What is Integral Church?
Beginning in 2013, Integral Church has held services on the third Sunday of the month in St. Petersburg, FL. The gathering is held at Crisp Park, a city park which features a gated area for children to play. Typically, childcare is provided for families who want to bring their young ones.
A wooden altar (fashioned out of an old corned beef shipping container) and a box of stones is placed in the shady area formed by a triangle of trees. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets or cushions to form a circle around it and ensure that everyone can see (and hear) one another.
And, then, “church” starts. But it’s probably not like any church you’ve seen.
Integral Church is a community of people who have abandoned the trappings of traditional, one-to-many worship experiences or rigid and dogmatic spiritual teachings.
However, at any given gathering of Integral Church, you will hear readings from and discussions about Christian and Buddhist traditions (as well as those of Islam, Judaism, Gnosticism, Native American/nature religions and more). That’s because Integral Spirituality includes them all. It is an interfaith and interspiritual group expression — a post-modern approach to religion and a celebration of the sacred.
It honors and includes the goodness, truth and beauty found along the cultural spectrums of the world’s faith traditions while it explores the spiritual tools and practices of its individual members.
It is the path and practice of pluralism.
An indoor First Thursday service was added in 2015.
Are you a real religion?
Yes, we are a newly-established religious community based on Integral Spirituality, Creation Spirituality, Evolutionary Spirituality and the beauty, goodness and truth found in all faith traditions. We have no parent denomination or fiscal sponsor.
When did you form?
Integral Church was founded in the autumn of 2012.
What do you believe?
Integral Church is an interspiritual and interfaith community for those who identify with a specific faith tradition as well as those identifying as “spiritually independent,” “spiritual but not religious,” “unchurched” or “religiously unaffiliated.”
It is our mission to deepen personal transformative practice, engage in community service and increase religious literacy.
We embrace both wisdom and knowledge by including the beauty, goodness and truth found in the world’s myths, creation stories and faith traditions as well as scientific findings from the domains of psychology, biology and cosmology.
We are interested in carrying forward what works about religion and jettisoning what doesn’t. We bring religion into the 21st century by replacing hierarchy with holarchy and practicing religion in a post-modern, peer-to-peer setting.
We are reclaiming previously stigmatized words like “church” and “religion” for those raised on pluralistic beliefs, multiculturalism and universal values (i.e. compassion, charity, playfulness, mindfulness and The Golden Rule). We express the three faces (or dimensions) of Spirit-in-Action (“I,” “we” and “it”) as we embody these values in our selves, express them throughout our culture and honor them in nature.
We are building radically inclusive forms of spiritual expression including new inter-generational rituals and rites of passage for young people and families, interfaith meetups and study groups. We also believe in recognizing the new mythologies and sacred texts being written in our time (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Dune, etc.).
Integral Spirituality is not just a spirituality of “both/and” (masculine and feminine, transcendent and immanent, etc.), it is the belief that we all transcend and include. The belief that something can be both changing and complete — unfolding, yet ever-present — this is the unique idea that Integral Spirituality offers to the world.
This is the vision we hold for the future and the challenge that all religions should take up for themselves.
– Excerpt from Integral Church: Handbook of Ceremonies and Rituals.
Who is your minister?
We pride ourselves in having an interfaith and multi-perspectival approach to ministry. Our founder, Rev. Joran Oppelt, is currently serving as our minister and is joined at our services every month by community leaders and representatives from various faith communities.
Where is your church located?
We gather several times a month at various locations. We encourage you to join us at one of our circles by visiting the Gatherings + Services page for more info.
Do you do weddings?
Yes, and we would be honored to be a part of your most special day. We are also available to perform memorial services, naming ceremonies, blessing ways, fatherhood rites and more.
Do you have regular Sunday Services?
We meet outdoors on the third Sunday of the month as well as indoors on the first Thursday. Please visit our Gatherings + Services page for more info.
Are you affiliated with the Integral Institute or the Integral Yoga Institute?
Some of our beliefs are informed by Integral Psychology, Integral Life Practice and the Integral Spirituality of Sri Aurobindo and Ken Wilber. We are not associated with the Center for Integral Wisdom, Integral Institute, Integral Center in Boulder, CO or Sri Aurobindo Ashram in India.