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I have a confession to make – I got scared and hid.  I’m not talking about in the last few days or on my arrival in Bendigo.  No.  I’m talking about four years ago at the Global Conference that took place in Yale. The last Global Conference for Chaplain in Higher Ed.  Yes, I got scared. I was hit by a ton of rocks created out of ignorance in such force and magnitude that I did what many of us do.  I hid, I retreated, I stepped back into the closet, kind of, hoping that my wounds would heal and the world would be right again. Or at least it would go back to what I remembered and that meant familiar ground.  Well the wounds did heal, but the world didn’t go back to what it was; it can never go back. The experience changed me and in the process I stopped writing which is horrible.  I love writing, but by not writing this blog and exposing my vulnerabilities I was able to stay in the “closet” a little longer. But a curious thing happened. A gentleman named Rob Lingard read a paper where I let all of my feelings out and promised me that things would change. Rob is not Pagan, he is a Christian and he is also a man of his word; a man of honor.

Yesterday we arrived in Bendigo after approximately 34 hours of travel time and in a slight state of exhaustion.  My husband Bill came with me this time as the support system that I didn’t have last time.  We decided that we would go straight to the conference venue since the opening ceremony and dinner was starting within 40 minutes of our stepping off of the train.  I was happy to get our name tags and to just sit without being in motion.  We were greeted warmly by the conference staff and I asked for Rob.  He was the one who had encouraged me to come, asked if I would be on a panel of speakers, and with whom we are sharing a house while we stay here.  It wasn’t long before we spotted one another and hugs ensued.  As his duties quickly took him away, he is one of the organizers, we were left to begin meeting people on our own.  A little tea and quite for just the two of us, however, is what we took in most.

I watched the room, it WAS different this time. This was a smaller, more intimate gathering than the last conference and I thought that might be what it was. This was a better place to get to know one another, to make connections… but there was more. Bill had found the evening’s outline. The opening event was a ceremonial greeting by the indigenous Dja Daj peoples of the land.  We were taken outside and the smoke we ran into was amazing.  We were being told of the tradition of smoking off the evil spirits to allow good to come in so that our works would be positive and of a good nature.  We were being smudged by eucalyptus leaves – the indigenous tradition of the land – and being told of the honoring of the elders and ancestors and how it was important to remember them always as they are the ones that teach us how to live and how to be.  It seemed ironic in one way that this was being talked about.  We had just met a gentleman from St. Andrews in Scotland and had been talking about Pan Am Flight 103 and the connection that Lockerbee and Syracuse have due to that tragedy. This week he is giving a talk on how we honor students that pass.

As this cleansing concluded we were invited back in to hear the initial greetings and I quickly understood that Rob had truly kept his word.  The four directions were explained as the people of the four directions were called to come forward to take their place we found out that we were the people of the four directions – Americas to the East, Asia and Europe to the North, Africa to the West, and Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Isles to the South – and as we spoke the words in the familiar call and response manner an energy was laid down.  We were asked to take a stone from the center table while we moved to our designated seats and to hold it to our hearts with one hand to place in it what we brought to give others. It was then we were asked that the other hand be open in order to receive what others had to offer. Our third task was to contemplate how we had prepared for being here – a triad of inquiry and responsibility for all of us.  It was then that I knew that true change had taken place these last four years.  We were asked to come forward and to place the stones we had selected in the center, a created space symbolic of all of us coming together to agree or not, but to be community together. We received a blessing of hope and understanding which ended in three times stated Blessed Be… Blessed Be… Blessed Be. Amen.

We were then asked to talk and share until dinner and share we did.  I met friends of our new Catholic Priest at Syracuse, a Chaplain from the south that wants to go out for drinks, one from the Gold Coast of Australia, discussed politics with one from the Netherlands and ate dinner with the wife of our Chaplain from St. Andrews.  There are so many more that I haven’t mentioned but I can say things are different. Pagans mentioned in the opening statements alongside Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Humanists and others. Yes things have shifted, especially when Rob asked me if I felt as if I had been included and respected within the ceremony.  He was sincere in his question and I could not feel more welcome than I did at the moment.

