REGULAR monthly Sunday SOCIAL, this time at the Easter Atheist Church/Assembly

UPDATE 6/3:  The Assembly have announced a second sitting at 13:30 and this is the one we will be going to. According to reports of people who've been, you need to get there early to get in so no point trying to meetup in a nearby pub first ...we'll need to queue. We ( Adrian and Ginny) will be there from 12:30, but whether we can hold a place in the queue for everyone is a guess...so take your chances as you will :-) The night before, we will email out a contact number so you can find us. Of course queuing in heavy rain for ages might not be  great fun, in which case we may decide to postpone the event as a group event, though of course you can still go on your own.

EVENT DETAILS

Following Sanderson Jones' talk for us at the Sunday Social in January we thought it'd be nice to check out his Sunday Assembly and Easter seems the most amusing time to do it! (NB This is technically what would have been the March Last-Sunday-of-the-Month Sunday Social, but is postponed by a week this month )

Afterwards, fear not as we will repair to a local pub after the 'service' for debrief and Re-tox of the morning after the night before!

Here's what the Sunday Assembly site says about this event:

Easter Service – Sunday April 7th, 11:00 and 13:30 pm

What? An Easter service in an atheist church, that doesn’t seem right? Don’t worry, we’re as rational as they come but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

There have been spring festivals since time began, and wouldn’t it be a shame to lose 1400 years of British history over a minor theological difference? Yes. It would. Also, we love chocolate eggs!

sundayassembly.com

Here's a video of the first Sunday Assembly made by a quite odd chap who does a little dance at the end of the video which is only eclipsed in my view by the spectacle of politicians dancing (in particular Boris Johnson at the Olympics). Actually, more correctly, that should be called para-dancing. Anyway here's the video:

Video of the first Sunday Assembly Jan 2013

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  • Els

    I'm really sorry to have missed this, it's certainly sparked a lot of really interested debate on here alone! Is anyone going to go to the next one or have you all decided it's a bit of a nonstarter (for the time being at least)?

    April 9, 2013

    • Georgi L.

      Hi Els, Sorry you couldn't make it but hopefully we'll meet up soon. I think Mary Grove hopes to go and maybe some others who haven't been before but the consensus of those who did go this time seems to be that once is enough. For the time being at least. I'm giving Sanderson our feedback on twitter currently ...let's see what he says. Oh, and Roger Cawkwell might be there as one of the band ...maybe we should put it down on the events board again next month for those of you who haven't been yet so you can all meet up?

      April 9, 2013

    • Sophie T.

      There may be a group of singers from the BHA Choir who intend to go to the May Sunday Assembly. A few of us went to the one in March which actually was quite good. I didn't really expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Glad I didn't go to the 'Easter' service though.

      April 10, 2013

  • Andre

    I think the people behind it do want to have some financial gain eventually, which I'm not about to decry, although churches as a source of private profit is something I'm personally disgusted by. I see the problem of religion as something that should be taken seriously. The service reminded me of the charismatic type of church we see proliferating everywhere. Hucksterism is the word that comes to my mind. I don't mean to be unduly cynical. I really was a bit uncomfortable about what I saw.

    2 · April 9, 2013

  • Andre

    I found the experience of attending this service merely uninteresting. It was to a large extent predictable: pop songs, amateurish poetry, stand up comedy (which was alright, but nothing like the Darwin Day ones I saw) and, well, I think that's it. The priest who spoke was just a contradiction in terms. He was there to make it known that, if on the one hand he's a man of the cloth, on the other hand he won't subscribe to any of the nasty things we've grown accustomed to associate with Christian denominations: mysoginy, homophobia, a curious obsession with what other people do with their sexual organs and so on. The problem is that, by not wanting anything to do with the moral garbage the church he devotes his life to advocates, he makes himself less of a Christian than the hardliners. He's guilty of a high degree of inconsistency, and I don't feel like congratulating him on that. The only thing I should have anticipated but didn't is the fact that this church is a business.

    April 9, 2013

  • Adrian

    As it turned out I was unable to go (beer infection) but had I been I would have been 'hot nappy'! I'd have left in a demonstrative manner the minute a fucking preacher - no matter how ironic - used the 'C' word, which of course would have prompted me to employ my own favourite 'C' word in my exit speech, along with a general apology to the organisers (sorry I can't stomach this, it's like I've been tricked into going to church). Hats off to Iain from our group did walk out. I agree with all the comments about the event. I personally never went to church, being raised without religion, and don't really feel the need to do this sort of thing, but as a group we thought it would be interesting. Sanderson certainly seems to have his heart ion the right place was my feeling when he came to speak to us a few weeks back about the SA. So it looks like it was just as well I wasn't there! Disappointing. Hopefully lessons can be learned and what I regard as a a mistake won't happen again there.

    April 9, 2013

    • Georgi L.

