First and foremost, Project Sanctuary does not seek to gather members. We do not attempt to convert or promote any religious ideals. Instead, our sanctuary space is a safe haven which serves as a place for healing within a supportive community, without religious themes. Future religious participation is not our aim, only healing.

Project Sanctuary

Gender & sexual orientation safety zone symbol.

An Unfortunate Reality

Imagine being told that who you are is sinful. That your life is inherently wrong in God’s eye. What pain must come from the cold, unwelcomed arms or eyes that look with disdain from behind scriptural misinterpretation and abuse?! When even family members are told to pray for your ‘conversion’. Enter Project Sanctuary.

What it is and What We Do

Project Sanctuary began and continues as a series of monthly, evening events with blended alternative healing methods facilitated by trauma-informed practitioners for those marginalized communities who have experienced rejection by organized religion. Its goal aims to show these communities they are loved within community and accepted, worthy of the Divine/Spirit/All-That-Is/God’s full redeeming grace. We bring them into an affirming sanctuary space so they can experience that their identity does not inhibit them from full acceptance and boundless love. It opens the door for their own unique spirituality to be welcomed as they are into a community of radical acceptance.

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Who We Serve

The people who will be served are people who have experienced rejection at the hands of churches and spiritual institutions. This includes but is not limited to members of the LGBTQIA+ community, divorced or separated individuals, peoples of varying political persuasions, and varying socioeconomic means. The welcome statement of our host congregation names specific groups of people who may feel uncomfortable in a Church setting:

We at Gethsemane Lutheran Church (our host) in Saint Louis embrace…

and people not mentioned above, all of whom are beautiful and loved!

Church sanctuary with rainbow support sign

Our Aim

Quite simply stated, the goal again is for participants to know they are loved for who they are, as they are, not to subscribe to any form of progressive Christianity. Through proven alternative methods such as breathwork, further amplified by sound healing, participants go into an experience of inner child work, then reprocessing and reframing hurts, challenges, and traumas in a way that healthily integrates their past into their present so they can live more fully into their futures as welcomed children - possibly of an all-embracing Higher Power of their understanding. This takes place in a church sanctuary so they know they are welcomed through the doors and into sanctuary (safety) without condition. Again, future religious participation is not our aim; only healing.

Fees for Participants?

Small gong shining in candle light

The Project Sanctuary events are part of Gethsemane's mission and vision, keeping the cost to Participants is only $20. Please note that space is limited and pre-registration is strongly encouraged.

Going Forth

We allow for space in our groups for debriefing or harvesting, a sharing period or taking away which usually lasts for about 20 minutes after each session. We allow participants to openly share their experience, ask questions, and comment about the different physical and emotional feelings they observed. We have further recourse to offer should we feel it necessary and are in the process of offering community healing throughout the month.

Inevitably, someone will say, and many will agree, that being in a sanctuary surprisingly was not frightening or intimidating. They felt welcomed and safe - exactly how we want them to feel. As in the safety of a sanctuary.

Reserve your place

and we will see you soon

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Project Sanctuary Healing Circles

As an extension of Project Sanctuary, we offer what are called Healing Circles when requested by the Community. This is available to all who attend Project Sanctuary, and even to those who have not attended a monthly event.

Healing Circles alleviate loneliness and isolation by fostering social connection. We meet this need via small circles that encourage participants to treat one another with kindness and respect, hold one another’s stories in confidence, withhold judgment, and honor one another’s unique path to healing without advising, fixing, or recusing.

Circle participants work together to explore ways to alleviate suffering, remove instances that prevent healing, and deepen their capacity to heal. They also access their own inner guidance to determine where the greatest healing-physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual-can occur.

A called circle is an invitation to discover a deeper way of being together and protected by agreements. (See below). The circle is a living entity, a full-bodied presence that we co-create.

The agreements we follow are as such:
1. Treat each other with kindness and respect
2. Listen with compassion and curiosity
3. Honor each other’s unique ways to healing and don’t presume to advise or fix or try to save each other
4. We all hold stories shared in the circle confidential
5. Trust each of us has the guidance we need within us and we rely on the power of silence to access it

These circles take place in a church, but you can be assure that Healing Circles do not use religion in anyway. It would be unethical and antithetical to the aims of Healing Circles.

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