TEMPLE OF THE SACRED GIFT ATC

Rating: 3 stars   10 reviews

Issues:

Location: 5955 Bartlett center drive Memphis TN 38134 USA

Mission: To provide a safe positive environment for those of alternative faiths to worship in. Assisting those that need love, support, and a community in a city that is ever growing. To educate the public about what Wicca believes and give it a face that we can be proud of so that in the future everyone knows that it is a wonderful legitimate option to practice as a spiritual path.
Results: We are one of the first Wiccan legal Non-profit Temples in the Country to have a wonderful Temple to worship in that is NOT a Supply store,but dedicated ONLY to worship that all are welcome to participate in and will be welcome at. We have a Lending library, we have established a children's room with activities and crafting stations(because we value our children and they are our future). We have a Weekly AA meeting Bell Big, Book and Candle. We pay for and sponsor Memphis Pagan meetup that meets once a month at the Temple. We have a Goddess Group to help support and empower women. We have a Men's group to help men support each other and empower themselves. We worship openly every new and full moon, and we offer a full degree system of Wiccan training that can lead to Legal Clergy ordination if you are interested. We have a staff of FOUR Clergy ordained through the Aquarian Tabernacle Church; and we support and teach for the Woolstein Theological Seminary. Every month spiritual teachers, ministers, monks, nuns, Specialists in different areas come and share their knowledge of their spiritual path, or area of specialty at the Temple of the Sacred Gift; because we believe that all paths are equal and all people are important.
Target demographics: the city of Memphis be more diverse and eliminate barriers of race, gender, and spiritual stereotypes.
Direct beneficiaries per year: hundreds of people in the city of Memphis
Geographic areas served: Memphis, Tn
Programs: Supporting the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center. Founding the First Legal Wiccan Church, in the city of Memphis, TN with Clergy on staff to serve people in the whole city of any denomination. By participating in and supporting MIFA (Memphis Interfaith Ministries) by founding the First Wiccan AA group Bell Big Book and Candle, by coming to anyone and any hospital or funeral or wedding that needs us regardless of who they are...we are here, and you matter. We are a partner with ONE COMMUNITY CENTER in Memphis, working constantly to help UNITE Memphis and work together for Peace, and a community atmosphere where all are loved and fed.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I am sadly grieved that three people who resigned from the Temple of their own free will; who openly stated at the members meeting they would support and cheer the Temple on; have changed their tune. 2011 is about the year they were all with the organization; and they left to join the only other Pagan church in town (except in the case of Elizabeth Mccllelan who moved to Nashville). In 2011 we worshiped at the Miller's personal house; and all moneys raised by the Temple went to rent in 2012 a small space. In 2013 the Temple moved to a much larger space; and none of these people were on board to do this, they did not lay carpet, they did not paint, they did not put in ceiling tiles, they did not fix the plumbing, or buy sinks or toilets, or paint the parking lots for parking or even donate a dollar to that cause. I guess this is why they feel, we ask too much of our "clergy and inner circle". We expect the Clergy to serve the people; not the people to work for the Clergy.

We hoped, with them joining the only other Pagan church in Memphis that they would find happiness there; and whatever meat it was they needed spiritually to become fulfilled and blossom. We believe at the Temple that people come for a season, reason, or a lifetime...but no matter what we love them all.

We will refuse to slander ANY church organization especially the only other one in town to make ourselves look better; or to hurt them or their congregation in any way. We pray that people who read these three people's review will realize that two of the three hold positions of authority at the competitors church and are slandering the only other organization in town to look better. You cannot dim others lights by slander, it is only through sharing you own.

Virginia, Allison, and Elizabeth I pray you quickly find the peace, love and happiness on your spiritual path there are Summerland Grove.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 1 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I left Temple of the Sacred Gift when they "accepted the resignation of" (read: fired - no resignation was ever submitted) two clergy for nothing more than disagreeing with the High Priestess, Rev. Sonya Miller. In the four years this church has been around they have lost no less than five clergy to firings or resignations, all resulting from conflict with the HPS. I have seen her behave badly at events she is invited to, including verbal abuse of event staff and vandalism of a rented site. She has also given grievous disrespect to community elders.

TSG expects a whopping amount of financial support from all members. In addition to their $120/year "dues" (compared to no dues asked from members of Neshoba Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and $25/year asked -- but, at this time, not required -- from members of Summerland Grove) TSG holds a fundraising event nearly every week. Even those contributing their time and skills to present a workshop or energy share at these events are expected to pay for the privilege, something I have never seen from any other Pagan or Wiccan organization anywhere.

