Culture

Different kind of Sunday service at Belfast Black Box

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A month or so ago I read about an ‘Atheist Church’ online, the idea kind of appalled me, it’s an oxymoron if ever there was one but it popped up again and again, eventually I learned that this was not an atheist church but something much more. Going in I was worried that this really just a bunch of militant atheists (they exist go to Reddit) who wanted to bash on religion, I couldn’t have been further from the truth.

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This is taken directly from their home page :

‘The Sunday Assembly is a godless congregation that celebrate life. Our motto: live better, help often, wonder more. Our mission: to help everyone find and fulfil their full potential. Our vision: a godless congregation in every town, city and village that wants one.’

The word godless had me a little worried it stirred up plenty of old memories of movies that used the word godless, I was fortunate that this was just my own ignorance. Sitting beside my cohort in this trip I did make the Indiana Jones Reference and tell her that ‘we are pilgrims in an unholy land,’ sadly the joke was wasted on her.

This Sunday Assembly was as Northern Irish as any could be, first off it was held on a Monday night secondly there was a bar, fitting almost, but it was held in the Black Box as venue’s go in Belfast this is one of the best, at least in my opinion.

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The evening was actually pretty uplifting, when we came in we tried to sit at the back but where ushered forward by a very polite and enthusiastic bearded chap, this I would later find out is comedian and co-founder of the Sunday Assembly Sanderson Jones, this man knows how to work a crowd in all the right ways, he is positive, funny and great to listen to. We kicked off the night with some information that this is not an atheist church but in fact just a celebration of life, followed by some music. As with any congregation everyone needs to sing so the night began with living on a prayer and Fight for your right. Good choices of music really helps get everyone going.

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Other highlights for me where a poetry reading by Colin Hassard, it was just brilliant, witty, funny, a little dark but very accurate, filled with plenty of truths about Northern Ireland. We took part in a fantastic drum circle this part of the evening was just very primal yet childlike. Some group meditation really help chill the mood and of course finishing the night with a little walking on sunshine, this was an extremely invigorating evening and I urge everyone to go on February 2nd 2014, or find your nearest local service and go along, I promise you won’t leave without smiling.

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