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…

Less than a dollar each, and yet… There will be no plea running pages and pages; no dog and pony show; no Benefit Event. If you can’t step up, Sacred Paths Center closes.

We need $7500 now, right now for a reasonable chance at a future.

For the first half of that amount, $3750, your donation will be matched 50 cents for every dollar you give. If you can give over $250, contact SPC. Our vendors, readers, and healers want to support us, and special perks will be given to large donors.

The next chapter is up to you. The pen is in your hands. Do you write the last chapter by your inaction? Is the door locked and darkness within? Does it end here?

Donations are accepted via Paypal on the Sacred Path Center website.

They have just opened a national public ancestor shrine and sacred spirit altar.

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15 thoughts on “Sacred Paths Center in Crisis – Broke, Closure Imminent

  1. Lynn W says:

    This truly frustrates me as I am working very hard to help bring pgans together and I would gladly help support the SPC to keep it open heck I had even contacted them to see if they would think of opening a second center up here in St Cloud for that is what is needed up here.
    Now is the time for ALL pagans to come together an help support the center to keep it open for those of us who love going there.
    It is time for people to step up and support the pagan community as a whole

    • Julie says:

      Why would they even consider opening a second center in st cloud if all of the twin cities (10x more pagans than st cloud) can’t keep this one open. St cloud simply can’t support something like this. Lets be realistic. However I do have faith that the twin cities can come together.once again.

    • Jude says:

      To Lynn W in St. Cloud. I hope yu see this. You could do it up there if you keep a few things in mind.

      # Figure out exactly what the community center will do for and offer to its people. Do you just need a place to hold meetings and workshops? Do you want or more precisely do you need a shop to sell pagan merchandise and such. Is an outside area needed or at least highly desirable? How many people do you want it to hold? How many rooms, for different workshops/events do you want/need and how big do they need to be? ,,,,,,,,,

      # The people using the space are the ones that have to be able to keep it afloat. If everyone that comes to the center puts some money in the collection jar, that’s a start. Not everyone using the SPC (that can afford it) does that. Even if someone rents a space and makes money with their teaching do they put a ‘personal’ donation into the jar?

      # Have low overhead expenses. Because it’s a matter of incoming revenues being larger than outgoing expenses. Usually you should have 3-6 months emergency fund (working capital) so you can survive even if no money is coming in. This is how you can make a spiritual community center work even if you have fewer people (pagans) than the twin cities. Income needs to be bigger than expenses.

      # Maybe find a member that would be willing to rent an abandoned barn for your use. Remember you just need a space (or maybe more?). If you can some how finance a foreclosed house large enough to hold your meetings and gatherings, even better. I don’t know the law and zoning rules well enough to say if that would work. Owning is much, much better than renting. Renting just gets you a month and if you aren’t putting aside any money that is all you get, one month.

      # It would be great for (an older) pagan that has more space than they need to do a reverse mortgage for the extra space for now and the whole building for later.

      # Do you need to be close to public transportation? Is it OK for the people to walk a few blocks? A Spiritual Center can be in a neighborhood, like a church, but you may need special zoning (maybe, that’s my guess). Having a business selling stuff could complicate the zoning issue. The SPC claims it needs to be close to public transport yet when asked I have never gotten an answer about how many people actually use public transit to get to the SPC.

      # A community only refers to the ones that can actually get to and will use the center. SPC can’t and shouldn’t count all the ‘pagans’ in the twin cities area because a lot of them can’t get to or even want to use the center. And “in the twin cities” covers how much land? How many hundreds of square miles? 100 square miles = 10 x 10 miles. How far away do you really expect people to come from? What is the traffic like in and around the desired area? Will that scare people away?

      # I only come into the cities when I absolutely have to, usually less than once a month. I have occasionally attended things at the SPC and we put some money into the contribution jar when we are there . But we are by no means ‘regulars’ and therefore should not be counted on for consistent support. We donated a good chunk of money for a previous ‘bail-out’ and at one time we were members. We like the idea of a Spiritual Community Center but the SPC was put together in a very short time (for such a large enterprise) and maybe it needs a complete overhaul or even better a new start in a new location. I would advise you to think this all the way through. It can be done, but it needs the right combination of a lot of factors to survive.
      Good luck.

  2. PaganCenteredPodcast says:

    Might be worthwhile to look what the Firefly Tradition does to finance their operations – integrate fundraising right into what their tradition does. That’s how they’re doing so well financing the Pagan Hearth Foundation IMHO.