      Well he started off saying how ridiculous it was when Xtians take the buybull literally etc, and how intolerant they can be etc., so it could have been refreshing to hear that from a vicar. But it soon went downhill once he started with the J word. As Lorna said, give an Xian a platform and they'll use it to preach - for all his 'right-onedness'­ in the end he reverted to type. I think there was a fair contingent of his sheep in the audience too, who'd come along to hear their preacher no doubt. They probably felt more enthused about the SA on this occasion than we did! Still, they're experimenting with the SA so it's impossible to always get it right but hopefully it was useful feedback they got from us and might improve things in this regard. We'll wait to hear what happens in future events from others and (our inside man ;-)), Roger

      April 9, 2013

    • Roger

      In the various comments & criticisms here I've been most struck by the point about the audience being passive & being led - the content is a bit different from church but the form is the same - a case of "the medium is the message"?

      1 · April 9, 2013

  • Jonathan

    I am not being ironic. There is no prohibition against certain words. But there is taste, and context. Euphemistic swearing? Oh sugar.

    April 7, 2013

    • Georgi L.

      Depends what you mean by taste and context as it's subjective. Swearing has a healthy psychological purpose and if it's not directed at anyone, then I find it expressive, amusing and yes, even clever at times ;-). Stephen fry did a programme about it, not available on iplayer now but it showed e.g. beneficial effects pain toleration when we swear upon banging our big toe or whatever. There is another vid of him speaking about swearing -Can't post it here but have put it on a new thread. http://www.meetup.com...­]

      1 · April 7, 2013

    • Adrian

      He makes some excellent points which I completely fucking agree with. It IS big, it IS clever. That's always been my view - egged on by the previous generation generally disagreeing with that stance, I suppose. That sugar thing makes me challenge the speaker every time. Oh don't you mean shit? Well then you've said it by proxy which is the same fucking thing. It doesn't end well. But that's 'cos they being fucking stupid. IMNAAHO (in my not at all humble opinion)

      April 8, 2013

  • Andre

    April 8, 2013

  • Roger

    Some fair comments made here. Having been to the first couple of "shows" (yes, that is a pretty appropriate word) I was least satisfied by this one. Sanderson is good at what he does best (stand up comic) and much less convincing on the "profound" bits. (he also need to learn to say "and" and "kind of" much less frequently - but that applies to many people). I'm inclined to be less judgemental at the moment as they're still just starting out & feeling their way & there's no model for what an atheist gathering should be, which probably explains much of it's churchliness. If they were still doing much the same thing in, say, a year's time I would be rather disappointed. However, as a local lad, I've put my name down to help them with the music. Quite by chance a friend was sitting in the seat behind & he loved it (he'd been to Quaker retreat the week before...)

    1 · April 7, 2013

    • Georgi L.

      Yes, agree with you on all that Roger. We do need to appreciate how difficult it is starting up a new model like this. And the band and atmosphere is very convivial.

      April 8, 2013

  • Mary G.

    Sorry - having clicked to say I would attend the event today, unfortunately I was unable to make it. I have yet to attend one - hopefully I can make the one in May.

    April 7, 2013

  • Jason

    Have to agree with Ginny on this. I'm a 100% behind what the Sunday Assembly is trying to do here, but no format can work for everyone and despite the SA very probably giving lots of people what they want/need, I'm not one of them, at least as things stand. By attempting to follow the structure of a religious service too closely, it becomes hard to judge the event in its own terms and instead draws attention to what is missing. Which is the meat in the sandwich, as it were. That's what God is, for the religious. For me and others I think, that's replaced by a wonder at the universe, the joy of discovering new things and the inspiration that other people provide, both ordinary and extraordinary. Today there was bread, really good quality artisan bread that tastes great, but the meat was all but transparent. I know that's incredibly difficult to deliver and may sound churlish, but that's what I would hope for if there's to be a next time.

    1 · April 7, 2013

    • Georgi L.

      Yes, well put Jason. I was probably a bit too harsh. And we only saw one 'show' (did feel like a show, albeit only a short one - 1 hour) and others who've been say they have had scientists speaking instead of a preacher. I would have preferred that a lot more, but hey, anything that drives atheism forward is ok by me. Horses for courses - some atheists want this rather than discussions etc.

      April 7, 2013

  • Georgi L.

    Had a fabulous time having a laugh with the peeps who went along from our group, but it largely was at rather than with the AA. Steve Lee, Priscilla and Jon - you were right. The xtain vicar (who was a very nice guy and realised the ludricrousness of religion) unfortunately still took the sterotypical Xtain position of using his time to give us a bit of back door preaching anyway. Could do without Jesus parables. I would have preferred we learnt something, saw some amazing clips of the universe or had the parables of Star trek instead, but it was unfortunately all too literally churchy. I think it's good for people who recently left religion and miss being told what to do, a sing song & a cup of tea. However for many people who've left I would think they could do without it. Good for visibility of atheism nevertheless, therefore overall in favour. Glad we went and glad it's there but won't be going again.

