UUs to explore a pagan holiday


By Pauline Benetti

Special to The PREVIEW

Interesting word, “pagan.” Is it someone who holds beliefs and engages in practices and ceremonies that are not Christian? A heathen? Or is it someone who is without any religious beliefs at all? An atheist?

Interestingly, these words are offered as synonyms in some dictionaries. A more inclusive view would say a pagan is someone who follows anyone of a wide variety of traditions (or paths) that emphasize reverence for nature and a revival of ancient polytheistic religious practices.

As Unitarian Universalists, we seek wisdom from all of the world’s religions. This Sunday, Michael Demchak, a member of our fellowship, will help us in our search by introducing us to the pagan holiday — Imbolc.

Imbolc is a celebration of creative female energy, of pregnancy, birth and fertility. Traditionally celebrated on Feb. 2, it honors the Goddess Brigit (also referred to as Brigid or Bride) and her many attributes associated with this celebration. This is the right time of the year for setting intentions and planning goals for the seasons ahead. We will join Demchak as he reviews the history, traditions and symbolism of Imbolc. He will also share what the holiday means spiritually on a personal level and how this time corresponds to the wheel of the year.

Demchak was raised with a Unitarian Universalist background for most of his childhood in Connecticut. He moved to Denver with his family in 1976 and began attending the Mile High Church of Religious Science. He studied computer science at Metropolitan State College, but pursued other careers including pharmacy technician, accounting and facilities management.

In 2006, Demchak helped facilitate a weekly intentional dance with live musicians and a spiritual emphasis. In 2007, he became active in a pagan meet-up group and helped it grow into Living Earth Church, where he co-created many circles and events as a Pagan priest. He also created and was the music director of an annual pagan music festival from 2009-2011. Demchak has been an ordained minister since 2008 and has officiated several weddings and handfastings. He enjoys camping, four-wheeling, skating, music, reading, photography and nature. He now lives in Pagosa Springs with his daughter, Katie, and is a member of the Pagosa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Our fellowship offers each individual support in our unique spiritual path and an opportunity to participate in positive social and environmental action. We welcome diversity and invite everyone to share in our faith community.

Religious Exploration (RE) classes are held on the third and fourth Sundays and continue through to May. For more information about RE,contact Anna Ramirez at afrancis@hotmail.com.

Find us in Unit B-15 of the Greenbriar Plaza. From North Pagosa Boulevard, turn right onto Park Avenue and right again into Greenbriar Plaza, then turn left and continue around the complex until you see the Unitarian Universalist sign as it faces the mountains. Join us. For further information about the Pagosa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, visit pagosauu.org or call 731-7900.