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NPR: “Sunday Assembly: A Church For The Godless Picks Up Steam”

“It sometimes feels like church in the auditorium of the Professional Musicians union in Hollywood. It’s a Sunday morning, and hundreds of people are gathered to meditate, sing and listen to inspirational poetry and stories. But then the live band starts up — performing songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jerry Lee Lewis. And instead of a sermon, there’s a lecture by experimental psychologist and neuroscientist Jessica Cail about the biology of gender identification and sexual orientation. This is a Los Angeles meeting of Sunday Assembly, a church for people who don’t believe in God.”

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BBC: “Scores assemble at atheist church”

“More than 200 people have packed into what is claimed to be the first atheist “church” in Britain. The gathering, called the Sunday Assembly, is held in a former church in Islington, north London. Members of a Christian church next door said they had no problem with their new neighbours.”

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Financial Times: “Church without god looks for new ways of funding mission”

“Sanderson Jones, the assembly’s co-founder, hopes to build “hundreds and, if all goes to plan, thousands” of communities. The excitable, rangy Mr Jones, who has a big ginger beard and looks as Jesus might had he been a British hipster, says the services, which involve participants singing pop anthems such as “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”, are aimed at “celebrating being alive”.”

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The Economist: A new atheist church is the opium of north London

“Do you need to believe in God to do any of that? Not at all, says Sanderson Jones, a stand-up comic and now a kind of preacher. In January he created a “Sunday Assembly”—a regular gathering for non-religious Londoners featuring storytelling, jokes and singing to a live band. Since then, its growth has been divine.”

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The Times: “Congregation growing fast at the Sunday Assembly, the church that is not a church”

“The congregation sat on uncomfortable chairs in rows. Led by a band with guitar and flute, following words on a screen at the front, they sang well-known tunes, largely out of tune, but did not dance. There was a moment to greet their neighbours and sit in thoughtful silence. They put money in a collection bag. There was an uplifting talk on developing an “attitude of gratitude”, invocations to help a neighbour and even a wailing baby. All that was missing was God.”

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Sydney Morning Herald: “Spirituality without a bothersome god finds Sydney home”

“Find yourself in the godless congregation at Sunday Assembly and you might start by singing a rousing rendition of Nina Simone’s Ain’t Got No. ”It’s pretty much our atheology, boiled down into a 2½-minute song: I Got Life,” says Sanderson Jones, co-founder of what has become possibly the world’s fastest growing atheist church. Since launching with Pippa Evans in a deconsecrated chapel in north London in January, it now has regular congregations in London, Melbourne and New York.”

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The Guardian: “The Sunday Assembly is not a revolt against God. It’s a revolt against dogma”

“There is singing and dancing and a great deal of laughter. No one cares much what you think – what matters is to share an enthusiasm for life. Sanderson Jones, one of the founders, calls it “Pentecostalism for the godless”. In fact the outward forms are like any modern evangelical church: the choir, the music group and the lyrics to the songs projected on the back of the stage are all familiar. The performance is unobtrusively professional and everyone has lots of fun.”

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Evening Standard: “The Sunday Assembly takes a pew”

“All around me, people are singing their heads off, whooping and cheering, swaying from side to side and (let’s blame Freddie Mercury for this) pretending to wave lighters in the air. There is a palpable energy in the room, a sense of joyfulness and thanksgiving. But there is no God, of any denomination.”

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Vice Magazine: “No God? No Problem”

“The idea behind godless congregations, as groups like the Sunday Assembly are known, is pretty simple: churches are about building communities based on shared values as much as they’re about worship. Studies conducted in the past few years have shown that churchgoers are happier, more optimistic, and healthier than the general heathen population. Being a part of a congregation means having more opportunities to talk to people, meet new friends and romantic partners, and make professional connections.”

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