Gifts and Thank You’s – Editorial

Photo: vec.ca

Gifts, they are on most of our minds this time of year.  We anguish over giving them and receiving them, who needs one, who might give us one, why we give them.  It is residue from that dominant holiday in our culture, at least the anguish is.  Most of the gifts we really appreciate are the ones given from the heart, and specific to ourselves and the receiver.  There is a strong alternative movement against all the commercialism.  Give some cookies, or a hand-made necklace, a poem, hand-made card, or a special artifact of nature.  Give something really personal, these things often have more meaning.

Thank you.  Our thank you conversations are the flip side of gifts.  We always say thank you, but we can’t help but betray what we feel most often.  The enlightened honor that old saying, “It’s the thought that counts.” and really endeavor to feel it.  It doesn’t matter if we already have two, or don’t need want or like it.  It may even feel like an obligation or burden.  Why did we not think of them and have a gift?  Whatever we feel, as we accept it, we also know most times the giver instinctively senses our reaction, and it falls into a couple of categories.  We loved it and appreciate it, we are ambivalent and it is a little awkward, or they sense our subtle dread at the responsibility of accepting it.  However it takes place, we complete the gift-thank you ritual and keep moving, it is that busy time of year.

Twin Cities Pagans

How can we avoid the stress of this time of gifts and thank you’s?   What got me thinking about this was the ending of the Paganistan weekly. What a gift.  JRob took the task of building a network of people, and a place to share personal and community events, applied his love and vision of a better community, and just ran with it.  The list, Twin Cities Pagans had been around since year 2000.  I found the post when JRob got involved , message # 649, Aug 18th, 2008:

Blessings All,
I couldn’t find a place which listed the area Pagan events in one calendar, so I asked Robin and he said I could use the calendar from this group to keep track of events.  So if you want to keep up on local Pagan events, check this group’s calendar.  I’m on a bunch of local groups and I continually add things as I find them.
Oh, and I also updated the links section. But I’m not calling dibs.  I hope that other people also feel free to add things.

Many Blessings, Jrob

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SPC Ancestor shrine and library find new home

With the impending closure of Sacred Paths Center the local Pagan community stood to lose access to two very important community owned resources, the Ancestor shrine and the lending library.  Keys of Paradise, a metaphysical store located in St Paul, agreed to house both the shrine and the library.

Ancestor Shrine to move to Keys of Paradise today

The move began on Monday and Tuesday with volunteers clearing space at Keys of Paradise to make room for the shelves, boxes, books, DVDs, and the shrine.  Today volunteers move the items from Sacred Paths Center to Keys of Paradise.  SPC and Keys of Paradise are asking for anyone who is available to help with the move from 4:45pm today to 7:45pm.

Sacred Paths Center
777 Raymond Avenue
St Paul, MN
(There is no phone)

Keys of Paradise
713 Minnehaha Ave E, Ste 111
Saint Paul, MN 55106-4441
612-293-5397

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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Sacred Paths Center to Close: An Obituary for our Community Center

On May 2, 2012, Teisha Magee, Executive Director and founder of the Sacred Paths Center announced, “After much heartache, soul-searching and tears, it has become clear that Sacred Paths Center cannot continue. Our expenses are too high in this location and we are just not getting enough money coming through the door. All of our resources are tapped, and our volunteers are worn out. By the end of May 2012, we will be closing the doors. We don’t know the exact date yet.”

The SPC has been significant to many in the community. It provided a convenient entry place for those new to the community who wanted to learn about community resources, it provided meeting space for many groups, it had a shrine for departed loved ones, it had a lending library, and it provided the focus that our community had something truly special and rare.

SPC Board Member Mary Oczak said, “I believe it filled a need and performed a valuable function by hosting spiritual and secular events and public rituals and providing informative classes on a variety of subjects. The library, retail shop and ancestor shrine were positive assets to the community.”

SPC Board Member Lola said, “The significance of having the SPC has been huge for me, giving me a social space that also carried the joyous yet solemness of a spiritual space. I hope that there will continue to be a level of SPC to continue, perhaps online.”

In an official statement released by the entire board of directors, it says, “There is a need for a nature-based community center in the Twin Cities.  We believe it can be a sustainable endeavor with the right planning, the right space, and the right people. Community members did come forward in epic ways over the last three years to support the center by giving their money, time, input, and spiritual resources.  SPC operated solely on hundreds of volunteer hours put in by the Executive Director, the Board, and many dedicated volunteers.   We are eternally grateful for this community’s passion.”

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NEWS FLASH: Sacred Paths Center to Close in May

Sacred Paths Center’s Executive Director Teisha Magee issued a statement by email today:

“After much heartache, soul-searching and tears, it has become clear that Sacred Paths Center cannot continue. Our expenses are too high in this location and we are just not getting enough money coming through the door. All of our resources are tapped, and our volunteers are worn out.”

Teisha states the center  will be closing its doors by the end of May 2012.  A  public announcement will follow later.

 

PNC Minnesota will provide follow up information as it is publicly released.

Nels Linde