WUFT News

Gainesville minister draws strength from nontraditional spiritual healing

By on May 17th, 2013
Becky Covington, who HAS THIS INFORMATION ABOUT HER IN A STANDALONE PHOTO CAPTION.

Contributed photo

Becky Covington, senior minister of Gainesville's Seraphim Center.

Becky Covington, 34, is a minister working on her master’s degree, taking on another job and dealing with the end of a 10-year relationship.

She recently found herself praying to her car’s dashboard for life to be gentler with her. She is the composed leader of a congregation that itself is in transition, and most of the time she keeps her personal emotions locked tightly behind her kind, brown eyes, speaking reflectively but with restraint.

In the last couple months, she said goodbye to her partner, her home and her pets: five poodles, two cats, two African gray parrots, a scarlet macaw and a turtle. She has temporarily moved from the Gainesville area to North Carolina to be near the mountains she loves and to start a new job that she is excited about.

The new job has caused her physical separation from the Seraphim Center, the church she leads, for a few months, even as its members search for a new building that isn’t so cramped. Their current house-turned-worship-center barely has room for everyone on Sunday mornings.

The Seraphim Center currently meets at 1234 NW 14th Ave. in Gainesville, on a narrow street surrounded by tall oak trees. A large, triumphant angel floats on a painting in the living room where services are held: Seraphim is the plural of seraph, an angel of the highest order.

As Covington deals with the onslaught of change, she draws strength from her spirituality and her sense of purpose. She also draws from a different source: she has been taught to use psychic abilities and has been trained in energy healing.

***

Covington said she first saw an angel when she was 9.

It was “incredibly beautiful,” sitting on the edge of her bed as she hovered in the haze between sleep and wakefulness. She said it put its hand on her leg, and a sense of peace filled her.

It came just before her brother was shot and killed at age 17.

That was the first of many extraordinary experiences Covington would have. In college, where she attended a Presbyterian school in Tennessee called Tusculum College, she met others who had experienced abnormal things, too.

Some of them knew things they shouldn’t. Some of them heard things most people don’t. Some of them saw things others don’t. One of them, upon meeting her, asked her who Tim was, explaining that Tim was “around her a lot.”

Tim is her deceased brother.

Covington dropped out of college to return home and take care of her family in Daytona Beach, but she started studying different philosophies on her own. She read about subjects like astrology, past lives and psychic abilities.

She started a cleaning business and met Jai Mai, a hypnotherapist who eventually put her in contact with the Rev. Bob Estling, the founder of the Seraphim Center.

Covington uses terms like “lightworker-awakener,” “crystal balancing” and “inner knowing” when talking about the skills she has developed since deciding she believes in paranormal things. Things most people in the United States would dismiss as imaginary. Deep inside, her intuition tells her that it is real, she said.

“We are trained in school to trust logic,” Covington said. “But we have to listen to our inner wisdom.”

***

Covington’s mother still refers to her as a preacher. Her father is more understanding. Her Southern Baptist sister tried to save her the last time they talked about religion.

She assured her sister that she believes Jesus lived to show people the way to God. To her sister’s dismay, she couldn’t resist adding that she believes the same is true of Buddha, Muhammad and other spiritual prophets and leaders.

Covington grew up in the Church of Christ, but she was ordained through an organization that has no institutional religious backing, and now she leads a church that describes itself as “interfaith, multidenominational and transreligious.”

At the Seraphim Center, a menorah stands watch over Jesus, pharaohs, angels, Buddhas, dream-catchers and other spiritual and religious symbols crowded upon a table. The members conceive of God as a sort of energy, and the purpose of the services are to help each other better connect to that energy.

Having learned about so many religious philosophies, Covington chose to write her master’s thesis, which she is still writing, on the turmoil and shift occurring in major religions in recent years.

She said she sees beauty in each of the major religions but doesn’t think there is a set path to God or heaven.

One of the things that Covington says makes her feel most connected to God is performing a healing. There are many forms of energy healing, including individually developed techniques and widely practiced techniques such as reiki. Covington’s specialty is called crystal balancing.

The goal of crystal balancing is to remove “negative energy” that has built up within a person. She uses soothing music, relaxing scents and deep breathing to create a peaceful, meditative atmosphere for her clients. She invites her clients to talk to her about their stressors, and then has them lie flat on a table, eyes closed. She then uses hand movements and crystals, which some believe to absorb energy, to try to clear negativity.

At the end, she leaves the crystals around the client’s body to absorb the negative energy, and she sits quietly, waiting for words of advice or encouragement to come to her. She calls these “downloads” and said it is part of her inner knowing.

***

It was a different type of healing that Covington credits for the recent changes in her life.

Sherry Gustafson, whom Covington calls her “soul mother,” performed a healing intended to help her let go of negative words, moments or actions from her childhood that, to this day, affect her.

Gustafson calls it “rewriting the script” of experiences that have shaped one’s way of thinking.

Covington said the experience helped her realize she was stuck in a pattern of basing her life around things others asked of her or expected her to do – starting with her brother’s death.

She was only 9, but as the next-oldest child, she tried to fill his role in taking care of her family. Later, she gave up college to help her family. And when Estling, founder of the Seraphim Center, started grooming her to lead the congregation after him, she stepped into his shoes, too.

“I have not been living for myself since I was 9 years old,” she said.

The onslaught of change in her life started right after the healing, which happened in October. The decision to take on another job was one she made for herself.


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Tom

    Fascinating story. Does it end here, or is there more?

  • Alyssa Hampton

    My friend, being a psychic will seriously enjoy this post. Thanks you :)
    http://www.freepsychicreading.us/

 

More Stories in Local

The band members of Guts, from left to right: Kara Smith, bass and vocals; Samantha Jones, guitar, bass, drums and vocals; Kentucky Costellow, drums; and Rebecca Butler, keys and tenor ukulele. Guts plays for campers in the Gainesville Girls Rock Camp on Friday after lunch. The camp, which is in its third year, focuses on using music to empower young girls. Christine Preston / WUFT News

Rock Camp Empowers Young Girls In Gainesville

The Gainesville Girls Rock Camp uses music to empower young girls and teens. Girls gain self-confidence throughout the program and learn to encourage each another.


Signs indicating unsafe levels of bacteria in Hogtown Creek were posted in June, according to Linda Demetropoulos, nature manager of the city of Gainesville Parks Department. Visitors can find these signs around various areas of local parks.

Hogtown Creek Bacteria Levels Unsafe For Human Use

The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department has found unsafe levels of bacteria in Hogtown Creek waters.


I-75 at MM385 is backed up due to manhunt. Photo via @GACSmarttraffic.

I-75 Shut Down After Trooper Involved In Shooting

Update 7/27/2015 at 7:15 p.m.: The suspect has been identified as Earl Jackson, according to a news release from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.


Kristen Hadeed, founder of Student Maid, and Rich Blaser, co-founder of Infinite Energy, explain how Josh impacted the start-up community in Gainesville. They were part of a group of young entrepreneurs in Gainesville who met monthly to discuss their work.

Memorial Held for Gainesville Entrepreneur

A memorial for Josh Greenberg, the co-founder of music streaming service Grooveshark, was held Friday evening at the Phillips Center. He was found dead in his home July 19.


Gainesville Pictures 467

Lupus Patient Starts Support Group in Gainesville

Adoabi Ugochukwu, 22, was diagnosed with lupus at 15 years old. Now, she’s planning on starting a support group in Gainesville for lupus patients.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments