Are you a person who is interested in joining STAR or meeting new people but afraid to step out and make that next move? We get it. I once followed a group on Meetup for a year and then decided to go to an event. I watched them from a few tables away, but then left without introducing myself. I was so nervous. It’s difficult to connect or even say that I was an atheist out loud because of fear of the unknown. I waited a few more months and tried again with my husband and it was the first time I acknowledged in public that I was an atheist. I was sitting with other “out atheists” and it felt good. I found my new path. It was the best intellectual conversations we have had in years! How refreshing.
This is where first I met Vicki from STAR. We hit it off right away. Vicki, along with her husband Jed and a few others had just started the group and were building the programs and social events. I was not sure at first but then I went to a few events and realized that this was the place for me. Being a part of a group of people that got me and encouraged me and validated me as a human being and as a mother was so different from my previous toxic relationships. I am no longer feeling ostracized, I’m accepted. I’m no longer wondering what to do on my time off, I have purpose. It is to make a positive change in the world.
I have heard that a lot of people who leave the church feel a sense of loss because they no longer have the fellowship and feeling of belonging. Most of us were believers by default as well. But we have created our own community that allows us to be our authentic selves. You don’t have to pretend, its exhausting. Its time to start living and appreciating our godless, heathen lives.
STAR has a very diverse group and we celebrate our differences. Along with that, we share the same values and morals. We believe in education, loyalty, acceptance, advocacy, encouragement, continuous improvement, and compassion. We want our children and our friend’s children to be strong and well-rounded in reality and compassionate to others.
We have more work that needs to be done, and we need your help. If this sounds like something that fits you, come check us out. We have weekly events and if you have any questions, someone is online almost 24/7.
Most of us live far away from our family or have been disenfranchised by them because of skeptical, freethinking, or atheist views. This is very common in groups like ours so we need to create our own family. As human beings, we are naturally socially dependent. We need to feel validated, heard, understood, and supported. That’s what family usually does for us. That’s why community is so important. The times you want to go out and celebrate and laugh and dance with your friends or sit and have a few drinks and cry over being fired, these things need to be processed and you need perspective from people who know you best. This should not be done alone. You need people to check on you from time to time to let you know you are being thought about, missed, and valued. This is one example of what the STAR family means to me. There are more but this is the story about the first time I felt I had found my home.
My husband and I met Jed and Vicki Gettman at an event with another group at a meetup. We hit it off, thought Jed was hilarious (and still is) and Vicki was easy to talk to as well as welcoming to us. It was our first time coming out and talking to other people since we had decided we were ready to label ourselves as Atheists. We had been for many years but never told another person, since many of our blood family are all religious to some degree. We didn’t know what to expect, but we decided we would take a cautious approach. Within a few weeks, we were invited to a few events, and then game night at their house. Everyone welcomed us and we felt very comfortable. Once we left, we said, these are our kind of people. We enjoyed getting to know everyone and becoming closer with them at each event over the next few months.
A few months later, I was told that I needed surgery. It was a major one that was going to put me in recovery for six weeks. We have family here and close by but they had jobs and couldn’t afford to take off work. My husband, Jerry would be there but I was concerned for him. I knew I would be cared for in the hospital. A few days before the surgery, I got a message from Vicki. She said, “what can I do for you”? I said, “Can someone please be there for Jerry”? She said, “Consider it done”! I didn’t know how she would do it or who would be there, but I believed her. The next morning, Jerry and I went to the hospital at 6am to prep for surgery at 8am. The next thing I knew, I’m heading back to surgery. When I was taken to my room, Jerry and Chad were there. I thought, oh that’s nice, Vicki sent Chad to be with him. Jerry said, “No, Vicki and Jed were here too until just a few minutes ago.” I couldn’t believe it. And Chad stayed until they got me settled in the room around 4pm.
Later that night, I was messaging her to thank her. She asked what else she could do. I asked if she could come back the next day to give Jerry time to go home and sleep. He normally works nights and this was messing with his sleep cycle. She said, “No problem!” She was there around 8am and didn’t leave until around 8pm that night when I was discharged. She made sure I was getting rest and reaching the goals the doctor set for me to be able to go home. She kept me company and only left my side once, to get herself some lunch. She and I had not known each other very long but she went out of her way to be there for me. She even helped me get dressed! And the next few days, she checked on me and brought me a smoothie! That is what I mean by family.
There are many other examples that other members can share about Vicki and other members of the group who are just as loving and giving. In the past year, the more than 40 people in our circle, we have had several child births, pet deaths, job changes, family crisis, desperate need for child care and even emotional breakdowns. The fact that I know, no matter what I go through, STAR, my people, will be there for me and I will do everything I can for them in return. This is fulfilling the basic human needs to belong, feel validated, respected and accepted. We have learned our strengths and weaknesses through the many hours of community service and social events are feel safe to be ourselves without judgement. We aren’t perfect, we aren’t superheros, but we try to be. We don’t judge parenting styles, household cleanliness, or personal finances. We only do our best to be there for each other and build our relationships through our efforts to help others. We praise each other’s talents, support each others families, and we hug, a lot!
If this is something that you feel you want to be a part of, please join us, the more of us there are, the stronger we are together.
Hello fellow heathens. It has been a while since we have updated our blog but we are all getting back in the swing of things after a very busy holiday season. Its time for Spring and Summer events and we have lots planned. But first, we have a few announcements for you.
NEWS ABOUT EVENTS
There is now an app you can download to keep up with all of the South Texas Atheists for Reason events, we are honored to be added to the UnitedCor events app. Take a moment and download it now and never be without knowing what is going on with the latest events. We are posting all of our events as soon as we can and giving as much detail as possible so you can plan your week and month ahead. We hope this will mean more of you can attend!
We are also going to add a few new things like Coffee night and Ladies Night. If you have an idea for a different type of event, please let us know on our Facebook Group or page and we can discuss with the board.
We are part of several programs in the San Antonio Community. Our newest Director of Programs is Stephanie Bartlett. She is doing a great job getting everything scheduled and keeping everyone motivated for the next events. If there are any questions about our programs, please feel free to reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can check out more about our programs on the Get Involved on the website. Each program has its own page and describes in detail what we do. If there is one or more program that you are interested in getting involved with, please let us know and we will be happy to discuss it more with you or answer any questions.
Learn more about our social events and let us know if you want to get involved with this year’s planning. We have a great Atheist Easter planned and many more summer events!
We look forward to a great year ahead and hope to meet some new faces and families. For those who are a little shy or introverted, we get it. Really, we do. If you would rather meet 1 on 1, just send us a note and we can set up a time to get together and answer your questions.