Aquarian Tabernacle Church
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The Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) is a Wiccan church located in Index, Washington. It is one of the first Wiccan organisations to receive full legal recognition as a church in the United States, Canada, and Australia. It is also the only Wiccan church with "Umbrella Affiliate Tax Exemption", under which affiliated churches may receive charitable donations from government employees through employer charity programs. It is the mother entity for SpiralScouts and the Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary, the first Wiccan college with state recognition to award degrees in Wiccan ministry. The ATC is the forerunner in Pagan prison chaplaincy.
The Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) was founded in 1979 by Pete "Pathfinder" Davis, the current archpriest. It is based on British Traditional Wicca, specifically the Gardnerian tradition as filtered through Gerald Gardner's High Priestess Lysbeth Turner. Her North American descendants, Dr. Heather Botting and Dr. Gary Botting, founding elders of ATC, in 1966 had founded Coven Celeste, the first Wiccan coven in Canada. However, all pagan paths were welcomed from the outset, so that ATC became an umbrella organization for pagan fellowship. In the nineties, sacred sites were developed in the form of stone henges and cleared circles in the woods. Elders wear distinctive white and black gowns with silver crests and white, red and black cingulae (cord belts), depending on their rank.
In 2002, Raymond Buckland wrote that "the ATC has grown by leaps and bounds to become one of the most respected Wiccan institutions in the country, if not the world."
Since its founding, the purpose of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church has been to provide services to the larger Pagan (or Neopagan) community, such as open worship, festivals, prison ministries, affiliate church support, and a lending library. The policy of open attendance assists this goal.
As of 2012[update], the current Archpriestess is Belladonna Laveau and Archpriest Davis now holds emeritus status. A circle of elders representing the various geographical areas meets annually at Fort Flagler, Washington during the Spring Mysteries celebrations at Eostar. A circle of elders of the Canadian Aquarian Tabernacle Church, led by Archpriestess Michele Favarger, high priest Erik Lindblad, and high priestess Heather Botting, meets annually at Duncan, British Columbia, each Yule.
- Buckland, Raymond (2002). The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca and Neo-Paganism. Detroit: Visible Ink Press. ISBN 1-57859-114-7. OCLC 47658763.
- Aquarian Tabernacle Church (international)
- Aquarian Tabernacle Church of Canada
- Panegyria, the Official Voice of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church
- Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary
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