Questions About: Wicca Church Membership Leadership

Questions about Wicca

What is Wicca?
Wicca is a modern religion with a philosophical lineage in pre Christian Pagan theology. Although many of its beliefs are truly ancient, the structure and practices of Wicca were formed primarily by Gerald Gardner in the late 1940's. Wiccan beliefs are based on Divinity expressed in nature, gender equality, and the ability of individuals to have a positive impact on their environment.

Do you believe in God?
We do believe in God, but not in the same way that most Christians do. Wiccans are generally pantheistic or polytheistic, and see Divinity expressed in both masculine and feminine aspects. In other words, we believe in both God and Goddess. Many Wiccans see the God and Goddess as eminently manifest in nature, and seek to honor the natural world as an expression of Divinity.

What about the devil?
Wiccan theology includes both God and Goddess, but no "devil". We don't polarize Divinity into good and evil. We don't deny that good and evil exist, or that evil should be opposed. We just see the primary forces of the universe differently. Rather than see the universe as a battleground for hostile, opposing forces (God and Satan), we see it as the meeting place for complementary, cooperating forces (Lord and Lady). 

Why do you call yourself Witches?
"Witchcraft" is a word often used to refer to Wicca. A lot of the reason for this traces back to the twenties and a British anthropologist named Margaret Murray, who was a major influence on the work of Gerald Gardner. Murray believed that the pre Christian Pagan religion of Europe had survived by going underground. She believed that what the Inquisition had called "Witchcraft" was actually the the remnants of an ancient Pagan priesthood. Gardner drew  heavily on her work during Wicca's formative period. Although much of her work has been contradicted by later research, the association of Wicca and "Witchcraft" remains. 

Aren't Witches evil?
Wicca is not the only practice to be called "Witchcraft". "Witch" has been used to describe everyone from satanists to superstitious grandmothers. This is where a lot of the confusion and misunderstanding about Wicca comes from. "Witch" is a word with so many meanings that it is meaningless without some context in which to place it. In the context of Wicca, "Witchcraft" is simply another name for our religion, and Wicca is not evil.

Is Wicca a form of satanism? 
Wicca is certainly not a form of satanism. Satanists generally adhere to a group of principles which are basically incompatible with Wiccan ethics. While we recognize the rights of others to follow their own religious path, we do not share the philosophy or endorse the practices of satanism.

How many Wiccans are there in the US?
According to the 2001 ARIS (American Religious Identification Survey) there are about 134,000 adult Wiccans in the US. In 1990 the same survey reported 8,000 Wiccans. This makes us one of the fastest growing religions in the world! In 2001 ARIS also reports 33,000 Druids and 140,000 other Pagans among adult Americans.
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Questions about our Church

Is your church part of a governing denomination?
The NC Piedmont Church of Wicca is an autonomous organization, and answers to no governing religious body. 

Are you legally recognized?
The church is legally incorporated in the state of North Carolina and holds all the legal powers and benefits normally granted to churches. 

Where is your church?
The church operates out of Shelby, NC and serves a large portion of the western piedmont. Church activities are held in cities as far west as Asheville and as far east as Charlotte.

Why do you use the word "church" instead of "coven"?
The structure of the church differs from that of the traditional coven in several respects. Our leadership is selected differently and our membership is far more open, as is the way we interact with the general community. While a "coven" could certainly be run in much the same way, there comes a point when a group has moved so far from traditional structure that it makes sense to call it something else. We chose "church" because it pretty accurately describes us, and because it makes us immediately recognizable as a religious organization.

How often do you meet?
We hold services for each of the eight traditional Wiccan Sabbats as well as monthly Esbats. There are also many other social and educational programs sponsored by the church. Check our schedule for details.

Where do you meet?
Although we have plans to raise money and buy land to provide a permanent home for the church, we currently meet at the homes of members. Call 704-434-8275 for details of specific services.

Does your church accept donations?
YES!  If you have any inclination to support us, spiritually, financially, or with offering of service, bless you. We will accept your help and goodwill gratefully! 
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Questions about Membership

How many members does your church have?
The church has about 40 enrolled members.

Can anyone join?
We require only that those who join sincerely seek to adhere to the core ethical principle of Wicca, the Wiccan Rede: "An it harm none, do as you will".

What about kids?
Parents are encouraged to bring children along to church functions. Tradition and family are highly valued in Wicca. Because of our commitment to these principles, we hold the right of parents to determine the religious environment of their children to be paramount. Children and teenagers who wish to attend church functions must have parental permission.  In striving to maintain a family- friendly atmosphere, we ask that profanity and crude language be kept to a minimum around minors. We also ask that if you partake of alcohol at an event that you do so in moderation and do so responsibly. Underage drinking will not be tolerated. Please keep in mind that drugs are never tolerated at our events. The officers of the church and senior clergy reserve the right to check identification if the need arises and to ask participants to leave if necessary.  

Are there dues?
There are no dues or fees attached to church membership. Donations are gratefully accepted, of course.

How do you join?
 As provided in our bylaws, membership is offered to all who seek greater knowledge of the universe and Divinity, while agreeing to abide by the Wiccan Rede. Membership in the church is open to persons 18 years of age or older or to emancipated minors.People who wish to join may make application to the church council. If they are determined to be sincere then they will be granted membership. Application forms are available at most church functions.
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Questions about Leadership

How is your church run?
The church is run in accordance with its by-laws and general democratic principle. The final authority in the church is vested in the will of the congregation. The administrative structures of the church are only tools to determine and execute that will. The main tool the members have in administering church business is the church council.

How is the council chosen?
Officers and council members are chosen by democratic election. Term limits are in place to insure a healthy and frequent turnover in leadership. 

What about spiritual leadership?
The spiritual leadership of the congregation is entrusted to the ordained clergy of the church, especially the senior clergy, our High Priest and Priestess.

How are your clergy chosen?
The clergy of the church are ordained by order of the council and are vested with the full civil authority of the church to function as ministers of the faith.

What civil authority do your priests have?
The clergy of the church enjoy all the civil powers granted to ministers of other faiths.
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