Is Awakening Together a church?
Awakening Together could be categorized as an inter-faith or trans-religious online church with a focus on awakening. What sets Awakening Together apart from some interfaith communities is our focus on one purpose: Awakening to one true Self. Our members seek to discern one truth within an appearance of many faiths. Therefore, it may be most accurate to refer to Awakening Together as a spiritual assembly that is focused on awakening as a single, universal truth that transcends religious bias (trans-religious). We were granted legal church status on December 15, 2015.
Is Awakening Together a new religion?
First focusing on the word new, Awakening Together is not a new religion. The wisdom-teachings of Awakening Together are both current and date back as far as earliest recorded wisdom, such as the wisdom of Bhagavad Gita, Lao Tzu, Buddha and Jesus of Nazareth. However the question may still remain, “Is Awakening Together a religion?” That would depend on one’s definition of religion. We will let each person decide the answer to that question for him/her self. One may enjoy contemplating the following discussion on “What is religion?” by Jiddu Krishnamurti while considering what he/she thinks on the matter:
“First of all to find out what is religion we must negate what it is not. What it is not; then it is. It’s like seeing what is not love. Love is not hate, love is not jealousy, love is not ambition, love is not violence. When you negate all that, the other is, which is compassion.
“In the same way if you negate what is not religion then you find out what is true religion; that is, what is the truly religious mind. Belief is not religion, and the authority which the churches, the organized religions assume, is not religion. In that there is all the sense of obedience, conformity, acceptance, the hierarchical approach to life. The division between the Protestant, the Catholic, the Hindu, the Moslem, that’s not religion. When you negate all that, which means you are no longer a Hindu, no longer a Catholic, no longer belonging to any sectarian outlook, then your mind questions, asks what is true religion? This is free from their ritual, without their masters, without their Saviour; all that is not religion. When the mind discards that, intelligently, because it has seen that it’s not religion, then it can ask what is religion.
“Religion is not what I think, but religion is the sense of comprehension of the totality of existence, in which there is no division between you and me. Then if there is that quality of goodness which is virtue, real virtue not the phony virtue of society, but real virtue, then the mind can go beyond and find out, through meditation, through a deep, quiet silence, if there is such a thing as reality. Therefore a religious mind is a mind that is constantly aware, sensitive, attentive, so that it goes beyond itself into a dimension where there is no time at all.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
Who are the ministers of Awakening Together?
Awakening Together has three originating ministers: Regina Dawn Akers, our President-Minister and founder; Philip Frisk, our Chairman-Minister; and David Fishman, who served as our first Vice President-Minister until May 2014.
Awakening Together invites any of its members who feel called to serve the one true Self through Awakening Together to become a minster. In order to become a minister, one must complete the Ministerial Preparation Program (MPP).
Awakening Together also has Licensed Ministers, who are not legally ordained but who have important roles within the assembly.
Click here for more information about Awakening Together’s Ordained and Licensed Ministers and for a current list of all Awakening Together ministers.
How is Awakening Together governed?
Awakening Together was planned so that no one person or group has sole leadership of the organization. Similar to the US Government, it was built with checks and balances. Here is a summary of how those checks and balances work:
Board of Directors is the highest authority in the Awakening Together. The Board of Directors elects their own peers from nominees; however all nominees must be approved by a majority of the Board of Trustees.
With the exception of three appointed positions (President, Vice President and Sanctuary Director), Board of Trustees are elected by Awakening Together members.
Board of Trustees and its subcommittees, which are made up of members, is responsible for day-to-day management of Awakening Together. The President-Minister is responsible to oversee the Trustees and sub-committees.
The President-Minister has primary responsibility for the budget and spending, Awakening Together contracts, minister ordination program and supervision of employees and volunteers. Board of Directors oversees the the President-Minister.
If you look at the previous paragraphs, you will see no person or group is left solely on its own authority without a check or balance by another person or group. If you are interested in more information, reference our Constitution and Bylaws.
How did Awakening Together come into being?
As an assembly, Awakening Together started on July 21, 2013. We came about through the reorganization of a pre-existing organization, Foundation for the Holy Spirit. The reorganization was based on a new vision that came to our founder, Regina Dawn Akers, in December 2012 after a year of deep spiritual contemplation. Awakening Together’s purpose and core values are the expression of that vision.
Foundation for the Holy Spirit was founded in 2006 by Regina Dawn Akers, Philip Frisk and David Fishman. In 2013, the foundation registered “Awakening Together” as a legal ‘doing business as’ alias in the State of Colorado and in Stanly County, North Carolina. Foundation for the Holy Spirit, and therefore Awakening Together, was granted IRS 501(c)3 religious organization status in April 2006. That was upgraded to Church Status under IRS Code 170(b)(1)(a)(i) on December 15, 2015.