The Humanist Community of Central Ohio is a proud chapter of The American Humanist Association. Our mission is to provide a supportive and empowering local community for humanists and other non-theists in the Central Ohio area.
To That End
We Provide Central Ohio With
We provide relevant secular presentations at our Humanist Program as well as a number of other educational events around rationality, mindfulness, and free thought.
Join fellow Humanists and other non-theists at the pub, for a movie, over pizza, on a hike, and in all kinds of other fun and fulfilling social settings every single month.
We strive to identify the needs of our local community, set strategies for meeting those needs, and then mobilize our members to serve when and where we can make an impact.
Our outreach efforts are designed to make sure other like-minded individuals in Central Ohio know there is a welcoming and empowering community waiting for them.
We firmly believe in standing up for our values and the fundamental rights of all human beings. That's why we mobilize our members to march, demonstrate, and defend those rights and values.
Life is full of important milestones: weddings, graduations, funerals, and more. We provide Humanist Chaplains and Celebrants to help our community mark those important occassions in appropriate and meaningful ways.
HCCO is a proud member of the Columbus branch of the United Coalition of Reason as well as the Foundation Beyond Belief. We are also proud to partner with American Atheists and the Secular Coalition for America.
A Brief History of
The Humanist Community of Central Ohio
Larry Reyka – one of the founders of HCCO after he received the 2001 Central Ohio Humanist of the Year Award at the 2001 Winter Solstice Banquet
“The Humanist Fellowship (now The Humanist Community of Central Ohio) was a spin-off of a campus and community ministry in which I was engaged in the early to mid-1970s. This ministry came about in the midst of the struggle for peace and justice going on in this country and in the campus area community.
In the early years, our program was predominantly an OSU campus community operation. We had information tables in the student union weekly, on-campus meetings, and a registered student organization. As an ordained minister, I was the offcial representative to the Campus Ministry Association.
The group operated a community center in a building at the corner of N. 4th Street and E. 11th Avenue. The center included a free store (where people dropped off items they no longer needed and picked up stuff they could use), a community library, discussion programs, and Sunday potluck brunches. Jail visitations—usually in the wake of anti-war and other demonstrations—and alternative ceremonies were part of the program. Such diverse fundraisers as car washes and the proceeds of an occasional People’s Concert held at the Agora (now the Newport) on High Street provided money. The Community Bizarre yard sale was held monthly as weather permitted, next to the community center.
The Humanist Fellowship formally organized as a Humanist program in approximately 1975, though the term was applied to it before then. It was incorporated in 1976.
In 1979, the group was reorganized, receiving a charter affiliation with the American Humanist Association. At the time, we spoke of offering the Humanist Alternative to an everwidening community.”
–Larry Reyka, co-founder of HCCO
Meet the HCCO Board of Trustees
Scientific: We hold that the primary tools for the discovery of truth are those of science: observation and human reason. Paraphrasing the ancient philosopher Protagoras, we hold that science is the measure of all things.
Naturalistic: We hold that the only reality is the natural or physical world. We do not find there is sufficient evidence to conclude that supernatural beings exist.
Ethical: We hold that morality is based on human needs, interests and purposes and not on the commands of any authority including any supposedly supernatural being. We hold that all human beings have an equal right to the freedom and well-being required to achieve their goals consistent with the rights of others.
Positive: We hold that, as human beings, we are capable of solving the problems of the world by combining our capacities for critical thinking and compassion for others.
Secular: We approach the world with an open mind, worshiping nothing, with a willingness to question everything, including our own assumptions.
Universal: We hold that we are human beings first and the common needs and interests we all share as human beings are more important than particular concerns we have that are based on nationality, ethnic origin, or on religious and political beliefs.
Communal: We affirm the need for communities of support in which we may celebrate our connection with one another and most fully express our Humanism.
Ecological: We hold that human beings evolved naturally and are part of the ecology of the world. This world is our home and it is in our self-interest to preserve it as best we can.
Historical: Humanism’s emphasis on the centrality of human reason and human concerns is based on honored and ancient traditions that are common to many cultures. Humanist ideas are found in ancient Greek, Roman and even Chinese philosophy.
Democratic: We hold that democracy is founded on humanist ideals and that government derives its right to govern from the people. Equality of opportunity, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of and from religious belief, being justified by rational self-interest, are essential elements of Humanist philosophy.
Great community starts here
HCCO is the largest and longest active secular community in Ohio.