How were invitees
My criteria for attendees was that they be representatives of an organization which has a national focus or a national audience or that they be individuals who somehow reach a national audience. I also added some people who represented smaller traditions which are often overlooked in the larger community.
When I Ūrst proposed the idea of the Summit, I received close to 200 suggestions for others to invite. From those suggestions, I added to the list those whose names came up repeatedly or those who represented a key constituency. I am particularly indebted to M. Macha NightMare for her many excellent suggestions. The invitation list included over 100 individuals. My goal was to have primarily activists in attendance, with representatives of some worship groups and some Pagan media as well in order to provide balance. It was not my intention to include regionally- or locally-focused groups, since the Summit was intended specifically to address national needs. All in all, those in attendance represented most segments of the national Pagan community.
Also, since I organized the Summit primarily by myself, I felt I had to place an upper limit on the number of people to invite in order to keep the event manageable. It has never been my intention to give some sort of status of "real leadership" to invitees, or in any way to denigrate the work of others. I do not support any statements made to that effect by anyone. This event was a starting point, put together primarily by one person with limited resources. I give my full support to other events within the community which work to achieve our common goals.
It has always been my goal that attendees
share their Summit experiences with other members of their organizations
and encourage the development of similar strategizing sessions in the
regional and local spheres. What we began with this first Summit can have
tremendous impact on our community, and we share a commitment to ensuring
those working at the local and regional levels are included in the process.
Why a "summit"?
Many of the people invited to the Summit
have worked together repeatedly on national-level projects, but had never
all been in the same room at the same time. I wanted to move beyond online
discussion (always limited) and into greater depth. I also wanted to move
beyond "reacting" to challenges to religious freedom and begin
proactive strategizing. This is only possible through focused meeting
Why the focus on
In my view, the Pagan movement is comprised of a series of concentric circles or spheres. At the center of the spheres is the individual Pagan. Enclosing the individual is the local sphere. Enclosing the local sphere is the regional sphere. Enclosing the regional sphere is the national sphere. Enclosing the national sphere is the international sphere. Each sphere is vital for the whole to function well.
The spheres are also a continuum for ritual and administrative focus. At the individual level, the focus is entirely spiritual. There is no need for administration of any kind. The local sphere is also almost entirely spiritually-focused, though administration is needed for the development of ritual groups or for local education or service activities. At the regional level, there is more of a focus on administration (publications, festivals, e-mail lists, conferences, etc). Ritual needs are less because rituals are less frequent for this large body of people. The same idea continues in the national and international spheres, which are almost entirely administrative and organizational (interfaith dialogue, public education efforts, national and international leadership conferences, networking and resource-sharing, etc).
What I have to offer the movement
are my organizational and leadership skills, particularly in coalition-building
within Paganism and strategic planning for interfacing with the mainstream
culture. Rather than try to reach all people in all ways, I focus on doing
my small piece for the greater good of the community as a whole. It is
my hope that others whose skills lie in other areas will offer their gifts
to the community in order to better us all.
Why an invitation-only
Do you intend
to impose doctrine on Pagans?
Will there be another
Where do we go