A reader says, I read about a public Pagan temple that started up in Minnesota. I think this is awesome. Why can’t we have public Pagan temples everywhere, like the Christians have churches?
Why can’t we? We can. But for many people, Why can’t we? actually means Why Doesn’t Someone Else? Want a Pagan temple in your community? Get out there and start one. No one is stopping you. Just like with Pagan businesses, Pagan events, and other needs that haven’t been met, every venture starts with one person finding a hole and filling it.
If you want to start a Pagan temple, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Do you want your temple to be open to anyone, of any path, who might be interested in using it? Or will it only be for members of a certain tradition? How will you determine who can be part of your temple and who will not?
Who’s in charge of your temple? Will a single person make all the decisions, will there be an elected board of trustees, or will everyone get to vote on everything?
Will your temple be designed as a community gathering place, for classes and public events? Or is it only for private worship services? Will it be open to members of the non-Pagan public?
Are you planning on creating your temple as a part of someone’s residence? If so, check with zoning regulations to make sure you’re allowed to do so. If your temple is going to be in a free-standing building, you may also want to make sure that the land is zoned for religious use.
How do you plan on paying for your temple? In addition to building costs such as rent or a mortgage, you’ll have utility bills, property taxes, and other expenses. Unless you’re independently wealthy, someone’s going to have to come up with a source of income for your temple.
Is your group going to collect any sort of revenue? If so, you need to plan on filing taxes. You may wish to look into applying for status as a 501(3)c non-profit group with the IRS. While you’ll still have to file a return each year, you won’t have to pay taxes on your income if you’re a recognized 501(3)c. Bear in mind that just because you don’t make a profit doesn’t automatically qualify you as a 501(3)c organization – there is a lengthy process and paperwork that has to be completed.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. You ask why there’s not a Pagan temple in every city or town? It’s because there’s a lot of work involved. It takes commitment, dedication, time and money to make such a thing happen. If your community needs a Pagan temple, and you really feel passionately about it, then start working on making your dream a reality. Instead of asking Why Isn’t There?, start asking How Can I Make It Happen?