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Author Topic: Obligation to Community  (Read 6216 times)
dragonfaerie
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« Topic Start: July 28, 2009, 09:55:44 pm »

What are our obligations to community?

I'm not talking the larger pagan community; I'm talking about our smaller, personal worship communities. Members of established physical churches often have a financial obligation to contribute to the upkeep of the church building and pay staff. They also often have responsibilities that include teaching Sunday school, helping with child care, etc.

So what about us?

My obligations to my worship community are sometimes financial. I chip in for after-ritual feasts. When we have special workshops and gatherings, I chip in my share of the bill. When I run ritual, I help purchase supplies.

My obligations are also responsibilities. I'm required to help run at least one moon ritual and one holiday ritual a year. I've taken on teaching responsibilities (though I don't have any students yet) and organizational responsibilities in my group. I'm also there to help support covenmates through difficult times in their life.

Not everyone in our group takes their responsibilities seriously. There's been a lot of tension in the past year about keeping our Covenstead clean after holiday gatherings, since we're on someone's private property. People haven't been good about cleaning up their own messes, and by ignoring their responsibilities they end up hurting everyone... the folks who own the property get mad, the same folks who live nearby always get stuck cleaning up, and those of us who have taken on "Elder" responsibilities in the group have to hear about it and have to take on the responsibility of cleaning up ourselves.

What do y'all think? What are your obligations to community? If you're a solitary, how can you apply the ideas of community to your personal practices?

Karen
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« Reply #1: July 28, 2009, 10:02:52 pm »

What are our obligations to community?

I'm not talking the larger pagan community; I'm talking about our smaller, personal worship communities. Members of established physical churches often have a financial obligation to contribute to the upkeep of the church building and pay staff. They also often have responsibilities that include teaching Sunday school, helping with child care, etc.

So what about us?

My obligations to my worship community are sometimes financial. I chip in for after-ritual feasts. When we have special workshops and gatherings, I chip in my share of the bill. When I run ritual, I help purchase supplies.

My obligations are also responsibilities. I'm required to help run at least one moon ritual and one holiday ritual a year. I've taken on teaching responsibilities (though I don't have any students yet) and organizational responsibilities in my group. I'm also there to help support covenmates through difficult times in their life.

Not everyone in our group takes their responsibilities seriously. There's been a lot of tension in the past year about keeping our Covenstead clean after holiday gatherings, since we're on someone's private property. People haven't been good about cleaning up their own messes, and by ignoring their responsibilities they end up hurting everyone... the folks who own the property get mad, the same folks who live nearby always get stuck cleaning up, and those of us who have taken on "Elder" responsibilities in the group have to hear about it and have to take on the responsibility of cleaning up ourselves.

What do y'all think? What are your obligations to community? If you're a solitary, how can you apply the ideas of community to your personal practices?

Karen

Most of the time, I hold circle at my house.  I bust my butt to get the yard in order, to get food made, to get everything set up and cleaned, and I am almost obsessive about being a good hostess to all.  I have never had a problem with anyone not picking up after themselves, and I appreciate that those who have come by have from time to time brought food, candles, and such. 

I have a strong ethic too about teaching - if someone asks, I have to answer as truthfully as possible unless it is oathbound material.  Now, I might say, "before you get into that, you really should study this first so you aren't confused," but I won't turn away anyone looking earnestly for information.  As of late, I have been finding it very nice to answer questions from someone very new to the path, and have spent a lot of time writing him well-thought-out and well-researched answers; I think it would be very irresponsible of me to do any less.  I consider giving what knowledge I can to those who ask to be the most important community responsibility, though. 

This is actually really nice for me, too... in answering these questions, I also get to write out a lot of my own thoughts on the matter.  I need to cut and paste some of those into articles for my blog.
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« Reply #2: July 28, 2009, 10:46:19 pm »

What are our obligations to community?

Ooh. Great question.

The coven is currently on hiatus (my covenmate has had a rough few months, work is eating her life, and when you've got a 2 person coven at the moment, as we had not yet taken on students, there's really no other answer when one person needs a break.)

But in general:
- We hold rituals in private homes. I don't believe it's appropriate to ask other people for upkeep for that (though asking for replenishment of stuff that gets used up makes a lot of sense in some settings.) If we rented a space, I think it's appropriate to ask for help with that, but it's the leadership's responsibility to make sure it's feasible somehow if folks don't come through. (Which means only renting space when you've got a size or event that really warrants it.)

