Awesome August Events

MOA ended July on a great note with another successful regional picnic and a great event where we spoke with Dennis Penaluna, president of Nottingham Secular Society, via Skype. Visit Nottingham Secular Society for more information about Dennis and all his group’s hard work on separation of church and state issues in their area. We also received some great news to top off our July. Our letter from the IRS arrived, and we are now officially a 501(c)(3) charity organization. All donations given to Mid Ohio Atheists Inc. are tax deductible as allowed by law.

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August is already shaping up to be a fun and busy month for us and we have some great events planned. We already started off on August 2nd with our Atheists in the Pub event. We tried out a new location, The Phoenix Brewing Company, to change up the venue a bit. Thanks to everyone who attended. Our next one is scheduled for September 6th. Click here for more details.

 

Upcoming Events:

 

 August 9th 8:00AM     Adopt A Highway Cleanup

 

August 9th 6:00PM      Atheists Around the Fire & Celebration

 

August 17th 11:00AM  Monthly Board Meeting & Recycling Drive

 

August 17th 2:00PM      Canoe/Rafting Trip to Mohican

 

August 28th 11:00AM Involvement & Community Fair(NC State/OSU Campus)

 

For other event info join us on Meetup.com and Facebook.

Picnic Perfection: Mid Ohio brought their “A” game in 2014.

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On Sunday, July 20, 2014, we once again gathered for our annual Regional Atheist Picnic. We met at the beautiful Mohican State Forest North Park Shelter, where festivities kicked off at noon. The weather was perfect for us once again this year, with no rain and sun all day for everyone to enjoy all the day’s planned events.

We had 55 attendees this year, plus a German Shepard and an African Grey parrot! Our friends traveled from as near as the Mansfield and Ashland area to as far as the Cleveland and Columbus areas. We are always thankful for such support that everyone comes back year after year.

Once again, our charity drive was another success! This year we had two great charities that people could donate to, Harmony House, a local homeless shelter, and The Humane Society of Richland County. Overall, we collected over $400 in donations between the two charities! Each location was very appreciative of the donations received, so “Thank You” to everyone who donated to such worthy causes. Grand prize this year for the donation drive contest was a $30 gift certificate to the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, OH and a $20 gas card.

Since it was so successful last year, we again invited a few guest speakers to join us and talk about life in atheism. Mark and Marni Tiborsky and Sam Salerno, from the Cleveland area based Northern Ohio Freethought Society, a Freedom From Religion Foundation chapter, spoke first. They filled us in about the recent billboard campaign in the Cleveland/Akron area their organization was able to do with the help of their FFRF affiliation, their member’s donations, and a lot of hard work. They also went on to tell us about the media coverage and public reaction both in person and on social media outlets. Was it worth it? Yes, according to them. They were able to convey to the public at large positive messages and most importantly show people in everyday neighborhoods in their community that freethinkers are there, they are positive, wonderful people, and are just normal everyday folks, just like everyone else. They put up 11 billboards in all during this month long campaign.

Our second speaker this year was JT Eberhard.  JT is a writer, gay rights activist, and co-founder of Skepticon.  JT wanted to share with us his take on how to debate common religious arguments against atheism,  using plain English. He had some very insightful views about how we as atheists can get our views across without having to have a doctorate of some type or to constantly be trying to remember stats and numbers. Using logical and reasonable arguments, a few jokes, and a tad bit of slight of hand magic, JT really got his point across. He really had the crowd engaged with his talk and laughing with his Ken Ham jokes and his ongoing fight with technology during his speech. We all really enjoyed our speakers and thank them for taking the time to spend the day with us and share their experiences with everyone this year.

As an added bonus, our friend Frank Zindler  had a special treat in store for us. He brought a comical video to share of an interview he had worked on that will be showing on the upcoming launch of the Atheist TV channel, set to start on July 29, 2014 on Roku. The crowd really seemed to enjoy the sneak peek offering and hearing from Frank.

