by Dave Desmarais
Cooperating Group Leader in Las Vegas CoR
Here in Las Vegas, I host a Meetup called Atheist Round Table Discussion and New Member Welcome. For all leaders in the various local CoRs, this type of meeting might be something that you would want to host, as it helps start new and long-lasting local non-theist groups. Our experience has been that once we started a Round Table Discussion group, other groups continued to be formed based on the interests of new attendees.
For instance, our Atheist Round Table discussion and New Member Welcome helps people in the local community come together and welcome new atheist members and to discuss topics of interest to them. Some of the topics of interest have been written on local blogs such as Faith and Belief: The Emotional Connection. We’ve hosted a series of New Member meetings for more than four years and we’ve averaged 20-30 participants.
The structure is simple: the meeting is once a month and about 2 hours long. It’s hosted at a local tavern in a private room. It’s divided into two parts: in the first part, we have everyone introducing themselves, and then the second part is the current month’s topic of discussion. (You can see a typical meeting structure here.) From this model, attendees get to know each other, as well as things that interest each other. People who share common interests can then create their own meetings and will replicate the original model to provide structure for the new meetings.
I’d like to encourage all of our community CoR members to consider this meeting model as a way to welcome all the new Atheist members in your community. Whether they come once or become a regular at a Round Table meeting the participation and contribution of all local Atheists/skeptics is a valuable contribution to the building of a local Secular community.
I’d be happy to work with folks who have questions or would like more information about the components of the meetings. Please feel free to contact me at: [email protected].