Frequently asked questions
What is Sunday Assembly
Is The Sunday Alternative a religious group?
The Sunday Alternative is completely secular, although the format of an Assembly is somewhat borrowed from Anglican servies - songs, reading, sermons and cakes. The songs are not religious, the readings are not religious, the sermons are not religious and the cakes are not religious.
If you are religious you are 100% welcome, and one of the founders of our group is a Christain, and we loves him. But as an organisation - we don't do religion. We head for the highest common denominator - we care for people and leave it at that.
Is Sunday Assembly political?
We have no party political position, although we do align ourselves with progressive ideas of equality, acceptance and fairness. We liked being nice to people.
Once in a while there may be talks that challenage our views, but that's a good thing.
Is The Sunday Alternative an athiest group?
We suspect that the majority of attendees are somewhere in the athiest spectrum but that may because of there are few options for athiests who are looking to be part of a community where those of a religious persuation have many churches to choose from.
We don't survey the beliefs of those who come to the Assembly but anceodately there are at least some Christains, including one of The Sunday Alternative's founders, who regularly attend.
What is the democraphic of The Sunday Alternative?
We would say there is a 60/40 mix of females to males.
We have toddlers to pensioniers but the majority of people I would guess are late 20s to mid 50s.
When was The Sunday Alternative Established?
Oct 19th 2014 as Sunday Assembly Reading. It was rebranded in Jan 2020.
I'm more than a bit shy with new people but I really want to come to the Assembly. Any advice?
We are very aware that coming along to any new group can be an intimidating step and this fear is often a barrier to having a more enjoyable social life and all the joy that can bring.
A couple of approaches we can suggest:
1) The Assemblies start at 11 am, and just before 11 am the waiting area is a bit busy with people. But doors open at 10:30. We do this because it is so much easier for new people to interact when there are fewer people in the room - and all are keen to engage, they are all in the same position.
People come from all over Reading so I'm sure someone will be up for it. And if you want that to be a female just say so. "Would another women like to travel there together as I'm a bit nervous about my first visit"
I'm no good at singing, can I still come?
You won't be the only one! Sanderson Jones, one of the founder of Sunday Assembly London (which inspired The Sunday Alternative), is an appauling singer but you will rarely find someone enjoying singing as much as he.
We sing at the Assembly because it is great fun to sing in a group and there's is research to show that group singing is strong and very quick way to get to know people.
How much does it cost to attend?
The Sunday Alternative is free. But because we have no form of income we do ask for donations.
If times are hard then the Assembly is on us. But to cover running costs (the hall, insurance, web sites etc ) a donation of £3 allows the Assembly to exist. A donation of £5 allows us to expand and makes it possible for others who are not so fortunate.
We can take donations in cash, card or even direct debit. For more details look here.
Another way to contribute is to do some baking.
You mentioned cakes. I love cakes but ....
Most, if not all our foods is vegan, so that removes many allergy problems as well as making them suitable for most diets. If you've got a special issue, then let us know before the Assembly and we'll try our best to make something suitable. Better still, bake something and bring it along. Always nice to have new bakers.
What era are the songs?
Songs tend to span from the 50s to 2010s, with the 70s, 80s & 90s dominating. We try to cover a wide time span for each Assembly.