The seeds of what would become Chichester Humanists were first planted in 2006, when Andrew Edmondson set up Mid Sussex Freethinkers. The group advanced secularist causes and campaigned to i) end discrimination based on religious belief or non-belief, ii) end religious interference in the education of children, and iii) end religious privilege in government, taxation and law.
The group was replaced by West Sussex Humanists in 2010, with a view to advancing wider humanist causes while staying true to the group’s secular roots. As part of the network of local humanist groups across the county, Chichester Humanists was founded in 2011 by a small group of friends who wanted to promote rational thinking and a compassionate, non-religious worldview in Chichester.
Since then, we have built up a strong membership base and hold events and activities – ranging from socials to talks and campaigns – at least once per month.
In 2018, Chichester Humanists joined the South Central Humanist Network, a network of humanist groups across the south of England. We have since collaborated closely with other humanist groups and even helped to set up a new group in Portsmouth.
In 2019, we held our first public talk as part of the Festival of Chichester, and we will continue to partner with the festival in future years.
In 2020, Chichester Humanists officially became a branch group of Humanists UK, meaning that we can now work even more effectively with the charity to support non-religious people in Chichester and West Sussex. In the same year, we moved all of our events and activities online as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, proving that humanist groups can thrive both in-person and at a distance.