Aquarian Tabernacle Church

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Aquarian Tabernacle Church

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Founded in November of 1979 by Peter "Pathfinder" Davis, the Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) has grown by leaps and bounds to become one of the most respected Wiccan institutions in the country, if not the world. It describes itself as a "positive, life-affirming, spirituality, a non-dualist, non-racist, non-sexist, nonexclusivist, bi-polar, ecologically oriented faith dedicated to the preservation of Holy Mother Earth, the revival of the Old Gods in a modern context, the achievement of the fullest of human potentials and the creation of a peaceful world of love, freedom, health and prosperity for all sentient beings."

The ATC was formed as a coven dedicated to providing religious services and support to the larger Wiccan community. It grew into the first Wiccan church with full legal status and recognition by the governments of three nations. Today it has congregations in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Australia, and South Africa, with elders in Germany and France. ATC is now the only Wiccan institution ever granted an EDU designation for the Internet. It has also been authorized by the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board's Degree Agency to issue academic degrees in Wiccan Ministry, from Assoc. Min. through D. Min. As of early 2001 ATC has twenty-eight students in their third year of the four year B. Min. college level degree program.

ATC feels that the time has come to shed the covenant of secrecy and for Wicca to "emerge from the shadows." Archpriest Peter "Pathfinder" Davis, Primate of the ATC, is the originator of the Aquarian Tabernacle tradition of English traditional-based Wicca and the Primate of the ATC. He has served two terms as president of the Interfaith Council of Washington State and is the secretary of the Washington State Department of Corrections Religious Services Advisory Committee. He is also very active in other Interfaith organizations. The Very Rev. Deborah K. Hudson is vice-president and ATC International Archpriestess, with Rev. Ellen Norris as president of the Woolston-Steen Seminary.

A recent creation of the ATC is Spiral Scouts. This is a nationwide scouting program formally incorporated at Imbolc, 2001. It is designed to compensate for the prejudicial treatment Pagans and Wiccans receive in mainstream young people's programs. Spiral Scouts is for both boys and girls seven to fourteen years of age (there's also FireFlies for preschool to seven years old) and was developed within the church over more than a year. As word of it spread over the Internet, a demand for information increased and Spiral Scouts International, Inc., was formalized. The organization provides leadership handbooks, awards, merit badges and pins, shoulder patches, and activities handbooks for each local group. The program has a unique approach to scouting in that each group is led by both a male and a female adult, to achieve the balance so central to Paganism. While based on Pagan principles, the program is designed for easy adaptation to other nonhostile minority faiths as well. Teachings include not only the traditional scouting activities of camping and woodlore, but also instruction in the mythologies of the world and the acquisition of interpersonal skills.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Aquarian Tabernacle Church was founded in 1979 with its World Headquarters in Index, Washington, on the Skykomish River.
She was thrilled to learn that the group originated with the Aquarian Tabernacle Church - a pagan community based in Index, Wash., northeast of Seattle - that she had visited while staying with friends several years ago.
Janet Fararr and Gavin Bone came from England and now run their own Temphal Na Callaighe' as well as being involved with The Covenant of the Three Wells (a joint Irish/US Wiccan Co-operative) in county Meath and founders of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church in Ireland (ATC Chartered).