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Smoop Smoop.... - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Smoop Smoop....
Church here yesterday was highly ordinary. Songs and a sermon series. A few people I really cared to be with there, a bulletin insert reporting a projected $22,000 annual deficit, and not much else to write home (or here) about.

Yet roughly 60 miles away, a different congregation formed- one of 30 different places around the world where new fellowships began yesterday- all the music, all the inspiration, all the connectedness, just none of that-thar God stuff:

On Sunday morning — while sermons were beginning in churches throughout the city — Rochester ushered in its first godless congregation.

The Sunday Assembly, more commonly known as the atheist church, did not have a pastor or a traditional church choir; instead, the assembly held its first local service with an upbeat, rock band rendition of Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror."

Nearly 50 people attended the service at the the Rochester Academy of Science auditorium.

...Sunday Assembly Rochester, one of 30 new chapters to launch worldwide on Sunday, is part of the rapidly expanding movement of godless churches. The organization, which was founded in London in early 2013, now has 58 assemblies.

Local organizer Leslie Hannon said the congregation aimed to be "radically inclusive" and give the secular part of the community an opportunity to be acknowledged.

The article goes on to identify the movement's version of small group connectedness- something our denomination has always encouraged and our minister has always called for (and expressed frustration at the lack of overall interest in):

Hannon said small interest groups — which they call smoops — will meet in between the monthly services to give back to the community and foster camaraderie within the congregation. The Sunday Assembly Rochester's first smoop will be a photography walk thorough Mt. Hope Cemetery in October. Hannon said community service projects are also in early planning stages.

Antonio Cruz, 54, of Rochester had not been to church in 40 years, but was happy and at-ease during Sunday's service.

"Everyone here is so friendly," he said. "I've never experienced anything like this before."

I'm sure the movement will attract its share of nuts, both inside and out, with the Spaghetti Monstrous trying to co-opt the values and the Fundies trying to save souls on the way into the heathen pit.  Also, it's yet to hit Buffalo (although Canadians have a few outposts just over the bridges), where more conservative and set-in-ways values seem to prevail.

Still. If I or we wind up shopping for more opportunities than are coming from the current deity in the current vestments, I see no reason to rule this out. In fact, I see a whole lot of reason here.

8 comments or Leave a comment
glenmarshall From: glenmarshall Date: September 30th, 2014 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I have toyed with the idea of joining a UU congregation or otherwise hauling my pagan arse out of bed on Sunday mornings for some community spirit. Then I roll-over and sleep on it some more.
warriorsavant From: warriorsavant Date: September 30th, 2014 10:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Sounds more like an update on Fraternal Orders than on Churches. I suppose if you take God out of what most Americans view as Religion, then many Churches would be a form of Fraternal Order.
cafemusique From: cafemusique Date: September 30th, 2014 10:57 am (UTC) (Link)
There's an argument that what is in most Americans' religion already isn't God.
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: September 30th, 2014 06:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
What makes this a little different, I think, is how they're fitting it into the Sunday Morning Mold- one that a lot of people grew up with, and found good things about, even if the God thing wasn't necessarily the good thing. Far fewer people relate to the "club" or "fraternal order" models (I certainly never did- see Groucho Marx on that subject), so I think this approach has potential that other ventures might not.
warriorsavant From: warriorsavant Date: September 30th, 2014 06:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Groucho (and maybe Harpo) is the only strain of Marxism that applies to me.
You have a point, but I don't think we're disagreeing, just looking at it from a slightly different angle (or perhaps angel, if you want to keep theology in the equation).
bill_sheehan From: bill_sheehan Date: September 30th, 2014 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am, as you know, a godless apostate. As of this past Spring, I'm a member in good standing of First Parish, Brewster. They've got good music and I enjoy choral singing.

Along the front wall are symbols of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Taoism, and Buddhism. The blank space? That's for me.
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: September 30th, 2014 06:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I attended a concert last year in a gorgeous UU building near Syracuse, and they similarly festooned the front with all make and manner of symbol. Not sure if there was a blank space, but I suppose the HVAC vents would work in a pinch.
liddle_oldman From: liddle_oldman Date: September 30th, 2014 04:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is absolutely interesting. Thanks.
8 comments or Leave a comment