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  • Community Center Hits Goal

    Sacred Paths Center, a Pagan community center serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, sent out a message in early July that they were in dire fiscal straits and needed over$12,000 dollars by July 31st if they were to avoid closure.  After a series of fundraisers,  matching funds, and individual donors from across the country CJ Stone announces Sacred Paths Center hit their goal and will remain open.

    The board of directors has voted to keep the Sacred Paths Center open and will begin to further cut operating costs and to re-focus our staff and center on our core mission and competencies.

    At the next regularly scheduled meeting (Wednesday, August 10, 2011), the board will hear proposals from several committees to improve the level and quality of service we offer our members and the community; to ensure SPC stays strong and has the resources to act; to become a strong advocate in the metro area for our essential mission and promise. – Statement from Sacred Paths Center

    The center announced $13,140 had been raised during the past month.

    One of the fundraisers held, a Harry Potter Birthday Party, took place at the center on Friday, July 29th.  Attendees were invited to come dressed as a character from the series and enter the costume contest.  Other activities included Potter trivia and wand crafting for kids.

    
    
    					
    
    				

    Earth House Donates to Sacred Paths Center

    Starting in 2009, Earth House Project pledged to donate 25% of the proceeds from their Midsummer Gather to the Sacred Paths Center. Last Saturday, Earth House Project presented Sacred Paths Center with $978.62 in fulfillment of that pledge.  This is in addition to the donation of $937.24 Earth House presented to Sacred Paths Center in 2010.

    Earth House says they make donations of this type to support an organization whose mission parallels their own. “We are particularly pleased that this donation comes at a crucial time for SPC. Only by working together can we build and grow.  We hope other groups with the income to do so will also contribute to our community Center as we have.”

    On July 7th, Sacred Paths Center announced they were in a financial crisis and needed immediate funding or they would close their doors.  CJ Stone, SPC Board member and Spokesperson, said they needed to raise $12,000 by July 30th.  That would allow the community center to pay the outstanding bills and make the changes needed to steer the center in a direction that is financially viable.  As of press time, the center has raised $9795 towards that goal.

    Earth House Project is a tax-exempt, non-profit, volunteer community working to build a resource center in the Twin Cities area for people of all nature-reverent spiritual paths.  Their goal is to create a Pan-Pagan Community Center to allow all Pagans to have permanent sacred space for ritual, be a beacon for newcomers in the community to find others to worship with, and provide meeting rooms, office space, and other needed services. The group plans to donate profits from rental of halls and meeting rooms back into the Pagan community.

    Editor’ note: the article has been updated to include the current amount raised by SPC.

    SPC Launches “Change and Grow Fundraiser”

    The Sacred Path Center has raised $6275 of their $12,000 goal. They have instituted immediate plans to aid raising the remaining $5725 of their goal though a  “Change and Grow Fundraiser”.  This list from their website  includes;

    1. The gift shop will have a “Change and Grow Sale” to eliminate slow-moving stock and reduce overall stock for targeted re-stocking. The sale will be announced July 22 and run to July 29. On July 29, we will also have food available for sale as a whoop-te-do to end the sale.
    2. We will auction on EBay a very valuable personal item CJ Stone has donated from Loui Pieper’s estate. We hope not only to get a good price for the item but to garner national attention from many different kinds of people. Continue reading

    Sacred Path Center – Update – Interview with CJ Stone, Board spokesman

    The Sacred Paths Center (SPC)  Board met for their regularly scheduled meeting last night, however all scheduled business was tabled to focus on the financial affairs of the Center. A board quorum was present, and several Board members contributed to the discussion by phone.  The SPC website now has installed a fund-raising thermometer to depict their progress toward the immediate $7500 goal, of which half will be matched by other donations. They are currently at 20% of this goal.

    *NOTE.  The Sacred Paths Center is continually updating their website with fund raising progress and new events.  Please check their website for updates on their current situation !

