A New Way Forward

Richard Articles

Effective January 30th, 2017, the Church of the Earth of N.C. will no longer hold events at Gaia’s Gardens, our meeting location of nearly 20 years at 855 West Morgan Street in downtown Raleigh. The owners of the property, the North Carolina Railroad Company (NCRR), have given us notice to vacate the premises.

There were many reasons for this decision on NCRR’s part, one very prominent one being that the Gardens are located in a right-of-way corridor for a light rail transportation expansion which was approved by ballot referendum during the 2016 election.

I do want to emphasize to our members and attendees that this decision on NCRR’s part has absolutely nothing to do with our specific religious practices. This is simply an unfortunate consequence of change, growth, and development in the Greater Raleigh metro area. NCRR has been very forthcoming and cooperative with us as we have worked to prepare for transitioning out of our sacred space, and I would ask that you treat them and their representatives respectfully and courteously, both in person if they should visit the Gardens as well as in online communications and postings regarding this matter.

While this development will mean a lot of work for the Church in the coming months, and we may need to temporarily suspend or relocate many of our events while we find a new home, this development is quite overdue. Lately, attendance has been so high that we have, regretfully, had to cap the number of attendees allowed at worship circles and rituals due to space limitations. That is a fabulous problem to have, and one that requires attention and diligence to solve. The Church Council views this change as an opportunity for us to grow, expand, and thrive—and we hope you’ll join us on this exciting journey, because we can’t make it happen without your participation and support!

Here’s what you can do to help out right now:

  1. Become a sustaining member by
    pledging a recurring donation
    , or continue donating monthly if you are already doing so. I hate to open with this action item, but it’s really the most good you can do for the Church right now. In order to secure a new permanent space for our events and rituals, we need to be able to demonstrate to potential lenders that we have a reliable stream of monthly income and build up our coffers to make a rental deposit or down payment on a new space. Even as little as $1 a month helps immensely; if every member of our Meetup gave just $1 monthly, that would be $673 monthly, which is currently more than double what we receive in recurring sustaining donations.
  2. Be available to help the Church Council and Trustees dig up plants, pack up items, and move supplies from the Gardens to temporary storage locations. We’re going to need to move very fast on this front in order to make this transition as smooth as possible, and many hands will make light work—just being on hand to carry boxes to someone’s vehicle and unloading them at a destination would help us immensely!
  3. Help us find locations in which to hold rituals while we find a new home. We are already looking into places where we can continue holding, at minimum, Sunday Worship Circles and Pagans’ Night Out potlucks. Our preference would be to continue holding rituals in outdoor spaces, so any leads you have on that front are greatly appreciated. You can email info@cote-nc.org with suggestions. Do note that we would prefer not to use private residences for rituals and events at this time, although we would be open to the idea of using privately-owned land where we can hold nighttime rituals, build campfires, and burn torches.
  4. Refer us to Pagan-friendly real estate brokers and lenders, especially people well-versed in county and city zoning laws and experienced in acquiring vacant land. Our current goal is to purchase a suitable piece of land between 1 and 4 acres in size somewhere in the Triangle area (preferably in or near Raleigh city limits), but we want to make sure that we go about this procedure properly and with thorough diligence in order to ensure that we don’t have to move again for quite some time! We’d also be interested in hearing from you if you or someone you know has vacant land for sale in the greater RDU area, but please don’t scour online listings for land plots and send them to us—we’re already doing this on our own, and chances are pretty good that we’ve already seen whatever you’re going to send us. A referral for a good sales or mortgage broker, however, is always welcome!
  5. Follow us on social media! We intend to keep the spirit of this community going strong online via Meetup, Facebook, Instagram (churchoftheearthnc), and Twitter (@CotENC99), even if we have to cut back temporarily on the number of events we hold. We want to hear from each of you—let us know what you’re doing in your own spiritual practice, tell us about your tarot spreads or rituals you’re doing with your family or coven, or just say hi!

Rest assured that the Church of the Earth is stronger than any earthly institution by virtue of our shared experiences, because our faith is not anchored upon any single place or thing, but rather our community. Indeed, the world is our church—and we will find a new way forward just as we have worked to accomplish everything else we have done to date: Together.

With Warmest Regards,

Richard E. Moore
Council Chairperson, Church of the Earth of N.C.