August 20, 2013
For release: Immediately Upon Receipt
Contact: Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard, email@example.com
HARVARD GROUP HIRES FORMER PASTOR TO PLANT "GODLESS CONGREGATIONS" NATIONWIDE
Cambridge, MA-- A former pastor and "church planter" turned "Atheist of the Year" is headed to Harvard, with big nationwide plans.
The Humanist Community at Harvard (HCH) is delighted to announce the appointment of former pastor Teresa MacBain as the Director of the Humanist Community Project (HCP). Teresa joins the HCH staff, bringing with her over 20 years of community organizing experience.
The HCP is a national think tank that, in collaboration with the American Humanist Association, seeks to create, establish, and connect a nationwide network of Humanists communities focused on individual, group, and societal betterment.
"Teresa's expertise building and maintaining churches makes her the perfect leader for this exciting new project," said Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard and Executive Director of HCH.
"My passion has always been to help people find ways to connect, grow, and make a difference," MacBain said. "As Director of the HCP, I have the opportunity to help free-thought and secular groups across the country achieve these goals in their local communities."
Epstein noted the irony that MacBain's experience with Evangelical megachurch pastor Rick Warren's "church planting" method would be put to use building a movement of atheists and agnostics: "There are certain secular things religious groups do well, and we're going to carefully study how to replicate those successes without the dogma or the doctrine," he said.
"Community is not just for the religious--it is a human need," MacBain added. "The HCP's goal is to provide local leaders with practical skills and support to make a difference in this world."
MacBain herself, named the "Atheist of the Year" by American Atheists in 2012, is one of several former pastors, along with Jerry DeWitt and Mike Aus, who have "come out" as atheists and started godless congregations since 2012. British comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans have furthered the trend, making international headlines with their popular new "Sunday Assembly" which began in the U.K. and is now spreading to cities across the world, including New York and Los Angeles.
The HCP is already working with each of these groups and many more, encouraging them to coordinate and share best practices around everything from secular Sunday services to organizing social justice projects to designing god-free alternatives to "Sunday School" for kids.
All of this will take place within the context of the new "Humanist Hub", a 3200-square foot community and office space located centrally on Harvard Square's JFK St., opening in October, with a professional staff of 11 including MacBain and under Epstein's direction.