TSG is run on the "coven model" -- all final say is vested in the High Priestess. TSG, at least during the time I was a member, tried to cover this up by having clergy councils and member representatives, all for show as their decisions could be (and were) overridden by Sonya. This is not a healthy model for a church and not one that I support. Once I found out that I had been deceived about the locus of control, I was no longer willing to be a part. Worryingly, the church rewrites its own history every time clergy leave or are fired: names of founders removed from the church history, long-time clergy being told they were never clergy once they quit even though evidence exists that they were previously listed as clergy on TSG sites. This behavior reminds me of another problematic church -- Scientology.

The Mid-South Pagan community is vast, but you wouldn't know it from asking TSG, which likes to pretend it's the only game in town. Please, before deciding to involve yourself with this money-focused and problematic organization, research and see what other options the community holds for you. Find a group that will value you as more than a pocketbook and sycophant. Don't get burned.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get rid of the High Priest and High Priestess, which unfortunately the charter does not allow. As long as the Millers are running this church, it will continue to be a problematic organization.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I was a member and clergy for Temple of the Sacred Gift for 3 years. Most of the members of this organization are truly wonderful people. The leadership, however, leaves a lot to be desired. In the 4 years the church has been open they have elevated 8 people to clergy status, now only 2 remain clergy, the married couple who started the church. The rest of clergy either left because of personal conflict with Rev Sonya Miller or were forced to resign. Members don't tend to stay around long either. TSG expects a lot of time and money from its members, especially those in the inner circle who are the only ones allowed to lead events or have roles of responsibility within the church.

Memphis has several pagan groups and churches. TSG acts as if they are the only group in town. They do not support the other groups or encourage their members to become a part of the greater community. I recommend Summerland Grove Pagan Church or the CUUPS group at Neshoba Unitarian Universalist Church. Both of these organizations encourage practitioners to make and follow their own pagan path, they lack the dogma and strict adherence to Wiccan laws found in TSG.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Remove the leadership and just start over. The members are lovely people who deserve better.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Badly

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

Will you recommend this organization to others?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 1 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I would not recommend this "church" to any free thinking individual. It has numerous problems with keeping clergy and members. I attended for three years and in that time they lost 4 members of clergy and numerous members because they could not follow the high priestess without questioning her or agreeing with her. I have been involved in the Memphis wiccan and pagan community for 13 years. I have never had a more disappointing experience than I did with TSG.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would actually abide by the decisions of the clergy and elder board. I would also listen to my members commity.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Unlikely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 1 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

As a Clergy and Elder of the Mid-South Pagans and over 20 years experience in teaching, leading, hosting and counseling, I can honestly say that this organization is about as two faced as you can get. They love you while you give them money or praise their High Priestess, and stab you in the back as soon as you no longer have anything they want.
It is actions like these (lies about being the first Pagan/Wiccan Church in Memphis, which they were not, rewriting their founding history to hide truths about the founders, attacking other clergy of other Pagan and Wiccan organizations, and falsifying personal credentials) that I left the ATC church as an active Clergy. ATC condines the 5 year pattern of this abuse and the hate mongering of the TSG High Priestes.
Approach this group with caution, and avoid if possible the 'clergy' of this church.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Remove the High Priestess and actually run an OPEN church rather than a coven posing as a church.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Badly

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

Will you recommend this organization to others?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

This is the worst organization that I have ever come across. They give Pagan's everywhere a BAD name. Some of the members are nice and seem to be good people but the High Priestess is very controlling and talks bad about other Pagan's and Pagan churches in the area. Her husband the High Priests acts like a whipped puppy and lets her do spells against people, their own members and others. She acts like she knows so much but all she does is try to get more money. I would not recommend anyone going here ever!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get rid of the High Priest and High Priestess

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

None

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Temple of the Sacred Gift opened their arms and welcomed my family in when we needed a spiritual home the most. They support both community and individual needs and work for causes that tend to be overlooked by other denominations. Temple creates a family friendly atmosphere and children are welcome and cherished in all worship rituals. They support the Memphis LGBT community as well. Temple changed my life for the better!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Broaden the number of people they are able to reach out to.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Having been around for a few years with different non profit organizations of this kind this one truly is accepting of anyone. These people once you meet them you become family to them. There is a genuine care for people with this group. They have become family and they will help with whatever you may need.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Nothing

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

As a random person who happened upon these people, I can honestly say that these people are more like family to me than any other group I've ever been a part of. Not only did the organize to bring gifts to my newborn son, but they offered amazing comfort and support to my family when he passed away unexpectedly. I don't think I'd be able to get out of bed if it hadn't been for these people. These people have been my rock. I would recommend this group to anyone, regardless of their beliefs. I don't know what I would do without them.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Welcome more people to join.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

This the best thing that has happened to my family. Everyone at Temple are so friendly and genuinely care about your spiritual well being. The Clergy are knowledgable and approachable they love their people and serving their community. The Temple supports many different organizations including the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community center and donate books to the Memphis public library. All rituals at the temple are held for the public and it is family orientated and child friendly.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Spend more time there if I could. There isn't anything I would change

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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