I hope that this shift in attitude towards the “other” begins to move outward and touch more than just those who are here. This world needs to be as inclusive as this conference has become. It is proving we can change, we need to, and that it can be positive.

Oh… and the kangaroo was delicious!

Every now and then a moment comes along and it hits you – this is what it is all about.  Last week when the final stone was laid it was one of those moments.

Last Monday was the day that all the work on the stones was finished.  I hadn’t planned on being outside when the stones were actually laid into the ground but a friend needed a little fresh air so outside we went.  The day was cool, cloudy and threatening rain; for me it was a perfect day.  As we walked outside I pointed out the holes for the stones to our right, but in front of us we noticed a purple and white banner on the quad.   Neither of us quite knew what it was for but it seemed interesting.

We continued our conversation as we began to watch what was unfolding – it was a ceremony by the Native Americans Students at Syracuse (NASAS). As they began their celebration of song and dance I heard noise coming from the area where the stones where.  The stones were going into the ground at that moment.  I struck me then.  I was standing at a point of convergence.  I was in front of the Chapel, a place most associated with Abrahamic religions and at the same time witnessing traditional Native American ceremony through song and dance while a stone circle was being laid for Pagan gatherings.  Hendricks truly is a place of interfaith dynamics; a home for all faiths and a place for all people.

Not one of these things took precedent over the other.  The Chapel, the stones and the dance all had equal value and all were living in harmony with one another in the same virtual space. Isn’t this what true respect and diversity is supposed to be?  I believe so.

A few days later I was asked a question that I had never been asked before: “When people bring their religions and traditions to a new land how do they reconcile and respect the spirits of the land who are already there?”  I thought about it for only a second reflecting on the events of the previous Monday and my response was easy.  You ask permission.  When I began the process of requesting the stones seven years ago I did two things.  The first was in the original proposal I simply stated that the University has a unique and solid connection to Scotland and while all cultures in one way or another have some sort of connection to stones and megaliths Scotland’s connection is special.  Scotland has more standing stones and stone circles than any other country in the world.  How better to honor the University’s connection to Scotland than through stones. The second thing I did was I began to ask permission of the land here in Syracuse to allow this to happen.

When the holes for the stones were being dug a contingent from Lockerbie Scotland was on campus for Remembrance Week.  A coincidence that had nothing to do with the stones being brought to campus.  When the stones were being laid the Mohawk group Kanienkehaka Ratirennenhawi danced their song on the quad only yards away.  I believe both events blessings underscoring that all connections and energies were in complete agreement – it is time we lay aside differences and see what can bring us together to make us better in this world.

Today is a day for dreams.  Today is the day a dream of mine became reality and it is the day that new dreams are to be born.  Today is the day that a circle of stones, dedicated to the religious gathering of Pagans, was created at Syracuse University.

Seven years ago I wasn’t the Pagan Chaplain at the University.  There was no Pagan Chaplain, but I was the religious advisor for the student Pagans on campus and at that time I had a vision where the students would have a place of their own.  It didn’t have to be exclusive, in fact I didn’t think it should be.  Rather it needed to be a stone circle where they could observe ritual, meet with friends or do whatever.  This needed to be a place where they could feel the energy of their gods and their beliefs – a place where they would be reminded that they did matter.

Seven years ago I requested a stone circle to be built on campus.  For seven years I would periodically bring the subject up to those that needed to be reminded that Pagans did not have a place of their own like other faiths.  For seven years energy was built to push a dream forward and for seven years the ancestors watched and waited.  After seven years the energy culminated and the ancestors were heard.  I was asked to resubmit the proposal and all agreed that a circle would be built.

