A special note from our Executive Director, Ian Bushfield:
Today is my last day of work before I take off for a few months to raise a young Humanist.
It's been an incredibly productive summer. Our amazing team of Emily, Alexandre, Adriana and Teale have hosted livestreamed events, finished what was called "a masters thesis worth" of research and put us on solid financial footing going into the fall.
Just in the last week, we:
- Finished updating our dataset of prayers read in the BC Legislature and analyzed them for an upcoming academic conference.
- Published a short report and infographic on Legislative Prayer Across Canada.
- Held our third virtual talk for the summer. You can find our previous talks on our YouTube channel and podcast.
- Finished our analysis of legislative prayer for a chapter in a forthcoming academic book.
While I'm going to be taking some time away from work, the BCHA will continue full steam. Our fall team will consist of:
- Ranil Prasad, who is stepping down from the board, effective Monday, to serve as Acting Executive Director on a voluntary basis
- Emily Fagan is being promoted to Director of Outreach and will continue to be responsible for our communication channels and growing our programming
- Dr Teale Phelps Bondaroff is now on an ongoing contract to act as our Research Coordinator
- Adriana Thom will continue as a Policy Researcher supporting much of the work we've been doing
- And finally Sophie Burk will be joining the team on a part-time basis as our Campaigns Manager: MAiD, Death & Dying
This is the largest and most active team we've ever had - and it's only possible because of your generous support.
We're funded almost entirely by small donations from a growing number of members and supporters. Our median donation in 2020 was just $15. This means we're not beholden to any single funder but are a truly grassroots organization.
At the same time, it also means we continually need to ask for your support. I know a lot of you have donated to our Summer Fund Drive, making it a roaring success, and some of you even became monthly donors. This is fantastic as it enabled the Board to say yes to our ambitious staffing level.
That said, these plans are still reliant on continuing to grow our membership and donor base every month.
Please consider joining the BCHA for as little as $10
(or better yet consider making a $15 monthly donation)
There's a lot more for the team to do over the coming weeks and months, from publishing the results of our research on prayers at municipal councils to campaigning for a ban on conversion therapy to expanding access to medical assistance in dying to creating resources for nonreligious end-of-life options to hosting more virtual events.
And just in the next month, we've learned that delegates at UBCM will be debating a motion to end the guaranteed tax exemption for places of worship. The team will have a lot more to say - and how you can help - very soon.
All I can say to sign off is that it's been such an honour to have your support, to work with such talented people and to see that work pay off in real societal change. I can't wait to see where the organization goes from here.
PS Of course I can't forget to thank our incredible Board of Directors and every volunteer who's given their time to help advance secular and progressive values.
I'll see you all in 2021.