After the obituary, a post-mortem on Sacred Paths Center

“At 6:25 pm (April 25th) the Executive Director dissolved the board of directors,” reads the last entry in the minutes of the final board meeting of Sacred Paths Center, a Pagan community center in Minnesota. A few days later, on Beltane, Executive Director Teisha Magee sent out an email saying the center closes May 31st.

“Why is Sacred Paths Center closing?” is a question asked by Twin Cities Pagans after reading the announcement.  That question is quickly followed by, “What can we learn from their experience?” by Pagan organizations such as Solar Cross Temple in San Francisco and the Open Hearth Foundation community center in Washington DC.  PNC-Minnesota spoke with past and present Sacred Paths Center (SPC) board members, volunteers, and their last financial auditor, looked over financial records and minutes of board meetings, and interviewed Teisha Magee to answer those questions.

Sacred Paths Center cc wikipedia

In short, most everyone interviewed says the center’s Director and Board were not functional, the finances were in disarray, the building was too expensive, and the resulting drop in income after  two years of  road construction right outside their door didn’t help matters.

Despite that, they are united in saying the center almost made it due to the efforts of the Director, Board, volunteers and the most importantly, the community support.  According to the  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics only 66% of new businesses make it past two years and only 44% celebrate their fourth anniversary.  Sacred Paths Center made it three years and three months.

What Happened?

The public perception of Sacred Paths Center is that it is a non-profit community center with a board.  And normally with something like that the director would report to the board and the board would have something to do with the operation of the center and would have fiduciary responsibilities.  That’s not the case.  – Ciaran Benson, former SPC board member and current volunteer

What happened, the successes and the failures, are of prime concern to Sean Bennett, Vice Chair of the Open Hearth Foundation.  Four months ago they opened a community center and he says his board has been following news of Sacred Paths Center closely. “Even though the center in Minnesota has a different environment and a different dynamic there are lessons we could learn.”  He says they were concerned and disappointed to hear of SPC’s closing, “We wanted to see it succeed.  We want to know more about what happened and we will gather together as a board and see what lessons we can learn.”

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Community Grandfather Seeks Kidney

After 42 years of practicing, Ken Ra has trained about 80 Wiccans, and there are about 300 of his lineage. He has continued to be a pillar of the community through personal adversity. Ken Ra has been a major player in making this one of the greatest Pagan communities in the world. To this day, despite his health problems, he continues to teach four classes a week; three in Wicca and one in Magesmithing, all are free.

Now, Ken Ra needs a new kidney, and you can help. Ken has signed on with the Paired Kidney Program through Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Kidney Transplant Unit. If he can get someone to donate a kidney, (whether it’s a match for him or not) then someone else in the program can get him a kidney. This will drastically reduce the wait, which is usually between 3 to 5 years. Ken needs a kidney sooner than that.

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SPC Fundraiser Deemed a Success

Although the goal amount of $5000 was not reached, Sacred Paths Center’s No Need to Panic fundraiser was considered a success by organizers.  The event, attended by approximately 90 area Pagans, raised nearly $3000.  Official numbers have not yet been released, but board members say that $350 was raised through the Buy a Bowl dinner, $1700 from the silent and live auctions, and $950 from raffling off the emerald and matrix Goddess statue.  Damien Johnson, who was the emcee for the evening, auctioned off  items such as a basket of freshly picked vegetables, swords, a kitchen witch, and original works of art.

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Ken Ra Grandfathering

Over a hundred people gathered on Saturday Aug 14th at Sacred Harvest Festival to honor Ken Ra and his years of passing knowledge.  The event was hosted by Linda Green and an informal circle was cast using the songs “Air Moves Me”, the “Lady’s, Lord’s, and an Ancestor’s Bransle”.

Ken Ra and Liz

Ken Ra and Liz

Over a Hundred People Attended, 42 drove down especially for this event!

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Recognition Ceremony for Elder Ken Ra

A Recognition Ceremony to acknowledge Ken Ra ‘s nearly forty years of service to our community is scheduled to take place on Saturday, August 14th, at 3:00pm in Harmony Park, near Geneva, MN. The ceremony will consist, in part, of testimony and offerings by many of his students and friends describing Ken’s dedication and service, and in his honor. A potluck celebration will follow. Located about an hour from the South Metro, guests can arrive after noon. This event takes place within Sacred Harvest Festival’s last full day, however guests will not be charged admission to attend this celebration.

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