Godless ‘church’ is good for society
YESTERDAY, The Sunday Assembly was included in the 2014 New Radicals list, compiled by Nesta, an innovation charity with a mission to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life, and the The Observer .
From over 1,000 nominations the Assembly was one of 50 people or projects that were celebrated for helping to change Britain for the better.
According to its website, The Sunday Assembly is:
An international not-for-profit that helps people start and run their own godless congregations. Our motto: Live Better, Help Often and Wonder More. Our mission: to help everyone find and fulfil their full potential.
Since starting in London in January 2013 we have helped 27 communities start their own Assemblies, and we’re on track to triple that number by the end of the year.
Assemblies have been launched in Berlin, Amsterdam, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Vancouver, Toowoomba, Glasgow, and Baltimore to name just a few of the new congregations.
It was set up by two comedians, Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones [pictured above], who on their way to a gig started to talk about the idea of an inspirational church without God. In January 2013 they organised their first event where more than 200 people turned up.
A Sunday Assembly consists of songs (pop and soul mainly) sung by the congregation, with readings and talks. Afterwards people in the congregation have tea and cakes and are encouraged to chat and mingle. All assemblies are free and run by volunteers. It also runs community action groups.
Sanderson Jones emailed us this morning to alert us to the fact The Sunday Assembly had been included in the Nesta/Observer 2014 list.
We fit right in because The Sunday Assembly is radical in our methods, in our rapid growth and in our impact. Repurposing the church-model to make it radically inclusive to all, has helped us create joyful communities across the world, powered by karaoke, kindness and cake.
This is awesome. We burst onto the scene last year almost as a curiosity, and it is refreshing to show that, even though we are powered by pop songs and laughter, the social value of our work is being recognised. Thanks so much guys.
Geoff Mulgan, CEO of Nesta, commented here:
New Radicals celebrates the often unsung heroes who are blazing new trails that could benefit us all, whether in schools or care homes, science or the arts. It’s designed to complement the very familiar lists that celebrate the rich, the powerful and the famous, and we hope that once again the list can inspire others to turn their enthusiasm and ideas into practical change for the better.
And John Mulholland, editor of The Observer, said:
It’s a thrilling list – here are people or groups of people who are organising, collaborating and active in a way that helps transform lives and communities. It’s an antidote to apathy and cynicism – this is about activism. The ways in which these people act has the effect of materially changing the lives of Britons for the better. I think the message is clear – if at all possible, do something. It’s almost always better than doing nothing.
Sanderson said in his email:
This year the Sunday Assembly has gathered qualitative data from Assembly attendees which shows that it is helping people with anxiety and depression, it is alleviating social isolation and increasing social capital. This is on top of positively contributing to people’s wellbeing by giving them a more positive outlook, new friends, belonging and meaning. We are in the process of analysing a quantitative survey of 350 people, to tell us more about the impact we are having.
A few weeks ago the SA said it was looking for a Chief Operating Officer who will be responsible for the administrative, volunteer management and project planning of the movement – to effectively manage the internal operations of the Sunday Assembly.
We are a small start up, with big dreams, lightning growth, a global reach, and we are dedicated to helping everyone (and we mean everyone) lead fulfilled and happy lives.