Chichester Humanists is a local branch of West Sussex Humanists and represents the interests of the non-religious residents in and around Chichester.

Each month we discuss issues concerning religion and belief, ethics, equality, human rights and science, including current events.

We liase with Chichester District Council and West Sussex County Council on matters concerning equality of religion and belief, and monitor Council activities, including proposals for new "faith" schools.

We are keen to campaign on behalf of non-religious residents who feel disadvantaged because of their beliefs, e.g. access to a community school, discrimination at work or through the delivery of local services.

We organise events and displays, invite prominent speakers, and give talks to local organisations, including schools and colleges.

We meet once a month in Muchos Nachos140 Whyke Rd, Chichester PO19 8HT (tel: 01243 785 009)

Meetings are from 7.30pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month. Instead of membership subscriptions, there is a £3 entrance charge for meetings with speakers (usual concessions).

If you would like to meet some local freethinkers and have a chat, please come along and join us at the next meeting. Look out for the poster above.

For more details, email Julian.

Being freethinkers there are many things secular humanists will not agree on, but there are some matters on which we do take a firm and unanimous stand. We do not condone prejudice of any sort. Nor do we hate religious people. Such views are entirely contrary to any humanist philosophy and we reserve the right to exclude any person promoting them.

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.


Of interest to everyone was the living will (now called an Advance Decision) that John produced, along with a card that he carries saying "Do not resuscitate me if there is no reasonable prospect of recovery." The living will ensures that the wishes of a person regarding treatment are on record and must be abided by. This does not include assisted dying but does include witholding treatment.

Several other people described other deaths and explained the Liverpool Care Pathway that is now "used at the bedside to drive up sustained quality of the dying in the last hours and days of life."

We talked about the law at present and how the recent Assisted Dying bill was blocked by the House of Lords due to the efforts of the Bishops. We agreed that a change in the law would have to include rigorous safeguards to prevent abuse.

The special case of someone involved in an accident was also discussed, including examples of people who wake up from a coma after a long period. John related the experiences of a person undergoing brain surgery. Brain death was induced but the person was able to recall conversations during the operation.

We are all interested in making the important decisions in our lives but many of us leave the decision about the manner of our death in the hands of strangers. The law needs to change so as to allow us to control our lives up to the point of death. This is our life, no one else's.

Read more about the Dignity in Dying campaign.


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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.

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