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M.O.C.A. in Elmwood (Friday services)

A few friends and I decided to put together a Moorish Orthodox Church of America in Elmwood Massachusetts. We already had an old Church that no one was using it was The First Church of Elmwood which has been neglected and almost forgotten about. Before we went in we asked the Town and neighbors if it would be all right if we used it. No one seemed to mind as long as we brought our own generators and respect the area. So we made all the deals and bought what we needed to buy.
Inside the church all the pews were removed sometime ago which we liked it gave it more of a Mosque type of feeling. We cleaned the floors and walls and windows that were not in bad shape just neglected. We brought in what we needed American Flag, Moorish Flag with the Rastafarian and Marcus Garvey Flag as well. We set up all our equipment then left. Part of the deal is that after we are done using the church we have to leave it the way we found it completely empty due to historical reasoning, which is no problem for us, and we enjoy working together.
Everyone that was interested and said they would be committed came even a few extras that we didn’t expect showed up. My Lebanese Jewish Princess Sarah came also interested in what I was doing on the Friday nights before I went over her place late at night.
Ounce we made every one my friend Mikaeel Ali EL got up thanking everyone and soon we got started. Now some of us still use the Bey and EL names while others of us don’t so we learned each others Moorish name or names but everyone had to use there Moorish name at least while we were in our Temple. Most people already knew that but a few that tagged along with other people didn’t know that so we told them that if they wanted to continue after today to pick a name which can be whatever they wanted. We passed out a printed version of the Moorish Orthodox Catechism by Hakim Bey just so that everyone would be on the same page and have an understanding of what was going on and what the M.O.C.A. actually is.
We decided to have some structure to our gatherings so we begun. What I noticed was how different we all were some of us were preppy while others were slobs. Some were pagans, Jews, Muslims, Chaos Magicians, Christine, Rasta’s and everything else in-between. Some of us had short hair long hair some women dressed slutty while others dressed in hijab. It was more than I was expecting at our first real night. We gathered before but it was just me Mikaeel, Aisha, Miriam, and Ali Bob but this was the first night that we opened up to inviting other people and finding other people besides our little inner circle and it turned out great.
We started the Moorish-American Prayer that we chanted (said in unison) then I read the Divine Laws, and Chapter XXV of the Circle Seven Koran. I also read the Opening from the Qur’an. After that Aisha lead us got and gave a sermon. One of the things that we decided to do is to split the duties of the Chairman since that each man and woman is a priest and priestess. After her sermon we invited people up to give there own sermons or read there own poetry if they decided as long as it was based on the six Moorish Pillars. Some people got up and gave very nice sermons, poetry, one lady named Pink Diamond Bey got up and sang a song while playing guitar.
Once that portion was done Aisha read Psalm 101 and the Jude Doxology we then went into the Chanting of One Day Nearer, JAH wind blow, I am getting ready, I will not go with you, and Closer than a brother. Followed by Bob Ali reading portions of the Holy Piby and quotes of Peace from Haile Selassie.
We had a brief moment of silence then broke out into dancing while blaring Happy Hardcore, Dub Step, various punk and psychedelic music, roots reggae, ska, and dub reggae. I got to talk to more people and hear some interesting stories of how the came across the M.O.C.A. and what peoples backgrounds were. It also gave me time to talk to Sarah and see if she was having a good time. She assured me that she was and never been to a church let along a church that breaks out into Sufi style rave party. She and a few other people made some suggestions some wanted it to be less structured while other people wanted to add to the structure. Part of this Church is that I hope it will end up reflecting everyone that is there and I also hope that some other people will be able to get up and join in on the duties. In some ways I to thought it wasn’t wide ranging but since this is the birth child of me and four other people it did reflect us but I hope it grows and morphs so that everyone can have a piece of the pie after all that is what it is all about. As Hakim Bey says the M.O.C.A. is a reflection of the individual but when you have group of individuals the mass meeting should have a reflection or at least a twinkling of everyone there. We will see what happens over time.
After the rave portion came to an end Bob Ali called us all to a moment of silence followed by the Judeo-Sufi Salaat Mikaeel then read from the Quran Time and the Unity. Followed by a Warning from the prophet and the repeating of the Moorish-American Prayer. We then hung out talked, drank some tea and cleared out.
We made sure the place was spotless and every one that came took with them whatever they may have brought. I asked Sarah if she would like to come again she told me that she would love too. That made me smile.
I will do my best to keep you up dated as the months pass by if you are interested in the Progress of the church if you have any suggestions I would love to hear it. One of the thoughts I was having is that we should play some games like pin the tail on the devil or tag. I don’t know we will see.
I was also thinking that we should have some Sunday school classes that explore the heretical, mystical, anarchist, and whatever else side of things.

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