An exciting announcement!

The Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS), the organization that played an important role in the development of religious naturalism and the founding of RNA, is hosting a weeklong conference on Star Island NH next year, June 27-July 4 2020. The conference, titled Naturalism– as Religion, within Religions, or without Religion?, is described here. Conference co-chairs are Wim (Willem) Drees and RNA member Barbara Whittaker-Johns.

We at RNA consider this a milestone event, an opportunity to develop the RN orientation in the context of alternative naturalism orientations, joined by real (non-virtual) people at an historic conference center surrounded by the Atlantic ocean.

Speakers will include RNA president Ursula Goodenough, RNA advisor Carol Wayne White, and RNA member Marcelo Gleiser, who blogged with Ursula and others on NPR’s 13.7: Cosmos and Culture. The minister for the week is RNA member Janet Newton, recently ordained in the UUA. A full speaker list, with at least one more TBD, is here

Much of the week is left open for concurrent workshops and discussion groups as well as moreformal paper presentations. Hopefully a good number of you will elect to develop and lead such offerings, exploring intellectual, spiritual, moral, ecomoral, artistic, or ritual dimensions of our orientation.

There’s also plenty of time for reading and contemplation, walking out on the granite outcroppings that surround the island (like the coast of Maine), and casual/deep friend-making.There’s a large art studio, a choir, and much music-making. There are boats and tennis courts and chilly swimming for the intrepid. There’s a talent show and a banquet. So, if persons accompanying you are not (yet) drawn to the RN topic, there are many other ways for them to have a splendid week.

The Children and Teen programs are outstanding, and because there are no cars on the island, kids get to experience the joys of free-range exploration.

For any questions about the conference or the venue, feel free to contact Ursula (


The 2019 adult room+board+tips+ferry rates were $1006 each for a shared room and $1368 for a single room for the week; limited rooms with private bathrooms cost a bit more. Children under 6 are free; 6-11 years was $466; and 12-17 years was $666. A 30% discount on room and board is provided to anyone who hasn’t attended a Star conference in the last 3 years. Star Island and IRAS also have some monies available for financial assistance.

Registration/program fees, which go directly to IRAS: $325 for non-IRAS members; $225 for IRAS members. IRAS membership is $40/year so you get a bargain if you join when you register.

We’ll let you know when on-line registration opens; it usually happens in January.