Spent a lovely weekend with good friends, coven-mates and wonderful dancers. Something I have really needed after this crummy winter filled with death, too many moves and unfortunate surprises.
The UU church sponsored the event in Des Moines, Iowa. UU churches are awesome. The UU Church in Des Moines has just started a CUUPS group there.( About CUUPS) I really like CUUPS groups. Until I had my son, I was just too damned busy with coven events to go. After having my son, I really needed the ability to get out and about. Coven outings for the first year or so were not really possible with my son (for some people they probably don't find it that difficult, but it entirely depends on the kid and the parents). We found a UU church about 35 min. away that had a CUUPS group and started going. Goddess bless her, the founder always brought her older kids so that we would have childcare available. We would not have been able to attend any spiritual events without this crucial element. If you are pagan, and there are no groups in your area, I would suggest you check your local UU church (if you are lucky enough to have one!).
Not all UU churches are completely open to pagans. We have been held at arms-length before at one UU church for this reason, until the old reverend left, and a new, more open and loving one took over. I am happy to say that that particular parish now has a CUUPS group as well =). We were never told not to come there, but members of our pagan community noted that the parish was "cliquish" and our community members did not feel welcome (and did not go back). Later I found out why we felt we got the cold shoulder. Really, as far as "bad" experiences with a church goes, I'd pick that any day.
The concept of the UU church is really great, it seems to me, to be the future of religion. If any religion survives, it will be something like that. All-encompassing, loving, accepting, with an emphasis on helping and supporting eachother and not on forcing specific concepts or assuming any "one way". Atheists are welcome as well, and many parishes have a high percentage of them.
Wicca Con happens every year in Des Moines so check it out next year. We had lovely music, childcare, workshops, great meals and wonderful new and old friends to talk to.
Afterwards I got the privilege of dancing at Contraindications http://contra-indications.org/ .
Contra dancing is kind of like square dancing, but don't let that put you off (if indeed, it does). It is important for pagans to learn to dance these types of social dances. If you want to learn something ancient that pagans did, community dances like these are the way to go. Remind me to write on folk dances another time. For now, just know you should check it out. Many cities have contra dances if you can find the local calendar, and if you are willing to travel, sometimes you can go to one a week. It is a great workout and amazing fun.