Sunday Assembly, the World's Hot New Atheist Church, is Coming to Dallas

SandersonJonesPippaEvansChurhc.jpg
via YouTube
Jones (suit) and Evans (guitar) lead a Sunday Assembly.
Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans are comedians, but their new project, Sunday Assembly, isn't a joke. It's also not a joke when Evans describes it as "all the best bits of church, but with no religion and awesome pop songs," or when Jones says its goal is to to "bring human potential to dizzying new heights."

It is, for lack of a better phrase, an atheist church, a regular gathering of like-minded people seeking fellowship and fulfillment, and nonbelievers worldwide are taking it quite seriously. Since starting the first one in London this past January, Jones and Evans have embarked upon a world tour, planting churches in Europe, Australia, and North America.

At noon on Sunday, Jones will launch the movement in Dallas. Zachary Moore, the recent head of the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason, says organizers are trying to find a venue, since their initial spot, the Free Man pub in Deep Ellum, is too small to accommodate the 150 people who have signed up to attend.

See also: Here Are Dallas Atheists' New Billboards, In Case They Don't See the Light of Day

Hardly the makings of an "athiest megachurch," as the Sunday assembly has been described, but proof that there's a decent-sized market out there.

That probably shouldn't be surprising, given a long-term rise in nonbelievers. A recent Pew survey found that a fifth of the U.S. population, and a third of those under 30, claim no religious affiliation.

Part of what will be determined on Sunday, Moore says, is where the Sunday Assembly can fit into the local atheist scene. Dallas already has two main atheist groups, the Fellowship of Freethought and the North Texas Church of Freethought, but the Sunday Assembly isn't quite like either of them.

It has "all the trappings of church," like meaningful human interaction and music, but "without the talking animals and the guys in robes telling you what to do," Moore says.

Sunday's event will just be a starting point. The idea is that Jones will come and recruit volunteers to lead the local Sunday Assembly. If Jones is successful, and if there are enough people comfortable with the paradoxical nature of an atheist church, it will become a regular thing.

See also: American Humanists Target Birdville ISD for Suspending Student Who Tore Pages From a Bible

Event details can be found here. Jones and Evans' fundraising video is below. It may or may not answer your questions.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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42 comments
bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

The more I think of an atheist church, the more I'm puzzled.  Is this a piece of satire by -- I dunno, Don Delillo? Thomas Pynchon? John Barth? Aren't atheists the folks who pride themselves on their independent thought, their freedom from established forms? And so they come up with...a church?

Have they no identity of their own except in what they're not? Not believers, not religious, not beholden to any deity. But, for some reason, good church-going folks. 

It's pretty clear there must be a God working in history. And He's evidentally a comedian.

gambinoc
gambinoc

Child molestation is lower among the clergy than the general population. When it does occur, it is almost exclusively man-boy. This would imply more of a homosexual than ecclesial problem.

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

ill be worshipping the devil from the comfort of  my own home and shelling out no cash and having to hug no smelly old bastard

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

be alot more exciting if FRONT LINE Assembly was coming to Dallas this Sunday

doublecheese
doublecheese

"without the talking animals and the guys in robes telling you what to do," 

Oh, that's coming.  It might not be talking animals, and they might not be wearing robes, but don't think that anyone's going to waste an opportunity to manipulate a crowd of followers.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

New! Improved! Church! 

Now with 100% less God!

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

All the drawbacks of church and none of the blessings.

ruddski
ruddski

These fairies remind me of the idiots who parade around with the bumper sticker: "Not A Republican".

JohnSmallBerries
JohnSmallBerries

Atheists who would show up at these things tend to be nerds and mostly male. Not exactly the makings of social interaction. Honestly If you want to do this, then just get over your irrational fear of someone saying "God" or "spiritual" and join the Unitarians.

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

the picture looks like most concerts at the doublewide. 

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

how will they make money without being able to use religious guilt for the offering?

BobLowlaw
BobLowlaw

I didn't think it was possible to think of something more boring than going to church on Sunday.  These people are far too interested in the entire subject.   I predict that half the people in attendance will change their minds in a few years, and bore us once again by sharing the "good news" of being "born again."

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

If the IRS says it's tax free, sign me up to be a deacon.

Oxtail
Oxtail

Soooo... Its basically what you'd call a "Club"? I bet the Friday or Saturday Assemblians have more fun.

billthompsonbaby
billthompsonbaby

@bmarvel  It took me about 5 seconds to click on the link in the article and read their web page:


"We are here for everyone who wants to:

  • Live Better. We aim to provide inspiring, thought-provoking and practical ideas that help people to live the lives they want to lead and be the people they want to be

  • Help Often. Assemblies are communities of action building lives of purpose, encouraging us all to help anyone who needs it to support each other

  • Wonder More. Hearing talks, singing as one, listening to readings and even playing games helps us to connect with each other and the awesome world we live in."


Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@ruddski Miss Ruddski and her smoke screen.  Girl, I caught that cheesy drag act you took on the road to Shreveport.

JackJett
JackJett

@ruddski You are far more taken with "the gays" than even Rick Santorum.

You are our on little Lindsey Sue Graham.   Do you still live with your Mom...or your Aunt.  Seriously, what is your obsession with gays?  I understand your goal here is to be offensive as possible and you are very successful. 

Perhaps thou protesteth too mucheth.  I will pray for you in church on sunday.

jnbary11
jnbary11

@ruddski 

Could be. We all know what one of these southern "real" churches would do to you if you "sounded gay" at a traditional church.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@Montemalone "Bishop" is more Dallas, doncha think? Deacons are volunteers, while bishops go pro. 

ruddski
ruddski

You were such a good tipper.

ruddski
ruddski

You can't steal the word back now, amigo.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@wcvemail @Montemalone I could give a fuck, I just want to be exempt from taxes.

And buy a jet with the donations.

Somebody else can do the teevee.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@ruddski 

Why, I'm sure I have no idea of what it is that you are trying to imply.

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