Should we have secular churches?

In the com­ments of a re­cent thread, an­other poster pointed out that re­li­gious in­di­vi­d­u­als tend to re­port higher lev­els of hap­piness than non­re­li­gious in­di­vi­d­u­als. I sug­gested that the so­cial net­work of churches, rather than the di­rect effects of the­is­tic be­lief, might be re­spon­si­ble for this differ­ence, and af­ter do­ing a bit of search­ing around to see if the available stud­ies sup­port such an ex­pla­na­tion, found a study that in­di­cates that this is in­deed the case.

Reli­gious churches may be far from op­ti­mal in the ser­vices they provide to com­mu­ni­ties, but they have a great pos­i­tive im­pact on the lives of many in­di­vi­d­u­als. And not just as friendly so­cial gath­er­ings and oc­ca­sional providers of com­mu­nity ser­vice; I’ve known priests who were su­perb com­mu­nity or­ga­niz­ers and mo­ti­va­tional speak­ers, who played an im­por­tant role for their con­gre­ga­tions to which I know of no ex­ist­ing sec­u­lar analogue.

It seems prob­a­ble that a sec­u­lar or­ga­ni­za­tion could effec­tively play the same role in a com­mu­nity, but would any­one be likely to take it se­ri­ously? Since peo­ple who’re already re­li­gious may be in­clined to re­ject the value of a sec­u­lar au­thor­ity filling the role of a church, and athe­is­tic in­di­vi­d­u­als may not be in­clined to at­tend, ei­ther due to re­vers­ing the stu­pidity of re­li­gion, or due to aso­cial and an­ti­co­op­er­a­tive val­ues, it’s un­cer­tain whether a sec­u­lar or­ga­ni­za­tion that ad­e­quately filled the role of a church would get off the ground in the first place in the pre­sent so­cial cli­mate.

So, what are your feel­ings on the prospect of sec­u­lar church analogues? Do you think that they’re ap­pro­pri­ate or prac­ti­cal? Do you ex­pect them ever to be­come com­mon in real life?