My Official Position...
those who know me understand the majority of this, those who do not may want to start asking questions...
In 1993, I was an eager 'go getter' and 'get things done' driven person, fueled by not only my desire to learn, but by my character of servitude. And boy did I learn... I researched and correlated information and communications from every available source of information and applied it liberally. My desire was not to become a leader, but to become a teacher.
I served a rather small but growing community at first, and within a year or two I was working with several other communities. I became a chronicler of events, a historian of an organization, a research specialist and maintained my daily duties and rituals of worship and service to the community.
I developed training systems and classes for others as well... teaching about service, history, ethics and even group dynamics and grievance council. I sat on panels, held board positions, lead workshops and developed intense training methods for preparing to fill such positions as minister, clergy, priest and councilor. All this before 2004.
In 2004, I backed off quite a bit, even took a sabbatical from my duties for a year, but never removed myself from my obligations to my deities and still served my community as a councilor and guide. I had begun a group of earnest students of history and knights, mostly students of the Squire and Maiden courses, designed to better understand and apply servitude and self discipline. By 2006, we all went on along our own paths, keeping in touch and continuing to find truths about ourselves and our communities.
I worked intermittently with other groups along my journey, as researcher, assistant, councilor and adviser, continuing my dedication to the community. My personal path demands that I serve others, yet I had forgotten to restrain my energies and suffered from it emotionally and physically. I began to slow down...
In 2010, the call for a new centralized community gathering and group became too loud to ignore where I had moved to. This time, I took the lead roll rather than a supportive position. We held open classes and workshops, hosted rituals for Sabbats and the Full Moons. In retrospect, we could have stopped there, maybe we should have. This we developed into a church format rather than a coven format, and founded a church, even chartered with the ATC (where I got my beginnings with Pagan/Wiccan church settings, but not my beginnings as a Pagan) and by 2012 I was again full swing into serving and working for my community.
That didn't last long though, but only because the group began to thin out down to a handful of active members, and even less supporters for our humble coffers. So we tried to promote without proselytizing, asking for suggestions from our community as to what they wanted... We received a lot of ideas and much of it worth while, but no one would or could help on the expenses of them. Eventually, we came to the decision to close that church, and only function as a small group of Pagans again.
During all this that I was involved in, other grand things and events were going on within my communities... and along with them, some bad things. Community leadership suffered 3 heavy losses, and although one organization carried the heaviest loss and grief, we all mourned. Mistakes come at such times, good judgment become impaired, and those with ulterior motives can maneuver easily into positions...and all such did. However, new groups began, new events were designed, old groups renewed and new people discovered the beauty of the experience because of them.
We all make mistakes right? Bad things happen outside of all our plans. However, mistakes should be corrected, and more so, bad behavior should be corrected. A lot was not, on many occasions and from many groups and individuals. The breaking had begun so subtlety that most were not even aware of it until the more aggressive and pronounced actions and individuals were taking charge. There were many calls for communication and council, corrective implementation, and even for apologies.... there were very few of those, completely absent in many cases. It was all called to be covered up and for everyone to focus on the positive. Sometimes that is the worst option, but for somethings that might work.
So from 2009 until 2011, I remained vigilant on trying to refocus on the positive, to observe without direct conflict, to research and interview, and keep record. That's what I do best. However, in 2011 I became directly involved in a pattern of offenses that I had no desire to be. It placed me in a very uncomfortable position with my church elders and many other community leaders that had either stood behind the offender, or had been a victim of the offenses. I stood up and called that person out, presented my case with evidence and supportive testimony and demanded corrective action and an apology....neither were granted and I was instructed to 'drop it' for the betterment of the church. I did, for 2 more years.
In October of 2013 I find myself facing a personal and spiritual delima. The offender now has positioned herself and petitioned (no, make that demanded) a ritual rite of Cronehood. Although she meet almost none of the 'traditional' requirements based on my belief and the majority of the community's opinion, the church backs this. Two of my Elders actually approve this. Yet, the majority of the community, and community elders, as well as the other churches do not support it. I cannot abide it, as it is a slap in the face to other Crones and offensive to most of us who have had dealings with the woman involved.
I spent only an hour in personal debate and evaluation of my principals... I retired my position as ATC Clergy.
retire - From French retirer, from re-, "back" and tirer, "throw," its first sense was "withdraw to a place of safety or seclusion."
1. to withdraw or go away to a place of privacy, shelter, or seclusion:
2. to go to bed.
3. to give up or withdraw from an office, occupation, or career, usu. because of age.
4. to fall back or retreat, as from battle.
5. to withdraw from view:
6. to withdraw from circulation by taking up and paying, as bonds or bills.
7. to withdraw (troops, ships, etc.), as from battle.
8. to remove from an office or active service, as an army officer.
9. to withdraw (a machine, ship, etc.) permanently from its normal service.
Now this does not mean I resigned;
1. to give up an office or position (often fol. by from).
2. to submit; yield:
3. to give up (an office, position, etc.), often formally.
4. to relinquish (a right, claim, etc.).
5. to submit (oneself, one's mind, etc.) without resistance.
[1325–75; Middle English < Middle French resigner < Latin resignāre to open, release, cancel =re- re- + signāre to mark, seal,]
However in this case, since I stood up to the church, against my Elders advise and demands, I can only assume that I have lost my license of Clergy status. I had already made plans months ago to close our church, so loosing that means nothing. No one can take away my history of service, my experience in the communities, my reputation nor can they discredit over 20 years in public works and personal growth and achievements, so the only thing that can be taken away is the 'right' of title or function...but only in their organization. So no, I loose nothing when I measure and weigh it against personal fortitude and ethical principals that I still wholeheartedly believe in.
Actually it freed me somewhat, removed limitations I was holding to, yet observed others in similar situations ignore. It removed a burden that I was sharing that was not honorable to carry, that of concealing truths and accepting inappropriate behavior. If nothing else, it allows me to refocus my personal dedications and accept a few things that I was beginning to become confused on. It allowed clarity of thought, and revealed a lot about my elders and church community.
Sometimes one must walk alone, headlong into life, ready to accept that there are real battles fought inside and out and all around that you will be involved in, wounded, and at times triumphant. Sometimes you think you walk alone and find a chorus of voices cheering and a crowd marching along. But from today, I will not worry so much about it or for the community, as I will focus on making what I know to be wrong right. I will focus on upholding to my moral compass and priorities of my principal beliefs. If that part of the journey is traveled by only myself, or even along by a very few, then it is to be that way. Journeying alone for me is not lonely, there is always the company of the Gods and of Nature....and neither have ever mistreated me.