The Sunday Assembly
|The Sunday Assembly|
|Motto||"Live better, help often and wonder more"|
|Founder(s)||Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans|
The Sunday Assembly is a non-religious gathering co-founded by Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans in January 2013 in London, UK. The gathering is designed to bring together non-religious people who want a similar communal experience to a religious church.
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". The first event, attended by over 300 people, was held in a deconsecrated church in Islington, but due to the limited size of the venue future meetings have been held in Conway Hall. Since then events have continued to be held, twice a month, with one attracting as many as 600 people.
In October 2013 The Sunday Assembly started an Indiegogo campaign to raise £500,000 to fund building a digital platform to help grow the organisation, which is being promoted through a 40-day comedy tour around the United States and Australia. The platform is designed to help provide a resource for people wishing to set up their own assembly and to connect with each other.
Following the initial events held in London the organisation has grown to have congregations in over 30 cities around the world such as New York, San Diego, and Dublin. 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.
Salon reported Sanderson Jones' statement that he does not "expect much objection from religious communities. They are happy for us to use their church model." However, he suspected that "more aggressive atheists who will have an issue with it." Kimberly Winston of the Religion News Service stated that some people felt that "getting money is their goal". William McCrea, a Christian and the Member of Parliament for South Antrim, called the assembly 'highly inappropriate'. Sanderson Jones countered criticism of The Sunday Assembly's appeal, stating "I don't 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."
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