Grand Traverse Humanists
Careful thinking… thoughtful caring

Grand Traverse Humanists

Welcome to the Grand Traverse Humanists.  If you value science, reason, and compassion and believe that humans are responsible for their own destiny, you have come to the right place.  We are a community for the non-religious in the Grand Traverse area, offering a forum for discussing and advancing a secular worldview based on our common humanity. Our programs include monthly speakers and discussions, film and book groups, and various volunteer and social events.  All are free and open to the public.  Check out Upcoming Events below, or click on the calendar. Nontheists, agnostics, atheists, freethinkers, rationalists, humanists, and more...we welcome you to join us!

Grand Traverse Humanists Main Meeting

Second Monday of each month, 7 p.m.

Traverse Area District Library main branch, 610 Woodmere Ave., TC 

Crossed column in the Northern Express

Every month, the Northern Express publishes a column featuring our club president Scott Blair debating with Reverend Dr. William C. Meyers, senior pastor at Presbyterian Church of Traverse City. It's called Crossed: A Local Pastor and a Local Atheist Debate. Every month features a new topic; we hope you'll check it out!

Link to the latest column:



Monday, March 19

Volunteer at the State Theatre

7:30 p.m....233 E Front St., Traverse City

The third Monday of each month is Grand Traverse Humanists volunteer night at the State Theatre! Come take tickets, sell reasonably-priced popcorn and drinks, help with clean-up after, and earn a voucher for a future free movie. Help us support this worthwhile part of our community, and have fun at the same time! Sign up at the meeting the week before, or email Sue at

Monday, March 26

Meeting at the Library: Herb Silverman, "Candidate Without a Prayer"

7 p.m....610 Woodmere Ave., Traverse City

Herb Silverman will speak about his book, "Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt," which describes his journey from Orthodox Judaism growing up in Philadelphia, to apathetic atheist, to accidental activist atheist when he moved to South Carolina. He will talk about his encounters with Billy Graham, Jimmy Carter, and others when he ran for Governor of South Carolina. He will also discuss his latest book, “An Atheist Stranger in a Strange Religious Land,” a compendium of some of his writing for the Washington Post, Huffington Post, The Humanist, and other magazines and blogs.

Herb Silverman is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the College of Charleston, founder of the Secular Coalition for America, founder of the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry in Charleston, SC, and a recipient of the American Humanist Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

Monday, April 9

Meeting at the Library: Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association

7 p.m....610 Woodmere Ave., Traverse City

Grand Traverse Humanists are excited to present American Humanist Association executive director Roy Speckhardt!

Speckhardt is a frequent media commentator, having appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, Fox News, and NPR, among others. He also writes a regular column for The Huffington Post, and has given speeches at colleges, conferences, and local humanist groups across the country.

Speckhardt serves on the board of the Humanist Institute and the advisory board of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute. He is also a member of the Forbes Nonprofit Council. He previously served as deputy director of The Interfaith Alliance and worked for various other politically progressive nonprofits.

Sunday, April 15

Book Club: Herb Silverman's "Candidate Without a Prayer"

4 p.m., location to be determined.

Following our visit from atheist activist Herb Silverman, we'll discuss his book "Candidate Without a Prayer." In this deeply revealing and engaging autobiography, Herb Silverman tells his iconoclastic life story. Equal parts Bertrand Russell, Woody Allen, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, he takes the reader from his childhood as an Orthodox Jew in Philadelphia, where he stopped fasting on Yom Kippur to test God’s existence, to his adult life in the heart of the Bible Belt, where he became a legendary figure within America’s secular activist community and remains one of its most beloved leaders.

More information available here:



Monday, May 14

Meeting at the Library: Mark Gustafson

7 p.m....610 Woodmere Ave., Traverse City

Former literature instructor and Grand Traverse Humanists member Mark Gustafson will present a program on Humanism in Literature.

Mark Gustafson was a teacher of literature and composition at Muskegon Community College for 25 years and also taught literature at Northwestern Michigan College and Interlochen Center for the Arts. Over his years of teaching, he discovered that many of the themes in the books he used in class were humanistic in nature. Mark will talk about some of these books and how they influenced his beliefs about God and religion.


Sunday, June 3 (possibly also a month earlier, Sunday May 6, weather permitting)

Grand Traverse Humanists Bike Ride

All summer long, Grand Traverse Humanists host bike rides on the first Sunday of the month. Usually we start at Darrow Park in Traverse City at 10:30 a.m., bike up to Suttons Bay on the Leelanau Trail, have lunch, and then bike back (or take BATA back to Traverse City). However, we've also biked other local trails, including the Heritage Trail in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Betsie Valley Trail from Beulah to Frankfort. Starting time and location to be announced. Stay tuned for more details!


Monday, June 11

Meeting at the Library: Autism

7 p.m....610 Woodmere Ave., Traverse City

Join us as we welcome various speakers on the topic of autism. We'll learn about autism from a scientific perspective, local advocacy efforts for those with autism, and about support groups that are available. Author Cari Noga, who is a parent to a child with autism, will start off the evening with a reading.


Saturday, June 16

Paddling the Crystal River

10 a.m....Crystal River access on Fisher Road off of 675/Dunn's Farm Rd.

Join the Grand Traverse Humanists as they lead a paddle trip down the beautiful Crystal River! This trip is appropriate for all skill levels. We'll meet at 10 a.m. at the access on Fisher Road, just south of Dunn's Farm Road, a couple miles east of Glen Arbor. The parking lot is run by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, so you will need a park pass. You bring: your watercraft, paddle, flotation device, appropriate water shoes (barefoot not recommended), and a picnic lunch. We'll bring the expert river guide! Email Linnaea at to RSVP.

And if you're an experienced paddler, stay tuned for a future outing on a more challenging local river!

Monday, July 9

Meeting at the Library: Lyme Disease

7 p.m....610 Woodmere Ave., Traverse City

It may be an unpleasant topic, but ticks that carry lyme disease are here in northern Michigan, so it's best to be informed! Dr. Christopher Ledtke, an infectious disease specialist at Munson Medical Center, will tell us what we need to know.

Dr. Ledtke graduated from the University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, in St. Maarten, D.W.I. He completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in infectious disease at Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, OH. Dr. Ledtke is board certified in both internal medicine and infectious disease.


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