The international Druid organization Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF), founded in 1984 by Isaac Bonewits (who served as its first Archdruid), and now one of the largest modern Pagan organizations in existence, has elected a new Archdruid. Rev. Kirk S. Thomas, the new Archdruid, was elected effective May 1st, with a formal Installation ceremony taking place May 28th at the ADF Nemeton at the Brushwood Folklore Center in Sherman, NY. Thomas previously served five years as Vice-Archdruid, and succeeds Rev. Robert “Skip” Ellison as Archdruid. Thomas is the ADF’s fifth Archdruid, preceded by Ellison, Rev. John “Fox” Adelman, Rev. Ian Corrigan, and Rev. Isaac Bonewits.
“The ritual was very moving and magical for me. For my ordination I was presented with a new Stole to symbolize my commitment to my vocation, and for the installation I stood with a bare foot on a stone with a footprint carved in it, the other foot still in a sandal on the ground. This liminal posture was to connect me to the lineage of all those Archdruids who have served before me.”
In addition to being the ADF’s new Archdruid, Thomas also serves on the Board of Directors of Cherry Hill Seminary, and is in the process of creating an ADF Order and seminary at Trout Lake Abbey in Washington. In a statement on his vision for the future of ADF, Thomas emphasized the need to grow and reach out to isolated individuals and smaller groups.
“One of the things that attracted me to ADF was Isaac’s vision of the future – a time when ADF congregations support their own buildings and land, their own day-care centers, their own retirement homes, etc. and become visibly active and respected parts of the community. As a public religion, we reach out to the Pagan community with our open, public rituals and activities. But we need to grow. Member services need to be streamlined and made more efficient, and our clergy need to reach out beyond their own groves to those solitaries and smaller groves whose members can never make it to an ADF festival. I believe that with careful management and attention to detail our church can continue to grow and once we reach critical mass, the future will be ours. I am committed to a strong and vital ADF, and with the help of the Kindreds, we shall make Isaac’s vision a reality.”
To find out more about ADF, you can check out their website, follow them on Twitter, or “like” them on Facebook. On a personal note, I’d like to extend my congratulations to Rev. Kirk Thomas. I had the pleasure of briefly serving with him on Cherry Hill Seminary’s Board of Directors, and I found him to be capable, good-natured, and detail-oriented. He will no doubt lead this Druid organization to ever greater heights, and be the kind of responsive and forward-thinking leader the modern Pagan world needs now more than ever.