Starting a Pagan Temple

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Why isn't there a Pagan temple in every town? Because it's a lot of work!. Image by Exotica/Universal Images/Getty

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, community center, or anything else, go do it. Here are a few things you'll want to keep in mind:

Membership and Use

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? Are you planning to start a Pagan group of your own that will be the primary users of the temple, or is going to be available to the entire community? Will your temple be designed as a 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?

Leadership

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 there be some sort of checks and balances system in place to make sure everyone is treated fairly?

Are you planning a set of bylaws or mandates?

Are you planning to have full time clergy? Will they be paid a salary or stipend, or do you want them to donate their time and energy?

Location

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. Is there going to be enough parking for when you host events and rituals?

Funding and Taxes

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 Help to Make It Happen?

For some great information on what you need to do to get a Pagan temple started in your community, be sure to read The Wild Hunt's article on Building Pagan Temples and Infrastructures.

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Wigington, Patti. "Starting a Pagan Temple." ThoughtCo, Aug. 31, 2016, thoughtco.com/starting-your-own-pagan-temple-2561817. Wigington, Patti. (2016, August 31). Starting a Pagan Temple. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/starting-your-own-pagan-temple-2561817 Wigington, Patti. "Starting a Pagan Temple." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/starting-your-own-pagan-temple-2561817 (accessed December 15, 2017).