The Sunday Assembly, the popular atheist church from London, England is coming to city near you. The brainchild of comedians Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones will take their London based show on the road in what they are calling the 40 Dates and 40 Nights tour. Hitting cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol, Brighton, Oxford, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Leeds, Manchester, Dublin and Crystal Palace. In the US, New York, Harvard, Washington DC, Chicago, San Diego, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and in Canada Vancouver. In Australia, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
Each stop along the way will be to launch a new satellite charter assembly. The team plans to run a similar setup as the original assembly in each location. The format is very church like with songs and a sermon; the only difference being all of this is secular and focused on living better, helping others and wondering more. Their mission is to help everyone find and live life to their full potential.
The Guardian spoke to Jones who said, “If we do it in London and there are 400 people who come, that’s brilliant, but if we find a way to help hundreds of people to set one up then we can have a bigger impact than we could ever dream of,” says Jones. Their vision, he says, is “a godless gathering in every town, city or village that wants one”.
The idea of atheist churches are a hot button issue around the secular community, many want to get away from church and see no use for such a thing, but many are looking to replace their church and feeling of community once leaving religion behind. Similar churches or assemblies have been set up in places like Houston, Texas who have set up the Houston Oasis, or in Louisiana were famed former evangelical pastor and now outspoken atheist Jerry Dewitt runs the Community Mission Chapel.
Though the demographic may seem small, the assembly’s message is universal and their message is universal. According to their website, the church is “radically inclusive”, meaning everyone is welcome regardless of their faith or beliefs. They welcome those who do believe in a deity of any kind and promise to not tell you that you are wrong if you do.
Members in London, England are already looking at more ways to expand The Sunday Assemblies messages and are working on setting up a free school that follows the assembly’s principles.
The Sunday Assembly’s 40 Dates and 40 Nights tour kicks off Tuesday, October 22nd in Edinburgh. The assembly makes its stop in San Diego, California on November 9th. Free tickets and more information for all the dates are available here.