     

     

    CJ Stone, Board member, has been delegated spokesman for the Sacred Paths Center. I was able to interview him last night,  Friday July 8th, after the Board meeting.

    What is the financial status of the SPC?

    CJ Stone, Board Member, spokesman:

    The immediate needs to keep the doors temporarily open were covered. The Center needs 7500 dollars to continue to operate through this month. The Board has decided that 12,000 was what we needed by midnight of July 30th or we will close the facility. If we can secure that 12k dollars, we can pay our bills to zero and have a positive balance to keep the center open and by able to steer the Center in a direction that will be financially viable.

    What changes would make it viable? Continue reading

    Sacred Paths Center in Crisis – Broke, Closure Imminent

    From The SPC website: http://sacredpathscenter.com/  :

    Sacred Paths Center, the Spiritual/Pagan Center, open to all, first of its kind in the United States, is broke.

    “What, AGAIN?”

    Yes.

    “Now why?”

    Simple: lack of YOUR support. This message will reach thousands and thousands, but how many of you will care enough to do anything?

    A physical banner has been put in the ground here, proclaiming this area as sacred to us; SPC is that banner. “Pagan Community”, “Paganistan”…it seems they are just words. There are thousands of us here in the Twin Cities metro, and among us all, we can’t give $3000 a month to keep that banner standing open. What does that say—really say—about “Pagan Community”? Less than a dollar each, and yet… Continue reading

    National Ancestor Shrine Opens in Paganistan

    Sacred Paths Center opens national public ancestor shrine and sacred spirit altar.  Names of Honored Dead from around the globe can be inscribed on plaques and pilgrimages to make offerings welcomed.

    Ancestor shrine and Spirit altar at Sacred Paths Center in St. Paul, Minnesota

    “We hope people will treat the shrine like the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.,” said Mr. CJ Stone, a board member at Sacred Paths, “a pilgrimage to hand down as a tradition, a place where they can go and see the names of their significant dead and honor them. And not just humans. We hope people will remember their animal friends and family, too.”

    “People talked a lot about having a shrine like this,” said Teisha Magee, executive director of the Sacred Paths Center. “An altar where anyone could come and light a candle, burn incense, put up a name plaque, or otherwise honor those who have passed the veil. Three of our members—Volkhvy, Ciaran Benson, and CJ Stone—came together with one mind and created exactly that.”

    The shrine was designed and built by Volkhvy, who has been working in wood for over 30 years. He put over 120 hours into constructing the shrine. “I built this entirely of wood—without metal of any kind— to reflect the Shinto aesthetic that informs it. It has an ample altar area to use for offerings and to leave
    memorabilia. It also has a large vertical area for name plaques.”

    “I was very impressed with Volkhvy’s design,” said Ciaran Benson, a Shinto priest who spent two weeks finishing the shrine. “I was right up against this thing, sanding it, so I know intimately every aspect of it. It is beautiful, graceful, large without imposing. I’m proud to have the names of my family, friends, and pets displayed here.”

    “Well, I hardly did anything,” said Mr. Stone. “Volkhvy and Ci put their sweat into this and their blood—literally. I just listened to our members and brought the idea and the money to Volkhvy and Ci. But I really can’t say how glad I am to have this. My wife was a prominent figure in Paganistan. When she died, there was no place to memorialize her. Now there is. Hers was the first plaque to go on the shrine when it was finished.”

    “The shrine is open to everyone,” said Ms. Magee. “We aren’t checking your Pagan credentials at the door. Candles and incense are available on the altar. Some folks like to leave flowers, food, or other offerings. For a small donation, Sacred Paths Center will inscribe an oaken plaque to go on the shrine. It’s like a small headstone, you get to choose the text and you can include a special message. There’s a plaque request form on the Sacred Paths Center’s website.”

    Sacred Paths Center (SPC) is a member-supported, non-profit community center serving alternate religions in Paganistan (the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro region) and is the only Pagan community center currently in operation in the USA.  SPC emphasizes Earth-reverent spirituality, but their goal is to provide quality metaphysical merchandise, intuitive services, education, and practice space for seekers of all paths.

