Sunday Assembly: Fellowship Without Church

Many people turn to religion as a source of comfort and strength.

Church can provide a network of like-minded friends one might not otherwise find.  

But what about people who don’t have a church home?  

Where can non-believers go to commune with others and forge those types of bonds?

Sunday Assembly is a worldwide group of atheists, agnostics and other non-believers who hold secular gatherings and participate in social and community service activities together.

Cassandra Cicone is the co-president of Las Vegas’s Sunday Assembly chapter.

“It came to Vegas because there was a group of people who really wanted it,” she told KNPR's State of Nevada.

According to Cicone, Sunday Assembly was created by comedians in England who were atheists but wanted to feel part of a community while on the road.

She said she lost her faith in her teens and really didn't have something else to give her that sense of community until Assembly. 

"It’s not easy to form community here," she said, "I always sort of felt adrift ever since I was a teenager up until finding Assembly.”

Unlike the atheist group Church of Bacon, which is based in Las Vegas, Sunday Assembly has monthly meetings and takes a less activist role, she said.

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“We want community," Cicone explained, "We want to be together for the things that we’re for.”

Cicone said the Assembly brings in inspirational speakers and keeps away from anything that is "for or against religion." She said talk of religion or the lack of it mostly happens between members before or after the hour meeting, not during.

“The point of the Assembly is to be positive to find things that we’re for,” she said.

Cicone said many people assume atheists are angry or hate religion, which she said is generally not true. She said some people hate religion and some don't. She also said that some people think they're going to try to start teaching New Age or spiritual topics, which they don't.

Cicone said Assembly tries to fill the gap of fellowship for people who don't have a church or a faith.  

“I think there are a lot of concepts that we cede to churches, fellowship being one of them,” she said. “Fellowship is an important thing for humans”

She said research shows humans need face-to-face contact and those that have it are healthier and suffer fewer psychological problems like depression.


Cassandra Cicone, co-president, Sunday Assembly Las Vegas

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