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News Summary in English about Siðmennt  – June 18, 2015

Siðmennt is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2015 and has hosted several conferences on ethical topics and will continue to throughout the year. We are organizing a gala cultural event/concert/party in early October.

In February, at our Annual General Meeting, Hope Knútsson, one of the founders of Siðmennt, who had been president of Siðmennt for the past 19 years stepped down from that office and Jóhann Björnsson was elected as president for the next 2 years. Jóhann is a philosopher and teacher and is the educational director of our civil confirmation program. Hope continues as a member of the board and coordinator of the civil confirmation program.

Over the past 2 years, Siðmennt has quadrupled in size and now has close to 1300 members. We are dealing with many more projects than before. We have trained more celebrants this spring to meet the fast-growing demand for secular, alternative ceremonies at all of life’s transition points. We now have 25 celebrants. The number of ceremonies conducted by Siðmennt celebrants has increased by 45% just in the last year.

For the first time in our 25 year history, the board has hired a full time staff member, a managing director, Bjarni Jónsson (who had been vice president for the past 5 years) and he will start working September 1st. At the same time, Siðmennt will open an office for the first time, rented from the Icelandic Human Rights Center and in the same building as several other human rights organizations.

Siðmennt started a Facebook page for its members and there is very active discussion and debate there on a daily basis.

Siðmennt will participate for the first time in August in the annual Reykjavik Gay Pride parade which attracts over 80,000 people, which is 25% of the population of Iceland.

Siðmennt continues to provide secular services, to work for separation of church and state, and to be a strong voice for ethical and Humanist issues in Icelandic society.

Hope Knútsson

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