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Church of Radcliffe
Official Page of the Church of Radcliffe
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Look without gawking. Desire without objectifying. Ask before touching. Speak with respect. Don't be a dick.

Veronica 3:16
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For as long as space endures, And for as long as living beings remain, Until then may I too abide, To dispel the misery of the world.  -Dalai Lama

Ours has always been a philosophy of spreading merriment and joy whenever and wherever we can.

#SoSayWeAll  
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New URL for our website

Our website URL has changed.   RadcliffeULC.org will continue to function for the time being but please update your bookmarks to point to www.radcliffe.church
Church of Radcliffe
Church of Radcliffe
radcliffe.church
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Sometimes I remember why I co-founded a church. It was to highlight the absurdity of that certain aspect of the human condition which is known, in the common tongue, as religion.

Rev Stryse
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Change is the essential process of all existence
We all change.  When you think about it, we're all different people all through our lives, and that's okay - that's good. You've gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all of the people you used to be. I will not forget one line of this - not one day, I swear. I will always remember.. when The Doctor was me. 
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Everyone and anyone is welcome to our all age art appreciation event, where local artists will be showing and selling their art. Don't miss out on this fun opportunity to support your local art community, and have some drinks and laughs while your at it. See you there!
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May the lucky fires burn for you throughout the year.
Beltane - or, "Lucky Fire"

I'm sharing the same photo from last year because it's mine and I didn't want to snipe something of Google and it's relevant.  I mean come on, who doesn't want to see some Domos doing a ritual fire dance? :)

For the readers - let me be tiresome and teach you long and lengthy facts about this SO very misunderstood holiday.  I've only just come to a further understanding myself due to study. 

I've been reading Ronald Hutton's excellent book Stations of the Sun, A History of the Ritual Year in Britain (this was after reading The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles) and I now know more about Christmas, Easter, Whitsun, Maundy Thursday, Maying, Boxing Day, Twelfth Night, Morris, etc, you name it, than I ever thought there was to know.  It's gobsmacking fantastic, this volume.  It's a graduate course all wrapped into one book.

What I learned about Beltane was surprising.  First, because there really is a total lack of real fact about this holiday out there in the world and two, I love being taught things that I didn't know - I love finding out truth.  Professor Hutton is a wonderfully rigorous scholar and attends to his subjects with very good attention and detail.  (Though I'll admit he isn't perfect but that's neither here nor there regarding Beltane today.)

For everyone wondering - Beltane is one of the actual likely pre-Christian and pre-Roman even, rituals that has been left over from an early religion.  We can say this with a fair amount of certainty.  But it isn't what you think.  A lot of people these days (thanks, Marion Zimmer-Bradley) believe it's a fertility fire festival, where a lot of sex was happening and dancing around a fire.  Ehh.  I'm sorry to ruin it, but it was not.

It's actually much more fascinating than that!  It was the first day of summer and fires were lit.  But it was for the ritual protection of the cattle.  They would drive the cattle between the fires, from the winter pens to the summer pasturelands.

It evolved over the centuries of course, to include humans in the protection and Luck as well.  There is also a fascinating bit that I was completely unaware of - the Scapegoat.  In several areas spread around (this was not practised everywhere but in various places across Britain) someone would be deemed a Scapegoat of the village.  How this was attributed varies to region, but most often it was a marked piece of special bread that was grabbed out of a sack.  This "marked" person was then considered 'at fault' for all the year's bad luck and would have to go through a variety of unfortunate events, depending on location.  Some places would mock throwing him into the fire, whilst the other people would 'rescue' him.  Other places would pretend to draw and quarter him.  Depending on the location - he either had to stay with the stain of being the unlucky person for a year - or it was the complete opposite, after being 'purified' by ritual he was then considered extremely lucky. 

The amazing thing is that this ritual had variety over everywhere it was practised.  It was not the same everywhere.  Details were different and reasons were different all over - but it was basically at it's core a Luck and Protection Ritual for cattle and then after, humans as well.  The surprising fact was that the Scapegoat feature is possibly a remnant of actual human sacrifice.  But we can only guess at that.

The reason why we can say that it was pre-Roman is because while all the various rituals in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Cornwall and Devon (it didn't much exist in the middle of England) were different.  Some were exactly the same.  Across the divide of language and many miles, a ritual in Scotland is exactly the same as one that was practised in Wales and in Devon and Cornwall.  They all possessed their own words for every part of the ritual, in their different languages.  It is most plausible that it is a survival of a widespread tradition.

One last thing - while people might love to call this "Celtic" and it does indeed fall into the "Celtic" areas of Britain, there is absolutely zero evidence of fire rituals on the continent where there were Celts there.  In fact, there were fire rituals in the Northern countries - Scandinavia and reaching into Eastern Europe.  These are not linguistic boundaries but instead ones of a pastoral economies involving seasonal transhumance.

He didn't mention it, but when I read it then and as I write it now, it does make me wonder if it just wasn't brought over with the invasions in the 700-900s  I'd love it to be old and ancient and absolutely Bronze Age or older.  But we just can't say.   We can't be sure and so, the origins remain a mystery.

(For what it's worth I have loads and loads of more detailed information.  I tried to write a really quick and easy summary. So, I know already, whatever you're going to tell me in the comments.  Believe me, I know.  lol  Trying to save you some pontification.)
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It would seem that the Jaquish have finally forsaken the front lawn of the old temple...

We're curious what's going on there.
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A message from a Founder.
Believe in Good

Do you strive to be a force of good in the world? Are your actions consistent with love or with hate? Are you an example of what is right with humanity? Or an example of what is wrong?

It takes a little more of us to do good in the world. It's easy to act in our own self-interests. To act in someone else's requires sacrifice (in some form, however small, even if it's only a few precious seconds of our busy lives).

We don't always get to see the results of our good deeds, but small acts of kindness leave big marks on peoples lives. We are all shapers of the world, of our culture and societies. Each of us. 

Believe in good and be that force.
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Healing

Our stories may be different, but the result is the same: we yearn for God without being bound by dogma and subject to spiritual abuse.

God, of course, being whatever you want it to be. For over fifteen years has the Church sought to heal those afflicted by this. We didn't have a name for it either, but we want to weep with joy a little too. Names are powerful things.
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