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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy Photos "Our building was built in 1914 by the Christian Scientists and started being actively used in 1915," Melissa Clare says. Nowadays, the mission of Heart of Many Ways is to "develop a community of many faiths, spiritual paths and practices to share this common space with respect for all.

The structure at 68 Mountain St. is not only listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but it's iconic in Eureka Springs for its "unusual design with a curved roof, lovely stained glass windows and curved wooden pews," says Eurekan Melissa Clare. But not all of its admirers realize the Heart of Many Ways building has always welcomed those seeking God -- in all of His/Her/Their forms.

"Our building was built in 1914 by the Christian Scientists and started being actively used in 1915," Clare says. "Apparently Mary Baker Eddy [who established the Church of Christ, Scientist] visited Eureka Springs in the early days, and there are some stories about healing that happened here."

Go & Do

Goddess Chant

When: 2 p.m. Sunday; doors open at 1:30 p.m.

Where: Heart of Many Ways, 68 Mountain St. in Eureka Springs

Cost: A $10 donation is suggested

Information: Email melissaclare01@gmail.com

Nowadays, the mission of Heart of Many Ways is to "develop a community of many faiths, spiritual paths and practices to share this common space with respect for all," and at 2 p.m. Sunday, that means a program titled Goddess Chant.

Clare explains she had been charged with organizing an event in May to help fund continuing care of the building, and when she met Maronda Rice, visiting from Hawaii, she knew she'd found the perfect pairing.

Rice is a singer/songwriter as well as an empowerment choir director of 20-plus years and was the producer and director of two previous Goddess Chant productions: one on Kaua'i in 2010 and one in Felton, Calif., in 2017. She is also a holistic minister.

"She was willing to offer the performance as a benefit, and I felt that it would be a real blessing to host it," Clare says. "Heart of Many Ways has organized a number of benefit concerts, and we are delighted that they not only help us to maintain our building, but also provide spiritual [enrichment] for the community.

"Our building has great acoustics, and we believe in the power of music to inspire and uplift," she goes on. "So I am always looking at both angles when searching for musical programs. There are many other approaches to fundraising that can bring in larger amounts, but concerts are a way for more people to come and experience our venue and what we have to offer."

Goddess Chant will bring the Eureka Springs community and the community of Heart of Many Ways together onstage as well as in the audience.

"Rebekah Clark is one of the musicians who has been working closely with Maronda Rice since they were introduced," Clare explains. "Rebekah offers a monthly sacred music circle on Monday nights and has a music therapy background that fits beautifully with what Maronda is doing. [And] several of the dancers have been working together with Lorna Trigg, dance teacher and director at Fire Om Earth, a retreat center and native plant sanctuary in Eureka."

While Heart of Many Ways does not have a group that meets regularly to honor the feminine half of the spiritual equation, Clare reminds "that the worship of the Great Goddess used to be international a few thousand years ago."

"In our time, there is an awakening to the need to restore the feminine qualities and priorities that many associate with the Goddess," she says. "If you think about it, the tendency to ascribe a gender to the Creator of this universe is perhaps a little limiting, but in our time there is a need to find the balance and explore the feminine aspect of 'God,' whether we call it Divine Intelligence, God, Goddess, Allah, Ahura Mazda, Brahma, the Void, the Dreamer, the Beloved or Love -- or any number of other names that we have found to express our devotion or respect for that Higher Power that remains somewhat beyond our grasp!

"These qualities include respect and honoring of the Earth, nurturing of all life, a sense of sacredness, love, peace, beauty, a recognition that everything we experience through the senses is part of the whole fabric of life," she says, "so less sense of separation between the 'spiritual' and 'material,' an emphasis on inclusion rather than exclusiveness, kindness rather than 'power over' and the importance of finding a balance between the male and female that is mutually supportive."

That being said, Clare points out "everyone is welcome to this performance. It's not just for women."

Courtesy Photo Performers prepare for the Sunday presentation of Goddess Chant, a fundraiser for the Heart of Many Ways in Eureka Springs. Goddess Chant is a multi-disciplinary performance piece containing song, dance, spoken word and the dynamics of true ritual celebrating the Sacred Feminine and the reclamation of the balance and unity of the masculine and feminine.

NAN Religion on 05/18/2019

Print Headline: Goddess In The House

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