- I don't plan anything I'm not willing to fund myself if need be. I do believe it's important for other group members to contibute, but that can be money, time, or (best) a combination. (One of our reasons for keeping costs low is that expensive stuff generally requires storage, and I live in a very tiny house. Designing rituals that don't require Stuff (beyond normal altar tools and things that get used up during the ritual) has multiple benefits, therefore.)

- Whoever is hosting gets to decide a chunk of that split: my covenmate, for example, does not want help washing the dishes, but does really appreciate there being a break between food and whatever else we're doing so she can wash them, because having them in the sink drives her batty.  I help by getting them to the counter, then get out of her way - but I also plan that extra few minutes into what I expect to cover. 

- We generally work on a pot-luck basis for feasts, though we're still feeling this one out a bit, and will continue to do so for a while as we add students.  In my parent group, the covenstead household usually provides a large meat dish (because it usually takes time to cook that other people attending the event probably won't have), and everyone else brings other food and drink. That works pretty well. (Me, on the other hand, I'm not highly skilled in major meat dishes since I rarely make them for myself. Also, tiny kitchen. Hence the feeling things out.) 

- As a group leader, I'm obligated to .. well, lead the group. Again, see hiatus, but in general that involves planning rituals (we're going with planning-lite right now, as my covenmate and I have been working together for .. erm. 8 years now, and we can do it fast and without explicit scripting.) It will also, if we find people who are a potential fit for a small group with a specific focus, involve teaching students.

- I also feel a certain level of commitment to trying to help people who want more information. I'll go quite a long way for people who do their best to be clear about what they want, etc. but these days I have somewhat less patience for the people who do the "Teach me all about Wicca" without any other help from them. (Not that I'm nasty to them or anything. Just that I've got 8 other things I'd rather be doing, and I'll probably go do them instead of having that conversation one more time. What I really ought to do is work up a blurb about "It's a really big subject: here's my reading list suggestions, if you've got specific questions, I'm glad to try and help." and copy/paste as needed.)
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Firepriest73
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« Reply #3: May 08, 2011, 12:14:31 pm »

What are our obligations to community?

I'm not talking the larger pagan community; I'm talking about our smaller, personal worship communities. Members of established physical churches often have a financial obligation to contribute to the upkeep of the church building and pay staff. They also often have responsibilities that include teaching Sunday school, helping with child care, etc.

So what about us?

My obligations to my worship community are sometimes financial. I chip in for after-ritual feasts. When we have special workshops and gatherings, I chip in my share of the bill. When I run ritual, I help purchase supplies.

My obligations are also responsibilities. I'm required to help run at least one moon ritual and one holiday ritual a year. I've taken on teaching responsibilities (though I don't have any students yet) and organizational responsibilities in my group. I'm also there to help support covenmates through difficult times in their life.

Not everyone in our group takes their responsibilities seriously. There's been a lot of tension in the past year about keeping our Covenstead clean after holiday gatherings, since we're on someone's private property. People haven't been good about cleaning up their own messes, and by ignoring their responsibilities they end up hurting everyone... the folks who own the property get mad, the same folks who live nearby always get stuck cleaning up, and those of us who have taken on "Elder" responsibilities in the group have to hear about it and have to take on the responsibility of cleaning up ourselves.

What do y'all think? What are your obligations to community? If you're a solitary, how can you apply the ideas of community to your personal practices?

Karen



Karen,

  That's an awesome question, and I'm sure there are a difference in answers that are as wide as the Grand Canyon.  Right now, my obligations have morphed/transformed from that of a simple temple priest to a student soon to be a teacher.  I feel it is my obligation to my community to not only learn about my craft, but also to build the credentials that outsiders view as necessary to hold sway in a non-pagan but religious forum.  In other words, it allows me to become the local SME (Subject Matter Expert) on pagan religion and to allow critical questions to be answered. 

