When Erin lived in Pisgah Forest, NC, and when we were up there for the weekend instead of here, we would drive out to Asheville and go to a church called Jubilee! Community Church. They teach off the principles of Matthew Fox, a creation spiritualist who use to be a Catholic priest. There are really two types of Christianity: the type that focuses on the fall and redemption (which is most of Christianity, and very much the most vocal part) and then there’s the other type that focuses on creation and sees Jesus as a guide to how we should live, rather than a savior.
There’s a greater focus on God being a loving creator rather than a scary being that damns everyone unless you do X, Y, and Z. Under creation spirituality, like most things, are different branches. There are the ones that follow the teachings of Matthew Fox, who preach on the four Vias. Then there are others who just preach positive creation Christianity, and may or may not have ever heard of Matthew Fox. They’re all considered “New Thought” so to speak. Fall/Redemption Christianity is the type that’s working really hard to come to terms with homosexuality right now, and some of them aren’t. Creation Spirituality churches have been on board for awhile, some of them since their creation.
They’re all forms of Christianity, but the creation spirituality churches tend to be a lot more open to people of different faith backgrounds. They read from the Bible, but because all creation is divinely inspired, they will also read and teach from other sources as well. As Pagans, Erin and I were very welcomed at Jubilee! as both a lesbian couple and a pagan one. They even called corners at Jubilee!, although, not in the way most pagans do. They don’t really call the elements, just the “winds of X” to flow through us. I tried to match them up with the traditional elements that are called, but they weren’t in the right order… East isn’t air, and South wasn’t fire, etc. But it was still cool.
They used modern music, had a band, and everyone was really nice and very welcoming to us. When Erin moved here, we knew that driving to Jubilee! every week was going to be out of the question, and it made us a little sad. We knew that their space was really unique, and I had never heard of a place like them in the Upstate. I spent a lot of time searching online and found another Jubilee! Church in Columbia, but again, that’s too far of a distance to drive every weekend for service. Aside from one other that I know of out in the midwest, that’s all the churches I knew about.
Erin and I have always wanted a spiritual community where we could feel at home and welcomed for who we were and what we believed. I’d felt welcomed by the people at the UU in Spartanburg, but we didn’t feel as great a spiritual connection, and it was also a long drive for us as well. We tried a more local UU, but we had the same problem: friendly people, no spiritual connection. They had great talks, but that’s all they were: talks. A friend of mine said that the UU’s are so worried about offending everyone that they end up trying to offend no one, often to their own detriment. It felt like a church for atheists, and not that there is anything wrong with atheists, but we aren’t atheists.
I put out a thing on Facebook, and got a few responses back. I wasn’t asking for a whole lot… just a gay-friendly church that was accepting and validating of pagans. They could be Christian, as long as we would be Pagan and still worship under the same roof. Multiple People came back with Unity Church. I checked it out, watched a couple of their services online, and really liked what I saw.
They honor all paths to God and teach that Jesus was a teacher who lived a divinely inspired life that we can all reach. I showed the service to Erin, and she said she liked it, was willing to try, but still a little skeptical because of their very much Christian stance. I decided to e-mail the minister directly because if we were going to be a part of this community, we were going to be a part of this community openly. I told the minister that we were gay, looking for a place of community to raise our child in, and that we were pagan.
He wrote me back and said they have people from all paths there, and that we were welcome. Always.
We conned our friend Ashley into going with us, and it was an absolutely amazing service. We weren’t sure how long it was going to take us to get there, so we left well before we should have. We got there well before the service started and decided to explore the grounds a little. The church is situation on 13.5 acres of land. There’s a good sized lake that back up to the church that the church owns. There’s a labyrinth, a mediation garden, a fire pit, cook out area. Lots of land to expand onto. They have a nursery and children classrooms. We saw a calendar with all the stuff they do every week, and it felt like we could pretty much do something with the church every nigh if we wanted to.
We took a stroll out to find the labyrinth because it was a bit of a walk along the lake. It’s far from the sounds of the church out in an open field. I wish I had taken pictures so I could show you how beautiful this place was, but I didn’t.
We went to the service and it was all about going with the flow rather than fighting the changes that happen all around us. They had a band, they welcomed us, and it felt nice. Multiple people came to us and told us about how there were people from different paths that came there. We all agreed that we’d gotten more out of that one service than we had from multiple visits to other churches combined. It was so nice to feel a spiritual connection again with a community, and I’m so happy we found this church. I think it’ll be a wonderful fit.
Ashley’s going with us again on Sunday, and we’re taking our Goddaughter with us this time. It’ll be good practice for when the baby comes in February. Then next week, we have more friends coming for their first time visit with their kids.