Founded last January in London, Sunday Assembly is fast becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Affiliated chapters have recently opened (or are in the process of opening) in 22 cities from Australia to Ireland. Longtime local artist Landry Butler is organizing Thursday's first Sunday Assembly Nashville, which promises a lot of the things people traditionally get from church services: music, fellowship, a raising of spirits and voices. Just, y'know, without the dude in the sky.
A Salon article from September, exploring what organizers call "the fastest growing church in the world," offers a preview of what to expect:
I went to my first Sunday Assembly last April. Then, we were a crowd of several hundred heathens, gathered at a crusty deconsecrated church in East London. The Assembly had a wayward, whimsical feel. At a table by the door, ladies served homemade cakes and tea. The house band played Cat Stevens. Our “priest” wore pink skinny jeans. Many attendees were modish 20-somethings, and pretty obviously hungover.
I did not need to be sold on the idea (explained nicely here by philosopher Alain de Botton). Like the Sunday Assembly’s founders, stand-up comics Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones, I don’t think religion should have a monopoly on community. I like the idea of a secular temple, where atheists can enjoy the benefits of an idealized, traditional church—a sense of community, a thought-provoking sermon, a scheduled period of respite, easy access to community service opportunities, group singing, an ethos of self-improvement, free food—without the stinging imposition of God Almighty.
For more information, read the press release below.
Sunday Assembly’s 40 Dates and 40 Nights tour comes to Nashville on Nov. 7
We are very excited to announce the launch of Sunday Assembly Nashville, on Thursday, Nov. 7 in The Building. Sunday Assembly Nashville is a godless congregation that is part atheist-church, part-foot stomping show, and 100% celebration of life. It’s aim: to help people live better, help often and wonder more.
Nashville has gathered enough support to win a coveted place on the Sunday Assembly’s first global start-up tour, 40 Dates and 40 Nights, which sees Assemblies starting in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. Local organizer Landry Butler said, “This is an exciting opportunity to celebrate life and have a good time.”
Come on down to sing great songs, hear inspiring talks, listen to interesting readings and, everyone’s favorite, have a cup of tea and slice of cake at the end. The theme of the first Assembly is ‘Live Better’ and Sanderson Jones, co-founder of The Sunday Assembly, will do the address, with Steven Davidson, Ph.D., LCSW, doing the guest talk.
Sunday Assembly Nashville will meet on the second Sunday of each month. The next services will be on Dec. 8 and Jan. 12. For more information contact (615) 828-2369.
The Sunday Assembly
The Sunday Assembly is a godless congregation that celebrates life. Our aim is to live better, help often and wonder more. Our mission is to help everyone first discover, and then achieve their full potential. We meet because we know we are stronger together than on our own. Each service contains great songs, inspiring talks, interesting readings which, together, refresh the soul and nourish the mind.
Founded in London in Jan. 2013, The Sunday Assembly has experience a meteoric rise as it has tapped into a need of people across the world. The monthly services in London have a regular congregation of over 400, having to go to two services a day in 3 months, before moving to a larger venue by the fifth.
In order to cope with the global demand for Assemblies, the created an expansion plan called Sunday Assembly Everywhere.
Sunday Assembly Everywhere
Sunday Assembly Everywhere is an initiative from The Sunday Assembly allows local groups to arrange independently organized services. Each service follows a format that to make sure it stays true to the spirit and ethos of The Sunday Assembly, while allowing people to customize and make it their own by choosing their own songs, speakers and readings. After all, 90% of the feel good vibe come from the communal singing, inspiring talks and tea at the end. This leaderless format allows people to start an Assembly, while the infrastructure is created that will allow us to accredit hosts.