Our Community Journalist Zoe O’Kill has been finding out all about Sunday Assembly Reading
Sunday Assembly Reading is an inclusive group that brings people together to celebrate life and build a community. The Assembly is a supportive and friendly peer group open to anyone, promoting the mantra ‘live better, help often and wonder more’.
The assemblies run in a church service format – however, they are non-religious. They begin with a brief welcome with drinks and cakes and then into a chance for songs and their band to play. There are a variety of activities that take place throughout the Sunday morning. The assembly offers a non-judgemental, welcoming atmosphere, so there’s a chance to share your challenges from the week and how you overcame them.
Every week, a speaker comes in and provides a TED-style talk, giving you a chance to learn something new. Previous topics have included Artificial Intelligence and Climate Change. Stephen Paul, a member and coordinator of Sunday Assembly Reading, said: ‘you should feel better when you leave the room than when you came in’. The assembly aims to leave people with a great buzz of happiness. After the Sunday Assembly ends, the group often goes off for drinks, or even for a picnic if the weather is nice, giving you more time to meet and talk to more people for the afternoon, too.
The Sunday Assembly acts as a congregation for people to meet, and then expand and divide off to make smaller peer support and activity groups throughout the month. These activities range from catch ups over a coffee, book groups, games nights, pub quizzes, cycling, walking, Reading Pride and many other engaging and fun activities. As well as, this they also run volunteering days and projects that you can get involved with to help your local community. These one-off meet ups are a great opportunity to try something new, push yourself, make new friends and build your confidence.
Socialisation and having a sense of community is very important in our lives. The Sunday Assembly Reading is a great way for people to escape social isolation and to get up and out of the house to try something new. The assemblies are a great chance to meet new people and enjoy yourself for a morning, in a wonderful and inclusive group.
The Sunday Assembly meet every third Sunday of the month at 11am (doors opening at 10:30am) at the Reading Irish Centre on Chatham Street. Admission is free. For more details visit their website or check out their Facebook page or find them as @S_Assembly_RDG on Twitter.
The next Sunday Assembly Reading meeting, on the theme of ‘Fossils and the Forgotten Woman’, takes place on 17 March 2019.