From May 1st to May 5th Sunday Assembly Organizers from across the world came to London for Assemble! the first ever Sunday Assembly Conference, and I will get quite emotional when I write about it in this blogpost. Those five days were exciting, inspirational, and very teary.
Where to begin? Probably the Sunday. Our theme for the Assembly was Death, a subject with such resonance that at some stage it seemed that all the speakers, and all the congregation, suddenly had dust in their eyes. I, naturally, ended up talking about my mother’s death when I was 10, the psychological event that, through an odd form of emotional alchemy, gave me this almost transcendental appreciation of life.
After the service we went to The General Assembly – where each Assembly chose a representative to vote on various motions, to approve the governance system and all manner of things that Pippa and I, as comedians, never contemplated our little adventure in North London would lead to. It was a joyous occasion with far more clapping and, yes, tears than most meetings.
The board of directors was endorsed by the General Assembly and I was endorsed as the CEO. I’m British so it is physically impossible for me to quote the nice speeches that were made, but the love, approval and endorsement of these amazing people was phenomenal.
And, it is the organisers who were truly incredible. Such a dedicated, big hearted, loving, hard working, loving groups of beautiful humans that it melts the heart. When we first started Sunday Assembly Everywhere we envisaged it as a stepping stone to a time when “anywhere that can support one to have a full Sunday Assembly with a host” and all these folk would make excellent pastoral leaders.
The Assembly also elected new board members to make sure that the voice of the Assemblies is heard on the board, which I am now very excited to be working with Ian Bushfield. I met Ian on a trip to the Seattle back in June, while he was working with the British Columbia Humanists, it is wonderful to have him so closely involved. Adam Newton was also elected. I don’t have a picture of him, but he is fantastic. He lives in Nashville, leads the band and has a heart too big for one man.
Oddly, while the Assembly and the General Assembly were both intense, what really got me was simply going to the pub after the service. Table after table of Assemblers (is that the phrase?) were sitting there, some from our London community, some from Nashville, or Newcastle, or Brussels, or anyone of our marvelous new congregations.
As I walked from one table to the other I suddenly became aware of the what we had created. A real live thriving community of communities, a global network of incredible folk dedicated to helping each other Live Better, Help Often and Wonder More. I choked up.
Thanks to everyone in this marvellous movement for all the work that you put into it. As CEO (and we should probably come up with a more fun title) I promise to work my socks off, or work them to the bone (whichever involves more work), in order to make our mission come true: To Help Everyone Find And Fulfil Their Full Potential.
It’s a big goal, so let’s get going.