The Sunday Assembly is "a godless congregation". First established in the UK just last year - and by two comedians (!) - it now has a growing international presence in Britain, Europe, the US, Canada, Australia... and now New Zealand.
What is it exactly? Here's what it says on their website.
The Public CharterThe Sunday Assembly is a godless congregation that celebrates life. Our motto: live better, help often, wonder more. 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.We are here for everyone who wants to:Live Better. We aim to provide inspiring, thought-provoking and practical ideas that help people to live the lives they want to lead and be the people they want to beHelp Often. Assemblies are communities of action building lives of purpose, encouraging us all to help anyone who needs it to support each otherWonder More. Hearing talks, singing as one, listening to readings and even playing games helps us to connect with each other and the awesome world we live in.The Sunday AssemblyIs 100% celebration of life. We are born from nothing and go to nothing. Let’s enjoy it together.Has no doctrine. We have no set texts so we can make use of wisdom from all sources.Has no deity. We don’t do supernatural but we also won’t tell you you’re wrong if you do.Is radically inclusive. Everyone is welcome, regardless of their beliefs – this is a place of love that is open and accepting.Is free to attend, not-for-profit and volunteer run. We ask for donations to cover our costs and support our community work.Has a community mission. Through our Action Heroes (you!), we will be a force for good.Is independent. We do not accept sponsorship or promote outside businesses, organisations or servicesIs here to stay. With your involvement, The Sunday Assembly will make the world a better placeWe won’t tell you how to live, but will try to help you do it as well as you canAnd remember point 1… The Sunday Assembly is a celebration of the one life we know we haveWhat should you expect from a Sunday Assembly event?Just by being with us you should be energised, vitalised, restored, repaired, refreshed and recharged. No matter what the subject of the Assembly, it will solace worries, provoke kindness and inject a touch of transcendence into the everyday.But life can be tough… It is. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, we have moments of weakness or life just isn’t fair. We want The Sunday Assembly to be a house of love and compassion, where, no matter what your situation, you are welcomed, accepted and loved.
So what do you make of that? A flash in the pan or the way of the future?
Thirty people attended in Christchurch this morning; which is modest by any criteria. But judging from the television coverage the age demographic is younger than your typical liberal Christian or Unitarian congregation - if you can even find one of those beasts. There's an Auckland SA projected to launch in March next year.
The 3 News story is currently available to view online.