FULL CIRCLE CHURCH
FULL CIRCLE CHURCH TIMELINE
1979 (January 29): Andrew Keegan Heying was born to Larry and Lana Heying in Los Angeles, California.
1996: Keegan gained popularity and notoriety in his reoccurring role on WBS show Seventh Heaven.
1999: Keegan starred in 10 Things I Hate About You with Heath Ledger.
2011 (March 11): Keegan, his manager, and one other friend were attacked by gang members on Venice Beach.
2011 (March 11): An earthquake and tsunami hits Tohoku, Japan.
2013: Keegan joined the God Realization Church.
2014 (May): Full Circle began renting the temple which once housed the God Realization Church.
Andrew Keegan Heying was born to Larry and Lana Ocampo Heying in Los Angeles, California in 1979. He began his career as a child model. Many came to know Keegan through his childhood acting roles in popular hits such as 10 Things I Hate About You, with Heath Ledger, and Seventh Heaven. A teenage heartthrob, Keegan went on to play less significant roles in his early adulthood. Keegan has also operated a nightclub and invested in real estate (Brown 2015).
It was not until March 11, 2011 that Keegan experienced a spiritual moment of self-actualization. On March 11, Keegan, a friend, and Keegan ‘s manager were mugged and beaten on Venice Beach. Although there were no life-threatening injuries, Keegan’s manager was threatened with a gun, and Keegan incurred injuries that required stitches. The mugging occurred on the same day as the Tsunami in Japan. Keegan believed that the coincidence of the two events was more than a chance occurrence, that there was synchronicity between them. He described the experience as something “linked to a bigger picture” (Kuruvilla 2014).
Keegan joined the new age religious group the God Realization Church in 2013. The group, later known as the Source, met in a 110 year old church that once housed the Hare Krishna. Keegan says that once he quickly realized the group didn’t truly align with his beliefs he distanced himself. He buried a rose-quartz crystal in the front yard of the church promising “that if there was ever an appropriate time to be in the service of the temple, I would be” (Bans 2015).
Keegan continued to have odd experiences of synchronicity. He reports having witnessed a street lamp burst into pieces while he had already been staring at it. Also, once during a Full Circle gathering the group caught video of a rose-quartz crystal jumping off the altar and skipping in the air. These were all signs to Keegan of the importance of time and synchronicity. It was his calling to gather likeminded people to focus on the power of the present. This is when Full Circle began.
Full Circle is an organization whose mission is to dissolve the ego and connect with others in a spiritual manner. Members believe “the essence of religion is living in the moment” and that they practice “the highest spiritualism founded on universal knowledge” (Dodge and Wakefield 2014). The group uses the image of a circle to represent their beliefs. The circle represents how time works in a cyclical manner but inside is the present moment (Kuruvilla 2014). As Keegan puts it: “Synchronicity. Time. That’s what it’s all about. Whatever, the past, some other time. It’s a circle; in the center is now. That’s what it’s about,” Keegan explained, regarding the church’s name, Full Circle (Brpwm 2015). Members join together in live music, yoga, meditation and group workshops all focused on the impact of their group energy. The practice of “activated peace” is their way of using their positive energy to change the world. The group incorporates a combination of Hinduism practices and icons with new age theology.
Full Circle comes together at least weekly for Sunday services. Throughout the week the group holds many different workshops focused on positive energy and peace. Meditation, yoga, and music are important elements in the gatherings. Using elements of nature such as crystals and water, the group joins together and focuses their energy on positive activism such as Eastern conflict. Members believe by joining the mind and heart with love can create a powerful actual physical affect (Kuruvilla 2014). Along with their more quiet spiritual practices, Full Circle teaches it is essential to celebrate life with passionate music. This often includes late night festivities with drinking and dancing.
The name “Full Circle” is borrowed from a communal organic farm in Ojai (Brown 2015). Full Circle is administered by an “elect 8.”
These eight comprise Keegan ‘s closest confidants, including Keegan’s wife and best friends. Although Keegan is persistent in insisting that he is not a leader of any sort, he is identified as having the final say in all matters regarding the group. In addition to the elect eight, the group consists of regular followers and others who occasionally come to certain workshops. By holding such an array of different activities, Full Circle hopes to grow in numbers. The members have been described as consisting of attractive young females with a smaller number of attractive males all dressed in a very bohemian style.
Full Circle Church has faced little external opposition. There has been some skepticism about Keegan’s motives for starting the church and about a celebrity religion. The group briefly drew media attention when the center was raided by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in May 2015 for serving kombucha, which has a sufficiently high alcohol content to be regulated as beer (Spargo 2015). The more significant challenge for the new church is financial.
Keegan has encountered problems funding the church ‘s activity and rent. When the property went on auction in August 2014, the church’s lease agreement was unstable. The group was able to renew its lease, but with a fifty percent increase in cost. The group has struggled to raise the money, and Keegan ended up having to use his own funds to pay for the rent increase. Since then, the group has increased their group workshops, introduced a membership fee, and reached out to the community for additional support (Brown 2015).
Bans, Lauren. 2015. “Om-ing by the Beach with Andrew Keegan, Former Teen Idol Turned Spiritual Guru.” Vulture, March 8. Accessed from http://www.vulture.com/2015/03/andrew-keegan-encounter.html on 1 June 2015.
Brown. Eryn. 2015. “At Full Circle Church in Venice, Picking Up Where Earlier Seekers Left Off.” LA Times, March 21. Accessed from http://www.latimes.com/local/westside/la-me-full-circle-venice-20150321-story.html#page=1 on 1 June 2015.
DeRosa, Nicole. 2015. “Q&A with Actor and Co-Founder of Full Circle Venice, Andrew Keegan- Talks Bringing music, Spirituality and Love to the Community.” All Access Music, January 22. Accessed from http://music.allaccess.com/qa-with-actor-and-co-founder-of-full-circle-venice-andrew-keegan-talks-bringing-music-spirituality-and-love-to-the-community/ on 1 June 2015.
Dodge, Shyam and Wakefield, Shanrah. 2014. “One of the Stars of ’10 Things I Hate About You’ Started a Religion.” VICE, August 14. Accessed from http://www.vice.com/read/andrew-keegan-started-a-new-religion-814 on 1 June 2015.
Full Circle Church Website. Accessed from http://www.fullcirclevenice.org/welcome-to-full-circle/ on 1 June 2015.
Kuruvilla, Carol. 2014. “90’s Teen Heartthrob Andrew Keegan Starts His Own Religion.” Daily News, August 19. Accessed from http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/90-teen-hearthrob-andrew-keegan-starts-religion-article-1.1909068 on 1 June 2015.
Spargo, Chris. 2015. “Ten Things I Hate About You Heartthrob Andrew Keegan Busted for Selling Kombucha at His New Age Temple.” Daily Mail, May 15. Accessed from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3082657/Andrew-Keegan-busted-undercover-agents-members-New-Age-religion-founded-caught-selling-kombucha-without-permit.html#ixzz3brJ7cc93 on 2 June 2015.
2 June 2015