Secular Conversations

The Public is Welcome

Master Poss class1

Humanists of North Central Florida programs are offered monthly in collaboration with Master the Possibilities Lifelong Learning Center in Ocala, Florida.  Join the conversation on the third Saturday each month.

Freethinkers, including atheists, agnostics and others, participate in respectful dialogue, sharing ideas on a variety of subjects. Videos, essays, participants and guest speakers may be used to enhance topics. Check out this informative video and then use the links below to register.

All talks are at 2:00 pm on Third Saturdays

At Master the Possibilities On Top of the World

Live Oak Hall

8413 SW 80th Street

Ocala, Florida 34481

Free Admittance for Residents of On Top of the World and Stone Creek

All others pay $5 registration fee at the door

Register online or at the door, or call (352) 861-9751.


June 16, 2018

FILM:  The Freedom to Marry by Eddie Rosenstein

This full-length film shows the lead-up to the SCOTUS decision legalizing same-sex marriage by focusing on a couple of the key players.  Largely focused on Evan Wolfson, guiding light behind the movement to legalize same-sex marriage, the film provides the history of the struggle, taking it up to the historic moment in June, 2015 when the more civil rights oriented justices, on the Supreme Court and Justice itself, prevailed.

July 21, 2018  

Coming Out of The Light:  A Personal Journey from Christianity to Humanism.

Presented by:  Bert Gagnon

In this program, Bert Gagnon entertains as he shares his personal and unique spiritual journey along a very winding path coming out of his upbringing in the Baptist Church and coming into his own understanding of personal truth.

Bio: Bert Gagnon grew up in Maine, served in the US Army during the Vietnam Era, followed by graduating with a triple major, University of Maine.  He attended the Actors’ Workshop in Boston and performed Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina and New York.  In the mid-80s Gagnon accepted a position as an administrative legal assistant, with a then mid-sized St. Louis law-firm. Through mergers and acquisitions, the firm grew from less than 70 attorneys to more than 350. Gagnon retired as Director of Practice Support Services.  He, and his husband Nick, currently reside in The Villages of Rainbow Springs, just outside of Dunnellon, Florida.

August 18, 2018

The Coca-Cola Environmental Sustainability Journey

Presented by:  Bruce Karas, VP Environment & Sustainability

The most important ingredient in Coca-Cola’s products is water.  It is in every product we make whether we do it by design or through nature.   As such, we have been on a journey along with many partners and stakeholders to understand how we can operate such that our impact on the local watershed is sustainable and restorative.   We have learned how to  create a culture of water conservation in our production operations that,  coupled with process innovations, helped continue to reduce our water use.   In 2007, we announced an aggressive goal that by 2020, we would replenish the volume of water used in our product and their production.  This required our associates to consider how we impact our local watersheds in a more holistic fashion.  We will share examples of different restorations and their impacts as well as a forward look at where our watershed work will go in the future. 

Bio:  Mr. Karas is the VP of Environment & Sustainability for Coca-Cola North America.   He has over 25 years of experience as an EHS professional and has practiced in a wide range of Industrial operations in the US, Canada.  He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist in Comprehensive Practice, a Certified Safety Professional and is a Registered Occupational Hygienist in Canada.  He has served in various positions in national and local professional organizations and has presented various papers on topics ranging from ergonomics, health effects of flavorings, water stewardship and sustainability.

Coca Cola Corporation:  Water Management, Coca-Cola North America

September 15, 2018

Madalyn Murray O’Hair Would Not Have Been the Most Hated Person in America… If She Was a Man: Organized Secularism in the US.

Presented by:  Ryan Cragun, PhD

While the 19th century saw a wave of popularity for freethinkers in the US, much of this excitement had died down by the early part of the 20th century.  Just a handful of non-theist and freethought organizations remained, and most of them were very small and on the verge of collapsing.  However, starting in 1941 with the founding of the American Humanist Association and followed by the founding of American Atheists in 1963, the number of non-theist organizations experienced a slow increase.  Today, there are several large, national, member-based non-theist/freethought social movement organizations in the US and thousands of smaller, local organizations.  In this presentation, I examine the origins and inter-relations of four of the largest non-theist/freethought organizations in the US: the American Humanist Association, American Atheists, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation.  In examining the origins of these organizations, I draw upon several social movement theories but also extend current theorizing by discussing the importance of inter-personal relationships for understanding how social movement organizations “split” or “fracture”.  We also discuss whether these “splits” facilitate or hinder the aims of the broader movement in the US. 

October 20, 2018

Hispanics in the US: Myths & Reality

Presented by:  Felipe Korzenny, Ph.D.

Hispanics have been a driving force in the US since before it became a nation.  Many have maligned them with arguments about undocumented immigration and taking the jobs of “deserving others.”  Hispanics are now the largest minority in the United States and shaping its future in many important ways.  The wellbeing of the country depends in large part on this growing cultural group.  Understanding the myths and realities of the US Hispanic population is a must for an informed citizenry.  This presentation will address: 1. the size and importance of this group; 2. their history and contributions; 3. their culture and influence; 4. immigration misconceptions; and 5. the economic importance of US Latinos.

Bio:  Dr. Felipe Korzenny is Professor Emeritus and Director Emeritus of the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication at Florida State University.  He conducts market research and consults with many major corporations that reach out to US Latinos and other culturally diverse groups.

November 17, 2018

Heath Care Is a Human Right

Presented by Chad Hood, MD
A long-time supporter of a single-payer heath care system, and in this presentation he will explain how such a model could provide health care for ALL Americans and still save billions of dollars each year. Dr. Hood is a physician at the Gainesville VA Medical Center, assistant professor with University of Florida, and coordinator of the Alachua County Labor Coalition’s “Just Health Care” campaign, dedicated to the idea that health care is a human right.

Bio:  Dr. Chad Hood is a Diplomate, American Board of Internal Medicine (Board Certified 2000 – 2020).  Associate Chief of Staff for Education, V.A. Medical Center, Gainesville, FL (2014 – present).  Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL (2012 – present).


Watch a video about who the Humanists of North Central Florida Are by clicking the link below:


Humanists of North Central Florida (HNCFL) in Ocala welcomes your interest. Join the conversation by clicking here.

Past Secular Conversations

Ibram Kendi-MasterPoss

Ibram X Kendi, PhD discussing his 2016 National Book Award winning book, “Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.”

Hassan Shibly MasterPoss

Attorney Hassan Shibly, director of the Council on American & Islamic Relations

Rev Leroy Chandler

The Rev. Leroy Chandler honors Juneteenth, in his presentation, “Slave Ships Emerge in American Cities.”