What changed in that seven years?  My position changed from advisor to Chaplain and with that a voice formerly foreign at the religious table was now heard. A new Dean at the Chapel was introduced.  The previous Dean had welcomed Pagans to the Chapel but it was the current Dean that understood the need for place. What changed was Pagans became recognized as valuable members of the religious makeup of the University deserving the same respect as any other faith tradition.

Yes, today is a day of dreams.  The stone circle doesn’t look like the stone circles created so long ago.  There are no standing stones familiar to so many.  There are only four stones – a stone at each cardinal point creating a 20’ inner circle.  The stones are large and made of blue stone, imbedded in the ground laying flush with the earth.  They needed to be unobtrusive, reflective of landscape and useable.  They are altar stones and any tradition, Pagan or otherwise, will be able to use them.  The dream came to life today when four stones were laid.

However, the laying of these stones is not the end of the dreams.  It’s the beginning of dreams.  A place for the seeds of possibility to break through and find sunlight to help them grow.  For many the creation of this circle seemed like a natural process and in many ways it was. When the voice of the ancestors sang once again those ready to hear their story listened and all barriers became non-existent. This was the right thing to do, this was the right day to do it and on this Samhain the ancestors will be honored in their stone circle.

Today I am overwhelmed. I’m overwhelmed with both the awe that I feel when I realize what has happened but also at the thought of what will be the next dream to come to life.

SPIRALIt is one thing to have faith; it is another thing altogether to trust. That’s right, trust. I have told a lot of people over the years that all they need to do is trust.  Whether it is in themselves, in others, in a process or in the gods makes no difference.  The comment is always the same – trust, all will be as it should be and you will be fine, so just have some trust. The lesson that I have learned this week is to trust.

There are times when things just seem to go wrong, it happens to the best of us, and there is nothing we can do about it.  While that is true on occasion how we move through those times to get to the other side does matter.  What happened this week to me doesn’t matter, at least not the details; what does matter is that I had to sit back and think deep and hard what is it I truly believe and what guides my life.  I could state the obvious answer; the one that is expected and say that my deities, faith, and beliefs guide me and that would be a true statement.  However, there is more to it than that.

I know what I believe.  I know what I have faith in.  I know who my deities are.  These are things I know – this week I had to learn the hard lesson of trusting my deities, my faith and what I believe in.  I handed over a situation that I could not see the other side of.  I had to go against every instinct and accept that the messages I was receiving were correct rather than what I “knew” was the answer.  Was it easy? No. Trust was the real answer and trust is what I did.

So how do you get to the point of trusting?  I’m not sure, but it started out with listening and then accepting what was being said.  It doesn’t hurt to have an amazing partner in my life that trusts me completely.  It also doesn’t mean having blind trust.  Just like blind faith, that type of trust will lead a person into peril and possible hurt of all kinds.  But when you trust it is a matter of understanding that there are consequences to doing so.  Those consequences can be either good or bad or both and if you trust you need to be willing to accept whatever consequence comes along.  Once that is understood trusting becomes a more natural process.

So I ask, where have you placed your trust and have you given it wisely.  It may not feel like what you are trusting is the logical thing to do, but if in your heart you know it is the right thing then why not do so?  I could have stayed on a very safe path this week and I chose not to.  I don’t regret that one bit and the consequences that have come from that is simple:  1) I am stronger that I thought, 2) My faith is deeper than I ever thought it could be, and 3) my ancestors will always have my back.  A person can’t ask for more than that.

