Back in 1997 when I first joined ADF, I told myself I’d one day become a priest to serve the folk of my community and fulfill my vocation (at the time, in New Orleans), for I believed my calling had nothing to do with which god I served… it was about the people. I was absolutely blown away by the original clergy training model, and knew that this is the best option in paganism, outside of pursuing a M.Div. degree. Prior to that, I was part of a Wiccan coven for a while, and sought to express my vocation through achieving 3rd degree. Interpersonal issues and theological differences took me away from the idea of being a Wiccan priest, and for that clarity, I’m forever grateful.
When I read over the original ADF clergy work, the call sounded like a clear-toned chime… able to be heard through the din of over-privileging UPG, sounding similar to the professional clergy of other faith traditions, and acting as a beacon, able to guide seekers through a hazy field of sub-par scholarship.
Ultimately, I was gone from ADF (and any organized religious practice) for a decade, back on the path of the seeker, the spiritual scientist, and the ego-driven fool. During that time I completed a degree in Religious Studies, and through the unique experience of Naropa University and some hard work, managed to understand many issues I had with a dysfunctional upbringing, self-deprecating neuroses, and general acceptance of excuse-making behavior.
My calling is clear. I am meant to serve my community as an ADF priest, and when it comes to leave this world and join my Ancestors, I commit to leave behind a legacy of ministry that has built in-roads between our diverse folk, be they pagan or otherwise.
Functioning as a lay-minister prior to ordination in the Colorado Front Range Pagan community, my primary work has been in community building. I should perhaps clarify what I mean. When I was first coming into this practice, I came across Isaac's writings on the vision of ADF, and what I came away with was a model of NeoPagan ministry that was trained to serve the pagan community as a whole, be they Heathen, Wiccan, Druidic, or what have you. At my ordination, hosted by the Boulder, CO Protogrove, Isaac's vision came manifest... two Heathen Kindreds were represented, three Wiccan covens sent representatives, several eclectic pagan students from my alma mater, and even folks from the local shamanic healing community came to make offerings, toast their ancestors and recently dead, and receive omens from the Kindred Three... AS A COMMUNITY. I see much of my vocation being devoted to building a strong, unified yet diverse local community, built on respect and understanding.