Sunday Assembly Edinburgh

Sunday 4th February 2018: ‘Play’

Our February 2018 Sunday Assembly is about the importance of Play. February is often the month when we put our heads down for serious work. As 2018 starts to sink in, Alex Owen-Hill will be joining us to explain the importance of staying playful. Alex is a speaker, writer and researcher who blogs about communication at He says:

“I’d be the first person to admit that I sometimes take life too seriously… but I don’t think I’m alone. Most of us can relate to the feeling that we’re prioritising our ‘have-to-do’ tasks over our favourite fun activities. But, recent research has found that this is a mistake; play is vital for our mental health. It all starts we’re about 12 years old: we start to forget how to play… What is play? and How can we incorporate it back into our lives? Come along on the 4th of February to find out!”

We’ll also have poetry from one of Edinburgh’s stand-out performance poets, MiKo Berry. There will be pop songs to sing with the ace house band, interesting people to meet and cake to eat. Come and join us at LifeCare Edinburgh, 2 Cheyne Street, EH4 1JB at 11.30am on Sunday 4 February – it’s free, family (and dog) friendly, and you can join us to celebrate being alive!

Sunday 7th January 2018 – New Beginnings

Sunday Assembly Edinburgh starts our 2018 programme with New Beginnings, a great topic to set out on a new year of living life as fully as possible. Our guest speaker is Tracey Jolliiffe, a biomedical scientist and science communicator who helped someone else to a new beginning – by donating a kidney! She is an ambassador for the charity “Give A Kidney”, promoting altruistic kidney donation.

We will also have our usual mix of poetry, great pop songs to sing with our live house band, reflection, conversation and cake. As ever we are accessible,  family (and dog!) friendly, welcome newcomers as well as regular assemblers and seek to give a monthly space for all to celebrate being alive together in a non-religious setting.

We’re meeting as usual at LifeCare Edinburgh, 2 Cheyne Street, Edinburgh EH4 1JB.  We also have a book club and a new Live Better group – look for details on our Facebook page.

Sunday Assembly is free to attend and no tickets are required – just come along on the day. (We do ask for voluntary donations to help us with costs such as room hire and refreshments, and to support the wider Sunday Assembly movement around the world. All the organisers, speakers and musicians give their time freely to support the SA community.)

PS: How do you like this design for a ‘Sunday Assembly’ tartan in our colours?

Sunday 3rd December – The Power of Storytelling

It’ll soon be December – a time when people traditionally gather around the fire and tell a tale… We’re very excited to have Linda Perttula from the Scottish Storytelling Centre joining us this month. She says:

“For most of my life, I didn’t even know storytelling existed, at least in this ancient, gather-around-the-fire form. I would like to talk to you about stories and storytelling. We are surrounded by both, but why? What makes them so powerful, that some thinkers even say they are what makes us human? Can their power be used not just to foster empathy and communication, but to mislead and harm us? And, most importantly, I will tell a story or two. Once upon a time…”

We will also have poetry from performance poet Suky Goodfellow, some songs for the festive season to sing with the band (before we’ve all got fed up with them!), and we will also be recording our contribution to the international Sunday Assembly Christmas singalong video! And there will be mince pies…

As usual we will be at LifeCare Edinburgh, 2 Cheyne Street, Stockbridge EH4 1JB. The event is family (and dog) friendly and free to attend. Come and celebrate being alive this December with friendly people and thought-provoking ideas in a joyful non-religious setting.  Any questions or queries, please contact SA Edinburgh Chair Mark McKergow at or get in touch through our Facebook page.

Sunday Assembly Edinburgh 5th November 2017 – Art For All!

Art For All! is the theme for November’s Sunday Assembly on Sunday 5th November at 11.30am. Our special guest speaker is Elisa Guietti of Social Art Edinburgh (pictured right). Our poet is Bashabi Fraser, winner of a 2015 Saltire award for being an Outstanding Woman of Scotland.

