Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

DUP MP criticises first Northern Ireland meeting of atheist 'church'

DUP MP for South Antrim William McCrea said the atheist meeting was 'highly inappropriate'
DUP MP for South Antrim William McCrea said the atheist meeting was 'highly inappropriate'

A godless church will hold its first service in Northern Ireland tonight.

The Sunday Assembly, an atheist congregation set up earlier this year in a deconsecrated church in north London, is holding the event in Belfast.

The assembly is modelled on traditional Christian services, but without references to God.

Ignoring typical religious teachings, followers are told: "We are born from nothing and go to nothing."

The secular church was set up by comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans and this evening's event is part of a "40 days and nights" tour across the UK and further afield.

However, the event has provoked angry criticism from Christians. The Rev William McCrea, DUP MP for South Antrim, said it was highly inappropriate. "I certainly have genuine concerns about this," he said.

"These people may reject God, but they will find one day that they did come from a Creator, and, as Amos the Prophet said, 'Prepare to meet thy God', and meet Him they will, irrespective of what atheism will tell them."

Mr Jones, who has visited Belfast, claimed there is a lack of interest in religion. "Everyone I met seemed keen for a little more community and a little less religion," he said.

The Sunday Assembly is taking place at the Black Box from 7.30pm.

Mr Jones said he was not concerned about criticism.

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