    We may need to bring fundraising into the core of our practices to make endeavors like this fiscally sustainable.

  3. Eli says:

    I feel so angry and frustrated when people tell me I’m a bad Pagan, or a bad person, because I’m not showering Sacred Paths Center with my money.

    I *wanted* to love them, but there’s nothing there for me. I’m a solitary (don’t need a place for big group rituals) naturalistic pagan (no interest in psychic readings, past-life seminars, or Goddess retreats) whose practice doesn’t involve buying a ton of “stuff” (little need for the store) and who prefers not to have my spiritual community revolve around food (which nixes weekly potlucks). I’ve been on SPC’s mailing list for almost a year and have not seen anything on its calendar that speaks to my “sacred path”. And that’s fine; they’re not required to cater to every Pagan in Minnesota. But then they (or rather, you) don’t get to tell me I’m failing in my Paganistani citizenship duties by not supporting them financially.

    If SPC is in financial trouble, that’s a shame. But, you know, if the *Pagans* in the area aren’t supporting the local *Pagan* center, some of the onus for rectification and change needs to be on the Center, as well. If what they have to offer doesn’t work for the Pagans they’re allegedly offering it to, why should those Pagans be browbeaten every time the coffers run dry, with no inkling of change on the Center’s part?

    • cj stone says:

      CJ Stone here. I’m a board member at SPC.

      I imagine many people feel as you do. First, that we are asking them to shower us with money. Well, I guess if asking folks to give us just $5 every month for the last two years is asking for a shower, I better get a bar of soap. If 400 out of the 10,000 (reported) Pagans in the Twin Cities metro had done that $5 thing, you would not be reading our plea.

      I do know folks who have showered SPC with money. Just the other day, a fellow I know personally rolled up and paid the back rent and didn’t blink an eye. Four figures, it was. And he’s done it before. If $5/month is a shower, what do you call what he did? I hope we can all get some perspective on this and try to stick to what’s going on.

      (FYI, that fellow is tapped, so he can’t do anything like that again for a while.)

      Second, that there’s nothing there for you. I can see that. You’re all off on your own, doing your own thing. No need for community as such. But I don’t imagine you are so unempathic as to think your fellow Pagans also don’t need what you don’t need. You might give because they aren’t as fortunate as you. You might give because you want SPC to be a lighthouse for what could be, for Pagans now and for Paganism in the future. You might give because you are smart enough to know things change, and what you don’t need today you might need a lot of tomorrow, right up to your hips.

      In that same way, you seem to have a different voice, so maybe you’ve got something to offer at SPC. We don’t round up the teachers and force them to give forth on their expertise. They round themselves up. If you exist (and I think you do), maybe others like you exist, and they also are not seeing what they want. You could come on in and teach a class, run your solitary-way up the flagpole, and maybe folks would come out of the woods to talk to you. That would be a little harder without an SPC.

      We could probably jawbone a long spell on what it is that keeps Pagans separate so they don’t support SPC. Murphy Pizza has some fine ideas on it, really useful, such as, “Pagans want control of their divine relationships.” But there’s not much use in such talk today–we’re on a deadline. Pragmatically, we’ve just about decided our revenue stream can’t come from Pagans because Pagans are diverse, and we can’t be the Walmart of Paganism. We’ll have to cater to some other community to keep the SPC open. Of course, the more we do that, the less Pagan SPC will be. But there’s not a lot we can do about that, since Pagans here, there, and everywhere don’t much cotton to low monthly payments to a Pagan community center.

      Finally, you can’t be a “bad” Pagan. There’s no such animal. You can act out your values and decide for yourself if you have hewed to them or not. If you and your gods are satisfied with what you’ve done, fair enough. I do hope other folks will ask themselves if holding back from SPC really fits what they think a Pagan ought to be like.

      I do thank you kindly for taking the time to talk honestly on this matter.

      cjs

      • Eli says:

        Well, I guess if asking folks to give us just $5 every month for the last two years is asking for a shower, I better get a bar of soap.

        >> As an aside (before I’ve even started!), a lot of nonprofits use this as a tactic, and it doesn’t hold much water with me (pun unintended). Sure, it may work a time or two, but if I gave “just $5 every month” to every organization who tried that line on me, I’d have no dollars left in any month.

        If $5/month is a shower, what do you call what he did? I hope we can all get some perspective on this and try to stick to what’s going on.

