Known as the only Pagan Spiritualist church in the United States, this church has a deeply rich history, and is one of the three original churches in Bristol, CT.
It began as a schoolhouse which was built in 1884 by agents of Miss Hattie O. Utter, a day school teacher in the North Chippens Hill district of Bristol. A year later she left the area to return to her home town to marry, and the church and Sunday school was continued by the Sessions family of Bristol and Mr. B.S. Rideout.
On September 2, 1889, the schoolhouse officially entered into a charter, naming it Mount Hope Chapel. By 1907, the church became more than a Sunday school and had evolved into a non-denominational parish that had frequent sermons by ministers of different religions. On September 10, 1962, it changed hands once again and became the First Michel Spiritualist Church.
In 1987, First Michel elected its new pastor, Dr. Charles Rubin. Upon being elected here, he began the work to have the church's name officially changed to The Church of Eternal Light. During his time as pastor, and with the use of his degrees, and the assistance of his apprentice, he composed a lesson and study plan towards ordained ministry under the spiritualist practice. That curriculum is still used today for every clergy member that has served here. Charles was a very active advocate in the AIDS community, hosting Reuben & Company, the longest running show on Skye 13 in Waterbury. He was also very vocal in the New Age community, and was a component in the movement to have Spiritualism reinstated as an official religion in Connecticut in 1993. Unfortunately, Charles passed away in 1999, succumbing to AIDS himself. The ministry was taken over by his apprentice, Rev. Marie Langer, who had been serving as assistant pastor since 1997. After his passing, Marie filed with the state to have the charter and bylaws amended to have the church officially recognized at Pagan Spiritualist in 2001.
To this day, The Church of Eternal Light serves the citizens of Bristol, as well as any who wish to attend (some even coming from out of state) with a multi-denominational means of worship.
Our worshippers gather at 2 PM on Sundays to learn, heal and give thanks to the God and Goddess, our higher powers, guiding spirits, angels, power animals and all who help us on our path. We welcome all Pagan traditions.
Each week’s service is met with a different circle or guest speaker. We also offer weekly classes on subjects such as herbs, incense and oils, circle etiquette, spirit guides, and much more. We also have community building activities throughout the year such as potluck dinners, drum circles, and our annual End of Summer Festival. All information can be found by checking the events calendar located on our web site.