when we need them?
Haven’t we all heard someone say, in response to a very human need, “Well, where is the church in all of this? Should they be stepping up to ….?”
And, of course, my head immediately answers for me, “Which church? How is this _____’s problem?”
Sure, if you’re a decently-sized, well-funded religious organization and troubles descend on one of your own, you may well have a function established to come to the rescue with food, clothing, shelter, social support, advocacy, and the other things that help folks through a crisis. Maybe you’ll even stretch your compassion to folks not of your particular belief system or at least who are your own but rarely show up or donate.
But the troubles of the world can fall on any of us, regardless of any other considerations. There are government agencies and such set up to minister to those needs — complete with criteria, qualifications, paperwork, bureaucracy, delays — and denials. People in dire need can fall through the cracks quite easily. And no one or several decently-sized, however well funded religious or charitable organizations can rise in response to every need — although they are less hobbled by rules and regulations than anything governmental.
Where does Sacred Grove come into this rant?
We are exploring the role of the small, informally-gathered religious community filling the various roles expected of a church/ congregation/ circle, given no building, no secure funding source, no fixed membership, and only the choice to join with each other in appreciation of all that is real and personal and important about the divine connections in our lives — where the Divine lives and breathes in the infinite connections of the Sacred Web of Life.
This is a new persona for a church — this amorphous webspinning eclectic group. It is not confined to a single place or area — we are scattered as widely as the internet, yet we are as personal as individual commitment and action or two people talking it over.
We have a few resources that empower us as a church that we would not have as individuals: We have an identity that has stood the test of time, at least on the East Coast: The Fellowship of the Sacred Grove has been a visible and respected contributor to the Pagan community since 1989. We have a legal and effective association with a larger and more widespread Wiccan organization — Sacred Well Congregation — that has successfully managed the bureaucratic requirements at the federal level for years, through which the IRS knows us as a 501(c)3 religious charitable organization.
In the name of Sacred Grove Community Circle (SWC), we can stand with other churches and participate in community activities, provide clerical credentials for clergy visiting hospitals in our name, accept charitable donations to support our service to individuals and communities, and maintain our Facebook page and this website as the hub of our web.
What has Sacred Grove been doing lately?
I’m so glad you asked.
We are providing social support, spiritual support, and random material resources to several individuals in crisis who have fallen through the aforementioned cracks — and learning more about the plight of the poor, abused, disabled, and homeless with every step. We have helped a few others out, here and there. We do what we can to help folks over an obstacle or through a critical door, then cheer as they continue on their way.
We support one chaplain volunteering in a Level 1 trauma center.
We are actively working with public safety chaplains in a county chaplain corps and in the Washington-Baltimore area alongside military and civilian chaplains in disaster readiness and resilience.
We are partnered with Rising Sun Outreach Ministry to provide care for the caregivers.
We hang out with the Religious Tolerance group on Facebook and contribute the services of one moderator, helping ease the tensions and build pathways of communication among people of all religions or none.
What can I do to help?
We have a Paypal account which will accept donations, which will be acknowledged with thanks and a receipt. Other than the minor expenses of maintaining the web presence, our funds are disbursed directly and swiftly where the need is greatest.
Visit us on Facebook — start a conversation! Express a need. Share some ideas. https://www.facebook.com/SacredGroveSWC/
Email me at RedBird@SacredGroveSWC.org
PM me on Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/Sandra.Lee.Harris