        >> I fear you may have missed (or misconstrued) my point. Perhaps SPC is *officially* only asking for $5/month, but what I hear unofficially around the community is that anyone who’s not giving to SPC ’til it hurts is a low-down dirty dog.

        But I don’t imagine you are so unempathic as to think your fellow Pagans also don’t need what you don’t need.

        >> I *do* understand that my fellow Pagans might need something different than I do. I also understand that, say, fundamentalist Christians, to whom I can also be empathetic (which, by the way, is the word I believe you’re looking for. Please don’t assume that just because I identify as Pagan I also lay claims to AMAZING EMPATHIC POWERS!!!111!!!ELEVENTYBBQ!!!), need things that I don’t need. But I’m not going to give them money because they are not my community. Unfortunately, I feel the same way about SPC.

        You might give because they aren’t as fortunate as you.

        >> Well, yes, they might be; however, I’m sorry, but I fail to see what a *building* does for those less fortunate. Unless y’all are running a soup kitchen or an emergency hospital for the uninsured, I’m not sure how this argument is relevant.

        You might give because you want SPC to be a lighthouse for what could be, for Pagans now and for Paganism in the future.

        >> This makes a *very* big assumption about what I want, an assumption you don’t know me nearly well enough to make.

        You might give because you are smart enough to know things change, and what you don’t need today you might need a lot of tomorrow, right up to your hips.

        >> If I want insurance, I’ll take out a policy. I wouldn’t dream of asking tomorrow for help from a community that I’m not part of today. *That*, in my mind, is extremely callous and no basis for community *or* fundraising.

        In that same way, you seem to have a different voice, so maybe you’ve got something to offer at SPC. We don’t round up the teachers and force them to give forth on their expertise. They round themselves up. If you exist (and I think you do), maybe others like you exist, and they also are not seeing what they want. You could come on in and teach a class, run your solitary-way up the flagpole, and maybe folks would come out of the woods to talk to you. That would be a little harder without an SPC.

        >> All right. As a little thought experiment. Let’s say I came up to you and said, “Hi. I want to teach a class on atheistic Paganism” (my speciality). Am I going to be embraced with open arms? Or am I going to get a lecture about how “That’s not Real Paganism ™”? I’m asking out of honest curiosity; I’ve experienced both reactions.

        >> And let’s say I *did* teach such a class. How would the lesson go? Um…”There are no deities. The whole world is sacred. So…go play in it! Class dismissed!” Fairly easy to do, SPC or no SPC.

        But there’s not a lot we can do about that, since Pagans here, there, and everywhere don’t much cotton to low monthly payments to a Pagan community center.

        >> Again, I hear you putting the onus *entirely* on the Pagan community. You claim your center is failing because “Pagans…don’t much cotton to low monthly payments to a Pagan community center.” Where is *your* responsiblity in that? I understand your statement that you can’t be the “Walmart of Paganism”. You ain’t gonna please all the Pagans all the time. It’s impossible. And yet, *something* in your model is failing, because the people who *use* your space and services don’t pay for it, and/or not enough of the Pagans in the area feel committed enough (or at all) to it to use the space and services (and then pay for it). Every time SPC has a financial crisis, the same scenario plays out: “SPC is in trouble! Oh, those cheap meany Pagans won’t pay for us!” “Yay! Some people gave us money! Now we will go back to doing things EXACTLY THE WAY WE DID BEFORE and expect DIFFERENT OUTCOMES.”

        >> You are, of course, free to run your center however you see fit. I never claimed that SPC should cater to me. However, rebuking Pagans who don’t use it for its financial crisis is like opening an ice cream shop where every flavor has nuts and then yelling at ice-cream lovers who are allergic to nuts for not buying your scoops so that other ice-cream lovers aren’t deprived

        Finally, you can’t be a “bad” Pagan. There’s no such animal. You can act out your values and decide for yourself if you have hewed to them or not. If you and your gods are satisfied with what you’ve done, fair enough. I do hope other folks will ask themselves if holding back from SPC really fits what they think a Pagan ought to be.

        >> Firstsies, if you’d read my comment, you’d’ve caught the part where I called myself a “naturalistic pagan”. AKA, an atheist Pagan. AKA, no gods to be satisfied with anything.