 

There are days when I have to laugh at how we all understand each other. For a very long time I was the newest Chaplain and with that designation came certain nervousness about finding my way and offending anyone. That is over. I’m no longer the newbie in the bunch. That is someone else and to be honest in one way it’s funny to watch. I mean heck, I’m the Pagan how could I make the new Christian feel nervous? Well…

I have always been the only one here on Mondays. Most of the other Chaplains take the day off because they work on Sunday. So it is a little odd to have other people in the office on Monday now. Nice but odd and I’m finding it to be amusing. This morning our newest Chaplain wanted to make sure that I had read the email regarding some “redecorating” that was going on. I hadn’t read it only because I hadn’t received it. She was confused, she had sent it to my email she thought and I should have had it last week. Unfortunately it was the wrong email so I never saw it. Once she found that out she began to explain what we are doing, nothing big, but she wanted to make sure I didn’t feel left out. I didn’t and I’m fine with what the changes are. After our conversation ended I was continuing on with my morning routine of reading and catching up on stuff. That’s right, just stuff.

oreosThere is a website I love called Thug Kitchen. If you haven’t read it you should. It is just fun, but it can be a little raw at times. So I had just finished reading the latest post of stories about meals that have gone terribly wrong. I mean terribly wrong. I was in shock at the last one it was so funny but at that very moment my colleague, the new Chaplain, walked in and offered me coffee and Oreos. Now I had just read this post, was offered food and couldn’t help myself. I said thank you and then told her that I didn’t think she was someone who offended easily and wondered if that was true. At that moment the conversation became humorous.

Her face was blank; she didn’t look like she knew how to respond. And she agreed that she didn’t really offend easily and I explained that I thought she would find the stories (yes some of them were about college students) hilarious. She relaxed and laughed. She had the horrible thought that an offer of coffee and Oreos was code to Pagans for some strange sex ritual and that she had offended me! All could do was laugh. Now I’ll be the first to say that I am huge on language and how we need to modify how it is used to be more inclusive. However, I have to say that I’m not aware of a bizarre coffee and Oreo ritual at this time. We did laugh about it but it made me chuckle about how much the rest of the world doesn’t know about what we do.

This did make me think though. Maybe I need to do another Ritual of Understanding so that people begin to familiarize themselves with our practices. Maybe I should invite them all to Pagan Pride Day festivals. After all they really are about educating non-Pagans. Or maybe I should give the newbie a break and bring her peanut butter cookies and cocoa instead with a note that this is what we use in those odd rituals late at night!

And no, there was no offense. Just good laughter and learning that we are both human.

A day of possibilities is here.  It’s the first day of the academic year and students are attending the first classes of the semester.  Tonight is also the first meeting of the Pagan students for the year as well.  I look forward to this time because it is a time full of wonder, excitement and the knowledge that anything is possible. It is the last that I love more than anything.

So what do I have in mind for this year?  I’m not sure about the definitive but I do know the possibilities:

  1. Finish my bulletin board (it may not seem like a lot but trust me it is)!
  2. Participate in at least two interfaith events on campus.  This will be fun and I’m already working on it.
  3. Figure out fundraising – This one is actually very important.  Every other religious organization or church has on going funding from their larger denomination or sponsoring church.  I would like to see that happen here in order to better serve the students.
  4. Finish a few writing projects.  Some are about the Chaplaincy and some are not.
  5. Write my blog more!  This is actually the number two priority – write here at least once a week.  The number one priority is actually:
  6. Teach what I can to the students and find others qualified to teach them what I cannot.  I only know what I know and that is all.  There is so much in this to offer and give to the students that I am continuously looking for new and different people to introduce them to and in the process new and differing views on faith, belief and themselves.

So let’s take this journey of possibility together.  Keep me on track where you can and in the end we will end up in a much better place than we started because we worked together.

And if you want to help out with getting the fundraising part started right away you can always go to our Contribute page.

Many Faith One Humanity

Getting Ready to Leave

Tired, awake, excited, and full of wonder we arrive in London.  The adventure has begun.  Less than 48 hours ago 17 of us waited at the Syracuse airport to board our plane to being 10 days of sites and discussion.  With little sleep during the in between we are safe and sound and through our first day in England.

When we arrived yesterday morning we were greeted by the SU London staff who guided us to the coach that would take us to our hotel – the Royal National.  On the way I was treated to a front row seat (on the left side of the coach) and just took in the scenery.  A little something called The Globe to my left… then a cemetery, churches of all types, and brick buildings that remind me of Mary Poppins all in view.  Traffic on the left side of the road didn’t seem strange, at least not then.  I was tired but ready to get the day started.

