English Atheists Go To Church

Photo: Fin Fahey (CC)

Hey London atheists, did you go to church today? The UK’s first atheist church is now holding services in Islington reports the Islington Gazette:

Stand-up comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans will bring together a godless congregation in the Nave in St Paul’s Road, Canonbury for services – with wedding ceremonies and funerals for non-believers even on the cards.

News of the church, which will meet on the first Sunday of every month starting with a service on the Feast of Epiphany on January 6, comes after the census results revealed last week that nearly one in three residents are atheists.

Mr Jones and Ms Evans, a musical improv comedian who had a BBC Radio 4 show called Showstopper, came up with the idea for The Sunday Assembly after agreeing they liked many aspects of religion but didn’t believe in a god.

“We thought it would be a shame not to enjoy the good stuff about religion, like the sense of community, just because of a theological disagreement,” said Mr Jones, who recently became the first person to sell out the Sydney Opera House by personally selling all tickets by hand.

He continued: “It’s part atheist church and part foot-stomping show. There will be a speaker on a theme each month but there will also be an awesome house band, which Pippa will lead. We’ll be helping people try and stick to their new year’s resolutions in the first service.”

The comics will invite speakers to talk on a theme every month, starting with children’s author Andy Stanton, who writes the Mr Gum series, on the topic of beginnings. Future guest speakers include fellow comedians Josie Long, Lucy Porter and Arthur Smith…

[continues in the Islington Gazette]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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  • http://twitter.com/nickjuliusuk Nick Julius

    Yes I went. It was great.

  • alizardx

    Not the first Atheist church organized with in-person services, IIRC, there’s a French organization doing this, too. Anybody else like to come up with examples?

    Also occurs to me that Singulatarianism (which absorbed Transhumanism in the US) seems to be a religious faith consistent with Athieism, or at least one Atheists are willing to participate in, if you do, your religious meetings get called summits, conferences, and festivals.

  • DeepCough

    I prefer to sleep in on Sundays.

  • Haystack

    …thereby combining the hopelessness and existential dread of being an atheist, with the “having to get out of bed on Sunday morning” of Christianity. It’s like diet coke–with calories!

  • Nickopotamus

    Man i’ve always thought this was a great idea. I hope they transcribe these into pod casts or something. I wonder if this this will catch on.

  • BuzzCoastin

    without churches
    it would be hard to promote atheism as a religion

    • DeepCough

      I don’t know about anybody else, but the whole point of atheism, if I had to simplify, was so I didn’t have to go to church and listen to someone else’s bullshit.

    • bobbiethejean

      Atheism is not a religion but anything can be religionized. Just look at sports. People practically have holy wars over that shit.

  • Guest

    In my eyes, it would be a sin for me not to attend church, for I have revealed knowledge of the presence of God and incontrovertible conviction of the divinity of Jesus Christ. These people might be forgiven for they know not what they condescend to, but some may know and will taste hellfire upon their death.

    • bobbiethejean


  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    Atheists(along with agnostics, pagans and various spiritual eclectics) have been attending Unitarian Universalist churches for years.