The Sunday Assembly, a growing network of atheist churches that has made an international name for itself by planting secular houses of worship in cities and towns throughout the world, is announcing that it more than doubled the number of its affiliated congregations last weekend.
Launched by comedians Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones in London last year, the Sunday Assembly is now touting a major expansion that unfolded September 28, when 35 towns around the globe simultaneously launched new atheist churches.
This monumental growth means that the Sunday Assembly — which had 28 churches worldwide before the expansion — has more than doubled in its size, scope and reach.
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In a statement earlier this month, Jones previewed the expansion by highlighting the countries in which new locations would be sprouting. Consider that 16 new churches opened in the United States, with seven additional outfits launching in the United Kingdom, among other localities.
"Assemblies are kicking off in the UK (7), the US (16), Belgium (1), Netherlands (4), New Zealand (1), Canada (2), France (1), Hungary (1) and Germany (2)," he wrote. "Thanks for joining our mission to build radically inclusive communities that help everyone find and fulfill their full potential."
Jones also noted that 10 additional atheist churches are scheduled to launch in 2014, with 15 more following in the beginning of 2015, claiming that the average congregation size has been between 60 and 80 people.
Rather than simply providing a gathering space for atheists, Jones has said that he wants to inspire nonbelievers to help out in their communities, with assemblies already reporting hundreds of hours of volunteerism among members.
See what one of these atheist church services looks like below:
As TheBlaze previously reported, The Sunday Assembly was launched by Evans and Jones in London last year. It quickly spread from one congregation in January 2013 to 28 in scattered cities around the globe, with the latest wave of growth exponentially adding to its ranks.
“The Sunday Assembly is a godless congregation that celebrate life. Our motto: live better, help often, wonder more,” explains the group’s website. “Our mission: to help everyone find and fulfill their full potential. Our vision: a godless congregation in every town, city and village that wants one.”
The churches provide non-believers with the opportunity to experience church community without buying into God and other related elements that secularists overwhelmingly reject.
For those who assume, though, that the comedians are simply looking to lambaste or diminish religious perspective, consider Jones’ own stated views on religion.
“We’re big fans of religion. We think churches do great things,” Jones once told the New York Daily News.
Earlier this year, TheBlaze also reported that there was has been some splintering in the Sunday Assembly, though the dissension doesn't seem to have taken a toll on the group's ability to grow.
(H/T: Huffington Post)