The Sunday Assembly, the “atheist church service” that has made a splash in London and beyond, is coming to America this summer and the first service has been scheduled to take place in Manhattan on June 30th at 12:30p at Tobacco Road, a bikini bar and concert venue:
Normally a “bikini bar” and music venue that features scantily clad female bartenders, the otherwise uninvolved proprietors of Tobacco Road have agreed accommodate a family friendly crowd by asking employees to cover up.
“Lots of people are giving us warnings that it’s going to be different over there, but so far, we’ve just had a lot of support from the people in America,” co-founder and stand-up comic Sanderson Jones told the Daily News.
This is only the first American Sunday Assembly service and it’s part of a larger cross-country trip made by Assembly co-founder Jones — he’s also stopping in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago to talk to people who may be interested in running services and to scope out potential venues.
My hunch is that these services, in those cities, will be as popular here as they have been overseas. The lure is very strong — music, community, inspiration, all without God — and the media attention isn’t going away.
Yes, the detractors will still be there claiming it’s too much like “religion,” but people gathering together in celebration of something they have in common isn’t unique to religion. We do it at sporting events and concerts, too. You may not want to participate, but there’s no reason to trash the idea.