The founder and Dean of Edmonton Wiccan Seminary, Sam Wagar, has been a Wiccan Priest for more than thirty years (since 1985), holds an MA in Canadian religious and political history (SFU 2006) and is currently a Doctor of Ministry student at St. Stephen’s College in Edmonton. He is the founder of the Congregationalist Witchcraft Association federally (1991), its BC daughter church (2004), and consulted and assisted with the Alberta and Saskatchewan daughter churches (2007, 2014). He has since left CWA And is working with Sacred Oak Wiccan Temple of Edmonton, affiliated with the United Wiccan Fellowship of Alberta. He has been directly involved in starting two religious retreats, a national pacifist organization, a community school, four public Temples, and in addition has served on numerous non-profit boards.
For many years he has felt that a deeper theological training would benefit our religious movement, and that formalized education in the skills needed to effectively found and lead public Temple groups would be to the great benefit of the people involved in these groups and to the better service of our Gods.
Since he appears to be one of the few with the religious, academic, and practical skills to carry this off in Canada, and feeling a strong and direct Call from the Gods to get going on it, the EWS has been founded, incorporated as a federal non-profit, and will be accepting students for enrollment in January 2017. Other teachers are being recruited and partnership arrangements are being made for practicum placements for students with various Temples.
We have a four path approach: The first three paths are for training and certification as Temple Clergy and the fourth, after completion of the first three, for training and certification as Temple Planters.
- Academic work up to the expected standards of university or college in the secular world but focused on the needs of a Wiccan clergy person ministering to a public Outer Court and community of neo-Pagans of various stripes.
- Personal introspection and practice guided by a mentor and in a small group.
- Outer Court group work in the community, particularly public Temple leadership. Ministry cannot be taught in the abstract – it must be learned through the doing.
- Upper level students will be considered for training in planting new Temples.
Although we have a strong reluctance to charge fees, that work which is not specifically Wiccan – the academic work – will cost a set price per course for any person not a full-time student. Students will additionally be required to purchase the books for the courses. An esoteric library will be available for student use as well. Academic coursework will be available to people not enrolled in the Seminary, although our students will get priority.
For religious teaching fee for service is not a good model. All students enrolled in the Seminary will pay an “attendance fee” which entitles them to involvement in the Seminary, participation in learning and classes, and access to a mentor, but with all details of participation to be negotiated. Resident students will be required to pay their own living expenses. No other fees will be charged. Donations to the Seminary to assist with its activities will be accepted. The ‘enrollment fee’ will pay the ordinary operating expenses of the Seminary.