So, I took some down recently after helping to coordinate a big catered dinner for around 200 at the Unitarian Universalist Church I am a member of. It was our 100th anniversary as a congregation and we had a whole week-end of activities and events to celebrate our first 100 years! It was a great evening and a big learning experience for me as our Church Administrator helped me a lot with research and mentoring me through the event… I had helped with similar events but this was the first time I was the lead on such a thing.
The last few weeks there were some hiccups in some of the logistics, I had failed to catch a particular e-mail out of the flood of e-mails related to the event. Some people who had signed up to volunteer had other things come up, not unusual for any big volunteer run event. The week-end before the event was cold and rainy and overnight temperatures down into the 30’s for a couple of nights. (it happens every once in a while here in The City Beautiful)
So the Sunday the week-end before I went down the the Church memorial garden. This is where we have memorial plaques and monuments for Church members who have passed away. It is also where I poured a libation for my friend Sandi when she passed away last Summer. I took a bottle of Pomegranate juice and poured it there in a libation, pouring out the entire bottle, and asked the congregational ancestors and the spirits of the place… the land spirits and the congregational egregore and whatever other spirits may have accumulated over the 50+ years our Church has been at the current location… for whatever help They could provide for making the next week-ends weather pleasant. Thereby also letting them know that our anniversary was being celebrated, and that they would be welcome.
The night of the event, I wore an apron that had been part of the donations from Sandi’s estate to the Alliance… one of the members of the Alliance had set it aside for me since Sandi and I had shared a love of food and festivities! Sandi was very present in my mind and heart the last few weeks before the event, and I frequently used one of her favorite sayings as an almost mantra… “It is, what it is….”
I’ve learned a lot. Not only about organizing such an event, and about myself, everyone had a fantastic time, I was glad to do it, and I am so happy it’s over! I’ve also been learning a lot about the power and beauty of being in community with others.
The only way my growth and learning and contribution happened, was that at some point someone was willing to listen to me. To allow me to contribute my time and talent and treasures to the 1U congregation.
This has rarely been my experience in the Pagan community.
(At lest the face to face portions of it, strangely enough I’ve met and made friends with some pretty
darn fantastic Paganfolk through the wonders of the blogosphere and the Internet.)
All too often, in dealing with the face to face Pagan community, I have run into cliquishness and game playing. Fear of new ideas, fear of new ways of doing things, fear of questions. All to often the question “Who are you to question us?” has come up. Pagans in power in various groups have had the attitude that because I haven’t been a member long enough I couldn’t possibly understand the golden energy of the group and how perfect it already was.
I know from my readings online, and from podcasts, and from conversations with friends, that this isn’t always the case in Pagan community groups and organizations. I just have yet to experience it personally from many of the groups or organizations I’ve personally encountered.
That saddens me.
I am already talking with some potential co-conspirators about a film screening for Orlando’s Gay Pride in October.
I wish I could find the same ready welcome and willingness to share the blessings of community in my local Pagan groups that I’ve found in the 1U congregation.
What Time and Talent and Treasures do you bring with you? How do you contribute to your own beloved community? When you’ve faced rejection of them, how have you responded?