The Church of Wicca, USA|
Posted: October 29th. 2001
Times Viewed: 45,549
In early 1998, Baedun Hill and a small number of interested 'like-minds' were discussing the need for greater community within Wiccan circles in South Carolina. Of particular interest in this small group was a concern that there was no cross-traditional group serving the needs of particularly the solitary Wiccan. Who was there to call on when a solitary needed the traditional services of a Church - marry, bury, preach, and teach? A Constitution and bylaws were carefully drafted and inquiries were made to a variety of South Carolina government offices, and the Church of Wicca USA (CoW-USA) was founded on Beltane 1998 with the charter/incorporation of her first congregation. The Church of Wicca in South Carolina intended to meet the cross-traditional needs of all who asked.
By Samhain of that year interest in the idea of the Church of Wicca had spread throughout South Carolina and into North Carolina. By Beltaine a year later the idea had spread throughout various parts of the country. In this way it can be said that we have created a tradition of eclecticism or even neo-Pagan/Wiccan ecumenism.
Since each congregational member of the Church of Wicca USA is considered an autonomous body, no record of individual membership is maintained on a national level. The Church does attempt to maintain a listing of active and forming congregations with contact information.
Core beliefs The constitution (Article III) of the Church provides that 'The church believes in the privilege of all to seek and follow that which is right in their own faith. The church holds faith in the Wiccan Rede "An it harm none, do as ye will" as the whole of the law.' This allows for a widely diverse range of personal beliefs within the membership. It is further understood that membership in the Church does not require exclusivity - members may belong to such other Covens, Circles, Groves, etc. as they find appropriate.
Role of clergy The clergy of the Church of Wicca USA and her congregations are charged with performance of the same tasks and hold the responsibility assigned the clergy of any other religion. Clergy are appointed by the local congregation to serve the needs of that congregation and community.
Each congregational Council appoints a High Priestess and High Priest to serve in these roles at the pleasure of the Council. Duties may include planning and conducting ritual, individual counseling, teaching, and performance of 'life events' ceremonies such as traditional weddings, handfastings, funeral services, Wiccanings, and the like. The clergy of the Church are not responsible for the administration of the congregation - this is a task for the Church Council and the elected officers.
Organization of groups Each congregation of the Church of Wicca USA is a wholly autonomous local congregation not subordinate to the CoW-USA in any way but seeking affiliation with the 'body of the whole'. Permission to charter a congregation is given freely but not required. Congregations are encouraged strongly to seek incorporation as a church in their home state and to seek recognition of the IRS. It is suggested that each congregation include the words Church of Wicca in their legal name and that they minimally modify the suggested constitution and bylaws.
Each congregation is led by an elected Church Council responsible for the administrative and technical management of the Church. The council includes a Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Secretary, Treasurer, and up to nine additional officers. The HP and HPs are considered ex-officio members of the Council unless elected to a formal seat.
The organization of the Churches is such that no congregation relies on a single individual for its continuity and existence and that no single individual should be able to wield any power to abuse.
Holidays The Church of Wicca USA officially recognizes the eight traditional Wiccan holidays: Winter's Solstice, Imbolc, Spring Equinox, Bealtaine, Summer's Solstice, Lughnasadh, Autumnal Equinox, and Samhain. Samhain marks the end of the Wheel of the Year while Bealtaine marks the mundane fiscal year of the Church.
Additionally, each new and full moon is set aside for services of the Church. The local congregation may recognize holidays particular to other traditions when the membership so desires. Standards of conduct
Standards of individual conduct are generally not restricted or codified except as they may be by hosts of facilities that we may from time-to-time use. The bylaws (section 3) of the Church do provide that 'All members accept responsibility for their own actions as they reflect upon the name of the church. Members are responsible for living life in a manner that inspires respect for the church. Members respect the faith of all people and the right of all to choose a path which is correct for them.'
Ways of worship Conduct of ritual is entirely within the discretion of the local congregation. Generally, worship is conducted outdoors in consecrated Circle though any manner of service acceptable to the congregation and Council is acceptable to the Church. Reading and other references
As a cross-traditional organization and one that honors all faiths and paths, we do not publish a reading list. We instead suggest that members allow the Lord and Lady to direct their studies across a variety of subjects and interests.
Additional Information Additional information is available by writing to BaedunHill@aol.com or Browns@Shelby.net -- The web pages of the Piedmont North Carolina Church of Wicca in Shelby North Carolina can provide some general feel for the ideals of the Church http://www.churchofwicca.org
(not affiliated with The Church and School of Wicca; they're nice folks, just not us.)
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