A couple of days ago, I posted a short very informal interview with Shonagh McCrindle, one of the organizers of the new Sunday Assembly Ottawa group. This was after the big announcement that Sunday Assembly would add 33 new groups across the planet this Sunday the 28th!
At the time, I mentioned that I also reached out to Sunday Assembly Toronto. Well, organizer Keshra Hamalainen was nice enough to get back to me today!
Who are you? When did you decide to open a Sunday Assembly in your area? What is your religious background in a few words?
My name is Keshra Hamalainen and along with my husband Jani Hamalainen we are the organizers for Sunday Assembly Toronto. We decided to open a Sunday Assembly in Toronto around February of this year. After reading an article in Mashable about Sunday Assembly we thought it was necessary to have one in Toronto! Basically, SA Toronto started with 5 founding organizers that got the ball rolling. We met together at a local pub after getting in touch with the main Sunday Assembly in London who then put us in contact with one another. We usually have around 15 to 20 people who come to the meetings consistently over the summer. We both come from religious backgrounds, and I came from a very religious family and “coming out” as atheist was definitely difficult for both of us.
Are there any things the Sunday Assembly will do to make it more "Canadian"? Services? Language? Etc.?
Future goals is to grow the members attendance to over 100! Sunday Assembly is about getting together as human beings to celebrate life and uplift one another. I’m not sure making it more “Canadian” is a goal, as the Sunday Assembly welcomes all people from all walks of life and backgrounds. Right now, services are only available in English.
Are there any plans to involve in the community? Like charity or volunteering?
Part of the Sunday Assembly charter is to Help Often. That means we plan on continuing our presence within the Toronto community. We have participated in the City of Toronto clean-up day, we have done a school supply donation drive, and for our global launch we are doing a food drive to help those in need (especially with Thanksgiving around the corner). We will definitely continue to do these good deeds because that’s what being a helping and caring human being is all about.
Like poutine? Favourite author and why?
Love poutine, who doesn’t lol?! Although, Jani and I commit to a healthy organic lifestyle so poutine eating isn’t at the top of our list.
Anything else you would like to say?
Come on out to a Sunday Assembly meeting near you! Make new friends, meet new people and inspire others to do good!Thanks so much, Keshra! Looking forward to visiting an event next time I'm in Toronto!
Check out the Sunday Assembly Toronto homepage! You should also check out the Sunday Assembly Toronto Facebook Page.