The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Ministry council certifies PATHS

The Campus Ministry Council voted to grant membership status to Pursuers of All Things Holy and Sacred , a student-led earth-based religious group Tuesday.

PATHS is a neo-pagan group that recognizes the divine nature of earth, environment, humanity and their relationships with each other.

The ministry council meets the first Tuesday of each month and denied the group’s initial request for official credentialed status last October.

After the initial rejection, PATHS spokesperson Amy Dominguez said, “PATHS will definitely re-apply to the council as many times as it takes. We will continue to be a spiritual community for each other.”

PATHS will now participate in a standard two-year probationary period, said administrative assistant to the chaplain Betty McHone and assistant chaplain Judy Henneberger.

“We will work closely with them for this two-year period to ensure that they have a strong constituency that will be together for many years to come,” Henneberger said.

William Barnard, a professor in the religious studies department, has been a strong sponsor of PATHS and wrote a letter of support to the ministry council in October, following the group’s initial rejection.

“I was very excited today, after the council voted to approve PATHS,” Barnard said. “So much blood, sweat and tears went into preparing for this day. I was very touched by the students that spoke for us today at the meeting. Their speeches were vulnerable . . . and almost self-confessional. It was very touching.”

PATHS was started in February 2000 and began meeting in fall 2000 with the chaplain’s office. This summer they completed a mission statement and a constitution.

Though not officially tied to any local group, PATHS is sponsored by Circle Sanctuary, a non-profit international Nature Spirituality resource center.

Members of PATHS are all pagans and include Wiccans and other earth-based religions. They work to promote awareness and tolerance through educational and religious functions, including lectures, workshops and religious ceremonies.

According to the official PATHS Web site, many pagan groups meet at least once a month to worship together. Pagans tend to hold ceremonies or circles out of doors as “[they] feel that being with nature brings [them] closer to the divinity that creates it.”

PATHS, as a student organization, meets once a week for a variety of group functions and attempts to formally worship once a month.

“But we also remember that all acts of living are truly forms of worship in and of themselves,” reads the official Web site.

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