    April 7, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I'm glad I went too, so that it's another avenue explored and put to bed quickly. I'm for Pictionary now and perhaps a bit Wigi board ;-)

      April 7, 2013

  • Jonathan

    Not impressed by this video, or the idea of an atheist church for god's sake. And I don't like people who swear down a microphone. Now.... an atheist board game club, that's more my cup of tea. Bring out the pictionary!

    April 7, 2013

    • Georgi L.

      I'm not sure if Jon is being ironic but I'm in favour of non censorship, especially for adults. So bleeping out swearing on TV etc is just mindless for the sake of people who don't want to face reality. The worst ones are the euphemistic swearing ='sugar' etc. For Fuck's sake can you get any more namby pamby than that? Euphemisms are swear words to me.

      April 7, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Ha ha. Yes - what a load of bollocks

      April 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    unless it's raining heavy/constant. bit too old to be q'ing outside int cold for ages

    April 2, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      However, it's a lovely day. I'm game. I hear J.Coombes comment and Steve Lee but like Ginny think it's worth a bash and like Jude, excited by the possibilities. Happy to divert to a pub though - hopefully a pub that sells coffee or I shall sit with a Pepsi and a straw!

      April 7, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I shall attempt to memorise a profile face or two to identify who I'm looking for if my texts are not received well

      April 7, 2013

  • Georgi L.

    Hello Assembly goers,

    Looks like the planets have aligned to bring us relatively warm and dry weather, so all systems are go for tomorrow's meeting of the unfaithful.

    Adrian and I will be in the queue from 12:30, so if you come later come and find us and we'll try letting you in if people behind don't object too much! For those people who don't know anyone else yet, we will both be wearing meetup badges and a white hat. As a further fail-safe, the LAAG events number is *emailed out to those who had RSVPd by evening of 6th/4* in case you need to get in touch (it is not answered any other time so please don't leave messages).

    See you tomorrow, should be interesting and hopefully good ironic fun!

    April 6, 2013

  • Priscilla R.

    It sounds too ironic for me... every time when I bump into believers they take the mickey: " that`s why I do not take atheists seriously; they always end up in a church". Rightly all human being need some sort of assembly to reunite but places like this I fell quite sceptical... Conway Hall is the ideal place to meet in my opinion

    1 · April 6, 2013

    • Georgi L.

      So personally I think it is worth going along and seeing for ourselves and then decide. It may not be for everyone, but I think possibly especially for those that left religion recently, they need something like this or humanism to help them make the shift. That's the most important thing, surely. Those religionists that scoff will be missing the point - do we care?

      April 6, 2013

    • Andre

      I think this whole project is kind of tongue-in-cheek, which, incidentally, is the only way of taking religious seriously!

      1 · April 6, 2013

  • Steve L.

    Sounds a little too religious for my liking. Message me when you're going to the pub instead :)

    1 · April 2, 2013

    • Roger

      Each to his own, of course - but any religious trappings are definitely ironic.

      April 2, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    When life gives you lemons, rsvp no.

    April 1, 2013

  • Jason

    I'll be there

    April 1, 2013

  • Roger

    May well bring my son, he came to the first one & we plan to go in Feb.

    March 30, 2013

  • Devorah R.

    I'm so excited for this!

    March 30, 2013

  • Jude

    Can't wait to meet like minds!

    1 · March 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    This should be suitably amusing and bidirectionally ironic.

    1 · March 8, 2013

  • Lorna M.

    Hi all. I went along yesterday but having arrived at 10.45 I found it was already full and they were turning people away. They had decied to hold a second session at 1.30pm, although I couldn't hang around for that.
    So, suggest a back up plan (pub?!) for people who arrive too late, or it might be worth checking if they plan to hold a second session next time and arranging for that one instead.

    March 4, 2013

    • Georgi L.

      Yes, expected as much from all the reports so far. This is what we're concerned about and we're waiting for them to announce whether they'll be doing a second service - as it's Easter it'll probably be extra busy! We'll announce it here once we find out, thanks Lorna.

      March 4, 2013

    • Georgi L.

      They've announced a second sitting at 13:30, and this is the one we will be going to. According to reports of people who've been, you need to get there early to get in so no point trying to meetup in a nearby pub first ...we'll need to queue. We ( Adrian and Ginny) will be there from 12:30, but whether we can hold a place in the queue for everyone is a guess...so take your chances as you will :-)

      March 6, 2013

  • Roger

    I tried looking at the video but it was impossibly slow loading.

    January 30, 2013

    • Adrian

      It's the direct link to youtube so I don't know what else to suggest except watching it on the originating site - but then you're still connecting to the youtube video in the end. Try this: http://www.dontpanico...­

      January 30, 2013

  • Roger

    May well bring my son, he came to the first one & we plan to go in Feb.

    January 30, 2013

17 went

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