Saturday, March 22, 2008

Do You Miss Church?

I have considered myself a pagan for about 16 years now although I didn't formally leave the Catholic church until about 10 years ago. I was raised by a Catholic family and attended church very regularly. When I decided to stop attending church I was living in Los Angeles and thought I would take advantage of my location and seek out people like me to replace the community of people I lost when I left the church.

In the following years I drifted in and out of online groups, meet-ups, covens, regular workshops, etc. always looking for the sense of community I got with the Catholic church. I found that generally the pagans I met were a bit flaky, unreliable, not grounded, fake, and just not really the sort of people I could depend upon. Not to say that all the Catholics I knew were perfect but my experiences with Catholics were that if you needed help in your life, you went to the church and they would help you. Not so with the pagans I met in Los Angeles. I never felt at home with any of the groups or covens I joined and I eventually became discouraged and disillusioned and decided to be a solitary.

When my husband and I moved to the small town in Oregon that we currently live, I started an online group to form a pagan community here in town. There are about 80,000 people in and around this town so I thought there would be some pagans among them. Sure enough, about 65 people joined my group. I was thrilled! I decided to have monthly potluck gatherings to socialize, network, and to build a pagan community that was akin to the community I had when I was Catholic. But lo and behold, three gatherings in and people started to flake out, talk trash about other members, disappear, and soon the group fell apart. Once again, just like my experiences in Los Angeles, the pagan community let me down.

So now here I am, searching for community once again, missing the community found at church, and wondering if I'll ever find that kind of strong support I have been looking for. For the pagans here who were church members in their past, do you miss the community feeling of belonging to a church? What has been your experience in the pagan community of having that same support system? Any advice for helping me deal with this?

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