Pagan Witchcraft Worship Visits The UMC, Again, Again, Again.....
Pagan worship in a United Methodist Church?
by Wesley Putnam
Excuse me? Did I read this right? A United Methodist pastor in Austin, Texas, opened his pulpit to a Wiccan priest? Tell me Iím having a nightmare. Surely an ordained elder in our denomination would not dare to subject the people committed to his care to the teachings of a professed pagan.
In an article in the Austin American-Statesman on September 13, 2004, Eileen Flynn reported the story almost as a celebration of the way religion has progressed. During a Sunday morning service, Tom Davis, a Wiccan, stood in front of an altar in the Trinity United Methodist Church in Austin, TX, and performed a pagan ceremony. He cast the circle and faced the four directions of the compass invoking the elements of earth, air, fire, and water.
Does anyone else out there find this to be beyond the pale? As United Methodist elders, we are given the responsibility of caring for the souls of our members. I think this is one of the clearest examples of spiritual malpractice Iíve ever seen. I believe Rev. Sid Hall should be held responsible by his annual conference for this irresponsible act. What kind of message does this send to the members of Trinity UMC and to the community?
This is where the lie of universalism ultimately leads. If all roads lead to the same place and it really doesnít matter which road youíre on, then even those who worship the devil must be accepted. It seems that the entire ministerial association in Austin has lost its way. What once was a Christian organization has now turned its back on the faith. In order to be a member, you have to sign away your right to evangelize. You are not allowed to share your faith with a member of another world religion if you expect to be a part of their organization. Many pastors have refused to be a part of such a pact and have broken fellowship with them. But, many have bought into the new "open-minded" teachings and have sold out their faith for the empty promises of cultural Christianity.
I am angry. The shepherds have become wolves. The sheep are being slaughtered.
Below is the full text of the article and an example of the circle ceremony.
Byline: Eileen E. Flynn, AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
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
For the congregation of the church, at 600 E. 50th St., a witch leading
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.
"It's not my way or hell," said Trinity member Linda Eldredge. "All are
But for Davis and the Live Oak Local Council of the Covenant of the
Davis wasn't the only person of faith building bridges Sunday. At churches, synagogues, mosques and other local houses of worship, clergy relinquished their pulpits to leaders of other faiths for a "pulpit swap," a project organized by Interreligious Ministries to commemorate the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and to build on relationships that emerged in 2001 when people from different religions made an effort to befriend Muslims and learn about Islam.
"I don't think as a nation we've figured out what to do with September 11," said the Rev. Tim Tutt, United Christian Church pastor and president of the Interreligious Ministries' board of directors. "This is AAIM's best attempt to create a living memorial."
Christians and Jews shared their sacred space with Muslims, Hindus and Bahais, and more exchanges are planned in the coming weeks.
The Rev. Gerald Mann, pastor of Riverbend Church, a large Baptist
congregation in West Austin, hosted Imam Safdar Razi, spiritual leader
"Here I am with a Ph.D. and studied in philosophy of religion," he said,
Mann added that he was surprised to find many familiar stories from the Bible in the Muslim holy book, examples of the two faiths' commonality that he and Razi shared Sunday.
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."
Wiccans, who are part of a pagan tradition that predates Christianity, celebrate nature and the divine, which they see as both male and female. They tend to believe in reincarnation, Davis said, and have their own version of the golden rule: "If it harm none, do as you will."
After the service, Davis noted the dread of sharing one's identity in
The expression is an example, Wiccan Gordon Fossum said, of the mix of mirth and reverence his faith embodies. Earlier that morning, Fossum had jokingly invoked the "Goddess Caffeina" to get the church's coffee maker brewing.
Wearing a silver pentacle necklace and sipping from a Garfield mug, Fossum shrugged.
"If a religion can't laugh at itself, it's got some work to do," he said.
Demythologizing Wicca at Trinity isn't Davis' greatest challenge. But
Over the centuries, Hall said, Christians have condemned paganism as
The real challenge, Tutt said, is engaging people outside of Interreligious Ministries, whose members are made up primarily of like-minded liberal congregations. Members must agree not to proselytize to each other, a rule that has sent some clergy packing. And the inclusion of Wiccans also sparked dissent.
The Rev. David Bernard, pastor of New Life United Pentecostal Church in North Austin, plans to end his membership because of the proselytizing ban and the inclusion of Wiccans.
"The beliefs and values of the Wiccans are antithetical to biblical Christianity," Bernard said. "We respect them as fellow humans and fellow citizens, and we teach respect for their civil rights and religious freedoms. However, since we have nothing in common religiously, it does not appear that either of us could profit from a religious association together."
Tutt still holds out hope for the possibility of other interfaith connections that the pulpit swap might inspire.
"Maybe someone will see that Imam Razi is speaking at Riverbend," he said, "and some other large Baptist church in town will think, 'If Riverbend can do that, we should do that, too.' "
Here is an example of a ceremony used to "cast a circle" in a Wiccan coven. This may not be the exact wording that was used that day, but It gives you the idea of its purpose. Remember, something similar to this was done in a United Methodist Church.
Needs: Altar, 2 Altar Candles, Water Bowl, Salt Dish, Pentacle,
Let all be fit to enter into the presence of the Gods.
Start in the dark.
Ritual Leader waits until it feels like time to begin, then rises:
LIGHTING OF THE CANDLE:
And in the names of the four Mighty Ones,
R lights the two altar candles, the charcoal, and the four quarter
EXORCISM OF THE WATER:
R: "I exorcise thee, O Creature of Water, that thou cast out from
BLESSING OF THE SALT:
R: "Blessings be upon thee, O Creature of Salt; let all malignity and
it into the water, then stirs deosil three times with the athame, saying:
R: "But ever mind that as water and salt purifies the body,
CASTING THE CIRCLE:
R: "I conjure thee, O Circle of Power, that thou beest
(If others are without, a gate is opened, and they are now brought
CONSECRATION OF THE CIRCLE WITH THE FOUR ELEMENTS:
R then takes up the censer, and likewise censes the Circle from north
Lastly R takes around the Presence Lamp (or a candle lit from the
CALLING THE MIGHTY ONES:
With athame, R draws three deosil circles and then an invoking earth
R: "Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the East, ye Lords of Air;
All turn and face South. Ritual Leader and Maiden move to corresponding
With athame, R draws three deosil circles and then an invoking earth
R: "Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the South, ye Lords of Fire;
Similarly, in West:
R: "Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the West, ye Lords of Water;
And in North:
R: "Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the North, ye Lords of Earth; Boreas,
All turn back to the East and salute.
Now all turn to North again. M rings Bell. R says:
R: "Ye Mighty Ones,
The Circle is now perfect.
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