We are a group of people in the greater Kanawha Valley who share an interest in organized community outside the context of religion.
Our mission is to connect and serve people in our community outside the context of religion by organizing local events such as picnics, potlucks, service activities, discussions, and various social events.
Our vision is to eventually acquire a building to use as a headquarters for a community center, where we could host gatherings and events for our members as well as provide whatever services we can to our larger local community. Right now our focus is on growing our membership.
Who We Are
We welcome everyone, regardless of religion or any other factor. But most of our members identify themselves as one or more of the following: humanist, atheist, agnostic, freethinker, skeptic, nonbeliever, rationalist, spiritual but not religious, or nonreligious/other.
Why a Community Center?
Community has unlimited potential for enriching our lives. It can provide us with friendships, networking, practical assistance, shared resources, enjoyable activities, joint efforts, and a sense of belonging. While many people experience these benefits of community through their churches or temples, those of us who do not identify with a religion often lack these benefits of community in our lives. So we are creating a religion-free place for people to experience the benefits of community.
What is Humanism?
To quote the American Humanist Association: “Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.”
Whether or not all our individual members consider themselves humanists, our organization’s foundational principles align with the philosophy of humanism.
The CHC is organized as a co-op, owned and governed by the members. Officers and other leaders ensure efficient operations, but the main authority is the body of members. Dues-paying members vote on important community decisions.
In 2012, a group of friends located in Charleston, WV met through the Kanawha Valley Atheists and Agnostics Meetup Group. One of them, Anna Eplin, had a passion to start a structured community for nonreligious people. When she shared her vision with Alicia Allyn Bobcheck and Jason Loveless, they wanted to get on board and make it happen. The three friends then began making plans and reaching out to others to get involved, and set to work to realize this vision. The Charleston Secular Humanist Community Center, Inc. (or Charleston SHCC for short) was incorporated in May 2013.
In June 2016, the members unanimously voted to change the name and become the Charleston Humanist Community, Inc.