Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NCLC reception for The American Academy of Religions in San Francisco CA

On Saturday Evening November 19, in San Francisco, the Northern California Local Council of the Covenant of the Goddess held a reception for the Members of the American Academy of Religions. This event, (the conference not the reception) drew ten thousand participants, and last Saturday evening it felt as though most of them passed through the suite on the 43rd floor of the Hilton which had a sweeping and breathtaking view of the city. The Hilton was one of the five dedicated hotels for the AAR. The event was, to say the least, successful if we are to judge by the comments on Sunday.

Lise Dyckman, from the California Institute of Integral Studies wrote:

“Based on how many people we managed to fit into Puck’s room last night, and how noisy lively those conversations were, and also on the comments I heard at sessions today (Sunday), it was a very successful event last night…”
More than just successful, this event might even be termed historic for the number of local Pagan and Heathen groups gathered for a specific purpose. Eventually over 30 different groups, organizations, and distinguished Elders were physically represented as examples of the Bay Area’s diverse Pagan and Heathen spirituality available to our community. They came together for the specific purpose of meeting and reaching out to scholars, Interfaith leaders, and Peace makers outside of our community. Reverend Patrick McCollum had this to say from the AAR’s view point:
“I want to thank everyone involved in putting together the Pagan reception. It was awesome. As an ongoing Program Chair with the AAR and as a participant in many AARreceptions over the last sixteen years, ours was right up there with some of the best. It was professional, classy, and most importantly… it was full of meaningful dialogue“.

As you glance down the list of attendees which follows, you will see a large number of non-pagan folks, many of whom are highly placed in such organizations as the Hindu American Foundation, and the Tony Blair Foundation. There were many Interfaith friends there as well. Among them Bud Heckman, Director for External Relations at the Coexist Foundation, brought two people with him, one of whom was from out of country. He told us at an interfaith Breakfast this morning that the reception was the highlight of her experience in San Francisco even though they had visited so many of our unique sights. For her it was a rare experience to stand in a room and realize that the people surrounding her were very different in practice than she was and she had, for the first time, the experience of feeling like a religious minority. Then she circulated, was greeted warmly and with enthusiasm, and began to realize that maybe folks in the room were not so different.

Elderflower Women’s Festival Coordinator Edye Cheeseman writes:
“Thanks to all the hard work of getting together theAARreception, and Thank you for inviting  me. What a wonderful evening full of conversation, seeing old friends, and meeting new ones.”
In fact that was our closing question to everyone in the room. “Did you meet someone new tonight?” The one thing that is certain is that if we plan this event again, it will be red wine and Scotch as the beverages of the day!

Next year’s AAR will be held in Chicago and NCLC would challenge CoG’s Mid-West Local Council to host a pagan reception there as a specific part of that event.

Follows Don Frew’s list of attendees.

AFRO-DIASPORIC groups:
American Magic Umbanda House – Mama Maeva, Mae do Santo
Oshun Iya Oshogbo – Andrea Johnson

CEREMONIAL MAGIC groups:
Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn – Frater Sam Webster, m.div
TempleSophia – Nathan Bjorge

DRUID groups:
Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids – SusaMorgan Black (Druid), Michael Black

HEATHEN groups:
The Troth – Diana L. Paxson, Elder

PAGAN groups:
Adocentyn Research Library – Rowan Fairgrove
Cherry Hill Seminary – Wendy Griffin, Academic Dean Christine Hoff Kraemer, Department Chair, Theology & Religious History,William Blumberg, Chair, Board of DirectorsAline (Macha) O’Brien, Board of Directors
Church of All Worlds - Jim J. Emert
Elderflower Women’s Festival – Edye Cheeseman
Fellowship ofIsis – Priestess M. Francesca Gentille
Fellowship of the Spiral Path – Rev. Debra Cardoza, President
Feraferia – Jo Carson
Fire Family Tradition – Tao Starbow
Holy Order of the Epicene – IrRev. joi wolfwomyn
Pagan Alliance – JoHanna White, President Arlynne Camire
Pagan Newswire Collective, SF Bay Area – Greg Harder
PantheaCon / TheurgiCon /Ancient Ways – Glenn Turner
Patrick McCollum Foundation – Rev. Patrick McCollum, Barbara McGraw
Radical Faeries – Chuck Hohman
Romuva – Prudence Priest
Solar Cross – T. Thorn Coyle
Spark Collective – DeborahHamouris
StoneCity Pagan Sanctuary – Winter, Director

WICCAN groups:
Come As You Are Coven - Lady Kahin Yeshe Rabbit
Covenant of the Goddess (NCLC) – Elder Don Frew, CoG National Interfaith Representative
Daughters of the Goddess – Leilani Birely, High Priestess & Kahuna
Eko, Eko: Gardnerians of the Bay Area – Polly Moller (Lady Argante)
NewWiccanChurch - GaryMattingly, California Branch Magus New Reformed Orthodox Order o/t Golden Dawn (NROOGD) – Kurt Piersol
Reclaiming – M. Macha NightMare, CoG National Interfaith Representative
AAR hosts:
Robert Puckett, Kitty, Lori
Just a sampling of the AAR guests who signed the guest book:
Helen A. Berger
Sasha Caitow
Chas S. Clifton
Rev. Judith Fleenor
Lee Gilmore
Amy Hale
Graham Harvey
Bud Heckman
Leigh Ann Hildebrand
Ian Jamison
Sabina Magliocco
Jason Mankey
Mihir Meghani
Pamela Morgan
Jason Pitzl-Waters
Katerina Ragousi
Caroline Tully
Steve Wehmeyer

NCLC COG Reception Committee & hospitality team:
Anith
Crystal Blanton (NCLC co-First Officer)
Lise Dyckman
Deborah Bender Frankel
M. Macha NightMare (CoG National Interfaith Representative)
Anna Korn
Glenn Turner

Rachael Watcher (NCLC co-First Officer & CoG National Interfaith Representative and Nationa Public Information Officer.