Search

Stand up comedians launch UK’s first atheist church in Islington

06:44 20 December 2012

Sanderson Jones

Sanderson Jones

Archant

The first atheist church in the country is set to open in Islington at the start of the new year.

Stand-up comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans will bring together a godless congregation in the Nave in St Paul’s Road, Canonbury for services – with wedding ceremonies and funerals for non-believers even on the cards.

News of the church, which will meet on the first Sunday of every month starting with a service on the Feast of Epiphany on January 6, comes after the census results revealed last week that nearly one in three residents are atheists.

Mr Jones and Ms Evans, a musical improv comedian who had a BBC Radio 4 show called Showstopper, came up with the idea for The Sunday Assembly after agreeing they liked many aspects of religion but didn’t believe in a god.

“We thought it would be a shame not to enjoy the good stuff about religion, like the sense of community, just because of a theological disagreement,” said Mr Jones, who recently became the first person to sell out the Sydney Opera House by personally selling all tickets by hand.

He continued: “It’s part atheist church and part foot-stomping show. There will be a speaker on a theme each month but there will also be an awesome house band, which Pippa will lead. We’ll be helping people try and stick to their new year’s resolutions in the first service.”

The comics will invite speakers to talk on a theme every month, starting with children’s author Andy Stanton, who writes the Mr Gum series, on the topic of beginnings. Future guest speakers include fellow comedians Josie Long, Lucy Porter and Arthur Smith.

Mr Jones added: “We all should be ludicrously excited every single moment to be alive in one of the best countries in the world. If the church becomes a useful place for others, that would be a good thing. We just want people to feel encouraged and excited when they leave.”

But the Rev Saviour Grech, Catholic parish priest of Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church in Amwell Street, Finsbury, said: “How can you be an atheist and worship in a church? Surely it’s a contradiction of terms. Who will they be singing to?

“It is important to debate and engage with atheists but for them to establish a church like any other religious denomination is going too far. I’m cautious about it.”

0 comments

Latest Islington News Stories

09:00
Local historian and walking guide Rob Smith on the former site of the New River reservoir

When, first thing in the morning, you stumble blurry-eyed to the kitchen to fill up the kettle, how much thought do you give to where the water’s coming from? Very little, probably, and why would you? It’s there. It’s wet. It does what it’s supposed to do.

Yesterday, 15:33
Who doesn't love bunnies?  (Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The pop-up bunny cafe that stoked the fury of animal rights campaigners this week has been cancelled after controversy and alleged threats.

Yesterday, 13:43
The Bloodhound, which will attempt to break the land speed record next year

A unique vehicle powered by a combination of rocket fuel and jet engines was among the highlights of this year’s Clerkenwell design week at City University.

Yesterday, 10:33
Henry Hicks died following a police chase in Islington (Picture: Arnaud Stephenson)

The family of Henry Hicks last night demanded answers from Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe after it emerged during a heated public meeting that the officers involved in his death will not face charges.

Thu, 17:10
Timid: Rabbit experts warn the animals are easily stressed (Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA)

Animal lovers do not see the bunny side of plans for a pop-up “rabbit cafe” in Islington.

Thu, 15:38
Rev Simon Harvey found this intruder in his house on Wednesday afternoon

Grieving vicar Simon Harvey today told how he photographed a suspected burglar in his Upper Street home, moments before discovering his dead wife’s jewellery had been stolen.

Thu, 11:42
Murat Mehmet runs Electrical Embassy Supplies with his father, who imports olive oil from Cyprus to his shop on Compton Street

For Murat Mehmet and his business partner father, selling olive oil from an electrical shop is as natural as the family’s organic production farm in Cyprus. Georgie Conway reports.

Thu, 09:04
Richard at the former care home building in Grosvenor Avenue, Highbury, where he was abused as a child. Picture: Ken Mears

Like dozens of other children in 20th-Century Islington care homes, Richard was a victim of abuse. A new website is supporting these survivors. This week, he bravely returned to the building of his former care home in Grosvenor Avenue, Highbury. He told James Morris there could be hundreds more victims who have yet to come to terms with childhood trauma.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe