UK & World News
'Church' Expecting Festive Flock Of Atheists
A "church" that is "taking the Christ out of Christmas" is expecting an influx of believers at its festive services this year.
The Sunday Assembly is a godless congregation with the slogan "live better, help often, wonder more".
Since it began in London earlier this year, it has grown by 3,000% with Sunday Assemblies being opened in 30 major cities across the British Isles and overseas from Vancouver to Sydney.
It aims to be "part atheist church, part foot-stomping show and 100% celebration of life".
British comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans came up with the idea after enjoying the sense of community and fellowship at a Christmas service - particularly singing carols - but feeling uncomfortable during the "God bit".
Ms Evans explains: "For me it was always about finding this amazing sense of community that the church is so good at finding, but without the God bit, which so many people find a sticking point.
"So we thought, how can we recreate all the amazing things that church does and that is what we are trying to do with the Sunday Assembly.
"We're sure many people will feel the same this Christmas and we're prepared for another influx of non-believers".
Celebrities like Dan Snow and Lloyd Grossman have made guest appearances at Sunday Assembly gatherings in London.
The Right Reverend Declan Laing, Bishop of Clifton, said the Sunday Assembly demonstrates "the human need to celebrate and to belong" and added it would be "interesting to see how it develops".
He said: "I think people will have those needs satisfied to begin with but will need something more eventually."
Bishop Laing points out that the Catholic Church is also enjoying a surge in parishioners in the wake of their new charismatic Pontiff, Pope Francis.
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