Around 50 people gathered in the EOCC to explore the theme of Hope. Our host this time was John White, leader of the Oxford Humanists.
After a relaxed sing-along to “Walking on Sunshine”, with Oli leading on guitar and vocals, John illustrated the theme by describing one of his own hopes: that the Oxford Sunday Assembly would return to its former strength. He noted that we had launched over a year ago with “a full head of steam” and provided a rich programme of events, but many organisers had drifted away and attendance was significantly reduced.
We organised into groups to discuss our own hopes and how we could make them a reality. The discussions took different forms, with some people wishing for peace or success, and others discussing the future of the Sunday Assembly. One group examined the notion of hope itself. The discussions lasted nearly half an hour.
We then had contributions from three individual assemblers who related their personal experiences of hope with stories of their own endeavours that ended on a positive note.
The mood of abiding optimism was reinforced musically by “Let It Be”, the Beatles’ iconic ballad about hope in challenging circumstances. We then had 2 minutes of silent reflection (during which we became acutely aware of how much fun the children were having at the back of the hall).
Our host summed up his sanguine attitude towards rational dialogue amongst faiths and cultures, and outlined his aspirations for a cohesive secular community. We ended with a chirpy acoustic sing-along to “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah”.
The hall was full for the tea and cake, and a large contingent assembled in the pub for lunch.