This congregation in Fayetteville, cultivated Cannabis as a holy sacrament. They were a down to Earth people who cared about our world and I hear were a little rambunctious too. Yet they recognized the peaceful properties of the cannabis plant. The healing properties, the industrial resource properties. They found references through religious world history that this is a sacred plant. It is found in Christian doctrine, Hebrew Doctrine, Islam, Ethiopia, Jamaica and everything under the sun.
Their leader, was a very outspoken and "in your face" kind of guy, in reference to religious freedom. Tom Browne, being a former Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska; established this church called "Our Church" around the end of the 1980's. He appeared to pose a threat to authority and was convicted on marijuana charges and put in prison for a handful of years.
Reverend Mike Domangue having been in Boulder before his ordination; had publicly emergeged in 1994 with a new vision of Cannabis as the holy sacrament instead of wine, instead of alcohol. He has seen all his buddies deteriorate through the years, since the war of Vietnam, under the shackles of alcohol.
Being inspired through the religious experience he had with his Fayetteville visitors; Reverend Mike spoke with charisma to a trailer-home full of eager friends. He picked up the Bible and passed it around and asked each person to pick something to read to the group; and then he passed the joint.
Breaking at the seams, the motor-home cult was growing in numbers. So they got up some nerve and held service on the Boulder County Courthouse lawn for a short while.
By 1995, they got a permit from the parks department and brought their sacrament to a little church shaped building in Elder Salzberg Memorial park on 19th st.
The group was a circle of people of various American counter cultures.
Rev. Mike would tell them:
"The Church is what you make it! The content of the service is up to you. You bring to the church your quality of being, that you want to share.
You make, what the church will be today!" "If you are looking for a certain quality at the church today; and you don't find it here; then alas; that is the quality that you have come here to share with us, so we may learn and experience from you!"
The group would continue to evolve with Vietnam Vets, Classic Hippies, and the street kids of today as it moved back to the Boulder County Courthouse Lawn on the Pedestrian Pearl Street Mall in early 1996.
A large circle of about 50 people would gather and light up in front of authority and Mike would do his thing.
"Well-l-l-l-l-come to the `Sacred Herb Church' everyone!!!" I am not here to preach. I don't have very much to say! I give this church to you! I am just a vehicle so you may have this opportunity to gather with sacrament within religious freedom, and be able to share with one another what is most important to you. When I am done speaking; anyone has the privledge to jump up and tell us his or her testimony or speak of God or sing us a song or rap us a Rap!
I just wanna hear you pour your hearts out to each other and see that we are together; to be free!
The reverend stressed the use of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and its appendage "the Religious Freedom Restoration Act", as a defense for our religious right to smoke Cannabis. He wanted a test case against the court to see if we could act upon our rights to have free religion.
So with not finding a volunteer, Mike himself walked up to police officers on the mall with a burning joint in his hand and declared that this is his religious right and they cannot prosecute him for this.
...and the cops said:"Oh yeah? Well maybe not; but we can still arrest you!" ....And on went the cuffs!
An interesting thing about his court appearance; was a result that apparently an agreement; once quoted from reliable sources; was made between the Boulder Mayor Leslie Durgin, City Attorney Joe Deremsis, and District Attorney Alex Hunter, & Police Chief Tom Coby; That the Church would receive a soİcalled "Partial Immunity" and to keep the police near but out of the way of parishioners during a church service. They would for the moment get away with permitted public smoking of marijuana, through a method of the cops looking the other way; for the meantime.
A newssource, then, quoted Leslie Durgin and Joe DeRemsis as saying that they wanted to avoid having Boulder, Colorado "going on the map" as a Supreme Court battle about the separation of church and state. They didn't want to bring attention to their city of rich posh secrets in risk of being exposed.
So the Church sailed smoothly into Boulder's Central Park in light for all to see!
...and then `Jon Benet' was Murdered.
Well there goes the hopes of the city syndicate who didn't want attention brought to Boulder. İİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİ
And then there were 300 dancing, singing, beating on drums. The size of the circle encompassed the perimeters of the park. It was the 60's all over again with tons of Hippie offspring looking just like their folks and grand folks.
"Peace and Love and crush Babylon!" became the Reverend's decree.
Now their were many reverends, and Mike kept ordaining them since now he had the power. There was Rev. Wendy, Reverend Huggybear, Reverend Friendly, Ras Cougar, and Sister Carrie, and others.
This was the height of the Church, and by the end of the summer, when crowds dwindled, and the various agendas of the new group of active reverends clashed; the Church moved up upon a tree covered cliff overlooking Downtown, in Settler's Park and then the Reverend Mike disappeared.
Aimless for a while, people still met but it was barely church. Eventually after a little soul searching,and several months, Mike appointed Reverend Evan to facilitate the Church above Wild Oats Vegetarian Market on Pearl Street. Meetings indoors with 70 people. The room filled with marijuana smoke. Stories told, singing, drumming, fellowship and sisterhood. It was nice until Evan was taken out by some bureaucratic action that inconvenienced his family life drastically.
Out of who remained several began to facilitate: a boy named "Sky Makai"; a Newcomer since the summer named "Joshua"; and a little man named "Pounds".
At this time, the police sent in a young man on a plea bargain, to spy on us; sources say. The man denied it. The police still wouldn't come in to break up a service.
Eventually "Joshua" became the prominent facilitator but refused to be ordained until may 1997. He led a more humble circle which met in Canyon Park and out of the way of the General Public. This was a very successful and peaceful period of the Church.
