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ECUSA women’s ministry posts liturgy to pagan deity

November 5, 2004

Just when you thought the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) could not become more theologically deviant, a recent Christianity Today weblog revealed that the ECUSA’s Office of Women’s Ministries has been promoting the worship of pagan gods.

Just when you thought the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) could not become more
theologically deviant, a recent Christianity Today weblog revealed that
the ECUSA’s Office of Women’s Ministries has been promoting the worship of pagan

In CT’s Oct. 26 blog, Ted Olson sheds light on the feministic and pagan
worship offerings available on the ECUSA’s website.

Most audacious and troubling among them is a liturgy labeled “A Women’s
Eucharist: A Celebration of the Divine Feminine.” As Olson points out, the
liturgy calls for the worship of a pagan deity specifically condemned in

The so-called Eucharist is taken directly from a rite of Tuatha de Brighid,
“a Clan of modern Druids … who believe in the interconnectedness of all faiths.”
The rite is celebrated at a communion table that includes a candle, a vase of
flowers, a large bowl filled with salted water, a chalice of sweet red wine, a
cup of milk mixed with honey, and a plate of raisin cakes.

The rite begins when the plate of raisin cakes is lifted high and the
following mantra is repeated:

“Mother God, our ancient sisters called you Queen of Heaven and baked these
cakes in your honor in defiance of their brothers and husbands who would not see
your feminine face. We offer you these cakes, made with our own hands; filled
with the grain of life-scattered and gathered into one loaf, then broken and
shared among many. We offer these cakes and enjoy them too. They are rich with
the sweetness of fruit, fertile with the ripeness of grain, sweetened with the
power of love. May we also be signs of your love and abundance.”

The plate is then passed and each woman eats a cake. Olson points out that
the raisin cakes are taken from Hosea 3:1 which ties Israel’s love for cakes of
raisins to spiritual adultery in their worship of strange deities. Many scholars
believe the raisin cakes to be offerings to Asherah, the feminine counterpart to
Baal, Olson says.

The ECUSA and its women’s ministry also scandalize the biblical
understandings of marriage and divorce, offering on the website a “Liturgy for

The opening two paragraphs of the liturgy are as revealing as they are
stunning. The final two lines of the second paragraph echo the plotline of a
Hank Williams pain song and in no way resemble the plain teaching on the sacred
covenant of marriage set forth by holy Scripture. The ECUSA takes upon itself
the authority to dissolve marriages in which “love dies.” The first two
paragraphs read:

“Dearly beloved: We have come together in the presence of God to witness and
bless the separation of this man and this woman who have been bonded in the
covenant of marriage. The courts have acknowledged their divorce and we, this
day, gather to support them as they give their blessing to one another as each
seeks a new life.

“In creation, God made the cycle of life to be birth, life, and death; and
God has given us the hope of new life through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ,
our Savior. The Church recognizes that relationships follow this pattern. While
the couple have [has] promised in good faith to love until parted by death, in
some marriages the love between a wife and a husband comes to an end sooner.
Love dies, and when that happens we recognize that the bonds of marriage, based
on love, also may be ended.”

ECUSA’s Office of Women’s Ministries responded to CT’s weblog and has removed
the pagan liturgy from the website.

The response says that the listed liturgies are not officially sanctioned by
the ECUSA but “are intended to spark dialogue, study, conversation and
ponderings around women and our liturgical tradition. There is quite a
difference in presenting resources for people’s interest and enlightenment and
promoting resources as official claims of the Episcopal Church. Only General
Convention has this authority.”

Still, given the website’s other content on marriage and divorce, it begs the
question as to why the ECUSA Office of Women’s Ministries would include such an
obviously unbiblical document in the first place.

Interested readers may find Olson’s full weblog on the ECUSA liturgies here

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