In 1996, the Church and School of Wicca headquarters were relocated to Hinton, WV, after the founders, Gavin and Yvonne Frost moved to the area. The Church, which was formed in 1968 in St. Louis, MO, is notable for being the first Craft correspondence school and for being the first officially recognized Pagan-based place of worship by the IRS, which it achieved in 1972. The Church was also involved in the Dettmer v. Landon case in 1985, which resulted in Wicca being recognized as a legitimate religion by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Church and School of Wicca still offer classes to new students on the official website, though headquarters are not open to visitors.
Sidney Gavin Frost (November 20, 1930 - September 11, 2016) was born in Staffordshire England and received his Doctorate in Physics and Mathematics from King's College in London. As he was finishing his studies, he became interested in prehistoric peoples and reconstructing their religious beliefs and took jobs that allowed him to travel around the world and experience other religious traditions. In 1966, when he moved to California, Gavin met Yvonne Wilson, his future wife, who would help edit his book Pagans of Stonehenge. When the couple moved to St. Louis, MO, they formed the Church & School of Wicca (C&SW), the first Craft correspondence school, which in 1978 alone sent over one million pieces of outgoing mail (The Church). The inception of the C&SW followed in the footsteps of other Neo-pagan movements that followed the 1951 repeal of anti-witchcraft laws in England, namely those led by Gerald B. Gardner; however, this group was the first to use the term Wiccan to describe their beliefs. Though the church was linked to the larger Pagan tradition, the Frosts do not identify with this label as they do not worship a nature-based deity (Frost, Yvonne and Gavin).
1972 was one of the most significant years for the C&SW, as the Frosts published their best-selling, albeit controversial book The Witch's Bible (later renamed The Good Witch's Bible to avoid being confused as an authoritative text) and, after being investigated by the IRS, the C&SW was officially recognized as a place of worship, thus resulting in religious tax exemption status. This was the first time that a Pagan-based group earned this designation, and it helped the C&SW's followers to grow.
Another major year for the C&SW was 1985 when it played a part in the case of Herbert Daniel Dettmer v. Robert Landon, Director of Corrections. Dettmer was a follower of the C&SW and, after being convicted as a criminal, he made a request to have ritualistic knives and a white robe with a hood, sea salt or sulfur to draw a protective circle on the floor around him, candles and incense to focus his thoughts, a kitchen timer to awaken him from short trances, and a small, hollow statue of 'one of the gods or goddesses of the deity,' to store spiritual power called down during meditation (Herbert Daniel Dettmer). When his request was denied, he sued Robert Landon, the Director of the Virginia Department of Corrections, in federal court. One claim used against Dettmer was that the C&SW's rituals were not religious; however, the District court, for the first time, acknowledged Wicca and its rituals as legitimate. Ultimately, Dettmer was not provided the items he requested because, even though the court decided that Wicca was a legitimate religion, it was also decided that Dettmer was not discriminated against when he was not provided items deemed to dangerous to be given to prisoners.
Still, though this was not a win for Dettmer, it was a major step in Neo-Pagan groups being granted a similar legitimacy as other religious groups. The C&SW continues to grow even after the headquarters were relocated to Hinton in 1996 when the Frosts moved to town. Though the Frosts stepped down from their leadership roles in the 80s, to this day, individuals can enroll in courses via the official C&SW website, and the C&SW remains an important group in the continuing Neo-Pagan movement.