Clergy Blog

Beltaine/Samhain Greetings! Let me begin by welcoming our two newest Priests, Rev. Lauren Mart from Texas and Rev. Chelly Couvrette from Ontario. Chelly is our second current Canadian Priest. Both of our Canadian Priests are from Dancing Lights Grove. Lauren is from Nine Waves Grove. Chelly is the first recipient of the new stole bags that look remarkably like the old stole bags but with the addition of some different embroidery stitching between the ties. Lauren was the recipient of the last of the original bags and I have found a Pagan-based seamstress in Wisconsin who I have commissioned to do ten stole bags, along with patches. The Clergy Council Officers are currently voting and discussing a number of topics. The first topic is adding verbiage about Priest Regalia to the SOP. This addition discusses the different kinds of regalia and the costs associated with each. This will help people to understand which item represents which circle of the priesthood. The second topic is adding verbiage about Priest Emeritus to the SOP. While the information is located in the By Laws, the addition to the SOP will assure that the information is found in multiple places. The third topic is to delineate some of the tasks for the Clergy Council Officers, namely website and clergy pages updates and a Regalia Coordinator. There has also been discussion about making mentors available to incoming and existing priests. This discussion will soon move to the main Clergy Council for discussion. I put out a call several months ago for materials for a series of books for prayers for Beginnings, Endings, Unions, and Dissolutions. I have only received a couple submissions so far and I will re-solicit the Clergy Council for additional submissions. The Western Retreat will be held in Denver from 6/29 through 6/30. Meeting space will be reserved for the Saturday portion of the weekend.  
Beltaine/Samhain Greetings! Let me begin by welcoming our two newest Priests, Rev. Lauren Mart from Texas and Rev. Chelly Couvrette from Ontario. Chelly is our second current Canadian Priest. Both of our Canadian Priests are from Dancing Lights Grove. Lauren is from Nine Waves Grove. Chelly is the first recipient of the new stole bags that look remarkably like the old stole bags but with the addition of some different embroidery stitching between the ties. Lauren was the recipient of the last of the original bags and I have found a Pagan-based seamstress in Wisconsin who I have commissioned to do ten stole bags, along with patches. The Clergy Council Officers are currently voting and discussing a number of topics. The first topic is adding verbiage about Priest Regalia to the SOP. This addition discusses the different kinds of regalia and the costs associated with each. This will help people to understand which item represents which circle of the priesthood. The second topic is adding verbiage about Priest Emeritus to the SOP. While the information is located in the By Laws, the addition to the SOP will assure that the information is found in multiple places. The third topic is to delineate some of the tasks for the Clergy Council Officers, namely website and clergy pages updates and a Regalia Coordinator, to be selected from the existing Clergy Council Officers. There has also been discussion on the Clergy Council list about making mentors available to incoming and existing priests. This type of discussion represents the Clergy Council Officers approach of coming to the Council to discuss new ideas before formulating a motion for voting. I put out a call several months ago for materials for a series of books for prayers for Beginnings, Endings, Unions, and Dissolutions. I am pleased to announce that I have received some excellent submissions from Clergy – please keep them coming! The Western Retreat will be held in Denver from 6/29 through 6/30. Meeting space will be reserved for the Saturday portion of the weekend.
