The "Sunday Assembly" program is described as "a church without the God bits." It was started in the U.K. in 2013 by two comedians, Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans. In Dec. 2013, a local congregation was started in Portland Oregon. On April 13th, they had their third event, and Korin Scott Leman wrote this report:
We saw quite a few familiar faces last Sunday at our third assembly! About 130 attended, which is more than expected on one of the first beautiful weekends in Portland. We have been having a very balanced age and gender representation. We try to model this balance by who has a performing role in the assemblies, as well. We are proactively seeking out ways to make sure all kinds of folks are confident that SA has something to offer them.
The band kicked things off "Eye of the Tiger". Our band coordinator, Rox, has been doing a great job reaching out to younger musicians. For some of the musicians it is their first time playing for such a large crowd. Though one would have never known of their inexperience - they killed it! This was also a great opportunity for the assembly to experience first hand that the young ones among us have a lot to offer.
Cliff Hansen, crafty as he is, stitched together Puppet Carl Sagan and entertained kids and adults alike by sharing how the cosmos has inspired "him." The kids were invited to the front of the assembly to watch the show. We are planning more short and interactive puppet shows down the line.
Adam Rosko was the keynote speaker. He is a beloved Portland figure and co-founder of Trek in the Park (reenacted Star Trek episodes). He shared with us his journey to turn his passion into a reality through community collaboration (just what we're doing!).
Thorin Neilson (our graphic artist extraordinaire) shared how he is doing his best diving into Sunday Assembly Portland and embracing the opportunity to work as a team.
We launched two Smoups (small groups): a meditation group and a discussion group about our social structures.
We also had lots more folks sign up to volunteer. They are invited to our on-going Saturday planning meeting in the back room of a local cafe. This has been a great way for new folks to get to know organizers and feel out how they can get involved.
After the event, we had a couple of hang-out opportunities. One at a bar a few blocks away, and the other at the local theater for a free viewing of the COSMOS.
It all went extremely smoothly thanks to our intelligent and helpful volunteers.
If you would like to find out more about Sunday Assembly Portland, visit our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/SundayAssemblyPDX .
For those of a nonreligious mindset, here's some other groups on meetup.com that you might find interesting:
-- Westside Science & Religion Disc.: http://tinyurl.com/bkmhdl5
-- Sunday Assembly: http://tinyurl.com/kkc8nyw
-- Center for Inquiry: http://tinyurl.com/mps923r
-- Humanists of Greater Portland: http://tinyurl.com/kmbmt57
-- Atheists Etcetera: http://tinyurl.com/nhjr3ha
-- Philosophy Workshop: http://tinyurl.com/pzs4ajc
-- The Center for Philosophical Naturalism: http://tinyurl.com/l6rd4sl