Reflections from the Mother Grove Retreat

Reflections from the Mother Grove Retreat

Reflections from the Mother Grove Retreat

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 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:



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