This year, as a way to thank all of our friends, who attended, we had a ton of raffle prizes to give out throughout the day. Numerous atheist related books, gift cards to restaurants, t-shirts, and a 19” LCD flat screen TV were handed out this year to the lucky winners. We appreciate everyone who donated items to us to be able to do this, and hope that we can do it again next year.

This event takes a lot of hard work from a lot of dedicated people to be so successful year after year. Why do we do it? We do it for our community. We want to show people that we are here. If people are either questioning their beliefs or are non-believers already and feel stuck thinking nobody around is like them, they are not alone. Those are the people we are trying to reach out to, and get the word out to, to know that there is a haven (not heaven) and they are accepted for what they think, feel, and see as reasonable knowledge in front of them to be true. Atheism really is about promoting a personal relationship with reality and not being afraid to think. Whatever you call it, atheism, humanism, freethought, skepticism, or all of the above, its all around us and people will slowly start coming out of their closets, standing up from the church pews, and finally start looking for a places were they can talk about science and reason instead of fairy tales. When they are ready, Mid Ohio Atheists Inc, will be there. Until then , you will see us on I-71 picking up trash for Adopt A Highway, collecting food and supplies for Harmony House and The Humane Society of Richland County, having a beer at a local pub and discussing separation of church and state issues, and meeting once a year in a forest with awesome people from all over Ohio for some great food and even better conversations.

~ Marisa Hills, MOA Vice President

 

The Lord indeed works in mysterious ways

When strange and seemingly illogical events transpire, God is sometimes given the credit, or blame, depending on the circumstances.

A prime example of this happened in Indiana recently when, according to WANE, Prionda Hill was driving and decided to give in to the Lord and literally give him the wheel.  I know there is a popular song out with a title along this same vein and it is a euphemism among Christians to let God take control of your life but rarely do people actually do this in real life.  This would be an opportunity to see what happens when one willingly takes this leap of faith.

When Hill heard the call from the Lord, she decided to throw caution to the wind and let Him have His way.  According the WANE, Hill told police “she was driving and out of no where God told her that he would take it from here and she let go of the wheel and let him take it.”  No one knows exactly why but the first thing the Lord did was to steer the car into motorcyclist Anthony Oliveri.  The car knocked Oliveri over and ran over both him and the motorcycle.

Oliveri said he was confused at first when his bike went out of control.  He said, “I looked back around my left shoulder, all I see is her tire and the left bumper getting ready to run my face over. Literally I was inches from that bumper and I just said to myself today is the day I die. I just shut my eyes and said if this is the way that God wants to do it then I guess that this is the way we’re going to do it.”

It appears the Lord wasn’t done with Oliveri quite yet as 10 seconds later Oliveri realized he was in pain and that was a good thing because that meant he was still alive.  Meanwhile, the Lord and Hill continued down the street in her car for several blocks.  Hill was later found at the same Rally’s restaurant that Oliveri said he was heading for when the accident occurred.  The report does not indicate where the Lord was when the car and Hill were found.

Along with the pain, the Lord caused Oliveri to have several broken ribs, bruising and road rash.  Curiously, the bruising and road rash are in the form of a heart and angel wings according to nurses and Oliveri’s fiancé (name not given in report).  Oliveri’s fiancé said “His guardian angel was watching over him, and she gave him her wings. Then she went on vacation, because he’s put her through the ringer.”  One has to wonder if the guardian angel was ever on the job in the first place.

There is nothing in WANE’s reporting that indicates if WANE interviewed the Lord to get His side of the story or whether He made Himself available for questioning by police.  It would be very interesting if He would explain His actions, but it seems He never sticks around to go into the nuance’s of being a Supreme Being.

As for Hill, she’s now facing several charges.  I wonder if one of these is letting an unlicensed driver take the wheel of her car.   I suggest that with the recent Supreme Court rulings, she plead not guilty due to the 1st Amendment freedom of religion and her fervently held religious beliefs.  She may want to incorporate herself first though.

One positive thing that has come from this incident is Oliveri and his mother hope the crash creates more awareness for motorcycles on the road.

