Frequently Asked Questions
What is a "secular congregation"?
This is an unconventional turn of phrase, we admit. "Congregation" is usually applied to gatherings for church. "Secular", on the other hand, means non-religious. So… a secular congregation is a gathering that looks a bit like church, but has no religious background or content.
Why do you run a secular congregation?
Because there are lots of benefits from going to church-like gatherings – meeting a broad variety of other people, singing together, hearing inspiring talks and readings, reflecting on how we live our lives, helping others, eating cake and so on. We don’t think these benefits should be restricted to those with religious faith – so we offer Sunday Assembly as an alternative way to do these things without any religious baggage.
Okay, really: are you a church?
Genuinely, seriously: nope.
We're also "not a cult", which is joked about because that's exactly what a cult would say. Jokes aside, though, some chapter members have experiences with actual cults in their past and appreciate our welcoming and open community.
We actively take inspiration from wonderful things religious congregations have done over thousands of years in getting people together to think and feel a bigger picture. Our bigger picture, though, doesn't have the supernatural involved. There's no proselytizing, no dogma, and no gods. We really are what we say we are, and we'd love to have you discover that with us.
How is Sunday Assembly organized?
All assemblies are run independently, usually as a non-profit organization in their country. Each takes inspiration from the original London Sunday Assembly in values, programming, branding, and operation. They are all run by individual efforts (overwhelming by volunteers) and funded by their own supportive communities.
Sunday Assembly in America, Inc. reformed in 2019 to be a representative body of active assemblies in the USA. It holds regular meetings to foster communication between local chapters and take broader, nation-wide action for the movement.
Sunday Assembly organizers use Workplace to facilitate ongoing conversations about news, challenges, successes, and other topics of interest.
What happens at a Sunday Assembly?
A Sunday Assembly service usually consists of songs (pop songs mainly) sung by the congregation, a reading (usually a poet), an interesting talk (that fits into live better, help often, or wonder more), a moment of reflection and an address, which sums up the day and hopefully gives a take home message. Afterwards there's food to encourage people to stay and mingle with one another. Outside of the event we organize small groups ("smoups", as they're sometimes called), and other social activities such as book clubs, choir, peer-to-peer support, and local volunteering.
Do I have to buy a ticket or be a member to come?
No, absolutely not. Sunday Assembly is always free to attend for anyone who wishes to come along. Just show up! We’ll say hello and get you meeting other people (or leave you in peace if that’s what you prefer). We do take a collection to help cover the costs of the venue and providing refreshments – you can give what you can afford, if you’d like to.
Is Sunday Assembly exclusively for atheists?
Absolutely not. We say in the Charter that we don’t do supernatural but we won’t tell you you’re wrong if you do. One of the unique things about Sunday Assembly is that it is radically inclusive—allowing us to celebrate life together, regardless of what we believe in. We have people from all walks of life as part of our community—whatever your background, race, faith, or age you are welcome.
Is Sunday Assembly right for me?
Only you can answer this question. Are you keen to celebrate life? Do you enjoy meeting new people? Do you wish there was a community of like-minded people meeting simply to share the pleasure of being alive? Then yes!
Are you keen to find a way to spread your theory on why religion is evil? Want to tell the world why you are right about everything and everyone else is wrong? Then, probably, Sunday Assembly is not for you.