On Sat 11 Nov 2017, the Defence Humanist Network hosted the second secular
Remembrance event at the Fitzrovia Chapel in London. The unconsecrated
chapel was filled with more than double the number of attendees than last year’s
event, itself considered highly successful.
The importance of being able to reflect on the meaning of Remembrance, the act
of Remembrance itself, and building a support network that shares the value of
Remembrance with no religious connections is one of the main goals of the
Defence Humanist Network and all involved can be extremely proud of the
manner in which this event was conducted.
VIPs included: Lt Gen R Nugee, Chief of Defence People; AVM W James, AOC 22
(Training) Group; Dr Roger Hutton, Senior Champion for the Defence Humanist
Network; Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of Humanists UK and Prof A C
Grayling, Patron for the Defence Humanists.
The event began at 1500hrs with Lt Col L Quinn playing “Flowers of the Forest”
and Humanist celebrant Flt Lt Ruth Staton welcoming the packed crowd. Andrew
Copson, CEO Humanists UK, provided the welcome address followed by several
deeply moving readings by members of the Defence Humanist Network and the
keynote speech by Prof Grayling on what Remembrance means.
The London Humanist Choir sang a beautiful rendition of “We Will Remember
Them” and the traditional bugler sounded “The Last Post” and Reveille. Of
particular note was Sqn Ldr Emily McCullouch’s highly emotional account of her
experience of loss, and the unfolding impact on the bereaved family, whilst
serving in the Combined Air Operations Cell during Operation HERRICK.
The increase in demand for non-religious Remembrance events such as this is
something which the DHN will focus on as it gains support from across the Armed
Forces and the Civil Service. The number of people declaring themselves as non-
religious is now over 50,000 and many are keen that local Remembrance events
become more secular so that everyone can take part in an inclusive environment.
Sqn Ldr Alan Lindsell
DHN Communications Rep
Following on from the success of our Remembrance event last year, Defence Humanists will be holding ‘Remembrance: A Secular Reflection’ from 15:00 to 17:00 on Armistice Day, 11 Nov 2017. We will once again be holding the event at the gorgeous and unconsecrated Fitzrovia Chapel, a popular secular event space at 2 Pearson Square, London W1T 3BF.
From 15:00 to 16:00, the event will consist of readings from members of Defence Humanists, talks from Humanists UK’s Andrew Copson, and Defence Humanists’ patron Professor AC Grayling, alongside music from the London Humanist Choir. From 16:00 to 17:00, there will be a reception and opportunity for conversation and reflection.
We are happy to confirm that once again, this event will be funded by the Ministry of Defence, underlining their commitment to support humanists and those of no religion who work within the department. We would certainly like to send a strong message back that this support is welcomed by our community, and so we’d like to get as many as possible there.
I’d would like to ask you therefore, to support this event by coming along. Last year, attendees fed back that the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made in war in an environment free of religious perspective was welcome, and for some was the first time they had felt truly included in a remembrance event.
You can book a place simply by registering here. And, of course, if you have any thoughts or questions, please do get in touch by replying to this email! Current Armed Forces and Civil Service personnel can find details including travel authority in 2017DIN01-153.
All the best,
Squadron Leader EJ McCullouch MA RAF
Chair, Defence Humanists
Members of the Defence Humanists will be speaking at this year's Humanists UK Convention in Cambridge. Details here: https://humanism.org.uk/bha2017/