NEWS OF THE WEIRD

Church for Nonbelievers

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Various studies show "churchgoers" to be happier, more optimistic and healthier than other people, leading some atheists and agnostics to wonder whether the church experience could be fruitfully replicated but minus the belief in God. Hence, the "Sunday Assembly" was created in London, and has now spread to New York City and Melbourne, Australia, with 18 other hoped-for openings by year's end, according to a September report in The Week. Founders seek such benefits as "a sense of community," "a thought-provoking [secular] sermon," "group singing" and an "ethos of self-improvement," exemplified by the motto "live better, help often, wonder more," and they said they hope Sunday Assembly eventually will organize Sunday school, weddings, funerals and "non-religious baptisms."

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