Thursday, July 7, 2011

Worst Fears Realized

As I was heading to bed tonight, I checked my email really quick and I wish I hadn't. What I read gave me a waking nightmare, right then and there. The Pagan Newswire Collective reported that the Sacred Paths Center in Minneapolis, the first Pagan community center of its kind, was experiencing serious financial hardship. As Vice Chair of the Open Hearth Foundation, a non-profit trying to open a similar Pagan center in DC, this is my absolute worst fear.

It also came rather ill-timed. I had just finished having a conversation with a friend about the lack of support I feel from the community at times. In lieu of these two things, I felt I needed to address these feelings. I am writing these words on my personal blog because these words do not reflect the OHF's opinion, however the OHF is a very personal mission for me. I may be the organization's Vice Chair, but I'm writing this as the woman who worked a 9-hour day at my day job, went to an evening class, and came home at 10:30 at night only to work on OHF business for a few hours before heading to bed. I was driven back downstairs to my computer by this news because felt I had to address the situation from the place in my heart where this news hit a very personal chord.

I see pictures of past events and the familiar faces of people who participated in events past. I know it's been 10 years. I know people are wondering where the center is. I know the community is frustrated with the overall progress. But, I also know that the community sees that we're making an effort to get physical space. I know that they know that there is an entirely new board, with fresh blood and ideas. I also know they are just waiting to see if we can do this. We can and we will. BUT, we need support from the community. You can watch all you want, but if you don't support us, it just won't happen.

And, you can say to yourself and your friends, I'll support them when they build it. Well, the Sacred Paths Center built it and it looks like the community didn't support it. So what am I to believe?

At the Pagan Leadership Summit in January, you, the community, said you wanted a Pagan center in DC. You said you wanted it by Imbolc 2012, exactly 12 months from that gathering. We immediately rose to the challenge and stated, "We will build you your Pagan center, but we need to raise $60K to do it." We are well on our way, and have tons of upcoming fundraising and out reach efforts planned, but we're not quite there yet.

Please don't just stand around, watching us, and waiting to see if we can do it. Help us out. Come to our events, make a donation, or, even better, become a member. Our lowest membership level is $13 per month. That's one lunch at a chain restaurant these day, three venti lattes at Starbucks, or a few pints of a decent beer at Happy Hour. It's also an investment in the Pagan community. Having a Pagan center anywhere, let alone in the nation's capital, is a really big deal, and you should want to be a part of it.

For our members, I can't thank you enough. For the rest of the community, know this...I will continue to write blogs in the middle of the night. I will continue to research properties and add them to the OHF property search blog so the community can vote and comment on the listings. I will continue to follow up on properties that community members email to me because they saw a sign in a storefront and thought it would be a good location for a Pagan center. I will continue to promote our fundraising events using every possible media outlet I can find. I will continue to reach out the to community and stress the importance of membership support. Basically, I will continue to beg from the community until the OHF raises that $60K. I want to do it by Imbolc 2012, but I want the community to want it too. Now is your chance to make sure that the OHF opens its doors to serve you and that we NEVER have to put a notice up on the the OHF web site announcing a dire situation.

Go a step further...You can also show your support for the greater Pagan community. Make a donation to the Sacred Paths Center in MN in this time of need (there is a paypal Donate button on their web page if you scroll down). Show our community that we can help each other out. I plan on making a small personal donation because I want us all to succeed and I want the Pagan community to flourish and be something of which we can all be proud.


  1. So you've inspired this weeks 'Sunday Intentional'. Find it over here on Sunday

  2. Maria, post is up... I just hope you guys can see where I'm coming from.