  I am in the military, and the majority of my fellow brothers and sisters in arms are not pagan.  This sometimes requires a SME to bring to light, the misconceptions about our religion and present them with the facts thus dispelling "Satanic blanket statement" that has been consistently cast over us.  So in essence my obligations to my local community will soon be threefold.  Learning, Teaching, and helping pagans serving in the military.  Oh, and being that we can be anywhere, we have learned that we must be able to adapt our religious practices to "anywhere at anytime", and I feel it is an obligation to help fellow military pagans to be able to learn this "trait".

Brightest Blessings,
Josh
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« Reply #4: May 17, 2011, 07:37:25 am »

What do y'all think? What are your obligations to community? If you're a solitary, how can you apply the ideas of community to your personal practices?

Fantastic question Cheesy. I'm a solitary and I feel a lack of spiritual community in my practice. I try to incorporate it by doing things like responding to posts I can help with here on TC. Unfortunately that's not as many as I would like. I still feel like such a beginner that I'm not sure what I can offer to anyone else. I also check in on the prayer and healing request board and send what I can, thus contributing in a small way to this community.

Since being claimed (I think) by Brighid I've been considering joining the TC Cill and being a part of that worship community. If I do join then my obligations would be to do my shift and to support the other Cill members however I can.  I'm not sure if I've been working with Brighid for long enough to join the Cill yet.

I'm open to ideas anyone else may have as to how to apply the ideas of community to a solitary practice. It's definitely an area that I would like to work on.   
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« Reply #5: May 17, 2011, 10:29:52 am »

What are our obligations to community?

There are two spiritual communities I'm tied to, which are tied to each other. One is my own personal coven, which I practice with and am an initiate of, and the other is a larger "clan" of similar Gardnerian covens with tangled lineages and relationships. My obligations to my coven are mainly to be there when we meet, on time and in a spiritual frame of mind (i.e., ready to let go of mundane world problems and be committed to the moment, able to stay for as long as the ritual/class/whatever goes on) and to do the readings and assigned work (even if I'm rather slow to make my way through them). I'm also expected to develop solitary practices and worship, which I'm still working on. And of course I'm obligated to maintain a protective secrecy about the coven and what we do.

As far as the clan, that gets a bit more complicated. I'm supposed to attend clan events, but I often don't because when we all get together there are politics at work that make me very uncomfortable. Suffice to say my coven is looked down on for various reasons and almost treated as not being "true" witches. It's offensive and it hardly helps to bolster my feelings of community.
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« Reply #6: May 17, 2011, 01:50:44 pm »

What are our obligations to community?

I'm not talking the larger pagan community; I'm talking about our smaller, personal worship communities. Members of established physical churches often have a financial obligation to contribute to the upkeep of the church building and pay staff. They also often have responsibilities that include teaching Sunday school, helping with child care, etc.

So what about us?

My obligations to my worship community are sometimes financial. I chip in for after-ritual feasts. When we have special workshops and gatherings, I chip in my share of the bill. When I run ritual, I help purchase supplies.

My obligations are also responsibilities. I'm required to help run at least one moon ritual and one holiday ritual a year. I've taken on teaching responsibilities (though I don't have any students yet) and organizational responsibilities in my group. I'm also there to help support covenmates through difficult times in their life.

Not everyone in our group takes their responsibilities seriously. There's been a lot of tension in the past year about keeping our Covenstead clean after holiday gatherings, since we're on someone's private property. People haven't been good about cleaning up their own messes, and by ignoring their responsibilities they end up hurting everyone... the folks who own the property get mad, the same folks who live nearby always get stuck cleaning up, and those of us who have taken on "Elder" responsibilities in the group have to hear about it and have to take on the responsibility of cleaning up ourselves.

What do y'all think? What are your obligations to community? If you're a solitary, how can you apply the ideas of community to your personal practices?

Karen

I pratice most of my magic and ceremonies seperatly, exept when my family ands to have one and there is this group we do meditations and energy work with on the soltices and the equinoxes. Then there are the Native ceremonies I attend.

Whenmy family practices together we have certian roles that we just naturaly fit into. We all contribute a little bit, each doing our part, and it all comes together just as it should. My responsibilities include, informing the family, writing and or cotributing writing and or contributing writing the ceremony, helping some of the less experenced family members understand their part, and energy work.

There are responsibilities I share with others such as leading the prayer, meditation or directing the ceremony. My mom/aunt and my uncle and I direct, shape and otherwise work the energy. Sometimes I hold the circle.

