Frequently Asked Questions
Have any questions? Before contacting us you might want to look through the questions and answers in this section.
Please click on the questions in order to read the answers.
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.
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.
The Sunday Assembly movement started in London in 2013. The two co-founders, comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, discovered by chance that they had both been to church in their youth, stopped going because they no longer ‘believed’, but missed something about the experience. They had both wondered about setting up something that was like church, but without religion… and decided to do something about it. The first assembly was at the Nave in Islington, an arts space and former church, on January 6th 2013. They expected about 30 people – but some 250 showed up! The media heard about it, the BBC and others reported it, and folk from all over the world started getting in touch wanting their own Sunday Assembly. There are now some 50 Sunday Assemblies in eight countries.
There is a Sunday Assembly UK charity which runs three UK assemblies (London, London East End and Manchester). All the other assemblies are run independently, inspired by the original and the founders, and with the same overall aims in mind. However, there is no overall central organisation for these – we all run by our own efforts and funded by our own supporters and donations. Each assembly runs its own affairs using a suitable vehicle such as a 501c(3) non-profit in the USA or an unincorporated association or CIC in the UK. There is a Sunday Assembly Workplace forum where we communicate and support each other, share news, celebrate success and so on.
A Sunday Assembly service 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 we have tea and cake (well, in Scotland anyway!) to encourage people to stay and mingle with one another. Outside of the event we organise small groups (Smoups), and other social activities such as book clubs and choir, peer-to-peer support and local volunteering.
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 hiring the room and providing refreshments – you can give what you can afford, if you’d like to.
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.
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.
It’s certainly possible, and we’d be delighted to help. The first thing to do is to download the start-up guide. When you’ve thought about it, you can come along to a Sunday Assembly to see what it’s like , and get in touch with us through this form. The Sunday Assembly movement is currently looking at new ways to support and include start-ups and we can give you the low-down on the latest situation.