The Sunday Assembly : creating community among the nonreligious

Bullock, Josh (2015) The Sunday Assembly : creating community among the nonreligious. In: Foundations and Futures : British Sociological Association Sociology of Religion Study Group Annual Conference; 07 – 09 Jul 2015, Kingston upon Thames, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Stark and Innaccone (1994:232) contend a religious economy exists, where a market of current and potential customers emerges. But, what happens when the non-religious are amongst the fastest growing potential customers? My research follows the Sunday Assembly, a Godless congregation that celebrates life, with the motto: live better, help often, and wonder more. Their mission: to help everyone reach their full potential in this one life we know we have. After entering the non-religious market place in January 2013, currently 67- franchised Godless congregations exist globally attempting to provide community, belonging and wonder to the religiously unaffiliated market. Often labelled oxymoronically the ‘atheist church’ it parallels and mimics the functionality of church life without the need for a deity. The Sunday Assembly market themselves as a ‘radically inclusive’ congregation open to all beliefs, faiths and practices. This paper will present initial findings from my doctoral research of the Sunday Assembly. Drawing from ethnographic research and 12 semistructured interviews, this paper will focus on strategies implemented by the Sunday Assembly to create and develop community. It will also explore how they use social and digital media as a platform for marketing and fostering notions of community.

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