Our roles realy depend on who is able to do what at that time. We just intuitively seem to know what everyone should be doing for that ceremony.

With the group meditations we always have the same roles. The one who smudges does that, the one who leads the meditation does that, so on and so forth. For lunch dinner and sometimes breakfast we all bring food like a potluck. Each person is responsible for getting themselves there, but sometimes we do carpool. We all pitch in to clean up, and if anyone is neglecting their responsibility we let them know and they get to it. If someone is unable to pitch in on something because of health or other reasons, we find something they can do so they still do their part. The host of the meditation and the Elders do not have to do any clean up, but they do anyway, even if though they know they don't have to.

For the Native gatherings, there is a donation, or the one organizing the gathering will ask me to bring some of the supplies needed for it. The Elders lead the wholle event and they let us know what we need to do.

For myself in my solitary practice, I make sure that wherever I do ceremony I leave it better than I found it. I help those who need my help. I am responsible for the matenience of all my sacreds. I fund everything, do  all the work. So practicing solitary can be more work, but it is more personal and rearding in a different way than practicing in a group.

Sorry I can't talk to much about it with the group stuff, because alot of the workings we do are private, but I hope this helps.


With the people slacking, I would tell them to approach cleaning up with the same seriousness they would approach a ceremony. To me it is part of the ceremony just like raising energy and telling the spirits thankyou and farewell. To me it is a vital part of closing the ceremony. If I did a spell I wouldn't just leave all my sacreds out afterwards or leave wrappers from inscense on my alter. The Earth is our biggest and most communaly shared alter, and it also clothes us, feeds us, and provides everything for us.

I woud make sure they have clearly defined responsibilities as far as clean up goes, and if they were neglegent of those duities then they might not be ready for the responsiblity of being in a coven.

In the gathering I am with we had to crawl before we could walk, we had to pick up and show that we are responsible before we ere trusted with anything else. That included knowledge and direct participation.

I'm not saying that you should do that, just giving you my perspective and what I would do based off the perspective you have presented here.
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« Reply #7: May 17, 2011, 03:29:42 pm »

What are our obligations to community?

I'm not talking the larger pagan community; I'm talking about our smaller, personal worship communities. Members of established physical churches often have a financial obligation to contribute to the upkeep of the church building and pay staff. They also often have responsibilities that include teaching Sunday school, helping with child care, etc.

So what about us?

My obligations to my worship community are sometimes financial. I chip in for after-ritual feasts. When we have special workshops and gatherings, I chip in my share of the bill. When I run ritual, I help purchase supplies.

My obligations are also responsibilities. I'm required to help run at least one moon ritual and one holiday ritual a year. I've taken on teaching responsibilities (though I don't have any students yet) and organizational responsibilities in my group. I'm also there to help support covenmates through difficult times in their life.

Not everyone in our group takes their responsibilities seriously. There's been a lot of tension in the past year about keeping our Covenstead clean after holiday gatherings, since we're on someone's private property. People haven't been good about cleaning up their own messes, and by ignoring their responsibilities they end up hurting everyone... the folks who own the property get mad, the same folks who live nearby always get stuck cleaning up, and those of us who have taken on "Elder" responsibilities in the group have to hear about it and have to take on the responsibility of cleaning up ourselves.

What do y'all think? What are your obligations to community? If you're a solitary, how can you apply the ideas of community to your personal practices?

Karen


Interesting question from a heathen perspective since it's much more about "proper" living than about proper worship. Though there are heathen kindreds that form a spiritual type community, I would go so far as to say that, 'religiously' speaking, your everyday community and how you interact with them matters so much more than how you deal with the kindred. In the past there weren't kindreds, obviously. People of a community got together, feasted together, helped each other and it was all just part of life. Kindreds are only a modern way for separated heathens to gather and share in a like-minded community. But underneath it all, the real community for a heathen, the community that /she honors, supports and gives of him/her self is the local community. Neighbors, local stores, schools are all intertwined with my life; these members of the community all interact with the quality, peace and sustainability of my life. I can be as responsible as I want to my kindred but if I don't take care of my community at home, if I don't support my schools, local merchants, and lend my neighbor a hand then I'm not doing my job. I wouldn't be showing pride, I wouldn't be protecting mine, I wouldn't honor those who are part of a greater web that influences the HOME. 
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