The Oasis Network of Secular Communities OVERVIEW:
According to a recent Pew Research study, religious “nones” - those who self-identify as atheists, agnostics or that religion is “nothing in particular” to them – increased from 16% of the U.S. adult population in 2007 to 23% in 2014.
The increase in progressive thinkers and those leaving religion has resulted in a rise of secular organizations aimed at recreating the sense of community that the formerly religious once enjoyed, or that may interest the never-religious.
One such community that has formed is The Oasis Network, which was started in Houston in 2012 by a number of friends who saw a need to start something for people who wanted a community of care and a common cause in which theological beliefs were irrelevant.
The Oasis Network consists of local chapters that gather weekly on Sundays and feature live performances by local musicians, speakers to inspire and educate, and children's programming to entertain and stimulate young minds.
Local Oasis groups are organized according to the following values:
1) People are more important than beliefs.
2) Reality is known through reason.
3) Meaning comes from making a difference.
4) Human hands solve human problems.
5) Be accepting and be accepted.
Since 2012, The Oasis Network has grown into two thriving communities in Houston and Kansas City, and a new community is under development in Boston. Other cities are also forming planning committees to launch local Oasis groups.
Oasis is fundamentally different from a church; they describe themselves as a haven for free thought, where they welcome all people who want to be part of a community exploring life through reason.
“Oasis is a community that meets regularly to create a place for freethinkers to celebrate the human experience. Each week we gather to discuss real-world principles based on reason, not tradition, which are supported by evidence, not scripture or revelation.”
Oasis recognizes everyone is on their own journey–Agnostic, Atheist, Secular Humanist, or Questioning Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or Hindu– they look to provide a community that accepts everyone on their journey: as long as you accept others for where they are on their journey.
Oasis meetings are called “gatherings.” They are held weekly on Sundays.
Gatherings begin with 2-3 songs that are typically performed by local musicians, followed by a “community moment,” where someone from the group shares a personal experience or story.
A guest speaker or lecturer then spends 20-30 minutes speaking on a topic members are interested in, followed by a Q&A session with the speaker.
Members bring refreshments and spend time before and after the meeting socializing and developing friendships.
Oasis has also developed programming for young children to participate in while their parents attend the regular meetings.
Oasis group members also plan and perform monthly service projects in their communities.
The friendships developed at Oasis often result in members creating numerous activity and interest based groups they participate in together during the week (such as walking groups, book clubs, etc.).
A planning committee has been started by local residents to bring an Oasis chapter to the Seattle area.
Because Oasis chapters are organized and managed at the local level, the Seattle Oasis Planning Committee is seeking feedback from people living in the Seattle area to gauge interest and solicit volunteers to help launch an Oasis group.
Please help the committee by taking the following poll: