when participating in events.  This is their latest.

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Buy Your Ticket Today

Join us for an evening unlike any other combining ART & SCIENCE!

MCA is partnering with the City of Ocala’s Discovery Center to present our annual signature event, Applaud the Arts! Guests will begin their evening on the second floor of the Discovery Center with tapas from our area’s top chefs and libations all situated among a phenomenal, interactive science exhibit, Super Kids Save the World! This interactive exhibit is based on the book George Saves the World Before Lunchtime, which teaches families how to reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle. Attendees will also have the chance to enter Star Lab and experience an eclipse!
Guests will then move to the Reilly Arts Center.  Now in its 10th year, Applaud the Arts is a fast paced and entertaining event featuring live performances by the Ocala Civic Theatre, The All County High School Choral, and Dance Alive. Highlights include “The State of the Arts”, MCA Arts Awards, and the presentation of the 2017-18 MCA Cultural Awards.

Black Holes

In response to several members asking for this course topic Bob has prepared a course for the layperson.  He will help us understand this complex subject.  The conversation will continue following the course with no-host lunch at the Club (Candler).

Register at: or 854-3699.

Black Holes Explained by Bob Zannelli


Course description​:

With the renowned Astronomer Alex Fliippenko as our guide we will be exploring the strangest objects in the Universe, Black Holes. Some of the things we will be learning are; what are the processes that creates Black Holes, what are they made of, what happens to a black hole after it is created, what it would be like to fall into a black hole and what are the infamous Black Hole information paradox and the revolutionary Holographic principle.    


September  12, 19, 26,

October 3, 10


Semi-monthly Small Group Gathering 

Format: Video – Discussion – Shared meal.
Great Courses:  “Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behavior”
Begins October 1st 3 PM.  Limited to 12 participants meeting in home setting.  Facilitator: Allie Gore.  Enroll by replying to
Dates in 2017:  Oct. 1 & 15, Nov. 5 & 19, Dec. 3 & 17,
Human beings are puzzling creatures.  We are capable of the most magnificent personal and cultural accomplishments, yet we sometimes behave in ways that are not only irrational and short sighted, but also harm ourselves or others.  We can experience uplifting emotions such as love, optimism, and awe, yet we also tie ourselves in knots of anxiety, anger, and despair.  We sometimes stand up for our principles, but at other times, we behave contrary to our personal standards.  We can remember thousands of trivial facts but for get an important appointment.
Each lecture examines examines a provocative question about human behavior.


Community Forum on Criminal Justice

Visiting scholar Adam Foss, one of Boston’s leading voices for compassion in criminal justice will speak.  Following his remarks Manal Fakhoury will moderate a panel discussion with local community leaders.
October 4th 2 PM – 4 PM.
Cypress Hall
8413 SW 80th Street 34481
$5 fee for residents of On Top of the World and Stone Creek; all others $10
Register: or 854-3699
Mr. Foss is an Assistant District Attorney in the Juvenile Division, founder of a reading program to improve student achievement and co-founder of a collaborative effort to recast probation as a transformative experience, rather than a punitive process.
Manal Fakhoury is President and CEO of Fakhoury Leadership International. Her civic engagement includes; serving as Chairwoman of United Voices for America, a civic engagement organization working to increase the participation of people of color, minorities and youth in the political process.   She is a graduate of USC School of Pharmacy with a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree.

Social Media

MEETUP:  Ocala/Marion Co Freethinkers, Humanists, Agnostics site is available to everyone online.  You can find them HERE.

Facebook:  Humanists of North Central Florida Community needs LIKES.  

The HNCFL directory (password protected) is available on our website.

Help Wanted!

Facebook Page Manager

  • Manage Page Roles and Settings
  • Edit the Page
  • Create and Delete Posts
  • Respond to and Delete Comments

Newsletter Editor/Publisher

  • Collect monthly Humanist items of interest
  • Edit as appropriate
  • Peer review by board of directors before publishing
  • Publish the newsletter on a monthly basis

Program Committee Member

  • Help in planning programs for 2018


Speakers Wanted

One of the goals of the Florida Humanist Association is to develop a speakers bureau to groups like the HNCFL through out the state.  If you are interested please reply to with your requirements (travel cost reimbursement, distance willing to travel, availability).

Input Please

Program planning for 2018 is underway.  What topics are you interested in learning more about?  What topics do you suggest we build programs around which will be of interest to members and the public?  Please reply to










Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More

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