At this time a non-smoking angel woman joined the group called Rebecca; and she was an inspiration to all when she would martyr herself to be the last one to speak at each service; and in her words, she would review all that was spoken by others that day and she would praise each of them for sharing and speaking such important messages for all to hear. She was seen as a Magdelena of the Church. She stayed only for springtime.
There were many special people we took in as brothers and sisters. So many, and they all went their own way that it is hard to remember everyone's name. But we still have fond memories of them.
We performed a 420 in 1997 here in Central Park with 300+ people, and performed Mother's Day upon the Red Rocks of Boulder, then went back to Canyon. The police never came; except near the end of summer, over some dogs.
Then the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was challenged by St. Peter's Church in Austin, Texas; at the Supreme Court and upon its reading; the Court found the law itself to be unconstitutional, and repealed from the Constitution; basically throwing our religious rights out of the window.
The Lawyer's advocating for the Church, gave us a call and said the Police have been waiting for this chance, now they could walk right into our service and arrest us for marijuana use. "You better stop this now!"
The Church stopped smoking and the numbers dwindled again. For awhile, the church became this very genuine rainbow like circle, and was probably the most romantic part of the Church. Now this was another generation of participants in Canyon park alone. The Sacred Herb Church survived 10 generations of congregations.
"Joshua" who Changed his name to "Jahn Kefa" turned his sights toward politics and ran for office in City Council.
Eventually there was only a handful, and mostly newcomers who brought alcohol and others tried to facilitate it: Reverend Lorenzo, and the late Humanitarian Rick Williams.
Further, "Joshua (Jahn Kefa)" publicly resigned from the Church when State Sherriffs Association funded a crackdown on all marijuana traffic and activism.
Finally, the "Sacred Herb Church" fell.
Now survivors of this church have missioned around the country especially Ras Cougar of the One Love Zion Train; establishing herb sacrament groups ordaining the people and then moving on to the next city. And for the survivors here in Boulder we meet once a year in Boulder's Central Park on April 20th at 4:20 pm for a High Holy Day and reunion.
All around the world people celebrate the 420 for supporting the great properties of Cannabis. Some do it Spiritually or some do it politically by lighting up on their Capital steps.
In 1998, we had a major Festival with entertainers and Merchants, called "Sowing Seeds Festival". But in 1999 we humbly sat in a circle of 13 or 24 and were simply genuine to each other.
April 20th is also a Day to give prayer to all the world; for the beginning of spring has often been a time for awful misery. Revolving around the 20th: the U.S. invaded Waco, Oklahoma City was bombed, the U.S. invaded Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
The Holocaust is remembered now. The Serbian-Yugoslavian wars are memorialized now. The escape of the Hebrews from slavery in egypt is exalted now during passover. The Execution by Crucifixion and the spiritual escape of our most beloved brother is exalted now on Easter.
...and 13 children and one teacher are no longer going to school at Columbine.
The Sacred Herb Church is a free-formed gathering with no One explanation of what or who is known as "God".
Each person may believe whatever belief fills their heart about the Creator and gives one's life a purpose... ...unless it was to hurt someone! .................................
Sacred Herb Church was established to provide an All-denominational religious experience, leading us to a greater understanding of God.
Sacred Herb Church was established to advocate the production of plants and herbs known to have value as medicine in the healing of disease and to enhance your spiritual quest.
Sacred Herb Church was established to promote opportunities for research into the use of plants and herbs as medicine, and other valuable resources.
Sacred Herb Church was to provide a home for operations of Civil Disobedience in the traditions of Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gahndi, and Martin Luther King Jr..
...and most importantly Sacred Herb Church would offer sanctuary whenever and by whomever requests it!
The one main thing in this gathering; is that we come here to respect each other and the one common element that draws us here. A `Sacred Herb' which is naturally, and biblically divinely given to us, along with this Earth.
We are not here for a "Pot Party!" This is a moment for us to recognize that "Cannabis Consciousness" is a way of life.
Marijuana should be recognized, not as an `Intoxicant'; but as a `Healer'.
We are gathered here for a ritual of respect for the `Herb' that has let us feel `Peace' and `Universal Love'; and that we all belong together as a family; as `All People' and `All Creatures' of this Earth."
Together; We have `Sanctuary'!
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ We have a Collection of: "Anonymous Giving and Anonymous Receiving;" consisting of money, food, cigarettes, crafts and gifts; which is later redistributed to anyone in the Circle, who feels that they need to receive something to help them at this time.
Sacred Herb Church is a penniless church yet they have raised funds sometimes to assist in specific matters of aid.
An Inner Circle of the Church has survived. We are always hoping to find those people who have the best skills for the various responsibilities that are needed to keep the gatherings together.
The power of the Church is shared equally and divided amongst all. No, One person is the leader; for we all lead here! This is your Church; this is our Church! If offices are to be appointed; then they should be positions of responsibility and not that of power.
If you partake in any sacrament while you are within the circle of the Church, God may protect you; but if not, be cautioned that the police can do whatever they deem is neccesary now, to keep us from causing a disturbance.
Also we must ask; that if you are not over Eighteen years old; Please do share sacrament with an adult during these gatherings. We are no longer protected by immunity. The authorities have still respected us after all this but we never know if they'll change their policy with us. Yet all may still attend for the diversity of spirituality and worship which we have.
Also, please let there be no trading of Marijuana and Money.