What a wonderful experience I had last week. And all due to a connection I made with someone on Facebook back in May. I started conversing with MojoMan on Facebook about vending at some of our festivals. He told me about this church he attends that is open to Pagans and this day they celebrate in September. Unity of Gainesville Church celebrates the World Day of Prayer by setting up different prayer alcoves in their sanctuary. Each one of the alcoves is done by different people with some different type of prayer in mind. He told me that representatives of all religions and faiths are welcome to set up a prayer alcove to show how they do prayer and connect with Spirit. That got those wheels going in my head.
While I’m always looking for new things for North Georgia Solitaries to get into I thought that something like this would be better served if we could do something that showed a diverse representation of Pagan beliefs. So I turned to an organization that I’ve become a member of and asked if they would be interested. The Dogwood Local Council of the Covenant of the Goddess took on that project enthusiastically and had it organized in no time as a part of their Interfaith Outreach. They not only arranged an alcove to be set up, but organized the day in shifts so that there was someone there from our organization for most of the day for questions and to participate in whatever the church had planned for the day.
My shift was the evening shift. I had requested that shift because my Facebook friend had indicated that he would be there around 7PM so I wanted to get a chance to meet him in person. We got there and were greeted immediately by Rev. Sydney Magill-Lindquist, the minister at the church. She was so friendly and seemed to be genuinely excited to have us there. She told us that I was scheduled to lead a prayer at 7PM just before they were to start a drumming circle. She showed me the schedule they had worked out for who was leading prayers throughout the day. I saw that three more of our DLC members were on the list for earlier in the day.
I led a short prayer after calling the elements and the Goddess and God. When I ended the prayer I was gratified to hear a chorus of voices calling out “So Mote It Be.” That was such a surprise. I knew one of our DLC members was in the room and one more Pagan, but there were definitely more voices than that calling out those familiar words.
The sanctuary was set up with prayer alcoves of all kinds. There was one for cleansing water, a Zen Garden, a Native American display, one for motorcyclists, angels, a memorial for those that have crossed, one celebrating the birth of Jesus, and one that really touched me. A little girl was sitting at one of the alcoves when I made my way around and asked if I could tell her what to do at that one. So I went over and sat down and looked around. They had a mirror set up for you to look in and an affirmation set up for you to say to yourself that all begins with “I am…” The words that follow are all wonderful empowering words. I read each statement to her and she looked in the mirror at herself and repeated the words. She asked a couple of times what something meant and then looked back at the mirror and repeated them very seriously. It felt as if she were examining the words and her reflection to see if they fit. That was a truly powerful experience.
Of course, the alcove set up by the DLC was my favorite. They did such a good job of representing many traditions. They had all the elements represented, some music, an altar complete with besom, and a basket with some brochures to explain who we are. Rev. Lindquist said that there were several people that spent quite a bit of time sitting in our alcove.
I want to thank the Unity of Gainesville Church for allowing us to be a part of such a powerful day, my fellow DLC members for moving so quickly in Interfaith Outreach, MojoMan for telling me about this day in the first place and everyone at the church that made me feel welcome.