Many Faith One Humanity

Lunch and Introductions

We deposited our bags at the hotel, couldn’t quite check in when we arrived but we knew that ahead of time, and then off to Syracuse’s Faraday House; the center for SU London.  Our orientation to the UK was fun and informative on both the joys and the dangers of being a tourist.  I am thankful for the information!  We are also treated to lunch along with introductions to several people on the staff.  So far we are still excited and alert.  I’m amazed at the energy still being so high, especially in myself.

Once done we are back to the hotel to check in, unpack and start on our first event: a walking tour of the local area with Prof Richard Tames.

Many Faith One Humanity

Wisdom and Youth

 This gentleman was a repository of knowledge regarding London history and briskly walked us through the squares, the University of London, past Virginia Woolf’s home, to the British Public Library.  An hour and a half of non-stop information about the area we are calling home for 10 days.  He returns us to our hotel and graciously hands us his complete notes regarding the tour just given.

After our thanks for his generosity we finally have a moment to breathe – 45 minutes until we need to meet and leave for dinner.  I have to say that riding the London tube is an experience, especially when you are entering the Underground for the first time during the end of the day commute rush!  It was wild finding out where to go, herding 17 bodies in the same direction and onto the same commute line, and ending up at the same stop.  Thank goodness we had two guides from London helping us navigate the system; if not I’m sure that we would still be looking for some of our party.

Dinner was at Maroush, a Lebanese restaurant serving family style to our table.  The food, flavors, smells, and comfortable chairs a truly welcome relief.  Conversations all around the table were buzzing on a number of topics and I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more.  But the lack of sleep finally caught up with all of us.  Soon I could see in others a mirror of what I was feeling – a need to close my eyes and let my body rest. 

It has been a wonderful beginning to the trip and I imagine that it can only get better.  Today the Imperial War Museum, a Zen Garden visit, Notre Dame Church, tea at St. Martins in the Fields, the Buddhist Society, and then back to the Faraday House.  A full day indeed.

It has been a whirlwind around me for what seems a long time. Fund raising, working at store and home, Chaplain projects, and winter weather have all combined to make time fly by without notice. But today I honor the passage of time. February marked my first year as a Chaplain. It doesn’t seem like a year has passed nor does it feel like I’ve accomplished much, at least not on the surface. And so I pondered the question: what exactly has been achieved? Well, a lot of things as it turns out. Things that I forgot about or at the time didn’t seem that important as individual moments. But in the long run a great deal has changed. So what has happened in the last year? Let’s see, how about this:

  • My appointment was recognized
  • My best friend and the one who appointed me passed through the veil
  • I’ve found common ground in a shared office with a Priest and an Evangelical minister
  • Language has become a focal point of discussion at the Chapel to try to bring about new ways of understanding between the different faith traditions
  • The students have become public about the fact they exist
  • Churches, educators, and conference organizers are requesting speakers to talk about “being pagan”
  • Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Pagans and Muslims together work in welcoming parents and students to the campus
  • The “mainstream” traditions have “discovered” that they are lacking knowledge regarding the minor faiths
  • I’ve been invited to give blessings over university gatherings
  • We were invited to participate in interfaith dialogue with Daisy Kahn and Brad Herschfield
  • Pagans for the first time are included in the interfaith trip sponsored by the Chapel
  • A psychic fair/fund-raiser was held on campus (that was fun)
  • Rituals of understanding have taken place to help facilitate learning between Pagans and other faith traditions
  • All religious holidays on campus are now equal
  • We have been given a voice or should I say we don’t have to shout anymore because people are listening.

There have been a multitude of changes but the last two on that list are significant. I mean really significant.

