The Humanist Hour #132: The Truth about the Sunday Assembly, with Ian Dodd and Amy Boyle

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In this episode, Bo Bennett and Kim Ellington interview Ian Dodd and Amy Boyle from the Sunday Assembly in Los Angeles, CA. They talk how it got started, what it is, what it is not, and how they are keeping it going strong.


Sunday Assembly Los Angeles is a new godless community that meets monthly to hear great talks, connect for service projects, sing songs and generally celebrate life. Assemblies are free to attend, and everyone is welcome.

The Sunday Assembly:

  1. Is 100% celebration of life. We are born from nothing and go to nothing. Let’s enjoy it together.
  2. Has no doctrine. We have no set texts so we can make use of wisdom from all sources.
  3. Has no deity. We don’t do supernatural but we also won’t tell you you’re wrong if you do.
  4. Is radically inclusive. Everyone is welcome, regardless of their beliefs – this is a place of love that is open and accepting.
  5. Is free to attend, not-for-profit and volunteer run. We ask for donations to cover our costs and support our community work.
  6. Has a community mission. Through our Action Heroes (you!), we will be a force for good.
  7. Is independent. We do not accept sponsorship or promote outside businesses, organizations or services.
  8. Is here to stay. With your involvement, The Sunday Assembly will make the world a better place.
  9. We won’t tell you how to live, but will try to help you do it as well as you can.
  10. And remember point 1… The Sunday Assembly is a celebration of the one life we know we have.


  • John D

    I have had a great time getting involved with my local Sunday Assembly Detroit. It is made up of wonderful, friendly, energetic people who get involved in local charity, plan trips to films and events, and meet once a month to sing and listen to a great guest speaker. I was skeptical of this whole idea at first, but I have been really pleased with the sense of positivity and wonder from this group. Bravo!

  • dPappy

    – enjoyed the pcast discussion – the concept of SA is obviously attractive to many – this particular unbeliever doubts he’d participate – he had enough of a time trying his hand at ‘fellowship’ during his Jesus Period – too many ‘modest’ egos to contend with – doubt it’s much different at a SA – think it’s a group phenomenon – what say thee? –

  • Don

    I rankled at first at the notion of being “godless.”, but that is in by definition of what an atheist is.
    BUT, if one considers himself with certainty,( having recalled and reviewed his own past lives) to be an eternal spirit, thus a “god,” he is not godless. And if he thus concludes that he is a “god” it makes sense
    to consider that others are also spirits, or “gods.”whether they are aware of it or not. In other words, the supernatural is indeed natural,( common) to all.

  • Noah Wiles

    When I was approached by some of the folks working to get a SA chapter started up in LA, I was at a CFI-West event and they were hunting for folks to be in their promo video that would be used to drum up interest. I immediately fell in love with the idea of SA and it made perfect sense to me. I was already, and still am, involved with other local groups like CFI-West, The Greater LA Skeptics Society, and Atheists United. There was something fresh and new about SA though that peaked my interest. The other groups have their formats, content, and other special programs that work for them and clearly work for the many who are involved with and support them, but there were other needs that I could see SA was going to be able to address for many in our community that these others were not. I suspect that there are and probably will continue to be more needs discovered that need to be met and that may require yet more specialized organizations to serve as support systems. As far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier.

    Even if we, as individuals, do not have a need for a particular group I would think that we would be happy for those who are having their needs met by that group. We all have different needs and we should not judge another for having needs we may not have or that we do not understand. I feel like the more this is understood throughout our community the healthier and more prosperous of a community it will become. For me personally, each group I’m involved with satisfies different needs separately or satisfies some of the same needs, but just a little differently between them. I actually feel lucky that in such a small geographical area, there are so many groups I can bounce between all with their own unique flavor. I love that!

    I should say that I ended up joining the Sunday Assembly LA chapter as an organizer and work closely with Ian, Amy and the rest of our team and I am extremely proud of what we are accomplishing and I think the degree of engagement and praise we are receiving from those who attend our events is a testament to our success. With more than a year in, there is no doubt we are serving an important need for many atheists and we are just getting started. As a global organization we are still in our infancy and there is a lot of excitement about our future and what more there is still to accomplish.

    I want to sincerely thank Bo and Kim for inviting Ian and Amy on the show and affording them the opportunity to set the record straight about Sunday Assembly and what it is trying to do. The work you and everyone at AHA is doing is also incredibly important and deserves a lot of praise. Many of us are big supporters of AHA. Much thanks and respect to you all!