Vernal Greetings! The Clergy Council has been busy this season so far. Two new Priests will be ordained, based upon Clergy Council votes this season. Rev. Lauren Mart and Rev. Chelly Couvrette are now members of the Clergy Council and will be ordained in April and May, respectively. We look forward to their presence in our ranks. Three committees have been formed in the Clergy Council to address existing needs: Group Protection Work Inter-Group Communications with Hospitality and Frith Self-Evaluation and Reflection work I have put forth a proposal/challenge to the Clergy Council to put together four books of prayers for ADF and beyond, to be submitted to ADF Publishing for consideration: A Book of Beginnings; A Book of Endings; A Book of Unions; and A Book of Dissolutions. These will provide prayers for these occasions that the Folk, Priests, and others can use in these times of Change in people's lives. Rev. Amber Doty has continued to put together Seasonal Videos to be shared on YouTube. This is a great outreach tool for our members and for others attracted to Druidry. Zoom Sessions for Clergy Council discussions have continued to be a way for Clergy to share thoughts and ideas. The Clergy Council Officers are voting on a Proposal for a 3rd Circle Sigil. I expect the vote to conclude before Beltaine. The Clergy Council Officers are also discussing a proposal to perform Background Checks on Candidates who apply to enter the Clergy Training Program after completing the Pre-CTP. I have also presented a proposal to the Clergy Council Officers to have 2nd and 3rd Circle priests act as mentors to new, incoming Priests. I think this will help new priests ease into the Council in general. This is the first in a series of seasonal, Clergy Council Blogposts. A suggestion was recently made to have this blog used more actively, and I support that proposal. Blessings, Drum Mid-Vernal Season 2018
A Setting Sun Leave a reply   I watched the sun setting tonight, deep and red, a sign of things passing and the long quiet road to the West. We look to the Sun as a guidepost: the morning Sun is new and hopeful; the evening Sun is mournful and passing. I felt that passing tonight. As I looked to the West, I recalled that my path tomorrow is to the East and Pittsburgh for the memorial service for a man I called a friend and a teacher, Earrach of Pittsburgh. Earrach passed into the realm of the Ancestors on the 31 of August. He was 63. Earrach was one of what I called ADF Legacy Priests. He was Ordained, along with five other priests, in 2002. In the early days when there was a dearth of priests in ADF, Earrach took up the mantle and wore it like dignity. It always fit him perfectly in my eyes. I found Earrach to be an amazing priest full of wisdom and patience and most of all grace. I think that Earrach was sometimes uncomfortable with his mantle of priest, but he was a damn good priest. I listened to Earrach talk about the Sun, a lot – it was a topic that he was passionate about. Really, without the Sun, where would we be? Like the rest of us, Earrach had good times and bad. The good times are easy. He was awarded recognition at Wellspring when I was Vice Arch Druid for Excellence in Blogging. His blogging was insightful and he had a large body of work to his credit: the Book of Sassafras is a masterwork, almost a Druidic Proustian offering. It is a collection of Earrach through and through. His marriage to Diana Paar was also what I consider good time.  He also had loss and you can often judge a person by how they deal with loss. When Earrach experienced loss, he persevered. I was always amazed at his poise . Regardless of the situation, Earrach kept to the plan. He continued to do the work as though it was the first day of that work and the end of that work was never the issue. He had a keen and Capricornian understanding and appreciation of duty and that-which-must-be-done. I sat with him as he discussed his “Heresies”, his Druidic ideas that weren’t necessarily orthodox, but which were nevertheless representative of his belief and his practice. He thought about things, he wrote about things, and he did those things. Earrach did not pose or pretend; he was the real deal. When he read an invocation to the Earth Mother, he wasn’t performing a part, he was expressing a prayer, a belief, an understanding. If Earrach said it, he meant it and he believed it. I honour the genuine nature of his presentation and his soul. I spent a weekend with Earrach helping him with some study matters. It was an interesting combination of learning and detailed discussion around certain topics, mixed with feline matters and numerous trips to his library. He was a man in motion. He looked to the stars and taught others about the wonders of the heavens. He touched a lot of people. He touched my life. When I was told that he had passed, I could only think of a photo I had seen of him looking up at the eclipse. I wrote this poem for him: Oh the Journeys through Space! Not that long ago, You looked up at the Sun And the Moon, As they neared And joined And parted; The vibrant glow of the Sun Visible to all As the Moon absorbed all of the light. Oh the journeys in space!   How much time did you spend Looking And teaching And speaking about the stars? And the heavens? And the Shining Ones above? You used Sun And glass And geometry To make fire From the heavens Descend to the Earth. Oh the journeys through space!   And now, unfettered, You are free to soar Among the cosmos, Between the stars, Behind the moon on any given night. Where you once looked up from this little place Wondering what the heavens did hold, You now have a panoply of worlds To find, To visit, To share, As you look down onto this little place. Share them with us now, As an Ancestor and a friend. Oh the journeys through space!   Tomorrow, my friend, we honour your work, your person, and most of all your legacy at your memorial service. It will be a time of celebration, recollection, and most of all remembrance with an eye to the most important thing of all right now: the Work Continues. A life is a collection of events that stretch from birth to death and all points in between. A legacy, a living legacy, is that work continuing through others, like a planted field full of wonder and hope. We will bring water to nourish that field; we will bring blessings to praise that memory; we will bring our desire to continue that dream. Earrach, my friend, the Work Continues. Let’s do it together.  