“People stop for squirrels they stop for chipmunks, who would not stop for a human being,” Francesca Oliveri, said.

Apparently, the Lord.

“Look twice, we’re out there. Realize hey you’re in a car, we’re not,” Oliveri said.

I hope the Lord is listening.

Seriously though, I hope that Anthony Oliveri has a speedy and full recovery.

2014 Mid Ohio Atheists Regional Picnic Announced

Our group is proud to announce the Mid Ohio Atheists Regional Picnic 2014, sponsored by Mid Ohio Atheists Inc. We are inviting groups from all over Ohio and surrounding areas to our annual get together at the Mohican State Forest. The general public is also invited to come out and meet us, as long as they are respectful and do not try to proselytize to us.

This year the picnic will be held on Sunday, July 20th, starting at 12:00 pm.  We have met at the Mohican State Forest before and had a great experience each time. This year we will meet at the North Park Shelter once again. Once you are in the forest, follow the signs to the shelter. There will also be a map available soon as well. You will want to use the St. Rt. 97 entrance to access the park for the event. Detailed directions will be available, as GPS is not always accurate in forest locations. The accurate coordinates for the location are (40.614548N 82.312439W), if you put that in GPS you will find it without much issue. The physical address always gives GPS issues due to county numbering of roads.

The picnic will be held rain or shine since we have a nice covered shelter, so please don’t let that stop you from attending.

Contest
This year we are happy to announce 2 charities we are involved with for our donation drive contest. Harmony House(a local homeless shelter) and the Humane Society of Richland County. The items that qualify for the contest for each charity are as follows: Harmony House: Toilet Paper, Trash Bags, Paper Towels, and Laundry Detergent and the Humane Society: Dry/Wet Dog or Cat Food, Clay (non clumping) Cat Litter, Canned Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling), and Paper Towels. These items are what is most needed by these charities or what they run low on the most. Other items outside of these can be donated, but these item only count towards the contest. A full list will be available of items they accept. Whoever donates the most of these items will win the Grand Prize. We will also have a second prize for the runner up. We encourage everyone to bring items to one or both of these great organizations! Please make sure you check in your donations when you arrive (there will be signs). GRAND PRIZE: 2 Tickets to Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio and $20 Gas Card.

Prizes
To say “Thanks!” this year we will have some fun raffle prizes. Please make sure you check in when you get to the event and get your raffle ticket for the random prize drawings. We will also have a kids “prize pack” as well so they will have their own chance at some kid type goodies to take home with them. This is just small way for us to show our appreciation to our friends who support us by coming to visit us each year, volunteer at our events, or support our many different educational and social endeavors we undertake.

Games & Activities
This year we have made an effort to make this event more kid friendly. We hope everyone brings their children so we have plenty of kids for the activities Meri and Tiffany have planned for the event. There are plans for a Scavenger Hunt, Marshmallow Toss (who’s not up for that?) and a Watermelon Eating Contest…(who wouldn’t want to take some photos of that!? We will have goodies and prizes for the kids so its a fun day for them to meet new people and have a fun day as well. :)

Speakers
This year we are happy to invite a few speakers to join us for some entertaining and educational insight on life as an atheist:

Mark & Marni Tiborsky– from Northern Ohio Freethought Society, a chapter of Freedom From Religion Foundation, will speak about their groups recent experience with the billboard campaign in Northern Ohio, pros and cons of media coverage, and being “out” as an atheist in the community.

JT EberhardWriter and public speaker on atheism, gay rights, and other topics, over 2 yrs with Student Secular Alliance as the first high school organizer, and co-founder of Skepticon. JT will give us his insight on “How to beat the most popular arguments for god’s existence in plain English.”

Fantastic Food
What would a picnic be without good food? We estimate we will have about 80 people in attendance this year. We will have a suggested food list posted on the website, but any items are welcome that you would like to share. The list of items will be updated as we receive emails and commitments from people volunteering items. Please send a quick email to picnic2014@midohioatheists.org to let us know what you intend to bring. You don’t have to bring enough to feed the total number we anticipate, just let us know the amount you can bring so we can update our numbers. Visit our website for a list of ideas of what to bring.

