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UM Pastor Leads Flock to Witchcraft and other Pagan Practices

Sunday morning Christian worship replaced with Wiccan Witchcraft Ritual

Read about Trinity United Methodist Church (PDF), which defines itself as supporting  "Creation Spirituality."

Excerpts from this news article:

New voices emerge in pulpit swap Sunday
Wiccans included in interfaith exchange marking Sept. 11 anniversary

By Eileen E. Flynn

Monday, September 13, 2004

It's almost 9 a.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church on Sunday, and Tom Davis, a Wiccan, is looking for the sun.  In a few moments, he will cast the circle, pointing to each direction and invoking the four elements:  earth, air, fire and water.  He starts by facing east.

"By the earth that is her body," Davis declares as light pours through a stained-glass window behind him.  "By the air that is her breath.  By the fire of her bright spirit.  By the waters of her living womb."

For the congregation of the church, at 600 E. 50th St. [Austin, Texas], a witch leading worship isn't scandalous.  It isn't even that unusual.

Trinity members have hosted American Indian shamans, Buddhist priests and other faith leaders, including Wiccans, before.  They even practice their own pagan-inspired rituals at services.

At Trinity, Davis, a former Methodist, started with the most basic similarity:  "We are a people of faith," he said, "and that's hard for some folks to get their minds around."

After the service, Davis noted the dread of sharing one's identity in public.  Just as some of Trinity's gay members fear the consequences of coming out of the closet with their sexuality, he said, Wiccans have a metaphor for their own situation: coming out of the broom closet.

Demythologizing Wicca at Trinity isn't Davis' greatest challenge.  But Trinity's pastor, the Rev. Sid Hall, said Wiccans' participation in the interfaith community may "open up the dialogue to see how Christianity has walked a very tight line with both diminishing pagan roots and Celtic roots and yet incorporating (them) when it was convenient."

eflynn@statesman.com; 445-3812

ON THE WEB: For more information about Covenant of the Goddess, go to www.cog.org; for more about Austin Area Interreligious Ministries, go to http://aaimaustin.org

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