Clergy Credential Renewals will be coming up very soon. Please keep the following information in mind when completing your renewal documents - this is what an ADF Priest should be doing today: The role of the Priest in ADF is tied strongly to the roles of the Clergy Council. Paraphrased from the CC Bylaws, those roles are: To formulate and articulate the theology and liturgy of ADF and to act as spiritual advisers to its membership. Ordain, train and supervise all of ADF's Clergy, both in ceremony and in the common lives of our members. Establish and conduct an ADF prison ministry and will train, authorize and supervise ADF Prisoner Spiritual Advisers. Starting from these points, the Clergy Council met in October of 2009 and agreed that the role of the Priest in ADF is, at a fundamental level, as follows: Priests have an obligation to ensure that sacrifices are made at the proper times and in the proper way. Priests have engaged in training, and provide training and service to others. While we acknowledge that our members can establish their own relationships with the Kindreds, Priests can, through their training and dedication, aid members in developing and maintaining those relationships. While Priests may (and do) have other roles, the Retreat attendees agreed that these three key points formed a basic role for Priests within ADF. They can be broken down into two primary foci: obligation and training. An ADF Priest, through training and his or her obligations, works in service to the Kindreds and the Folk, ensures that the the sacrifices are made, and helps others with the training that he or she has engaged in. Blessings, Drum  
On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, an armistice was signed ending the war to end all wars, the Great War, what is now known as World War One.  Since then, we have had more wars, and have more veterans of military service.  The day was renamed in 1954 here in the US to Veterans Day.   Today is a day to set aside our personal feelings about war, and about the military.  It is not about us, but about recognizing those that have selflessly served our country, for that service is surely a sacrifice that they have made.   To all the veterans our there, may the Kindreds bless you and be with you.  May you know that your service is not forgotten, but that we all recognize the sacrifices you have made.  May you know you are not alone out there. And I, for one, thank you.
 As ritual technicians and priests, there is always an intrinsic value in performing as ritual. We enjoy doing the work and we also enjoy touching the Kindreds and others by the work that we do. Yet, there is such tremendous joy and value in watching as others do the work of ritual. In this way, we are able to particiapte in the process, instead of leading. In this way, we can see the beauty in the movement and words of others as they reach above, around, and below to reach for the Kindreds. In this way, we participate in the form, as its orbits round the fire, much like our small world revolves around its own fire.
"We always light the HearthMother's lamp while cooking."   This familiar phrase, shared with many of our guests when they inquire about our practice of having a small oil lamp burning on the back of our stovetop, isn't always true. Many times, absolutes like 'always' and 'never' aren't accurate. Sometimes being human means forgetting things, and tonight was one of those times.   Gods be praised.   Living with three children, all having various degrees of self-imposed (or medically necessary) dietary limitation, and a gluten-free partner, one treat we can agree on is French fries... and tonight we'd test out our sweet new deep-fryer.   Rev. Missy, the self-proclaimed expert on all things fried (she says it's because she's from Ohio), filled the frier with the necessary fats, while I prepped the potatoes, perfectly uniform batons ready to be transformed into golden brown frites after a quick bath in 375 degree oil.   However, these dreams of potato bliss were cut short, for while we were getting the oil ready deep-frying a few pieces of bacon for the eldest, the whole contraption boiled over, pouring forth excruciatingly hot oil like some sort of stainless steel Vesuvius hell-bent on our ruin.   In shock, Rev. Missy ran for the pile of old towels to soak up the viscous fury, while I dove in, grabbing the handles of the deep fryer, and moved it to the glass stovetop, unplugging the damnable thing to hopefully stop the heating process.   Looking at one another and laughing like a couple of teenagers on an awkward first date, we both gave a nod to HearthMother for keeping us safe and sound, and then we were overwhelmed with emotion... my Lady brought to tears...   Grateful for not being scalded by boiling oil, it instantly became clear that if we'd have been mindful and lit the HearthMother oil lamp, the bubbling and splattering fryer would certainly have had the opportunity to splash around the open flame, thus starting a huge grease fire atop our stove, beneath wood cabinets... this could have gone very bad.   But we forgot to light the lamp.   I know I've been guilty of beating myself up, and heavy-handed in judging my practice, coming down hard when I am too busy and run out the house without making an offering, or, because of other things on my mind, forget altogether.   Sometimes forgetting can create opportunities to practice Piety.   Sometimes forgetting is a gift from your Kindreds of hearth and home.   Blessing, y'all.
