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A Sunday service with no religion?
Vitruvian man
The Humanist Community Of Leeds concerns itself with man's current condition

It's perhaps not what you'd expect from
atheists, but a new humanist group in Leeds has started meeting on Sunday mornings.

Traditionally a day of Christian worship, Sunday seemed the ideal, if slightly ironic, day to discuss the irrelevance of religion.

The Humanist Community Of Leeds formed in January 2010, and meets once a month on a Sunday to discuss current issues.

While the get-together is secular in origin, they welcome allcomers.

BBC Leeds talked to one of the founders, Chris Worfolk, about the organisation, its monthly get-togethers and why they're eager to be an active voice in the Leeds community.

"I'm already active in the Atheist Society at the University of Leeds, but wanted to be part of a wider group within Leeds, as some people may not feel comfortable joining a student group."

"We want people from all walks of life, living in Leeds, to come down and join in our debates. We've had Christians come to our meetings because they enjoy the cut and thrust of the arguments. It's all good exercise for the brain."

"I suppose our meetings are similar in structure in some ways to a normal Sunday service at a church......just without the religion!!"

"We read from literature that has some relation to people's ordinary life, morality, etc., and then we have lunch together, so you can carry on the discussion if you want."

"However, I suppose the main difference is the interaction. One of the group organisers will set things flowing, with the topics of the day and people are expected to give us their views rather than meekly listening to someone telling them how it is."

"I suppose one of the reasons for having a Sunday service, is that we appreciate the togetherness and community values that can be experienced in church but we just disagree with the dogma."

"A lot of people go to church mainly because of family and friends and the actual religion is secondary, so we decided to form as a group with community values but with no spiritual message underneath - we're purely about people coming together to improve their societies."

"It can get challenging chairing the meetings - some people can take the discussion down a political route, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but we're not here to be tubthumpers for a political cause. We're here to raise the profile of secular humanism and be positive within our community."

"With this in mind, we've set up the Humanist Action Group, who work closely with the homeless, and we like to think of ourselves as a fulcrum for other groups who can help. We're here to offer support and point people in the right direction if they need practical help. Indeed, we're thinking of organising retreats for those who need time out from their busy lives for contemplation."

"There's a core of four of us who look after the organisational needs of the group and tend to underwrite the costs but we also pass the plate round at meetings for donations, so we're not too different from your traditional church service."

The Humanist Community of Leeds meets once a month at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Lower Briggate. The meetings start with an informal chat at 10.30am, with the actual meeting taking place between 11am and 12 noon.





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