I suppose nothing The Episcopal Church does should shock me any more. Nonetheless, it does.
In this holiest of Christian seasons, on the evening before Passion Sunday, the Cathedral of All Souls Episcopal Church in Asheville, N.C., hosted an event in its parish hall for an organization called The Mother Grove Goddess Temple. The purpose of the event? To celebrate the spring equinox of course. Wait, you say, that’s not Christian, that’s pagan. But there’s more. According to Mother Grove’s website, its mission “is to create and maintain a permanent sanctuary where people of all faith traditions may openly and safely celebrate the Divine Feminine.” According to Byron Ballard, a Wiccan priestess and a member of the temple, Mother Grove “isn’t a Wiccan group, though some of us are Wiccans.” Just in case you were wondering, Ballard goes on to explain that “Wiccans may also refer to themselves as witches.”
Here’s Mother Grove’s description of the event: “The celebration will consist of raising a circle, singing, ‘whistling in the wind’ and flying prayers written on paper airplanes. Ballard will lead the ritual, explaining that it is a joyful expression of the beginning of spring and coming together as a community.”
Many churches rent their parish halls to community organizations like the Boy Scouts and Alcoholics Anonymous. But to organizations whose teachings are entirely incompatible with traditional Christian beliefs? Oh, wait. The Episcopal Church (TEC) doesn’t care about traditional Christian beliefs. Probably more important to them was the fact that the Saturday event was “open to all faith traditions.” I’d be curious to know if they’d play host to traditional Anglicans (like myself) who oppose the direction TEC has taken. Somehow I think not.
As one person speculated on the StandFirm website, devoted to traditional Anglicanism, I wonder if it would be reasonable to say that All Souls Episcopal Church isn’t a Christian group, though some of them might be Christians.