Good Conversation
The main reason to go to the picnic is for the company. We hope to see all of our members there and people from all around the state and beyond. It’s great to talk with like minded people and so refreshing to have conversations that aren’t stuck at the ‘does god exist’ level.

Public Invited
We also invite the members of the general public who wish to meet atheists. This is not an invitation to have people come out and proselytize to us but rather a chance to meet with atheists and learn more about our beliefs and see that we are normal people too.

We hope to see everyone make it out this year again. We had a great time last year and really look forward to seeing our friends each year and meeting new people every year as well. Please share the event with others and work out car pools if possible to get those to the event that would like to attend. Any questions, please feel free to email Marisa Hills at marisa@midohioatheists.org

We will see everyone soon!

Another successful cleanup

We met yesterday morning for the Adopt a Highway cleanup, the first one for this year.  This is our fourth year cleaning up I-71, just south of Mansfield.

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We had ten people show up and was able to have two drivers and eight people walking the highway cleaning up the litter.

I want to thank everyone that helped out!

Changes to the leadership of Mid Ohio Atheists Inc.

I’ve received inquires as to the current makeup of the leadership of Mid Ohio Atheists Inc. (MOAI).  Indeed, our leadership team has changed during this past month.  

Due to personal reasons, Drenn and Carol Workman have decided they no longer wished to continue in their leadership roles with MOAI and have resigned.  I wish to gratefully thank them for their past service and support of MOAI.

During our monthly Board of Directors meeting on March 16th, Ray Greenbank was appointed to the empty directorship by the two remaining directors.  The directors of MOAI are now- Brad Boothe, Marisa Hills, and Ray Greenbank.  

Also, Marisa Hills was appointed by the board to the office of Vice President and Candice Boothe was appointed Secretary.  The Officers are now- President Ron Stephens, Vice President Marisa Hills, Secretary Candice Boothe, and Treasurer Ron Stephens.

I also want to thank the newly appointed leaders for their willingness to step forward and lend their talents to help our organization grow and become better than ever.

Ron Stephens,
President

 

Mid Ohio Atheist Season of Reason Donation Drive

Dear Friends* & Members,

We need your help!  As the end of the year draws near we are behind in our required yearly goal for donations to the organization.  We understand times are tight, but every donation helps us get to our $5,000 goal.  This fund is what goes towards all of our educational events we hold each year, the yearly regional picnic, and projects like the billboard campaign.  We are working towards our goal to be able to get another set of billboards, as well as another Darwin Day event in the first quarter of 2014.

So, how can you help?

Here’s the great news, all donations (up to $500 total) made now through December 31, 2013 will be matched by Brad & Candice! So, your $20 to the group really means $40, your $100 is $200 for Mid Ohio Atheists, Inc!  We are currently about $1,000 behind to meet our goal.  This goal is completely attainable with the generosity of the matching offer until the end of December . No amount is too small and every dollar counts.  This is a very important undertaking for us to be able to continue to get our name out to the public, help educate our community, and to show a growing secular presence in the area.

If you would like to donate please contact Ron Stephens at midohioatheists@gmail.com or Marisa Hills at mhills.moa@darkfalconx.net for more information on how to participate and make a difference.   Donations will also be accepted at our upcoming Atheist in the Pub event on December 7, 2013 at Old Bag of Nails, our Board Meeting on December 15th at the Ocean Buffet, and at our Winter Solstice Party** on December 21, 2013, held at Brad and Candice’s home.

We appreciate those who continue to support our initiatives throughout the year and we Thank You in advance for your support!

*Note to friends of Mid Ohio Atheists Inc., since only members can donate, the minimum donation for friends is the amount for annual dues for membership.  This is currently $10 for student/senior, $20 for regular, & $25 for family . But, even this money will be matched (up to $500 total) and counts toward the annual goal.  This is your chance to become a member of Mid Ohio Atheists Inc. and have your dues and donation doubled.

