Tuesday, August 17, 2010

CoG Grand Council

This last weekend - August 12th - 15th - Covenant of the Goddess held its Grand Council and Merry Meet in Indianapolis, Indiana.  This gathering was sponsored by our Midwest Local Council.

Among the highlights of the meeting was the discovery that the Covenant has been running a deficit budget for about the last four years. We also have been loosing significant amounts of money in the management of various Grand Councils over the years.  An immediate adjustment to our budget was called for, and after some consternation and debate the Council came to consensus on the need to raise next years tithes to an additional $20 for covens, $10 for solitaries, and $5 for all credentials. There have been increasing costs, and we have not adjusted our tithes to reflect this in the past ten years.
Peter Dybing - 2011 CoG First Officer

Our Grand Council also elected a new board of directors.  Our First Officer will be Peter Dybing who has gained notoriety for his hands on work and activism in the disasters in Haiti and the Gulf oil spill. Our new Second Officers are Linda Slack and Barbara Doyle (Thorn). They will be planning the 2011 Grand Council in Dallas, Texas. Our new Public Information Officer will be Rachel Watcher from NCLC. Our Pursewardern will remain Zenah from Touchstone L.C.  Publications will be Jack Prewitt from Touchstone.
Membership will be Gail Grimes from Midwest L.C., and Correspondence- Eibhlean P. from Dogwood L.C.
Covenant of the Goddess combined Boards of Directors 2010 & 2011

Now, here is a report from our new PIO for the 2011 service year - Rachael Watcher:

"The Covenant of the Goddess Grand Council meeting this year was very up-beat and forward thinking. While the usual number of “issues” and by-laws adjustments was addressed we also had a Key note speaker at our dinner on Saturday evening, Jason Pitzel-Waters, author of the Wild Hunt Blog and Founder of the Pagan Newswire Collective, which was a first time event. A committee formed to investigate new means of electronic inclusion for all members of the Covenant who wish to attend our meetings.

We discovered that many of our Local Councils are doing amazing work. After listening to this year’s Local Council Reports, it is clear that our Local Councils has not lost either energy or vision. Many have matured into outreach community work such as food drives during Pagan celebrations and in a private poll, I discovered that a combined effort gathered probably over two tons of food this year for local food banks by various Local Councils. Much other strong work was also reported.

Interfaith participation yielded sharing of some very practical fund raising ideas that may prove fruitful in the future. Among these, a specialized state auto license plate that can return revenue as these plates are purchased. More and more Local Councils are also participating in Interfaith in their areas.

On the other side of the happy coin is the fact that we have discovered that there is a real disconnect between what the Local Councils are doing and what the National Public Information Officer is getting in the way of shared information for dissemination. Our growth has remained static while costs are increasing yearly. Our Key note speaker  pointed out that we are not using the electronic media to reach out to younger generations who do most of their social networking electronically. He gave some vital statistics that indicate that we will need to have a face book page, and redesigned web page with active and constantly up dated information available on the front page of the site. Our web weaver will start on that soon.

Jason’s talk has had a profound impact on the direction of the current and incoming Public Information Officers. While Greg’s (our current PIO) vision was to educate Covenant members about the current state of pagan affairs outside of our organization, part of his effort was focused on the establishment of the PIO blog as a well read and useful tool for information dissemination. He will continue to assist the incoming PIO (Rachael Watcher), and together we will begin the process of doing more to educate readers as to the activities and constitution of our members and Local Councils. To this end it is our plan to be in close contact with all Local PIOs and all National Solitaries at large who wish to participate. We will be posting a monthly update of all planned activities as well as featuring one of our Local Councils, or members who are doing outstanding work. Greg will continue to report on other news items of interest, but we wish to make this blog an informative source of information for both our members and those outside of CoG.

It was pointed out that we cannot sustain the financial drain to our accounts through increased stipends to Grand Council each year and that the budget really has not been balanced for the last few years causing a real shortfall and heavy losses. The budget for stipends was cut, the cost of membership raised, and there was serious talk over drinks and evening visits among some about the possible necessity of curtailing additional activities outside of Grand Council until such time as we could regain our financial footing.

We agreed that we must find new ways to include our current members without such heavy tolls on stipends, and that Local Councils must step up and begin the process of serious fund raising to help. Aside from electronic attendance, some suggested the possibility of just renting meeting space and leaving all delegates to arrange their own transportation, room and board. Its time to think outside the box, get creative. Many of us cannot even consider camping anymore and most of the camping sites for groups that also offer meeting space are priced right out of the question.
This year's meeting was great; Excellent and plentiful food, great service and spacious accommodations; not to mention the wonderful beds. Everything ran without a hitch and the rituals were meaningful and compact. The Warrior’s ritual left no dry eye in the house and was both deeply moving and incredibly well prepared."


(North Army Altar at Warrior's Ritual)