4-6 October 2019, around 90 humanist professionals (also volunteers) from 10 different European countries came together in Bruges (Belgium) for the congress “Expressing Humanist Values in Education, Chaplaincy and Ceremonies”. The congress was organised by the EHP (European Humanist Professionals), a recent subdivision of EHF which focusses mainly on humanist services and the support of it’s practitioners.
With participants from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Iceland, Norway, The Netherlands, England and Scotland, it was a very lively, inspiring gathering.
The programme was a mixture of one lecture per day, workshops, presentations of good practices and Ted Talks on various topics, devided over the three fields of practice. The lectures were “The art of living together, a plea for pluralistic humanism”, “How to deal with cultural diversity and life stance”, and “Humanist values in a changing world”.
Besides learning and sharing experiences there was lots of time for networking and informal contact during the reception at the townhall, dinners and lunches. All in all an event that showed how inspiring and important exchange of thoughts between humanist professionals is for strengthening the humanist movement across Europe.
The congress also showed were EHP stands at the moment. They have been making great progress over the last few years but except for Italy, only Northern European countries were present at the congress. Most partcipants were also counselors, chaplaigns and celebrants, and only a small group were humanist educators (Belgium, Ireland and Iceland). It shows again that for now, mainly Nothern countries have the base, means and structures for humanist services and educators are still a bit underrepresented. Motivated by the congress, this is something that EHP will attend to and focus on in the years to come.
For 2020 EHP is planning a summer school on chaplaincy (6-10 July) in The Netherlands, in cooperation with the University of Humanistics (UvH) and the Humanist Chaplaigns of the Ministry of Defence and a working visit to Berlin on education.
More information on EHP at www.humanistprofessionals.eu. If you wish to receive EHP’s newsletter, you can contact them at info[at]humanistprofessionals.eu.