Our new book deal *and* Community Center!

What an amazing day it’s been here at the Humanist Community at Harvard.

This morning, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard Greg Epstein and our Research and Education Fellow James Croft announced a deal to write a new book for publisher Simon and Schuster: home to Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Bertrand Russell…and since the book will be on the development of close, morally intense, inspiring, values-based communities without God, we might mention S&S is also home to some of the greatest theorists on religious community, such as Robert Putnam and Max Weber. Our new editorial team, headed by Thomas LeBien, (also works with Sam Harris, among others) absolutely blew us away with their passion to promote the idea of Humanist communities and nonreligious congregations around the world. BUT…


Also announcing: our brand new community space– a new center and headquarters for the Humanist Community at Harvard and the Humanist Community Project, in the heart of Harvard Square!

Basic information about the new space:

  • We envision partnering with all local secular/Humanist/nontheist communities
  • More than 2,500 square feet, in the heart of Harvard Square
  • There will be event space, 2 conference/classrooms, kitchen, 2 bathrooms, plenty of office/workspace
  • There will be a glass store-front; we’ll have signs visible from the street
  • Renovations to take place this summer of 2013
  • Rent starts at $68,500 for 2013-14, increases slightly each additional year
  • Grand opening target: Fall 2013

What we intend to do with the space:

  • National headquarters for the Humanist Community Project
  • Harvard Humanist/secular student meetings
  • Humanist community meetings
  • Humanist Learning Lab (kids/family programs, child care)
  • Values in Action intercommunity community service projects
  • Ethical Society of Boston weekly platforms
  • Sunday Assembly” meetings?
  • Boston Atheists brunches, lectures, discussions, etc.
  • Greater Boston Humanists meetings
  • Secular Coalition for MA lobbying planning meetings
  • Much more to come: check back here for details!

What kind of help we need:

#1: Money! Cash, Moolah, Dough, Dinero, Scratch, Greenbacks, Legal Tender: Absolutely none of this is funded by Harvard University. Our board and existing donors have helped us get to the point where we can guarantee basic rent for the next few years. Any/all funds to renovate and turn the space into a functioning center must come from community members and supporters like you. We are a 501c3 non-profit; gifts are tax- deductible. Please donate today and/or watch for more details about giving opportunities.

What else we need:

We’re going to need lots more help, from professionals and volunteers, as this process moves forward: renovations, interior design, flooring and painting will all be professionally done. Then we’ll need furniture, technology, appliances, new volunteers to staff new and existing committees, and much more. Watch this space and of course join our mailing list and follow us on facebook for updates.

We can’t wait to share our next steps with you! There’s never been a better time to get excited about and involved in building Humanist/secular/”godless” community.


About Greg Epstein

Humanist Chaplain @Harvard. Author of NY Times Bestselling book Good Without God: What a Billion Non-Religious People Do Believe. Directs @HarvardHumanist.

3 comments on “Our new book deal *and* Community Center!

  1. Congratulations to Grep Epstein and staff members on these accomplishments.

    Readers may enjoy this article about the the prevalence of “atheists” churches in the U.K. and the challenges of starting such in the U.S.


    The comments section is especially entertaining. Two trends appear in these comments. People either condemn the idea by citing atheists’ dislike of “institutionalization” or support it by reference to the idea that humans are social animals and need to have ways to affiliate. I answered one of the posts on the former theme as follows:

    What is wrong with getting together with families with activities to have kids explore and learn about nature with some facilitators who know the names of plants and birds? Oops — oh darn, I don’t know of any groups who do that. I have a demanding job and don’t have the time to find people who like that kind of thing. Oh, wait, Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy does that! Could I show up at one of their fun Sunday Schools with my kids? But no. I can’t do to that because I’m a self-respecting atheist and thus don’t believe in Institutionalization. Darn again.

    I’m assuming folks reading this site like ‘church without god’ — but there’s going to be a variety of opinion. Anyone uncomfortable with institutionalization? How to get the best of both worlds — a chance to share and socialize, without whatever is dreaded about “institutionalization”?

    My own family is a bit split on this. I like social organizations and want to be part of a humanist congregation. My husband, a marxist atheist, says it is too churchy for him. My mother-in-law, who lives with us, thinks nothing is right unless Jesus is involved.

  2. Wonderful. A community of intention and a collaboration of minds and actions that enrich us personally and help us serve others. Wonderful. I have been looking for this all my life.

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