Like marijuana? Hate clothes? Canada’s Church of the Universe could be for you.
The Assembly of the Church of the Universe was founded by Walter Tucker in 1969 in Ontario. The Church of the Universe treats marijuana as a holy sacrament and encourages use among its member. The church believes that marijuana is the sacred tree of life spoken of in Psalms and Revelations. The Church also promotes nudity as a means to end gender discrimination. They see this practice as deriving from Genesis as well as that Adam and Eve were nude prior to the original sin.
The church’s main philosophy is essentially a re-wording of the golden rule. The church’s two guiding principles are: do not hurt yourself, and do not hurt anyone else. Every member of the Church of the Universe is considered ordained, and the church makes no distinction between clergy and lay members. Some members of the church go by titles, such as archbishop and bishop but these titles are merely self-proclaimed.
The first location for the church was an abandoned quarry that had filled with water. Walter Tucker christened this location Clearwater Abbey in 1969. Before it closed in 1982, Clearwater Abby must have been quite a party. Reports of noisy ceremonies that carried on long into the night were reported by neighbors. One can only imagine the scene at the abandoned quarry. Dozens of people smoking pot and jumping into the quarry naked, sounds like a good time to me. After repeated complaints, the church’s lease on the quarry was terminated in 1982. In 1992 the church’s new home, a closed metal foundry renamed Hempire Village, was similarly closed. The church is currently located in north Hamilton.
The church’s frequent use of marijuana and practice of nudism have caused frequent arrests of its members. This has led to the creation of the unaccredited University of the Universe. The university issues law degrees to any of its member that attempt to defend themselves in court.
The Church of the Universe does sound like a lot more fun then any service I have ever been to. Unfortunately, all claims of religious freedom for the use of cannibis and nudity have been thrown out by the courts. The church has never truly recovered from the loss of Clearwater Abbey. In its heyday, the Church of the Universe probably threw some of the greatest parties Canada have ever seen. And if you know of anyone with a spare quarry lying around, give them a call.