First: all religious holidays on campus are equal. The University announced today they are discontinuing the practice of dismissing class for Eid El-Fitr, Yom Kippur and Good Friday – three main Abrahamic holy days. The religious diversity on campus is recognize and because of that the University has a very in-depth policy on allowing students, staff and faculty to take time off to practice their faith. That policy has not changed; however, now all faiths will need to follow the policy rather than being given privileged time off. Faith traditions of all kinds, both major and minor, are now being treated equally.

A student can request time off for Samhain, Ostara, Mabon, and it must be given without penalty. In the same manner Christian, Jewish, and Muslim students must go through the same process when wanting to participate in their religious holidays. No one is “more equal” than anyone else when it comes to faith traditions. The University will extend the Thanksgiving holiday time for students by three days, shifting the three religious holidays to a universal time off. The change is acknowledging the need for students to travel at this time of the year and the importance of staying connected to family. If you want to read more about this change you can do so at http://insidesu.syr.edu/2011/03/09/academic-calendar/.

The second change, the Pagan voice is requested, listened to, heard, and taken into account in the same manner as any other group. I’ve been asked to participate on the visioning committee for Hendricks Chapel. This committee will form the strategic plan for the Chapel which will lead its direction and vision for the next several years. The request outlined the following reason for asking that I be on the committee:

As a chaplain and former staff member, you bring a wide view of life on campus. As a Pagan, you also bring a critical voice to a conversation that has in the past been dominated by a Christian lens. In addition, your ability to critically reflect, dream and envision new possibilities would be a tremendous gift to the committee.”

A shift in how Pagans as a group are viewed has changed. We are no longer considered the “strange group on the quad” that needs to be tolerated. We asked for a place at the table and it has been given as a fully respected partner in change.

I compliment the efforts made and honor the winds of change that have gently blown across this little campus. I look forward to the changes that lie ahead and all that it will bring.

The adventure of a life time began a few months ago when the Pagan students and I were invited to participate in the “Many Faiths, One Humanity” interfaith trip to London.  We were all excited, thrilled that we were finally “included”.  Then reality hit: how are we going to pay for this?  It was interesting to sit in the room and watch the faces move from total excitement to complete terror of “what if I can’t come up with that much money”?  $3600 each – that seemed overwhelming.  Well, that’s when magic happens.

I’ve been asked on a few occasions how far along we have gotten in our fund-raising activities.  The questions of “how much is left,” “what has come in so far,” “what can I do” and a myriad of other little inquiries have been tossed at me all along the journey.  I haven’t answered any of the questions for a reason. You don’t interfere with magic and manifestation while it is still working.  I believe in that fourth pillar of the pyramid – you keep silent.

But today it’s done, yes the manifestation is complete.  Not necessarily in the way that the students envisioned in the beginning.  There was no large donor handing over a huge check, we didn’t see thousands of checks for $10 each coming in the mail, but what happened is true magic.  As we began I told the students simply not to worry; the money was the least of our issues, the Universe had already provided what we needed and all we had to do was the required work.  What was that work?  Allowing ourselves to be open to opportunities that would present themselves which would result in the funding to become reality.  They looked at me like I had grown a second head.  But it was simple magic, simple money manifestation that we needed to do.  Tell the Universe what we needed, not be greedy, and then be open to the results.

I had to explain that what we expect the magic to look like and what it really looks like is usually very different.  That doesn’t matter; what matters is going with the flow and being thankful for the results.  So, let’s see how the expectation and the reality differed.  Each student understood that there was a price to be paid: $3640 each.  I had one student tell me to worry about the others first, she would be okay.  The other students (students of all faiths) were told to go back home and ask their local “churches” to help in sponsoring them.  Hmmm… that was a tough one and I had to explain to the Chapel Dean that we don’t exactly have churches and if the students could find a group chances were it would be small and have very little funding to help.  Second suggestion: have the students talk to their home colleges and see if there was any co-curricular funding that might help them out.  That was a novel idea and we had no idea what it meant, but the students decided to go for it and off they travelled to talk to some Deans.