    Editor’s Note:  To read an excellent editorial on the value of honoring your ancestors, please read Galina Krasskova’s article, Indigenous Heathenry.

    (excerpt)

    Let me be very clear. The first thing monotheism (and colonialism) did was disconnect us from our ancestors, from our roots, from that precious, precious knowledge of who we are and where we come from. It gave us instead a filter of disconnection, repression, over-intellectualization, excessive stoicism, fear, greed, and confusion. It did this so well that, as I noted above, many of us don’t even realize that we come from indigenous roots; we don’t recognize the filter. Today many Heathens and Pagans talk about reconstruction and restoration, but what does that truly mean? I think reconnection is a far, far better word, and that reconnection begins with the dead. It begins with our willingness to work at that connection. Most of all, it begins with a return to our own indigenous worldview.

    So how exactly do we reconnect? As one wiser than I said, one ancestor ritual at a time, one offering to the Gods, one prayer, one thread at a time. Each time you honor your dead, you’re doing something revolutionary. You’re subverting the status quo, a status quo based in colonialism, oppression of our folk ways, and greed. Fight that system. Be subversive.

    Celia in Concert Saturday

    What could Twin Cities Pagans do to pass the time while their Christian friends get raptured on Saturday? They could go looting, offer to care for pets left behind, or they could listen to Celia at the Sacred Paths Center.

    Celia: In Concert
    Sacred Paths Center
    Saturday, May 21
    7:00pm – 9:00pm
    Tickets – $12

    Celia Farran is perhaps best known and beloved in the Pagan community for her song The Symbol, which helped galvanize the grass roots movement that forced the Veterans Administration to act justly and allow for the Pentagram to be engraved on the burial markers of veterans.

    Celia Farran, photo from the video shoot for "Walking the Labyrinth"

    Celia has been touring the upper Midwest while filming a video for her song The Labyrinth and stopping in the studios of Simply Folk on Wisconsin Public Radio.  To judge by facebook comments, she has been blowing away audiences with her mix of powerful lyrics and smooth vocals – especially on her remix of Everyday Goddess.  Celia also throws in a bit of improv comedy, which shouldn’t work during the same performance as the serious and many times sacred nature of her lyrics, but somehow does.  Perhaps it is for this, her ability to manifest “mirth and reverence” on stage, that cause some of her fans to call her a Goddess.

    PCOD Celebrations Draw Crowds

    Just over 20 Pagans attended the local Pagan Coming Out Day celebration at Sacred Paths Center on Monday, May 2nd. The celebration started with a libation and prayer to Hestia, strengthener of family and community bonds, for those Pagans in our community planning to ‘come out’ to someone they know. Champagne cocktails and desserts then followed with a screening of the documentary American Mystic“Speaking as someone who was there, and has been semi-closeted for 35 years, this was simply fabulous,” said Karen.  The movie, which was signed by director Alex Mar, was donated to the Sacred Paths Center library.

    International Pagan Coming Out Day Chair, Cara Schulz, spoke to the group about Pagan Coming Out Day and how it was impacting Pagans around the world.  “We have received messages from Pagans in the US, Canada, Russia, France, Columbia, South Africa, and the Philippines to name a few countries.  Very positive stories about the events they are holding, about coming out to friends and family, and about how the religious community has supported them,” said Ms. Schulz.

    Ms. Schulz estimates that hundreds of Pagans told someone they know they are Pagan on May 2nd and many more indicated they are considering it after hearing about the mostly positive outcomes on the organization’s facebook page. Others simply decided they would stop hiding their religion and would speak the truth when asked.  Thousands of more ‘out’ Pagans wore something that identified them as Pagan as they went about their normal business as a low key way to push back against stereotypes and show our numbers.  As a sign of how popular the day was, just under 300 t-shirts with the IPCOD logo were purchased in the last 3 months.  “I think it was being able to marshal the support of the community that gave the strength, comfort, and encouragement needed for people to take this step.  Plus the excellent Guide to Coming Out put together by IPCOD committee member Drake Spaeth, PsyD, gave people tips on how to actually have this conversation, said Ms Schulz.  “It’s one thing to say “come on out!” – but it’s another to say this is how you can do it and we’re right here with you to support you.”

