The Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance (UMPA) reached its fourth anniversary and invites the community to help celebrate it. The event takes place at Sacred Paths Center on Saturday starting at 4pm. Organizers of the celebration say all community members are welcome for this free evening of fun activities.
UMPA is not only celebrating an anniversary milestone, the group is celebrating the accomplishments of the past four years. Started during what has become known in the Pagan community as “The Quest,” the struggle to gain approval for a Wiccan symbol to be placed on fallen Wiccan military members headstones, UMPA hosted the Veteran’s Pentacle Rights Ritual. This ritual took place on the state capitol grounds and garnered national news coverage for the issue.
(See Pagan+politics coverage of UMPA formation and project, the Pentacle quest, and links to national press coverage, here)
After the VA buckled under pressure and approved the pentacle, UMPA moved on to other projects that exemplify Pagans living out the ethics of our religion. UMPA stayed active supporting military Pagans, sending Pagan soldier support packages to seven distinct groups in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They’ve shipped about 170 pounds of books, amulets, herbs, incense, ritual supplies and tools, and personal items donated and collected at area shops. UMPA serves meals to the elderly on Christmas as part of a Meals on Broomsticks community service project and wrap holiday presents for a women’s homeless shelter. Recently, they started a new project that allows them to serve meals at a homeless shelter once a month. UMPA participates in the Adopt a Highway project, cleaning a very visible stretch of highway on 1-35E. (See prior PNC coverage of UMPA highway cleanup here) As part of their desire to continue to bring various Pagan groups together to effectively work for Pagan civil rights and positive social change, they hosted a community leadership workshop on consensus process and meeting facilitation.
Penny Tupy, Vice President of UMPA, says this list of accomplishments are something the entire community can be proud of and celebrate, “This celebration isn’t just for members of UMPA. We are coming together for sacred experience, to celebrate our advances in civil rights, and to talk with old friends and make new one. And it will be a fun time.”
Entertainment for the event includes Murphy’s Midnight Rounders and tribal dancing by Kamala Chaand. Attendees will also settle a community dispute – who makes the better red sauce for pasta, UMPA Action Chair Judy Olson or Don from Coven of the Standing Stones. Don has a reputation as a fabulous cook and is often found in the kitchen preparing food for the coven and their guests. The cook off will take place during the celebration and attendees receive a full meal of the competing sauces in return for a donation. Judy feels confident there will be a clear winner, “My sauce is a wholesome and robust combination of veggies, olive oil, wine, garlic, herbs, and spices. It might win, or Don’s will. Either way we all eat and we all win!”