First piece of magic: one student asked and was granted $1000 from his home college. First set of defeats, kinda: two students are told no funding was available.  But during the one of the conversations a students had a most unusual experience; she saw one of the cards she reads with on the Dean’s desk.  That’s right, one of the cards from her Russian Gypsy Fortune Telling cards.  She knew she had to be seeing things, it really wasn’t there; it was just HER imagining it.  At the same time the words of the Dean telling her no were flying past her like birds.  She heard the words but they didn’t matter.  As she left the office she understood the adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained” and realized an opportunity opening up in front of her.  She emailed the Chancellor of University and explained that even if she wasn’t able to go due to finances that the opportunity being presented was too great to fail.  She explained where she had tried to find funding and asked if the Chancellor had suggestions where else there might be funding that she could pursue.  The Chancellor responded, she granted each student in the program $1000, $12000 total. Second piece of magic falls into place. 

All this time donations were coming in; the pagan community responded and gave what they could.  I had to explain to the students that when pagans give it isn’t necessarily in the form that you are expecting.  Those that had funds to share did, but the bulk gave energy to allow the doors to open and the road to clear so that we could achieve our goals.  That was just as important, if not more so, than actually sending cash.  Gifts come in all sorts of manners.

The magic continued and the Chapel found that somehow it had funds it didn’t have before to help students, based on need, to pay for the trip.  Grants of $900 each were given to those students that applied and now we are getting closer.  The Dean that told our very brave student no, finds out that there is an academic portion to the trip and awards her a $500 grant.  The end was no in sight and my understanding that the money was there all along began to take hold in the minds of the students.  The magic solidifies.  Two events were now being organized to finish out the fundraising efforts.  Both were psychic fairs of a sort.  The first was a milestone; we held it on campus with just the students doing readings.  That’s right, a psychic fair on the campus of Syracuse University.  The cost was a donation of any amount.  The students raised $83.50.  Not bad since most of the people donated $1 for their reading.

The second fair was held about a week later at a local UU Society church.  Dryad Design sent us two very large boxes of statuary and jewelry to auction in order to raise donations and a local stain glass artist dropped off five pieces to help as well.  The event began to take on a life of its own.  I would get calls and emails from local readers wanting to know if they could participate.  People from all areas were giving items to place in the silent auction.  A wine chiller, tie dye t-shirts, wands, pottery, salon packages, are only a few of the things that people could bid on.  And so we began the evening.  Three hours later at the close of the event I began to count the money that had come in.  Magic happened; manifestation was complete.  What we needed had been raised and the three students who required help to go on this trip were completely taken care of.

As of today I can say, we are done.  That’s right, we have hit our goal.

The fourth student, the one that had said to take care of the others first, we are still working on her portion.  I say that in the context that generosity is wonderful when found in another.  Her fees are paid, yes.  But I would like to help her as well so that the burden isn’t completely on her family.  If you wanted to donate and can any funds that come in at this point will go to reimbursing her.   You can find out how on our donation page.  And the efforts of the students are continuing.  We are still waiting on one last grant that may come through this week.  If it does, we will be overly blessed. 

I want to thank everyone that helped us reach our goals through whatever means that they gave.  It all matters, it all counts, and when we pull together, well that is when magic happens.

Several of you have suggested that we use PayPal to accept funds from people for the students.  We took all of your advice, had been working on the account for a while, and we can now accept monies through PayPal.  So if you would like to help out the students in their fund-raising efforts but prefer to use PayPal you can now do so.  Just log into PayPal at www.paypal.com and hit the “send money” button.  Use the email address COTGCampusPagans@gmail.com as the person to send funds to.  This will put the funds directly into the account setup for the student’s fundraising. (It stands for Church of the Greenwood Campus Pagans.)

I appreciate all of the help that has been given so far and all that I know that will be coming in the future. Once again, please pass this along to those you know and those beyond that and may the gods and goddesses bless all of you and your generosity.

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