A Sunday Assembly meeting, a popular secular group creating a communities in over 70 cities around the world.
More than 25 percent of Americans say no to organized religion, but that doesn’t mean they say no to organized community.
Humanists are people who do not want to discuss God but gather around for moral purposes. The humanist clergy is those who help them to do so. The Humanist Clergy Collaboratory is all set to increase its members. Humanists say that an increasing number of young adults feel that there is no need for religion in their lives. However, they also want the communal ties and sense of mission during such tumultuous times.
The millennial generation leads the pack in shoring up humanist members. The number of Americans who do not identify themselves with any particular religion has markedly gone up. The numbers tell the story: about five percent of the US identified themselves as not belonging to any specific religion in 1972. In 2017, the figure is an astonishing 25 percent. Only a small part of the 25 percent regard themselves as an agnostic or atheist. The remaining describe themselves as “nothing in particular” or “spiritual excluding religious.”
The clergy working at the Washington Ethical Society offer the non-religious their own kind of services. Almost all meetings are held on Sunday mornings similar to a church. Services are held. The congregation members sing together and listen to sermons. God-free holidays are celebrated as well. The groups provide humanism as a good alternative to theism. The people who attend such events believe in the power of human spirit and humanity.
There has been an urgent need to find a space which could be filled by secular moral stories. It is increasingly apparent among the humanist clergy that services cannot be provided by individuals. This view has been supported by James Croft of the Ethical Society of St. Louis and Greg Epstein, a humanist chaplain at Harvard University. Croft, who heads his 400-member strong society, said that congregations assist people to cope with terrible events. They do baby namings, memorials, and weddings.
Humanists have their own topic of discussions. Conversations revolve around how humanists must talk to grieving or dying individuals. People who lack faith can continue to participate in the interfaith programs. There is also much debate on what should be included in humanist clergy or humanist liturgy education. The meaning of spirituality is also pondered and whether it will be possible for humanists to put a claim on it. The humanist clergy discusses among themselves how that can be a part of future projects.