Unique Gathering Celebrates
The Sacred Nature of Women
By Lyda Whiting
On the first and third Sundays of each month, women gather together to celebrate the Divine Woman Within with music, prayer, and laughter. Women discover their own sacred nature as they experience the power and joy of women coming together.
With services both reverent and joyful, the First Woman’s Church, Hathor Chapter, is a safe haven for women of all backgrounds, religions, and lifestyles. Sometimes in words, sometimes in silence, these wo-men open their hearts, celebrating each other’s victories and supporting each other through challenges.
“We meet together to bond with our sisters,” said Rev. Dr. Crystal C. Bujol, founder of First Woman’s Church and pastor of the Hathor Chapter. The women-only service creates an intimacy and community that is special and unique, an environment in which women can gather and experience spirituality “without being distracted by our wonderful men,” Dr. Bujol said. “When women are around men, we don’t speak as intimately and frankly about women’s problems.”
Based in women’s and African spirituality, the church also draws from a variety of different faiths and customs, including Native American, Christian, and Eastern philosophy. Each service begins with drumming, and embraces prayer and meditation in many forms, including T’ai Chi movements, and a wide selection of music. Women are invited to participate in a special candle lighting ritual that is unique to First Woman’s Church. The ceremony reclaims each phase of women’s lives as powerful and sacred, honoring virginity, menstruation, fertility, and menopause, with the lighting of white, red, green and black candles.
The First Woman’s Church is named in honor of the first woman, the oldest female ancestor of the human race. Scientific evidence suggest that humans originated in Africa, and some of the oldest human remains have been found there, including “Lucy”, a well-preserved female skeleton found in Ethiopia who is dated between 3.6 and 3 million years old. Lucy is a favorite among the women of the Hathor Chapter, and her picture graces the ancestor altar, along with goddess statues, photographs of family members, and items representing spiritual guides and mentors of the congregation.
The congregation named their chapter after Hathor, a pre-Dynastic Egyptian goddess who is mother goddess, goddess of beauty and earthly pleasures, and goddess of fate and fortune. Hathor was worshipped in Egypt as the protector of all women. Encompassing all of the many sides of existence, Hathor is a complex embodiment of feminine possibilities. She reminds us that we, too, must acknowledge all parts of ourselves.
The First Woman’s Church, Hathor Chapter, is moving to 1770 Orange Avenue in Costa Mesa, located one block from their present location at 270 E. 17th Street. In the two years since the Hathor Chapter opened, women from all backgrounds have come to celebrate the Divine Woman Within, and attendance has swelled to overflow in the current space.
The new location, The Latest Thing Mind, Body & Soul Center, provides a much larger room for services, as well as much-needed office space for the church. “We are honored to be a part of this wonderful Center that will serve our community in so many ways,” said Chris Metcalf, a member of the chapter’s advisory committee.
The First Woman’s Church, Hathor Chapter, is a daughter chapter of The First Woman’s Church in the City of the Angels, which was founded 20 years ago by Dr. Bujol when she was unable to find a place where she could experience the female aspect of divinity, and where her African heritage was celebrated and honored. An author and in-demand public speaker, Dr. Bujol is based in Costa Mesa but frequently travels to the sister chapters all over the United States. There are plans for First Woman’s Church chapters overseas.
First Woman’s Church, Hathor Chapter holds services at 10 a.m., first and third Sundays of each month at 1770 Orange Avenue in Costa Mesa, CA 92627, (949) 645-4965. All women welcome. Check out website: http://hometown.aol.com/womanchurch/welcome.html
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