“A community because we want to be”: Sharon Moss, Humanist Community of Central OhioBy Administrator
Sharon Moss remembers Ocean City, New Jersey as a wonderful place to grow up—with one possible exception. “Ocean City has one of the biggest retreat centers for Campus Crusade for Christ,” she says, which swings local politics to the conservative side. “I joke that I grew up in the tiny dot of red in a blue state, then moved to a dot of blue in a sea of red when I came to Columbus, Ohio.”
Her family attended a Lutheran ELCA church sporadically when she was very young. “I have very few memories of going,” she says, “but it did leave me with a fondness for Christmas Eve services.” She doesn’t remember ever being a genuine religious believer, and her upbringing was open and tolerant. “I was always allowed to ask questions, try on different beliefs, and find my own way through the world. Instead of church, my Nan took me to the library every Sunday. The first time I heard the word ‘atheist’ was from a classmate self-identifying as such in 5th grade. My only thought was, ‘Oh, that’s what I am, too. I guess there’s a word for it. Neat.’”
While a freshman at The Ohio State University, Sharon found Students for Freethought (now SSA at The Ohio State University) and soon found herself in leadership. “We had a great relationship with a local off-campus group, the Humanist Community of Central Ohio. I was a member as a student and occasionally went to events. Once I graduated and got a little established, I started getting more involved in HCCO, and the rest is history.”
Sharon eventually rose to the presidency of HCCO and today works part-time managing events and membership as the group’s coordinator.
From the beginning, HCCO was more than a group that met for talks. “We are a community because we want to be. HCCO had ‘Community’ in the name when it was founded, and that intention carries forward. We don’t always agree on how to do it, nor do we always succeed, but we are always reaching. I could cheerfully go into detail but you should come to our panel and find me to chat at the conference if you want to know more!”
See Sharon, and many more great speakers, at the Humanism at Work conference in Chicago, July 18-20.