Well Known Pagans Join in Japan Relief Effort

Several well known Pagans have joined with Peter Dybing in his effort to raise $30,000 to assist victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  Selena Fox, Starhawk, Patrick McCullum, T. Thorn Coyle, Anna Rowe, M Macha Nightmare, Star Foster, Jason Pitzl-Waters, Morgana, Ivo Dominguez Jr, Holli S Emore, and Katrina Messenger have all made statements in support of this charity initiative.

Dybing has set up a fundraising page to gather donations from Pagans to send to Doctors Without Borders. This organization has teams on the ground in Japan and is setting up medical treatment centers.  Dybing chose Doctors Without Borders after seeing the great work they did in Haiti to assist earthquake survivors there.  ” I am recommending them due to their level of accomplishment in Haiti saving lives. Additionally, when this organization raised enough funds for its Haiti response it stopped accepting donations. It is important to recognize that organizations have a logistical limit as to how much they can accomplish. By suspending fundraising this organization demonstrated a commitment to spend funds wisely and not just take the opportunity to raise unlimited cash as other large NGO’s did.”

Not only is giving to a charity such as Doctors Without Borders in line with Pagan ethics, it’s a way for Pagans to donate as Pagans and be recognized as such.  If you would like to make a donation, please click this link.

As of press time, just over $14,000 has been raised in the 72 hours since the effort started.  There have been 212 donations with an average donation of just over $55.00. Donations have come primarily from individuals with about 5% coming from organizations.  Peter Dybing says he would like to “encourage people who may not have a lot of money to participate by giving smaller donations of $1.00 – $10.00” (Disclosure:  I have donated to the Japan Relief Effort and as Chair of International Pagan Coming Out Day I have publicized the effort on our facebook feed)

Below is a Press Release by Peter Dybing along with statements of support from Starhawk, Patrick McCullum, T. Thorn Coyle, Anna Rowe, M Macha Nightmare, Star Foster, Jason Pitzl-Waters, Morgana, Ivo Dominguez Jr, Holli S Emore, and Katrina Messenger

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Give Christmas Back to Christians (and perform good deeds)

In a recent essay Pagan author, T. Thorn Coyle, asks

“anyone who is not a Christian and who celebrates Christmas: what exactly do you think you are doing? Why are you contributing to this beast, this monster, this creature that not only feeds on the sweat of poor people around the world but simultaneously takes more and more money to just maintain its caloric requirements? Why have you – atheist, Pagan, Christian, or Jew – been taken in?”

That’s an interesting question to ponder and her entire essay is worth a read.

If you are not celebrating Christmas on Saturday, what could you be doing instead?  You could be living out your religious ethics of service to the community by volunteering for Meals on Broomsticks this Saturday.  Spend a few hours helping others – and bring your family and older children along.

UMPA, the Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance has, for the fourth consecutive year, signed up with the Union Gospel Mission to serve meals to senior citizens and low income families residing in two high rises in the Twin Cities. This service commitment requires 8-15 people willing to share a part of their day serving meals, chatting, and maybe even singing a carol or two.

When – This Saturday December 25, 2010 (our fourth year!!)
Where – Meet at the Union Gospel Mission- located at 435 E University Ave.
in St. Paul. It is just East of I35E and North of East Seventh.  MAP

Time – Gather at 11.15am, we load up and drive away shortly after 11:30 am so be prompt.   Contact us if you plan to attend!

UMPA says that dressing up for the occasion adds to the fun, so get out your elf, Santa, or Grinch costumes.  Nels Linde and Judy Olson say that the food is really secondary to the people they deliver meals to, it is the time and attention that the elders receive that is so greatly appreciated.    They also noted that the meal delivery is usually done by 1:30pm and the volunteers then go to Cecil’s Deli for a fun lunch.

Paganism Featured on Prominent Religious Website

Via the Wild Hunt:

Patheos.com, a web site dedicated to religious and spiritual dialog, has been running a special series this Summer looking at the future of religion. Each week focuses on a different religious tradition or movement, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam, and several others. This week the focus is on modern Paganism.

Jason Pitzl-Waters spoke with spoke with Star Foster, Patheos.com’s Pagan Portal Manager, who stressed to him how important it is for our communities to consider our collective future(s).

“The Future of Pagan religions is even more fascinating because we’ve never conformed to the future laid out for us. We were saying we would remain a fringe, occult community and now one of the cast members of the most popular cartoon show for the past 20 years has become Wiccan. We were insistent about transmitting information orally or by handcopying and now the internet has made Paganism an open-source community. You can find our classics at your local library. We’re growing and diversifying yet the concept of our future is very hazy to most of us. There are people who have been active in the community for decades who have no idea just how diverse we have become or how much we have grown. It’s safe to say that there are millions of us worldwide. Even if we only number 2 million, that’s still huge compared to 10 years ago. How many of us will there be 10 years from now? How will we respond to and accommodate that growth? How do we enter the mainstream without out losing our dynamic, autonomous qualities?”

Star Foster and Patheos.com have assembled an impressive line-up of modern Pagans from a wide array of faiths, traditions, and perspectives to give their input on the subject. This week will see contributions from scholars like Helen Berger and Sarah Pike, renowned Pagan journalist Margot Adler (check out The Wild Hunt interview), author Christopher Knowles, mystic and ritualist T. Thorn Coyle, and several prominent clergy and leaders, including M. Horatius Picinus, Pontifex Maximus of Nova Roma.

Ms Foster noted that being granted equal standing with the other major world religions on such a well-respected and high traffic website doesn’t happen every day.

For an entire week, the focus of a major religion website will be on US. Wow. I don’t think this has happened before. It’s really kind of mind-blowing when I think about it. We’re being given equal time with Catholics, Mormons, Buddhists and Evangelicals.

Along with reading these extremely interesting and thought-provoking articles, Star Foster invites you to get involved in this special week:

I’m only one person though, and I could really use your help. If you like what we are doing here and you’d like to see us continue to promote thoughtful writers from diverse Pagan backgrounds I’d love it if you would make a small donation of time.

All this week I will be posting links to Facebook and Twitter, and towards the middle of the week I’ll be sending out a new newsletter for the Pagan portal. If you could share my Facebook posts, retweet my tweets and encourage people to sign up for the newsletter this week it would really help to make this series a smashing success, and ensure more interesting Pagan series to come!

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