Sunday Assembly sets foot in Australia

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Comedian and writer Pippa Evans is the co-founder of the Sunday Assembly, a growing worldwide movement where non-believers congregate to celebrate atheist rituals of community and wonder. Recently a congregation formed in Melbourne, and it's already attracting a growing flock. But why revisit the traditions of church worship if there's no God to praise?


The question we get asked the most about Sunday Assembly is ‘But why?’ Why set up something that is sort of like a godless church and sort of like a show, and is fun and yet serious?

My stock answer is ‘Why not?’

Two months ago I hosted the first Sunday Assembly Australia in Melbourne. It was a buzz to see 60-odd people laughing, singing and being together, sharing lemonade and homemade cakes and making new connections.

One couple I met had just moved to South Melbourne and wanted to meet people, but they didn't want to go to church as they didn't believe in God. Where's the place to do that?

Written By: Pippa Evans
continue to source article at abc.net.au

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  1. One couple I met had just moved to South Melbourne and wanted to meet people, but they didn’t want to go to church as they didn’t believe in God. Where’s the place to do that?

    The pub.

    Speaking of which, it’s late Friday afternoon… and there’s a pint of Guinness with my name on it :)

    • In reply to #1 by Tyler Durden:

      One couple I met had just moved to South Melbourne and wanted to meet people, but they didn’t want to go to church as they didn’t believe in God. Where’s the place to do that?

      The pub.

      Speaking of which, it’s late Friday afternoon… and there’s a pint of Guinness with my name on it :)

      You took the word off of my keyboard. Slainte!

      But the polite, touchy, feely companionship, singing (soft pop?), home made cakes and lemonade, sound rather like a suburban meeting of the Uniting (Methodist) church to me. A bit tame and full of restraint.

    • In reply to #1 by Tyler Durden:

      One couple I met had just moved to South Melbourne and wanted to meet people, but they didn’t want to go to church as they didn’t believe in God. Where’s the place to do that?

      The pub.

      I’ve, sadly, only been to Ireland a few times and even then its been business. Tumbling into the bars afterwards, though, has been a huge delight. The eagerness for wayward and boundless conversation led me to coin “Liquid Philosophy” as a term for Guinness. Fellowship abounds.

      What I find shuddery about this is not so much the lemonade and cupcakes (homemade they’re great) but the making of an isolated little community with mind numbingly predictable rituals and a burgeoning sense of self identity centred upon it. Enough of this sad tribalism.

  2. Great idea. I know several of my friends that value the advantages of society coming together in a way to celebrate the good in the world, around common thoughts and purpose. Presently, they go to Church because it is expected of them but they do value the social interaction despite the “god focused purpose”. Humans are social animals and yes a pub is a great place to be social and have good dialogue but so is having an alternative for those who value having a point in time to get together to reflect on life and joyously celebrate it, especially in a family environment.

    Anything to rebaseline life at a humanist level versus the burdensome religuous structures society lives by today.

  3. Seriously people. You have pub, bbq, footy, lawn mowing, sleeping in, going for a coffee, phoning Mum, shopping, washing car, reading newspaper, Sunday roast lunch, watching World of Sport on the telly. These are all acceptable Australian Sunday activities. Standing around with a bunch of weird people singing is not.

    Can I return my Australian passport somewhere ?

    • In reply to #6 by mmurray:

      Seriously people. You have pub, bbq, footy, lawn mowing, sleeping in, going for a coffee, phoning Mum, shopping, washing car, reading newspaper, Sunday roast lunch, watching World of Sport on the telly. These are all acceptable Australian Sunday activities. Standing around with a bunch of weird…

      I think I’d give it a try, at least once. The only time I’ve ever been in the company of a large group of atheists was a the Opera House when Richard Dawkins and AC Grayling were appearing as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival. I remember the feeling as being very positive because we are normally not found in large numbers.

  4. what I really miss as an atheist is sitting around listenining to a lecture I am not really interested in and then spending 15 minutes making polite awkward conversation with people I don’t really know. I have attended church with girlfriends and this is about all that I have witnessed at church services,( perhaps they wait untill I have left before starting the party) if only atheists had an equivalent.

  5. I think this is the crux of it:

    The best thing of all, my favourite thing, is that if you don’t agree, if you don’t like the sound of it, if this doesn’t float your boat, you don’t have to come. There is no fire and brimstone if you don’t attend Sunday Assembly.

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