"The Times they are a Changing." In the past Wicca/Paganism was propagated by covens, small groups of practitioners worshiping and working magic together. And this seemed to suffice for a long period of time. Today however there is a massive growth of interest in the Mystery religions. The need has arisen for a system to be utilized to accommodate they people. This is the purpose and necessity of Pagan/Wiccan Churches. In this society this also brings rise to the necessity of these intuitions to be legal. Which means that they become Tax-Exempt along with the other Major Faiths of the world. In other words Wicca and Paganism are becoming organized religions! Oh my Goddess!
Over the years I've heard the discussions and sometimes heated debates on this subject. I've even been asked, "What are you doing Terry? Copying the Christians? " My reply has been, "Where do you think they got the idea?" A look at Pagan history will tell us that The Druids were a highly organized, along with the Buddhists Temples, Shaolin Temples and many more pagan religions predating well before the establishment of Christianity.
One of the problems, I believe, is new Pagans coming into the path are so frustrated from their past experiences with Christianity that they do not want to have the same type of authoritative dogma brought into Wicca/Paganism. I agree with them. I don't see Wicca/Paganism ever having a "Pope." One ruling structure that applies to everyone. In the words of Pete Pathfinder Davis, "That's the beauty of this religion, We're all correct."
Now this all leads to the question, Do Pagan Churches have a purpose is today's society. The answer is Most Definitely! Pagan Churches provide to the Seeker what covens can not. At the SDCW- ATC our list of services to the community are: 1) Providing a place of worship and fellowship. (A building and grounds) 2) Open Circles (Esbats & Sabbats) 3) Classes for the true seeker. (Student, 1st degree, 2nd degree, 3rd degree) 4) Maintains a library for it's members. 5) Provides spiritual counseling by licensed ordained clergy. 6) provides and performs Rites of Passage, such as Legal Handfastings, Crossovers, Wiccanings, etc.,for the pagan community. 7) Provides training programs for those who wish to be ordained clergy.8) Maintains an Adopt a Highway program (4 times a year) 9) Hosts a major Festival (Mayday) once a year. AND YES! All of this costs money. Most Pagan churches do not require titling. Most, including SDCW - ATC work off donations and small monthly dues.
So if you are a member of a Pagan Church, or even if you not, support your local Pagan Church. They are doing a lot of great things in this modern day and age.
The future of Paganism/Wicca is evolving. We are entering, and have been for years, a new era. With all the Pagans/Wiccans becoming more public , our faiths are being looked at in a new light. No longer do we or should we, hide in the shadows. We have the right to stand tall and with pride among all peoples. As more and more of the misconceptions are eradicated for the general populaces about who we are and what we do, the Earth Based Religions will eventually attain equality along with the other major Faiths of the world.
Which brings me to another point of interest, The Pagan Political Voice. Now I know a lot of people do not like getting involved in the political arena. I've heard the arguments, like, "Well My vote doesn't count , so I don't vote." etc... But consider this,: At a Christian Coalition Meeting in Memphis, years ago, a Representative from Arkansas said, "If we want to take control of this Country, we have to get our people in at the ground level in local elections. We can do this by understanding that only 10% of the eligible voters actually vote. All we have to do is control 10% of that 10% and we can put whoever we want in office. We have to become a silent guerrilla army. " Now that Scary!!
Also consider this: Elected Government Candidates only care about VOTES. They will only listen too and cater to the ones who can elect them into office. Now if they knew there was a large Pagan/Wiccan vote out there they would probably pay attention to what we have to say.
We are the care takers of the Earth, Our Mother. Shouldn't this include being the VOICE for Mother Earth even in the political arena?
It is illegal for me as Clergy to promote any political platform or candidate; But I can promote our right to vote. It is part of our community, a system, just like the ecological system, which we a part of; not a part from.
In my saying: I'm a wicCAN not a wicCAN'T!!