Volkshof Kindred, a Heathen 501c3 organization located in the Twin Cities, recently purchased a building to be used as a Hof. A Hof is the name for a temple building in Old Norse. The group says this is the first dedicated, group-owned, public heathen Hof in North America. The residential building, which the group is currently renovating, is located in a northern Minneapolis suburb.
Volkshof Kindred on Facebook
Hof location: 5319 Oliver Ave N, Brooklyn Center, MN
To donate: Paypal (link on website) or send cash or check
to PO Box 290241 Minneapolis, MN 55429.
Donations are tax-deductible.
For more information: email Webmaster@volkshofkindred.com
The Kindred says the Hof will provide space for their board meetings, rituals, symbels and other religious and social activities. It is also available to other heathen groups to rent for workshops or retreats. Previously, the group met at the home of one of the group members. As the Kindred desired to have a public Hof, Chris ‘Gunnar’ Miller, who heads the Hof, says continuing to meet in a private home was no longer a viable option, “As a public entity, we have a responsibility to open our doors to newcomers. This sometimes means opening our doors to strangers, which carries a much higher potential for problems when our meeting space is someone’s home. In addition, as our kindred and our regional circle of friends widens, we are becoming more pressed for space when we get together, which has become more and more stressful for me and for my family. We needed and wanted a space that was truly sacred and dedicated to the gods and goddesses and that was the responsibility of the group. We wanted a space and a resource that we could share with the larger community to foster the growth of our folkway.” Miller hopes that this will be the first of many dedicated, group-owned Hofs in the United States. He feels public Hofs could lend heathenry some legitimacy and credibility.
Miller says the building was purchased through a fundraising effort that started several years ago, “So far, our fundraising has been slow and steady in general, although we were able to obtain a building much sooner than expected due to the very generous donations of a few friends. Now that we have the property, we need to continue raising money to repair and remodel the space, and on an ongoing basis to cover operational expenses such as property taxes, utilities, maintenance, etc. We are in the process of creating a short and long-term budget plan that will give us a better idea of how much money we will need on an ongoing basis.”
He stated that persons who donate “notable amounts” will be commemorated with a plaque in the new Hof.
The search for a suitable site for the Hof started with the idea of rural land, but the group changed their mind and opted for a residential building in Minneapolis. “At one point we had considered buying land in a rural area and building an intentional community, including a hof. However, this would really only be feasible for a few members of our group and doing this would spread our group out. While the idea of a large natural and undeveloped piece of land was an attractive one, we all agreed that one contributing factor to the success of our group is proximity to each other and to the hof, so we did not want to go with the rural idea,” explained Miller.
What they decided to buy instead was a ranch style home with a yard. The green space is needed as Heathens hold their rituals outdoors at all times of the year. Outdoor space was also needed for land wight shrines and a playset for children. The location is one that Kindred members, and the public, and easily get to and in near public transportation.
Jude Croyle, a probationary member of the Kindred, is excited about how having a dedicated, public Hof will benefit the Kindred and the local Heathen community, “The activities we once performed in a residential house filled with a wonderful family can now be practiced in a dedicated space, which will be available to all Heathens. A substantially large Heathen library, Heathen art collection, and ancestral paraphernalia will have a decidedly grand showcase. The simple fact that there will be an entire footprint of sacred land and structure to practice our Folkways will be of great benefit to all.”
In addition to being a probationary member of the Kindred, Mr. Croyle is a substantial donor to the Hof. In addition to organizing a series of benefit concerts to help with the operational costs, he plans to make further donations “in order to provide a dwelling in which the Folkways, our Gods and Goddesses, Ancestors and Wights will be able to be honored, remembered and hailed frequently.”
The Kindred are not only seeking donations to cover the cost of expenses like property tax and utilities, they are also looking for volunteers to help renovate the building into a usable and beautiful sacred space. They hope to hold their first official blot in the new Hof for Yule 2011.
” ‘We are our deeds.’ It is often said, and my Kinsmen and Kinswomen live this phrase every day. We’re passing this outlook and responsibility on to our children. We’revenjoying our fellowship as we bring into the light the Faith of our ancestors, the lives of our Gods and Goddesses, the presence and need of the Wights and the Luck that success can bring to the Folk,” says Croyle. “A Heathen Hof being raised on the continent, likely the first public, non-profit owned structure is a substantial deed and hopefully will generate interest in the ways of our folk and allow the lives of our Gods and Goddesses to live on in the hearts and homes of a larger and stronger Heathen community overall.”