Muin As Prophecy Muin as prophecy; Straight as an arrow Or spear, A trunk stands tall. One branch raised To the sky, To the Shining Ones, portend; One branch lowered To the depths, To the Ancestors, as consul; One trunk solid, As a foundation, As a bridge. As the Sun rises, I hold myself in this position, Imprinted on the sky, Standing on the land, Shadowed on the ground: What will this day bring?    
March 22, 2015 I write this after arriving home safe from the ADF Mother Grove retreat, in Chicago. Air travel was easy, and Kirk ran all the arrangements and organizing like a boss. ADF is an international organization and our BoD (the Mother Grove) is distributed from coast to coast. I have sat on the Board off and on throughout ADF's history, and am currently ending a two-year term. In the old days we held Board meetings as conference phone calls, at the expense of 100s of $$ per. Later we began figuring out how to use the internet to do discussion and voting. After two or three models of that process we have a system that works ok. However the amount that can be done in 2 days of undistracted work can easily equal that of months of on-line efforts. Over the years the MG has taken the opportunity to meet face-to-face at festivals, and at three previous retreats. There have been varying degrees of disagreement, and occasional acrimony over the years, but even that can be overcome in live-time. This was one of the most collegial and professional sessions I've ever attended in a Pagan context. Archruid Kirk arranged for Holli Emore, a colleague from Cherry Hill Pagan Seminary and a professional facilitator, to lead the work and we rocked a long agenda of discussion, writing, deciding and voting. The new Mission, Vision and Values statement is up on ADF.org. Fellow kids, that was six solid hours of work, starting from first principles, like "What the hell are we, anyway?" It's easy to ramble on, and rather more difficult to say complicated things concisely. I think we did OK. We did some housekeeping, fixed some by-law language, adopted a valuable new policy, and made the first substantive step on a big project. I can only commend the commitment, intelligence and skill of this Board. On we go! March 23, 2015 Concerning ADF management: Isaac built the basic structure of ADF to be conservative, and resistant to change. He had too often seen a group work start-up, begin to succeed, and then have a wave of new members arrive with change-of-direction ideas, and use simple numeric voting to take over and dismantle the work of the founders. He was determined that that shouldn't happen to ADF. So he first, of course, made himself monarch for the first nine years. The MG was appointed by him. To his credit at the end of that nine years he held the first election in a timely fashion (He was still Archdruid-for-life, per the by-laws), and we have had an orderly and peaceful (mainly...) transfer of management down the line until today. As well, we use weighted voting. Members gain one vote per year of membership until a maximum of ten. This assures that those who like our work *as it is* (and/or as they've worked it out...) well enough to stay for ten years have the most say in how it continues. Nevertheless, seats on the MG change hands regularly, based entirely on membership voting. We churn along, supporting the work of Groves and Sols, and beginning, 30 years in, to look towards the next steps of materializing the dream. Sitting with a group of leaders of several 'generations', we were still able to produce a restatement of the original vision that was not significantly changed from our beginning. The goal is to prevent people with Big New Ideas from pushing the organization off-vision by demagoguery and politicking. For people who haven't seen it, There's a variety of detail on how the early vision of ADF has been hammered into shape here: http://intothemound.blogspot.com/2014/05/thirty-years-of-adf-part-1-incomplete.html    

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