by Stephen McNallen, Gothi
from The Runestone Winter 1997 #20

A few weeks ago, The Asatru Community Church held it’s first service in Nevada City. A second followed – and then a third – and then more!

True, other groups have held open discussions, lectures, and rituals – but this was a full-fledged Church service, complete with sermon, singing, ritual, and even a church bulletin!

I deliberately made the event “visitor friendly” by patterning it after the kind of religious gathering with which most ordinary folk are familiar. “To take the Gods to the Folk, you have to go to where the Folk are at” – and that means “where they’re at” psychologically, more than physically!

Here’s how one of our typical services went: A Hammer-signing opened the meeting, followed by a short sermon of the Gods and Goddesses. I then made announcements from the bulletin and gave a talk (You could call it a sermon…) on the ancestors. Then we affirmed the virtues of Asatru in a call-and-response format, and I told the story of Thor’s visit to Utgard and used the tale to make a moral point. After Thorgrun read relevant verses from the Edda, the Folk-blot began.

With participation from the assembled people, we honored our folk and sang praises to the Gods. The core of the ritual was a Thor-blot. Altogether, we spent about forty-five minutes honoring the Mighty Powers.

The response was fantastic! Local newspaper reporters were present, and gave us a wonderful write-up.

More recently, we held a Frey-blot for Yule and welcomed the reborn sun. Twenty-three people showed up – most of them local folk who had never before been exposed to Asatru. They ranged from young children to one woman who must have been more than seventy years old! The entire crowd accompanied us to a local residence for stories from the myths, a potluck meal, and Asatru hospitality.

The Asatru Community Church meets every other week and already has already booked services through March. There has been no hostility from the local Christian churches. Once we’re established, we’ll hold a reception for local ministers, just to let them see we’re “for real”.

Will this work where YOU live? Maybe, or maybe not. Nevada County is a pretty exceptional place. Our goal is to become accepted here, to bring those who are ready to Asatru, and to become more recognized as a legitimate, if unusual, voice in the community.

Onward with our Gods and Folk!

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