        >> Second, your bang-up impression of my Jewish grandmother notwithstanding, hand-wringing guilt just isn’t my bag. It’s one of the reasons I moved away from my Judeo-Christian upbringing. *I* believe that when we donate our time, talents, and money to an organization or endeavor, we should do so out of joy, not guilt. That’s mostly what I was trying to get at in my original comment anyway (I admit it might’ve gotten a bit lost): you catch (as my grandmother is fond of saying, sour-tongued old biddy though she is) more flies with honey than with vinegar. Maybe your fundraising efforts would fare better if you reminded the local Pagans who *do* use and love SPC of all the joy and fulfillment it brings them, rather than trying to guilt those of us who *don’t*.

  4. Julie says:

    Part of the communities problem is that we all want something for nothing. We want to meet and, hold ritual, and eat pot luck etc.. But everyone says… I don’t need anymore books, incense etc.. Maybe what needs to be done is that everyone who uses the space must pay to use it and the community needs to say “no” we will not use the library or coffee shop just because it is free. Step up folks because as has been pointed out most communities would love to have what the twin cities has.

  5. powerbeforewisdom says:

    Eli,

    Thanks for pointing out the challenges a Pagan Sacred Space provider faces. Over 50% of Pagans gladly receive services without reciprocating. Around 40% of Pagans reciprocate financially to the value they feel they received (often times equal to the financial costs incurred without time/effort considerations). Finally a tiny core of Pagans feel driven to direct our resources toward shared “Community Services/Projects” even if we don’t directly receive benefit.

    Contrast this with churches where about 50% give sporatically from guilt, and 20% give consistently from a sense of duty/obligation.

    Unfortunately the tiny core of Pagans tend to give more than we can afford to and put ourselves into tight places due to it. I made this mistake a couple weeks ago with a festival we hosted. I’m STILL scrambling to pay my rent. (How silly can you get? DUH!)

    It’s SOOO easy for us to try to avoid personal responsibility by becoming angry at the others who “didn’t carry their share.”

    “I wouldn’t be here if they did their part…” we think. Of course, we don’t like to admit that we wouldn’t be here if we drew healthy lines which prioritized our personal needs.

    Of course, that leads to the next stage which we’re seeing in this post. Even if we draw lines, after a while it can become frustrating to sacrifice consistently for the benefit of a constituency which doesn’t seem willing to sacrifice back for the purpose. As the frustration grows it’s easy to start a vicious cycle of alienating the persons who DO donate by expressing anger/frustration at the lack of support which leads to greater challenges and greater anger/frustration.

    I wish I had a solution, but the best one I’ve found so far is to keep an organizations monthly obligations down to 30% or less of the average of monthly receipts for 1 year. The difference can be spent for current services, but future commitments shouldn’t be made with it. That way as donation levels fluxuate the organization doesn’t dip into the red which leads to the desperate clawing for money.

    I feel bad for the leaders of this organization. Clearly they’ve given to the breaking point and are hurt and frustrated that it’s time to cut services due to lack of support. It hurts to see something with so much potential which provides so much value have to retreat or die.

    I wish them well on either making the necessary cuts or letting go and finding something new they can find joy in.

    • Jane R. Hansen says:

      I don’t think you should blame thousands and thousands of strangers. If you don’t care about them and their needs, why should they care about you?

      “If you build it, they will come” only works in the movies.

      And yes, I’ve contributed to your temporary flotation device. Not as much as last time because a) I can’t afford it and b) You don’t seem to be making any progress toward a sustainable model.

      But, though I don’t find the SPC of any use to me, it has incredible potential. I’ve thrown my little bit of hope your way. Let’s see if you want to serve a greater community or just stay insular.

  6. cjstone says:

    I can’t see how to reply to Eli’s reply, so I’m just posting here.

    You are right, that’s what non-profits do. They point out how little you need to give to support them. It’s a tactic, but it isn’t false.

    It would ring false, though, to say, “I have donor fatigue; therefore, no one gets my money.” I rather expect you to rank the requests and give your charitable money to the ones on top. If SPC ranks too low to get any of your charity, so mote it be.

    No matter what, it’s still about you knowing your values and acting them out to the satisfaction of you and your gods-or-whatever.

    cjs

    ps Yes, we would entertain a class on atheistic Paganisms. I myself am antheist (“questions about gods don’t matter”), and the fellow who designed and built our ancestor shrine (https://pncminnesota.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/national-ancestor-shrine-opens-in-paganistan/) is a poly-atheist. He won’t grant any spirit the status of “god”.

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