The East Valley Tribune profiles a Mesa, Arizona, Pagan Church

There’s no Sunday school, and meetings are regularly held at Denny’s restaurants, but for members ”” and the federal government ”” Sacred Spiral is very much a church, albeit a Pagan church….

In the years since abandoning the title of coven, [Rosemary] Szymanski, founder and president, has worked with her fellow witches to organize openly and spread knowledge about Paganism.
“Covens are much more secretive,” Szymanski, a witch for 17 years, said. “So in 2007, I banned the coven and created the church.”

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Wicca / paganism

4 comments on “The East Valley Tribune profiles a Mesa, Arizona, Pagan Church

  1. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    Why would they use the terminology of church? That’s fascinating.

  2. evan miller says:

    Because they’re silly people playing games.

  3. Emerson Champion says:

    They may be silly people, but these are not games they are playing. I strongly suspect that they have not the slightest idea what they are dealing with.

  4. Teatime2 says:

    #1 Archer, I think it because of the appeal and “respectability” conveyed by the word. They probably think that seekers might be more inclined to give their “church” a chance and the community would be more accepting, less threatening.

    But on the flipside, lol … When I was on the copy desk of a newspaper many years ago, one of my tasks after the paper was put to bed was to edit the religion copy and design/lay out the page. The Unitarians (ahem, I mean, the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship) sent me a release every week announcing the topic for that Sunday. I placed it with the other briefs and gave it a small one-column headline. I tried to make the religion pages attractive and interesting so I didn’t assign the same headline every week — I read the release and tried to incorporate the nature of their program into the headline.

    Obviously, “Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship” wasn’t going to make a one-column headline, lol. They pointed out that they didn’t like the U-U abbreviation and, frankly, I didn’t, either. One week, I called them a “church” in the headline. They went ballistic.

    “We are NOT a church!” the leader said, pointing out that the group was upset by the association. “We are a fellowship!” I told them I understood but “fellowship” wasn’t ideal for a one-column headline unless I shrunk the point size to the point where it wouldn’t be headline-appropriate or noticeable. They accepted “group” as an identifier but were insulted when I suggested “club,” lol.

    Honestly, “club” fit. This was a very humanist group and their topics were rarely spiritual — even then, the “spiritual” was more of a loosely associated New Age practice such as some type of homeopathic care. They had a lot of environmental topics, science presentations, and sometimes art. It wasn’t even close to being typically Unitarian. I think they formed under the Unitarian banner for “respectability” purposes. I wonder if they gave that up and now self-identify as a humanist society?

    The pagan/witchcraft group in this article is playing word games but I would be concerned about the intent, unlike the crotchety Unitarians. The pagans want to appeal to those for whom “church” evokes a positive response and they want to assuage the discomfort these people may instinctively feel about paganism/witchcraft. They may want to attract the young who are too naive, rebellious, or unwitting to discern.