by Rev. Paxton McCaghren (UUMS 2022)

In 2021, my partner, Rick, and I bought the site of the former 167-year-old Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, the oldest, fully African-American church in Lady Lake, Florida. The last standing building sits on an acre of land in the heart of Lady Lake, across from the library, medical center, little league fields, and fire/emergency management system. It was built in 1960 and served as the area’s first Masonic Lodge. When COVID hit, the aging congregation could no longer maintain the property, causing the church to close in 2019. This hot property attracted investors anxious to transform it into expanded parking, a training field for EMS, and apartments. Rick and I could not bear the thought of this rich history being razed and forgotten. We decided it was well worth the price to preserve and honor the heritage that occupied the land for more than a century. So, with all of my retirement and a large chunk of his, we purchased the building in 2021 and began renovations right away. During the renovations, scaffolding collapsed, and Rick fell 20 feet, breaking his back and ending up in the hospital for a long time. The good news is Rick fully recovered and our renovations continued. We have done all of the work ourselves, including landscaping that includes a labyrinth, and prayer and meditation gardens. I raise butterflies, and the butterfly garden we created is an official Monarch weigh station which measures the births, migration patterns, and numbers of this endangered species.

After months of laborious effort, “The 2 Be Spiritual & Cultural Arts Center,” evolved as an independent ministry and registered safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. We offer classes on meditation, spiritual living, cultural and performing arts, world religions, and metaphysical Bible studies. We host drum circles, moon circles, healing circles, and a variety of other spiritual events. As a certified sound healer, I offer singing bowl meditations. We also have a metaphysical bookstore and herbal apothecary with over 200 medicinal and tea herbs, many of which I grow on-site. In the future, we will be clearing the last quarter acre for community food gardens. We are registered with Equality Florida as a minority-owned business/spiritual. We recently produced our first cultural arts event.

Our plan is to establish it as an alternative/evolving ministry through UWM.

Rev. Paxton McCaghren graduated from Unity Urban Ministerial School in 2022 and was ordained by Unity Worldwide Ministries on June 26, 2023. He is a retired high school teacher and college professor. His partner, Rick Burroughs, is a financial attorney for the southern and international trust divisions in the banking industry. 

2 comments on “The 2 Be Spiritual & Cultural Arts Center Ministry is Born

  1. Rev. Paxton, it is wonderful seeing all you have accomplished so far! I have always known you would do great things and you never disappoint! Some day lets make time to talk herbs!

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