My journey to ADF
Greetings! My name (as seen above) is Melissa (Burchfield) Ashton, Missy for short. I have your typical Christian-to Wiccan-to ADF story. I converted to Catholicism by choice at the age of sixteen and spent several years happily oblivious to what the faith looked like outside the little pocket of faith that existed in my hometown. I think I knew back then that I was polytheist, but I had decided that "Saints v. Gods" was all semantics to me. Over time, and especially as I became aware as an adult of how much the Catholic faith and my personal beliefs were different, I learned that I had obtained all that Catholicism had to offer me and I was ready to move on. I was introduced to Wicca a few years later by some friends who knew just enough to know that it was closer to what I believed to be true about the world than anything else. I was a mostly happy Wiccan solitary for six years. Mostly. I often felt that something was missing.
In 2008, I was tired of being alone and tired of my faith "not going anywhere." In short, I was stagnating and I knew it. I began internet searching for pagan groups in my area, and I found an advertisement for the Three Cranes Grove, ADF Beltaine rite, which I nervously attended alone. Since then, I have joined ADF, finished by DP and took up the work of several study programs including the Initiate Path, the Generalist Study Program, and the Liturgists and Bardic Guild study programs. I'm not stagnating now!
ADF, like so many others will say, really is like finding your home. My first rite with the Cranes changed me that day, and I knew that I was taking the first steps on a path that I would follow for the rest of my life. I've spent time learning about many other faiths, but none of them have touched me as deeply as ADF. The connection I feel to the Kindred and my patrons is unlike anything I ever thought possible—and it just keeps getting better.
Couple all of this with the openness, the heartfelt fellowship and the dedication to scholarship of the ADF members, and it is plain to see why these Druids have become my extended family.
What do you do in ADF?
I currently have the honor of serving as the Chief of the Order of Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries and as the seated Bard Laureate of ADF. Previously, I have been the Chief of the Order of Bardic Alchemy, Head of the Prison Ministry Team, Editor in Chief of Oak Leaves, Polemarkhos (Scribe) of the Hellenic Kin, Archivist of the Bardic Guild, and Members Advocate for ADF International. I am also a Dedicant Mentor. On a local level, I serve happily as one of the priests alongside my husband, Rev. William Ashton, and as the Bard of Mountain Ancestors Grove, ADF.
My personal vision for ADF's future:
I love the beauty that exists in Isaac's vision for the future, encompassing a network of pagan churches dedicated to the service of the folk and the Kindred all throughout the country and beyond. I share his vision in creating a place where not only my peers can find fulfillment in their own life paths in a safe and stable environment, but also our children. And our children's children. My personal vision for ADF is to do whatever I can to make sure that Our Druidry continues to grow in a healthy and well-respected manner, and with a world full of Gods sharing in our *ghosti relationship, the possibilities for growth and development are endless.