**Winter Solstice Party donations beyond the usual $5.00 required will be doubled.

Regional Atheist Picnic 2013 Followup

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On Sunday, July 21, 2013 we held our 5th Annual Mid Ohio Regional Atheist Picnic. We gathered at Mohican State Park at the North Park Shelter. This location was not only secluded, but beautiful and scenic. We had fantastic weather, no rain and sunshine all day long. We couldn’t have asked for a better day to spend with our friends from all over Ohio.

Officially, we had 59 attendees for this year’s event. We had guests visit locally from Mansfield, Ashland, the Columbus area, Kent, Toledo, Oberlin, Marion, and the Cleveland area.  We were so happy to be able to spend the day with everyone and have great conversations, gather donations for our charity drive, and enjoy meeting our line up of speakers. Thank you all for traveling to meet with us again this year! .

Our charity drive was extremely successful this year. We had a contest based on who could donate the most toilet paper, paper towels, or trash bags to our local homeless shelter, Harmony House.  These are items they often run low on and people don’t think to donate to them. We estimate we gathered over $500 in products for Harmony House!  First prize was donated by Barb William’s group, Great Lakes Atheists, from Toledo. It was one Free admission to their upcoming convention August 16th through 18th. Second prize included Jerry DeWitt’s new book, “Hope Beyond Faith”,  a Mid Ohio Atheist t-shirt, pens, buttons, and other items to show our appreciation.  This is just one example of how important being involved with local charity is for our community.  Little by little ,we are showing people that Atheists are compassionate and care about local issues and global issues.  We want make the world a better place for everyone.

This year’s other highlight was our line up of speakers.  We were very proud that they wanted to spend their afternoon with us and speak on some great topics for the crowd. Speakers began at 2:00 pm. We welcomed Dan Demura from the Columbus area. Dan is a former pastor, he is part of the Clergy Project, group facilitator for the Columbus Chapter of Recovering from Religion, and is currently working on a book called “Discussions of Doubt” which also has a Facebook page. Dan spoke about “Life Beyond Faith”.  We then heard from Rachel Johnson, student at Kent State University, blogger (Godless Vagina), podcaster (The Pink Atheist), and writer for a the new Atheist magazine, The Celestial Teapot. She spoke on the very important topic of “Atheist Activism”.  Douglas Whaley was up next with a wonderful speech about “What atheism can learn from the LGBT movement”, Doug is a long time LGBT activist, OSU professor emeritus, lawyer, and author of “Imaginary Friend”.

Finally, the director for American Atheist Press, Frank Zindler spoke about “Why only atheists can save the world.” Everyone had such great insights to share with us all and everyone enjoyed hearing from them. We found our speakers inspiring and one of the biggest takeaways from each speech was “Speak up!” Speak out for our cause, let people know who atheists really are, and that we are NOT going away. We are changing the world everyday, one cause at a time. Be brave and be who you are!

In closing, we would like to thank everyone who helped plan the event this year.  We had such enthusiasm about the picnic. Everyone who attended planning meetings, set up, tore down, and everything in between, you made this a successful, fun, and entertaining event.  I know personally I’m already looking forward to next year and I’m planning it in my head! We hope that this event continues to grow and we get our name out there. We aren’t going anywhere and the best of Mid Ohio Atheists and their friends is yet to come.

~ Marisa Hills, MOA Event Coordinator

Regional Atheist Picnic is almost here

Just two days to go until the Regional Atheist Picnic this Sunday at the Mohican State Park starting at noon.

The forecast looks favorable with the high temperature of 81 degrees and only a slight chance of rain.

We are going to have five speakers (all Ohioans)-  Frank  Zindler, Rachel  Johnson, Dan DeMurra,  Douglas  Whaley, & Shauna Strand  Sowga.  I know they will all have informative, and interesting things to say.  See this post for their topics.

I hope to see you all there, I’m sure we will have a great time!

See the original post for more details.