Welcome to West Sussex Humanists

Humanism is the view that we can make sense of the world using reason, experience and shared human values, and live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs.

We represent the interests of the non-religious residents of West Sussex in local government, support Human Rights, and work towards equality and social cohesion.

West Sussex Humanists is also an umbrella organisation of local affiliated groups that meet regularly, currently Horsham Humanists and Chichester Humanists.

Our next meetings

19th December Chichester

Social meeting

Chichester Inn

8th January Horsham

Social meeting

Chichester Inn


Councillors pray to God for guidance

In March 2015, the government introduced the Local Government (Religious Observances) Act allowing councils to hold prayers during their meetings, overturning a High Court decision in 2011 (see below).

Faith vs Secularism Conference at Worth Abbey October 2011

Around 45 people attended this conference, which was jointly sponsored by South East England Faiths Forum (SEEFF) and Faiths in Sussex (FiS), and organised by Horsham InterFaith.

Henry Smith, MP for Crawley, gave the first talk. In his work as an MP, he enjoys meeting people from diverse backgrounds and has found that they share many desires for a better society. Educated in Philosophy, he believes in God but respects the rights of all people to hold religious or non-religious beliefs.


Chichester Humanists talk 19th September: Dignity in Dying

This talk attracted a number of new people to our growing group.

John Kapp began with a moving description of the death of his first wife from cancer. She died peacefully at home and had a "good death" as John explained.

On several occasions, John mentioned our reluctance to talk about death and palliative care in particular, even amongst health professionals and care staff. Having planned for his own death, John says that he feels more alive than ever.


Chichester Humanists talk 15th August: Being Gay in the UK


Peter Cornwell of Worthing Pride gave us a well presented and interesting talk about the problems faced by the Gay and Lesbian community in the UK.

His approach was to outline the main historical changes to UK law. Queen Victoria was partlly responsible for the first anti-homosexual Act in 1885; this only applied to men, because she didn't think lesbianism was possible. A few years later, Oscar Wilde was put on trial.


Ray Marsh talks about Humanist Ceremonies

ChichesterHumanistsTalkRayMarshJuly2011Ray Marsh gave a most interesting and entertaining talk about Humanist ceremonies: baby namings, weddings/civil partnerships and funerals.

Ray has been a Humanist celebrant for 9 years and comes highly recommended. Like most celebrants, he conducts all three ceremonies.


RE syllabus heavily biased against the non-religious


The following letter to the Editor was published in Mid Sussex Times on 3rd July 2011.  The article opposite appeared in the Chichester Observer before the meeting referred to in the letter.

EVERY FIVE years, West Sussex County Council (WSCC) is legally obliged to review its local Religious Education (RE) syllabus for community schools. Today, members of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) met to discuss how to proceed towards the new syllabus in April, 2013.

As usual, I attended the meeting as an observer, unable to speak on behalf of the non-religious residents of West Sussex. WSCC has repeatedly refused to include a Humanist member of SACRE.

Our next meetings

19th December Chichester

Social meeting

Chichester Inn

8th January Horsham

Social meeting

Chichester Inn



Horsham Humanists debate The Foundations of Humanism

Horsham Humanists discussed the foundations of Humanism at their new venue The Rising Sun. More details at

Secular Europe March 2011

West Sussex Humanists were proud to attend the Secular Europe march in London on Saturday.


Distinguished speakers from across Europe gave impassioned speeches about the urgent need for secularism.

Andrew Copson of the BHA said ‘Secularism guarantees our freedom of conscience and our freedom of belief, humanist and religious alike. But all over Europe there are religious groups of all religions lobbying not just for the right to pursue their own vision of the good life as they see fit, which, if we do it without harming others is a freedom we all should enjoy, but working hard to impose their own values on us all.’

Read more at the BHA website.


Horsham Humanists debate the Right to Kill


For more details about this talk, please visit www.Horsham


RE in the English Baccalaureate

A campaign is underway for the inclusion of GCSE Religious Education (RE) to be included in the new English Baccalaureate.

The BHA supports the inclusion of a subject such as Philosophy and Culture that includes religion and belief, provided that the current plethora of religiously biased local syllabuses are replaced by a national curriculum drawn up by academics.

Listen to a BBC Radio Sussex interview with Andrew Edmondson.


This is a 6.5MB mp3 file lasting about 10 minutes (Download recording).


Chichester Humanists 21st June 2011


Our first organised talk "Are We Hard-Wired to Believe in God?" by NHS Psychological Therapist Martyn Frame was a resounding success and paves the way for a program of regular talks.

Over 20 people attended. As usual, we began the meeting by introducing ourselves. And what an interesting, diverse bunch of people, each with their own story. Some were non-believers for as long as they could remember, others struggled to break free of their religious past.


Chichester Humanists meeting 17th May 2011

This lively meeting welcomed three new faces and a few locals who overheard our conversation.

Most of the meeting was spent discussing our personal histories and the reasons we are interested in a local Humanist group. Humanists come from all walks of life and have a reasoned approach to dealing with the issues of life, the universe and everything. This meeting demonstrated that debating ethical and other human issues is far from dull.


Remembrance Sunday Campaign

The Chichester Observer made a video and wrote an article covering the laying of a Humanist wreath after the main religious ceremony. A transcript of the speech can be downloaded here.

The non-religious should be represented on the Religious Education advisory council
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