Outline of issues discussed
Saturday morning's breakout sessions were devoted
to discussion on the topic: "What do you think are the highest-priority
needs of the Pagan movement?" Three breakout groups brainstormed
on the many areas where we and our organizations' members see the need
Over the lunch break I reviewed the flip chart notes
from all three breakout groups and was amazed to see the degree of similarity
among the groups' conclusions. The same phrases even appeared in the different
groups. I organized the information into outline form to help focus our
afternoon sessions. It is a remarkably coherent analysis of the "state
of the Pagan union." While not comprehensive or exhaustive, it offers
a variety of opportunities for action. Any one of these topics could provide
focus for further conferences or summits.
Efficient use of resources
Responsibility and accountability
As a movement, we need to define and consistently
reinforce our commonalities and our values. The most frequently mentioned
values were diversity, respect, and tolerance.
Needs within the Pagan movement:
Develop a stronger sense of Pagan identity.
Witches define themselves by saying "We're not Satanists." Non-Wiccans
and -Witches define themselves by saying "We're not Witches."
Some Witches define themselves by saying "We're not Wiccans"
and vice versa. We need to define ourselves by what we are, maintain our
faith identities and traditions, yet understand that we have a meta-level
identity as Pagans. (Some discussion on terminology: pagan, Pagan, neo-Pagan,
Paleo-Pagan, etc.) Contemporary Paganism is an interfaith movement! [This
issue arose in the morning sessions but was tabled for the remainder of
the Summit as being outside our focus. We encourage worship organizations
to provide definitions for their path and encourage meta-level identity
How do we define ourselves to each other?
How do we describe our faith traditions? Who decides who's in and who's
out? What should be done about those who call themselves Pagan but participate
in coercive activities? [This issue arose
in the morning sessions but was tabled for the remainder of the Summit
as being outside our focus. We encourage worship organizations to provide
definitions for their path and encourage meta-level identity as Pagans.]
Distinguish between worship/ritual roles and administrative/organizational
roles. Devise and widely disseminate the values and standards of our organizations.
Provide and receive training from/to Pagans and non-Pagans. Utilize mainstream
resources for training and development, adapting them for Pagan needs.
Change the "poverty mindset"
of the Pagan movement
Offer value for contributions
Maintain financial transparency, particularly 501c3 corporations
Receive and provide training in fundraising
Build the Pagan movement's infrastructure
- quit re-inventing the wheel!
- identify and leverage our resources: distinguish between
worship/ritual and administrative/organizational
- mindfully develop people and organizations for sustainability
and continuity for future generations
Conflict resolution: Provide training and guidelines and model
behavior for responsible conflict resolution within the Pagan movement.
Communication: Provide training and guidelines and model behavior
for responsible communication within the Pagan movement.
Address the needs of the next generation: Many of the teen generation
of Pagans get their info from popular culture. How can we bring them into
the religious path of Paganism, provide them with resources, and leave
them organizations and structures which nurture spiritual growth?
Needs in the interface with mainstream
How do we define/describe ourselves to
the mainstream culture? How can we preserve the distinct identities and
diversities of our faiths while still making it understandable to the
mainstream? [This issue arose in the morning sessions but was tabled for
the remainder of the Summit as being outside our focus. We encourage worship
organizations to provide definitions for their path and encourage meta-level
identity as Pagans.]
How to interact more effectively with popular
and news media?
Greater training in interfaith dialogue.
More support within Paganism for interfaith dialogue.
Public, secular service
One of the best ways to manifest our faith
as well as educate the public about Paganism is to volunteer a community
service in the mainstream (soup kitchens, shelters, etc). This doesn't
mean to walk into it brandishing our faith, but to provide service and
not hide our faith if the issue arises.
How to build coalitions with mainstream
organizations to meet shared goals?
Proactive education so seeds of
discrimination fall on stoney ground
Lobbying: Fund full-time professional lobbyists to advocate for
Pagans on Capitol Hill
Effective response to discrimination attempts: How can we work
together/coordinate resources to counter attempts to discriminate against