There is a ‘church’ affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) in San Francisco entitled, HerChurch. HerChurch is a “sacred space for those who wish to worship at the cutting edge and outside of the traditional Christian framework.” It is an “open and affirming community” for those who want to be “loved by Christ-Sophia and the Great Mother of us all.” They claim to have been at “God-dess’ service since 1882, but now are birthing a new congregation.” And obviously, “all forms of gender expression are a blessing.”
HerChurch is lead by the “Priestess of Ritual and Visionary Leader,” Stacy Boorn, who holds her ordination with the ELCA (left – that’s a lady). The website says that “Her tradition, which teaches good news grounded in liberating love and free grace from the Holy Other, provided a rich soil for growing a new vision.” Also, she hopes to be “a part of the prophetic voice of the divine feminine that will deconstruct Christianity and other patriarchal religions so that both a new paradigm and worldview may emerge that truly creates egalitarian just society and eco-sensitivities that tend to mending the web of life.”
There’s also the “Sister of Song,” Katie Ketchum (right).
Other offices held in the church include a “Drumming Priestess,” a “Writer in Residence,” a yoga instructor, a “Healing Priestess,” a “SoulCollage Priestess,” a “Poet in Residence,” and an “adjuct pastor,” who from the website seems to be a lady with a beard pretending to be a man (although we could be wrong, it’s hard to tell).
Explaining the philsophy of “HerChurch,” the website says…
Despite the verbal and visual images of God as a dominant white male, theologians and scripture frequently assert that God has no body, no gender, no race, and no age. Many state that the “God” that they worship is neither female nor male. However, most people become flustered, upset, and even angry when it is suggested that the God they know as Father” and “Lord” might also be called “Mother” or “Goddess.” This shows that we unconsciously accept and promote the familiar image of God as male.
Similarly, though few would assert that God has race, most people (including some people of color) have difficulty imagining God as black. The power of conventional imagery is effectively unmasked in the words of a bumper sticker that reads: God is coming and she is black!”
Some believe that we can break the hold of the white male God (which is nothing short of idolatry itself) on the deep mind replacing the male language of Christian and Jewish liturgy with neuter and neutral imagery: “God the Father” could be invoked as “Our Parent” or as “Creator,” while the ubiquitous “he” and “his” could be excised. This solution has been proposed in the revised liturgies of some synagogues and churches.
But the masculine images will not be transformed unless we can also imagine God as “she.” This term must stand on it’s own, not always with a “he” to qualify it. Jewish theologian Judith Plaskow argues that we must learn to speak the name of the Goddess. “The deep resistance called forth by her naming indicates that the needs she answered are still with us. It is precisely because she is not distant that the Goddess needs to be recognized as a part of God.” Unless and until the God we know can also be called “Goddess,” the specter of the male God will still be with us.
Recent projects of the ‘church’ include raising 40k dollars for the completion of their “goddess mural,” and 3k dollars for a painting to put on their “Guadalupe Prayer Shrine.” They also recently painted the church building purple to dedicate it to the “Divine Feminine” and to “advocate for marriage rights for all people.”
The ‘church’ prides itself on creating new, non-male dominated rituals. Their worship services include the use of Anglican-numerated rosary beads and publicly recite prayers that are liberating and empowering, including “Our Mother Who is Within Us,” by Mariam Teresa Winters (a Roman Catholic Feminist) and “Hail Goddess Full of Grace,” by Carol Christ, (a Goddess Feminist). Then, Tibetan bowls, bells, incense, water, she-icons, Goddess Rosaries, candles, stones, and sacred space are provided for individual meditation. “Minister of Embodiment,” Judith Lavender Dancer, teaches movement for the “Our Mother and Hail Goddess prayers.” Worshipers (photo, left) also engage in “sacred dance” during the Sunday liturgy.
On Friday evenings, parishioners can engage in a sacred drum circle (photo, right). There’s also special song services and yoga several times per month. There are also programs for children. Out of curiosity, Polemics Report has sent an email to HerChurch to ask at what age male children have to leave the religious community, and why – if they worship the Divine Feminine – the women look so masculine. We have not had a response.
If you would like to sample the music produced by the church to worship the Divine Feminine, enjoy the video below.