RELEASE: Godless Community Center Opening at Harvard
Dec. 4, 2013
For Release: Immediately Upon Receipt
Contact: Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard, 617-495-5986
Harvard’s Godless Congregation to Open Big New Doors
A New ‘Hub’ for Boston’s Atheists, Humanists
CAMBRIDGE, MA – The Godless community of Greater Boston now has a real address.
“Atheists, agnostics, and Humanists are no longer content just to bash religion from the sidelines,” said Greg Epstein. “We’re building congregations that use the good parts of religion, including real estate.”
Epstein is the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University and author of the New York Times bestselling book, Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe. As director of the Humanist Hub, he supervises a staff of 10 young professionals serving the exploding nonreligious community. And now they’re moving into a 3,200 square foot, fully equipped Humanist center in the heart of Harvard Square.
The “Humanist Hub”, at 30 JFK St., will open its doors for the first time this Sunday Dec. 8 with lectures, music, and more.
Tufts University’s atheist icon Daniel Dennett delivers an opening keynote address at 1pm; there will be a session of the “Learning Lab,” a secular Sunday school; and a house band full of accomplished musicians. The Humanist Hub’s Assistant Chaplain Chris Stedman, author of the book Faitheist, will speak on “Values in Action,” the US’s first atheist-led interfaith community service program, drawing hundreds of volunteers to serve those in need. Other speakers include New York Times bestselling author Deborah Feldman (Unorthodox); and Hubspot CTO Dharmesh Shah. The Hub also has a Christian staff member assigned to help Godless Congregants to welcome diversity.
The purpose of all this activity is for atheist and Humanist students and locals to “Connect. Act. Evolve.”, as the Humanist Hub’s motto reads. The Hub, a colorful space with high wooden ceilings, a dozen skylights and a choice view of Harvard Square, will also house several local atheist organizations, such as the Boston Atheists, and the Ethical Society of Boston, all partnering to present a message of togetherness.
“Religious leaders have often said to us, ‘Atheists may do good individually but they don’t really build community…they don’t have an address,’” Epstein said. “This is where that changes.”
The Humanist Hub’s leaders are careful to mention that none of this is the product of a single deep-pocketed donor. Over a thousand contributors helped make the project a reality, often attaching notes about how excited they were to have a place of their own.
“Humanists are incredibly passionate about this place already,” said Sarah Chandonnet, a Lowell native who graduated from Harvard Divinity School and works as the Hub’s Program Director. “We can’t wait to be part of the cultural landscape in Boston.”