Although the WPM started and continues life on the Internet, humans are social and physical animals and there is no substitute for the stimulus of direct contact. Members who have met face-toface have always been delighted with the outcome and have often made new friends for life. In several places such as San Diego, Ohio and the UK active groups have held get-togethers and outings on a fairly regular basis. There have been nature walks in Ohio and California, solstice gatherings on Hampstead Heath, UK group weekends visiting Stonehenge and Bempton bird cliffs, and an international get-together in Rome for the 400th anniversary of Giordano Bruno’s martyrdom.
Local email groups
If you want to find out about pantheists near you one good first step is to check out our local area lists. There are currently more than twenty of these. They are listed, with links to sign up, at https://www.pantheism.net/localgroups.htm
Use the Members’ Center to find pantheists near you
Log in at the Members’ Center http://members.pantheism.net . Then click on “Search the Geodata”. Click on the first drop-down list to choose the country, and the second to search by town or state, Zip Code or telephone area code. For privacy reasons these searches return only the town, zip code, area code and email of the member, not their address or telephone number.
You can use the character ^ to search for a set of zip codes. For example, enter ^91 if you want all people whose codes begin with 91, or ^14 for all codes beginning with 14. It’s not too easy to find what zip codes adjoin your own as zip code maps are huge, and we haven’t found any free sources on the Web. You can find out the zips of various cities one by one at: http://www.usps.com/ncsc/lookups/lookup_ctystzip.html and if you are REALLY keen there is a file of all 5-digit codes and their locations at:http://spatialnews.geocomm.com/newsletter/2000/jan/cenzuszipcodes.zip
Telephone area codes:
If you’re in the USA or Canada, telephone area code is probably the easiest way of searching because you can widen your search for neighboring codes. You can find a large map of USA codes at:http://www.nanpa.com/number_resource_info/us_area_codes_and_time_zones.htmland a map of Canada codes at: http://www.cnac.ca/mapcodes.htm
Andrew Millard has installed a miraculous new feature by which you can see a map of the location of nearby pantheists, generated right there and then at the US Bureau of the Census. When you have done a search by town or state, just click on the Geomap link at the bottom of the table. It’s really only worth doing this for a big city, area code or state.
If you would like to form a local meeting group:
We will give you every bit of help we can financially and organizationally. Once there are two active members in an area we will finance well-targeted advertising in your local media. We suggest that at local level meetings should be open to non-members of the WPM. Write in with your meeting and advertising plans and budget to firstname.lastname@example.org .
What do you do after you say hello?
If you plan to form a local group, it’s important to have a clear idea, before you start, of what a typical group meeting would do — newcomers don’t like the sense that a group has no idea what it should be doing. There is no standard WPM format, but experience with existing groups suggest certain activities that “work”. Meetings in members’ homes can start with a brief round of self introductions or “check ins”. Set the scene with unobjectionable symbols such as lighted candles, collected minerals and tree seeds, and tapes of natural sounds such as whalesong, birdsong or rainshowers.
People can bring things to talk about natural objects, poetry or music that they love. Tasteful and naturalistic guided meditations based on breathing or drinking water, watching fire or feeling earth may be tried. Outings are also valuable: potluck picnics and hikes in nature, visits to local science museums and botanical gardens, stargazing parties.