Elisa Guietti is an artist who aims to improve communities and society as a whole through social art events. Elisa writes:

“I’m a visual artist and energy healer based in Edinburgh. In the past few years, through my personal experiences, I discovered how powerful and transformative the creative process can be. I believe that creativity is directly connected to our internal source of energy and can help us to explore our identity, our emotions and the world that surrounds us. Becoming aware of our whole self is a precious gift that we all have the right as well as the need to experience.

I studied Fine Arts in a proper academic setting and that experience made me aware of the pressure that sometimes can surround the word “art”. I think that it is time to release any old misconception about art and creativity and embrace the truth: art is for everyone, it is not a privilege for few selected people, we are all creative. My work aims to generate opportunities where people can reconnect with their creative side and can fully experience the creative process without being intimidated.”

We will excited to feature poetry from Bashabi Fraser, professor at Napier University and a 2015 ‘Saltire Woman’ award winner. Bashabi is an Indian-born Scottish poet, children’s writer, editor, translator and academic. There will be songs to sing with our house band, time to reflect, great people to meet and tea, cofee and cake to enjoy.

As ever we are inclusive, child- and dog-friendly, welcoming, fun and free. Come along and celebrate life with us as we all strive to Live Better, Help Often and Wonder More. Join us at LifeCare Edinburgh, 2 Cheyne Street, EH4 1JB.

More details on our Facebook page at


Sunday 8 October – Who’s At The Door?

First of all, the important news. Sunday Assembly Edinburgh is on the SECOND Sunday in October 2017, not the first Sunday as usual. So, we’re meeting on Sunday 8 October!! The theme this month is ‘Who’s At The Door?’, and our special guest is Rowan McCabe, the world’s first door-to-door poet. Rowan will be sharing his experiences in taking verse into the street and into peoples’ houses. Read more about Rowan in the Guardian at This is going to be a really super event so please do come and join us.

We will also have verse and poetry from Sam Maggs, a singer-songwriter who also plays guitar. There will be great pop songs to sing with our house band (and yes, we WILL be sharing what they are in advance this time, so you can all have a listen beforehand and get your ear in). There will be conversation, reflection, cake, coffee and tea all to help us celebrate being alive. There will also be a special surprise at the end of the Assembly.

As usual these days we will be at LifeCare Edinburgh in Stockbridge. There are several buses running nearby and Stockbridge is filled with exciting cafes, pubs and the famous farmers market to go on to after the Assembly. Sign up, share it and come and knock on our door on Sunday 8 October at 11.30am.

LifeCare Edinburgh
2 Cheyne Street, EH4 1JB Edinburgh, United Kingdom


By |September 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

September 3rd: “Dancing Through Life”


After the excitement of the Festival we are back with September’s Sunday Assembly. The theme this month is ‘Dancing Through Life’, and our guest speaker is the wonderful Catherine Wright. Catherine is a PhD, a practitioner of Conscious Dance and a teacher of Movement Medicine. She says:

“Life can be a profound joy. And it can be a hard business. The wisdom we can access through our bodies has woven itself into everything I do. In all of my work and study, my intention is to more fully understand myself, and our shared humanity. I want to talk with you about how my practices and beliefs support me to “turn things around” – and invite you to practice just a little bit.”

We will also have our usual mix of great pop sings to sing with our band, poetry to hear, reflection, tea and cake and some great people to meet and talk to. It’s free, family and dog friendly, and a great way to start your Sunday. Come and join us to celebrate being alive!

Once again we are at the LifeCare Centre, 2 Cheyne Street, Stockbridge, Edinburgh EH4 1JB. Lothian buses 24, 29 and 42 go straight through Stockbridge, and the 37 and 47 stop on Queensferry Road, which is just a short walk from the venue.

June 7th – Granton Hub



We’re back at our new venue, the Lifecare Centre in Stockbridge, 11:30am on June 4th.

Our guest speaker is Katie from the granton:hub project. ‘granton:hub’s aim is to re-purpose historic Madelvic House as a thriving creative and cultural centre. Katie will tell us a little bit about providing benefits both to the local community and wider communities of interest, through advancing Art, Heritage, Culture, Education and more, with the overall aim of granton:hub becoming a leading strategic partner in Granton’s renaissance.

