The News Gazette (Champaign, Illinois, June 19, 2003
By ERNST LAMOTHE JR
HOOPESTON – The world of Wicca will become more accessible in East Central Illinois because Chicago-based Telepathic Media has purchased the former town hall building in Hoopeston for use as a school to teach Wiccan principles, which include a belief in a god and goddess of nature.
“God is within the individual, and we teach that people should try to listen to the voice of the deity within them,” said the Rev. Don Lewis, who was born into the religion 40 years ago.
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The staff envisions the school at 200 E. Penn St. eventually becoming a four-year college, offering broad-based education in literature, earth sciences, psychology and teaching, in addition to the study of history and magic, officials said.
Previously, the school was primarily online, but officials saw a need for face-to-face instruction.
The school will begin hosting only seminars before branching into night classes, and then full-time instruction. The facility will be the technological center of the online school Witchschool.com. A 13-lesson first-degree Wicca course covers a broad range of skills and philosophies of modern Wicca. The degree course is complemented by a mentor program, to offer additional training and information on the religion. The online school has offered training courses for the past two years and now has about 60,000 students on six continents, according to a press release.
The 102-year-old town hall building will be turned into a two-floor school. Telepathic Media paid $40,000 for the building, which changes hands on July 7. Officials expect to start the first seminar during the first weekend of September.