Sunday Assembly

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Sunday Assembly
Sunday assembly at Conway Hall.jpg
The assembly at Conway Hall on 19 October 2014
Motto "Live better, help often and wonder more"
Formation January 6, 2013; 3 years ago (2013-01-06)
Founders Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans
Headquarters London
  • UK, Australia, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, United States

Sunday Assembly is a non-religious gathering co-founded by Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans in January 2013 in London, England. The gathering is mostly for non-religious people who want a similar communal experience to a religious church, though religious people are also welcome.


Stand-up comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans started the first Sunday Assembly in North London in January 2013 as they "both wanted to do something like church but without God".[1] The first event, attended by over 300 people, was held in a deconsecrated church in Islington,[2] but due to the limited size of the venue future meetings have been held in Conway Hall.[3] Since then events have continued to be held, twice a month, with one attracting as many as 600 people.[4][5]

In October 2013, Sunday Assembly started an Indiegogo campaign that raised £33,668 out of a £500,000 goal [6] to fund building a digital platform to help grow the organisation, which was being promoted through a 40-day comedy tour around the United States and Australia.[7] The platform is designed to help provide a resource for people wishing to set up their own assembly and to connect with each other.[8]

Local assemblies[edit]

Following the initial events held in London, the organisation has grown to have more than 480 congregations in over 30 cities around the world such as Christchurch,[9] New York, Pittsburgh,[10] San Diego and Dublin.[3][11] Satellite assemblies must adhere to the central charter; a document outlining the principles of The Sunday Assembly and some rules which have to be followed for at least some time.[11]


Attendees listen to talks by speakers such as Sandi Toksvig,[12] socialise, and sing songs by artists such as Stevie Wonder and Queen.[1][13][14]


Sanderson Jones has said that he does not "expect much objection from religious communities. They are happy for us to use their church model." However, he suspected that there may be "more aggressive atheists who will have an issue with it."[15] Kimberly Winston of the Religion News Service stated that some people felt that "getting money is their goal".[16] William McCrea, a Christian and the Member of Parliament for South Antrim, called the assembly 'highly inappropriate'.[17] Sanderson Jones countered criticism of The Sunday Assembly's appeal, stating "I don't [think] there's anything that's inherently elite about people getting together to sing songs and think about themselves and improve their community. But we can't wait to see people doing it in all manner of different places in all manner of different ways, that appeal to all manner of different people."[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Pigott, Robert (1 November 2013). "Doing church without God". BBC News. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Wheeler, Brian (4 February 2013). "What happens at an atheist church?". BBC News. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Wholly spirit". The Economist. 26 October 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Jacobs, Emma (18 October 2013). "‘Church without god’ looks for new ways of funding mission". Financial Times. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Shaha, Alom (March–April 2013). New Humanist: 28–30.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Godless Congregations for All: The Sunday Assembly Global Platform". Indiegogo. 
  7. ^ "(Non)Mass movement: Atheist mega-churches take Western world by storm". RT. 11 November 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 
  8. ^ Solon, Olivia (20 October 2013). "'Atheist church' seeks £500,000 in crowdfunding to build online platform". Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Godless church launches in Christchurch". TV3 (New Zealand). NZN. 2014-09-27. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "Sunday assembly: A godless congregation that aims to do good". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2015-02-01. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  11. ^ a b c Addley, Esther (14 September 2013). "Atheist Sunday Assembly branches out in first wave of expansion". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Hackney’s atheist church aims to ‘do good without God’ as it prepares for world tour". Hackney Citizen. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  13. ^ Fransen, Sietske (10 April 2013). "Always look on the bright side of life". Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  14. ^ Richman, Simmy (27 October 2013). "The Bonus Track: Sunday Assembly wants you, Daughter get lucky, froggin' country and Midlake's new video". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  15. ^ Engelhart, Katie. "Atheism starts its megachurch: Is it a religion now?". Salon. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  16. ^ Winston, Kimberly (29 November 2013). "Sunday Assembly 'Atheist Church' Provokes Criticism". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  17. ^ Rutherford, Adrian. "DUP MP criticises first Northern Ireland meeting of atheist 'church'". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 

External links[edit]