We’ll also have the usual range of poetry and music, tea and cake, and new people to meet. Come on down, bring your friends!

The Lifecare Centre is on Chenye Street, just off Raeburn Place in the centre of Stockbridge. Lothian buses 24, 29 and 42 go straight through Stockbridge, and the 37 and 47 stop on Queensferry Road, which is just a short walk from the venue.

After the assembly, we’re planning to visit Stockbridge Market, and you’d be most welcome to join us!

April 2nd: Now in Stockbridge!

Greetings Assemblers!

On Sunday April 2nd at 11:30, we’re holding our first Assembly at our new venue, the Lifecare Centre in Stockbridge. Our guest speaker will be Susan Morrison, one of the organisers of Edinburgh Park Run – a weekly running event that’s open to everyone in the local community. There’ll also be the usual assortment of poetry, singing, music, cake and chat. All are welcome!

The Lifecare Centre is on Chenye Street, just off Raeburn Place in the centre of Stockbridge. Lothian buses 24, 29 and 42 go straight through Stockbridge, and the 37 and 47 stop on Queensferry Road, which is just a short walk from the venue.

After the assembly, we’ll be visiting Stockbridge Market, and we hope you can join us!

Sunday March 5th – Jan Cameron on Community Gardens

Our next Sunday Assembly Edinburgh will be at 11:30am on Sunday March 5th at Summerhall. We’re very pleased to welcome Jan Cameron as our guest speaker. You may recall that Jan was scheduled to appear in December, but had to pull out due to ill health, so we’re very pleased to have her this month! Jan has spent over forty years working in gardens with both children and adults who were experiencing distress and would like to pass on the learning on how working in a garden can really help. She is the former manager of the mental health project Redhall Walled Garden, run the Scottish Association for Mental Health. A friend blogged about her: “This is a voice that speaks simply, honestly, and is not afraid of emotion. It’s a voice that inspires through its very lack of artifice.” During her time working in Redhall Walled Garden, she wrote about it: “The world feels safer to me knowing that there are places where people feel safe enough to open up and share and support each other and believe in a future for themselves.” This is so much fitting our Sunday Assembly motto: “Live better. Help often. Wonder more.” and we are looking forward to hear her speak.

We also have a pair of poets to perform for your pleasure – Diana Hendry and Hamish Whyte. Diana is a honorary member of Shore Poets, Edinburgh, and from 2008–2010 she was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow based at Edinburgh University. Currently she is co-editor (with Gerry Camridge) of New Writing Scotland. She writes the occasional book review for The Spectator. Hamish moved to Edinburgh in 2004,  runs Mariscat Press, has worked as a librarian, reviewed crime fiction for Scotland on Sunday and is currently an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow. We’re very pleased to welcome Diana and Hamish to share their poetry with us.

There will also be a selection upbeat songs from the Sunday Assembly band (now with added saxaphone!) to wake you up on Sunday morning, plus the usual chance to meet and chat to new people over cake. We’ll be visiting the Royal Dick bar afterwards so conversations can continue over a bite to eat, a cup of coffee, or something a little stronger. All are welcome, we hope to see you then!

By |February 27th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Ian McDonough on Sunday 5th

We’re very pleased to announce that our guest speaker for the first Sunday Assembly Edinburgh on 2017 is Ian McDonough. Ian is a poet, mediator and conflict resolution trainer. Originally from Sutherland, he lives in the southside of Edinburgh with his partner and their daughter. His talk is titled The Strangers Next Door – “As neighbourhoods become more fragmented with people increasingly seeking entertainment and human contact online rather than face to face, we need to find new ways of tackling isolation and viewing our neighbours as a resource rather than a threat”

We’ll also have poetry from Angela McSeveney an Edinburgh poet with roots in the Scottish borders, who will touch your heart and touch on the topics above with her poetry, plus music from the Sunday Assembly band, plus people to meet and cake to eat. We hope to see you – 11:30am at Summerhall!