    Continue reading

    Local Celebration of International Pagan Coming Out Day

    From a formal High Tea to a rally on the White House lawn, Pagans across the globe are celebrating Pagan Coming Out Day on May 2nd with local events and rituals.  The Twin Cities celebration includes cocktails, desserts, and the screening of American Mystic – a movie that the Wild Hunt called “the best documentary involving modern Pagans that this generation has seen.”

    The event takes place May 2nd at the Sacred Paths Center and is open to all Pagans and Pagan allies, no matter if you have been ‘out’ for ages or are not yet able to be open about your Pagan spirituality.  It directly follows the usual Monday night Pagan Potluck and the event is offered as a free gift to the community.  An opening Hellenic-style libation to Hestia, a Goddess that strengthens the bonds of family and community,  kicks off the evening, with champagne cocktails, non-alcoholic drinks and desserts to follow.  Once everyone has their treats, the movie American Mystic will be screened for the first time in the Twin Cities area.  The documentary opened at Pantheacon to rave reviews. More about the movie below.

    Pagan Coming Out Day Twin Cities
    May 2nd – Sacred Paths Center
    7pm to 9pm

    Pagan Coming Out Day is an international movement created to be complimentary to Pagan Pride events. It’s a day when individuals, deciding on their own terms, stop actively hiding their religious identity to someone in their life. It’s also a day when our religious community comes together to support those coming out to a person or group and celebrates the more public emergence of their Pagan identity.   The not-for-profit organization behind Pagan Coming Out Day says they are “working to achieve greater acceptance and equity for Pagans at home, at work, and in every community.” To learn more about Pagan Coming Out Day you can go to their website or friend them on facebook.

    Chuck, a Lakota sundancer in the badlands of South Dakota

    Morpheus, a Pagan priestess in southern California

    Kublai, a Spiritualist in upstate New York

    AMERICAN MYSTIC is a documentary about three twenty-somethings, each a member of a fringe religious community, who have separated themselves from mainstream America in order to live immersed in their faiths. Kublai, a Spiritualist in the former revivalist district of upstate New York; Chuck, a Lakota sundancer in the badlands of South Dakota; and Morpheus, a Pagan priestess living off the grid in old mining country in southern California. Rather than an analytical, journalistic approach, AMERICAN MYSTIC takes a personal, visually lush approach, immersing the viewer in the subjects’ experience of their controversial faiths through their own words and worship.

    Editor’s note:  Cara Schulz, editor at PNC-Minnesota, Chairs the Executive Committee of International Pagan Coming Out Day.  Jason Pitzl-Waters, Project Coordinator of PNC and author of the The Wild Hunt, also serves on the Executive Committee.

    Sacred Spaces Part 5 – Funding and Sustaining a Community Center

    Sacred Spaces is a series that looks at successful examples of modern Pagans creating and maintaining permanent places for worship and fellowship. In this segment, we look at how Sacred Paths Center, a Pagan community center in St Paul, made it through a financial crisis that could have closed its doors and emerged financially sustainable.

    In Part 6 of Sacred Spaces, we talk with Sacred Paths Center Executive Director Teisha and Board member CJ Stone about the profound impact the community center has had on the Pagan community in the Twin Cities and why it is worth the effort, sweat, and money to have a place where Pagans can be Pagans.

    Previous segments of this series can be seen here:
    Part 1 – Temple of the River: Getting started
    Part 2 – Temple of the River: Challenges and Construction
    Part 3 – Temple of the River: Funding
    Part 4 – Sacred Paths Center: Birth of a Community Center

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