Message from the President of Sunday Assembly Detroit
May 12, 2018
To The Sunday Assembly Detroit Community
There is so much happening inside of Sunday Assembly Detroit that I want to share with you our members, supporters and contributors. This community means a lot to me; the people, the mission, volunteering and learning, enjoying each other’s company through good and bad as a family should, all fills a void that exists for many of us secularists. I’ve been Board President for almost a year now, and it’s been very much a learning experience. I take my responsibilities very seriously, and I thank you for the honor of being part of the leadership team. Your continued interest, participation, donations and other contributions, all inspire me to work hard to see Sunday Assembly Detroit reach its full potential as a radically inclusive secular community.
The Thing About Starting Over
Early last year, Sunday Assembly Detroit was at a crossroads where significant changes needed to be made in order to keep the community together. How do you build an entirely volunteer run community organization so that it lasts? I still don’t know, but one thing is certain, it takes the effort of many motivated, talented, engaged people taking ownership for it to succeed. If we rely too much on the President, as we have done in the past, not only do we fail fails to take advantage of the many opportunities the Sunday Assembly Everywhere network has to offer, but it leaves our local group susceptible to hardship based on availability or misfortune of one person. That’s why as Board President I have been working hard to expand the roles of contributors, other leaders and their committees so that they determine the direction of the group.
The thing is though, to make this happen we have to leave behind the strong-leader culture that helped us reach 3-years modest success, which has not been easy. This is why I’ve decided to make some major changes to the group. Often when in public, I find myself in conversation with secularists who had no idea that a supportive community like ours exists. There are countless individuals and families out there longing for a support system, comradery, and have desire to do good; giving their time for the benefit of others. I want Sunday Assembly to be available to these people, and one way to reach them is to take this group into areas where our presence will give even more of them an opportunity to see what we’re about. Starting tomorrow, May 13, 2018, we’ll have our first assembly at Exferimentation Brewery Co in Pontiac. My goal is to see Sunday Assembly hold assemblies in locations along the entire stretch of Woodward Avenue, from Pontiac to Detroit. While our First stop is at Exferimentation, we’re eagerly scouring the map for the right fit to have our next Assembly in August, and we’re counting on you our members to offer recommendations and assistance to help achieve this objective.
Change Is Good
At this time last year, Sunday Assembly Detroit was in the midst of a transition which could have easily resulted in it shutting down for good. While I and a few others held things together, it became clear as 2017 was coming to a close that a major shakeup was needed to bring in new life to leadership. The Sunday Assembly Detroit of That existed in 2014-2017 is gone. It died last year and has been reborn, but in order to grow and take the next step, we need to shake away the past. I want to foster an environment conducive to creative thinking, success through effort, compassion, a little competitiveness, and positive, supportive, honest communication. We must act to support one-another in good faith, valuing integrity above everything else.
Unlike Any Other
We have been incredibly fortunate to receive help from the kind people at The Birmingham Temple. I have tremendous respect and admiration for Rabbi Jeff Falick, Director Anne-Marie Fisher, and many others in the Birmingham Temple Congregation of Secular Humanism. Without their support through the years, we couldn’t have made it this far. They have also supported many other secular groups, forming the Center for Secular Humanism while allowing our group as well as the Michigan Atheists, CFI, Humanists of SE Michigan, and others to hold events in their beautiful facilities. There’s a large, welcoming family in that building, and anyone looking for secular groups in this part of Michigan should definitely look to see what’s happening at The Birmingham Temple. This is why moving our assemblies from there was such a difficult thing to come to terms with and took so long to accept. However, this was a necessary step to break from the past and bring new life and leadership into Sunday Assembly Detroit. We will continue supporting of BT and CSH, and hope to hold other events at The Birmingham Temple in the future.
We have had the opportunity this past year to rebuild Sunday Assembly Detroit from the ground up while we suspended assemblies, and we’re ready to come back with a bang. With the incredible resources available to Sunday Assembly groups everywhere, we have the organizational groundwork to be truly successful in delivering our message to Live Better, Help Often and Wonder More. We are now one of the most organized secular groups in Michigan, having implemented many tools and technology for collaboration, organizing and disseminating messages to our members. Our fundraising tools with Guidestar, Google Donate, PayPal, WePay, etc., as a 501(c)3 Non-Profit, are completely capable of putting us in position to hold some truly special events. We even have an eye on the future of establishing a permanent home, property of Sunday Assembly Detroit, within the immediate Detroit area.
Much To Accomplish
We are now embarking on the next chapter of Sunday Assembly Detroit with excitement, enthusiasm, and the contributions of several new leaders. I can’t wait for you all to meet Jen Shannon, Austin Edwards who is our new Vice President, Tina Little, Chad Oldenkamp, The Human State which is the amazing band performing at our assembly tomorrow, and the many others who have offered their support and will be incorporated into leadership soon. We are a community built on the combined efforts of its members, and every one of you who offer your time in leadership, hosting, volunteering, or just showing up at parties and social events are what makes Sunday Assembly great. We’ll have activities for which everyone can participate, and I look forward to seeing you together with us, building a community which provides a safe-haven for us all.
Live Better • Help Often • Wonder More
Board President of Sunday Assembly Detroit
Your Contribution Means Our Success
Sunday Assembly Detroit is a 501(c)3 organization and your contributions are tax deductible.
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