Happy New Year!
The holidays are over. New Year’s Eve is over. 2022 is over. It’s January, 2023! If you think that January will just be cold and dreary, think again. There is a lot to celebrate in January. On January 18th, the Snow Days Festival begins in Banff National Park. There are winter sports, snow sculptures, and theatre events. The ice sculpture in the photo was carved for a past Snow Days Festival.
There are no statutory holidays in January, other than New Years Day, but there are many special days. For every day in January, there are one or more things to appreciate or celebrate. For example, there is National Word Nerd Day, National Rubber Ducky Day, Squirrel Appreciation Day, National Keto Day, Cuddle Up Day, National Kazoo Day, World Introvert Day, and many more. So, when it is cold outside and the days are too short and you begin to feel depressed, just pick a day and celebrate!
We at RMA definitely have something to celebrate. As we mentioned in last month’s Newsletter, the refugee in Nepal, whom we are sponsoring, has completed his last interview and is cleared to come to Calgary. The paperwork is moving along and there is a chance, an outside chance, that he could be here before January is over. If not, he will be here in February. After literally years of waiting, it is about to happen. So, keep your eye on the Webpage and Meetup because a celebration is coming.
My pick for this month is the YouTube channel of CORT, the Conference on Religious Trauma. In 2021 and 2022, founder, Janice Selbie, has held the conference online. The YouTube channel contains some of the conference presentations and will eventually have all of them. The conference had many excellent speakers; among them are Dr. Marlene Winell, the psychologist who coined the term, Religious Trauma Syndrome, and Dr. Darrell Ray, the psychologist who founded Recovering from Religion. In the fall of 2022, Janice also produced an online conference on Shameless Sexuality and will possibly be adding these presentations to the channel. Recently, Janice has begun to interview people involved in some way with religious extremism, and has added these interviews to the YouTube channel. Janice, herself, experienced severe religious trauma and has since become a Registered Professional Counsellor, helping people recover from religious trauma . The website for her counselling business is called Divorcing Religion. Visit the CORT YouTube channel; you won’t be disappointed.
Tuesday January 3
Skeptics in the Pub
First Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm
Skeptics in the Pub is the oldest event that RMA and its previous iterations have held. And it is still going strong in possibly the best venue we ever used, Bottlescrew Bill’s at 140 10 Ave. SW. You won’t find a more friendly group or more stimulating conversation anywhere. After about half an hour of general conversation, Jeff will give a 20-minute video presentation to stimulate conversation even more. Come and enjoy the friendly company, conversation, food and drink. For more details, see the Meetup page.
Thursday January 5
Life Without Religion - Online
First Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm
Life Without Religion (LWR) is unique among RMA events because it is open only to people who have experiences difficult times due to leaving a fundamentalist religion. We are also open to people whose religious family or friends are creating stress. Because the holidays are often stressful, some of us could benefit from a good, open conversation and support with people who have experience the same thing at one time or another. Members will receive a Zoom line by email, a day or two before the meeting. If you are not a member but feel that you fit this description, contact Lois at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday Jan. 9
Second Monday of every month at 1:00 pm
Are you a morning person and prefer events during the day instead of in the evening? We planned Coffee Chat just for you. Since we are still meeting online, you will have to BYO coffee. Then be prepared for an intelligent discussion that will take you to places you never imagined. We never know where the conversation will take us but we always enjoy it. To join us, just click the link, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85226592210.
Thursday January 12
RMA Book Club – In Person
Second Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm
If you think you are seeing double because there are two events on the same day at the same time both called Book Club, don’t worry. You’re okay. Book Club is offered in two forms, in-person and online. Both groups read the same book and meet at the same time. You can choose either one, depending on your circumstances at the time. If you choose in-person, find the location on the Meetup page. Read the next item for information about this month’s book and the online meeting.
Thursday January 12
RMA Book Club – ONLINE
Second Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm
This month’s book is From the Ashes: My Story of Being Metis, Homeless and Finding my Way by Jesse Thistle. It is heart-wrenching in places and victorious in others. Regardless of the meeting that you choose, you will have a chance to discuss how you felt about the book and what you got out of it. Don’t tell anyone, but you can come to a meeting even if you didn’t read the book. You can find out what others thought of the book and you just might decide to read it. If you are joining us online, just click the following link. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86032723110
Tuesday January 17
Life Without Religion
Third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm
The basic information about Life Without Religion is described above. We have two meeting a month because, initially, we planned for the first one to be online permanently and for the second one to eventually be in person. We will get there but, for this month, we are still online. Regardless of how we meet, we are always there to discuss problems and issues that we, as ex-believers, encounter. It is a wonderful feeling to find other people who understand just how you feel and why your problems are so hard to solve, because they, too, have found themselves in the same or similar situations. Let’s solve some of those problems. Members will receive the Zoom link a day or two before each meeting.
Wednesday January 18
RMA Monthly Board Meeting
Third Wednesday of every month at 7:00 pm
RMA board meetings are certainly not boring. And they are not limited to board members. If you are interested in learning about and helping with planning for RMA, you are welcome to attend board meetings. However, only board members vote. All board meetings will be held online until further notice. The link for this month’s meeting is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81167556153.
Monday January 23
Movie Night - Online
Fourth Monday of every month at 7:00 pm
The movie for this month has not yet been selected. If you have an idea for an interesting movie or documentary that is no longer than 90 minutes and will stimulate discussion, we are open to suggestions. Keep an eye on the Meetup page because the identity of the movie will be posted as soon as it is selected. Join us and be a movie critic for an evening. Plus, enjoy the company and discussion of like-minded people. The Zoom link is, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86215531604.