Officers of Avalon, a non-profit benevolent association for Pagan and Wiccan law enforcement, firefighting and emergency medical personnel and their families, has elected Peter Dybing as its new president starting on October 1st. On hearing the news, Dybing commented that “for me this is a great oppertunity to build on and add to the successes of this trusted Pagan organization.” The outgoing president, Kimberley “Windwalker” Long-Ewing, wished Dybing and the rest of the incoming governing board the best, and thanked all Officers of Avalon members “for the opportunity to serve”. Past OoA Presidents, also called Preceptor Generals, have included individuals like Kerr Cuhulain, author of “Pagan Religions: A Handbook for Diversity Training”, and a longtime debunker of Satanic Panic “occult experts.”
While a long-time participant in the modern Pagan community, Dybing, a trained EMT and volunteer firefighter, first gained widespread public attention for his efforts on-the-ground in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, giving us a Pagan perspective of what was going on there. He would go on to volunteer in the Gulf during the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and in August of 2010 was elected First Officer of Covenant of The Goddess for 2011.
“I wanted to serve the Covenant, they do some really wonderful things in terms of interfaith work, public information work, and people doing work in prisons. There’s some great things [COG does] I want to support. I think it’s really important because we’ve made so many inroads over the years that those things continue to get our support.”
Dybing’s tenure as First Officer was marked by its expansive outreach to, and engagement with, the Pagan community. During that year he publicly commented on a variety of hot-button issues, and led an initiative that raised $30,000 dollars for Japan earthquake assistance.
“This project also represents an important moment in Pagan history. Working together across intrafaith boundaries this community has demonstrated the maturation that has occurred over the past few decades. We have established that we are an effective and unified religious community that can respond to world events, take action when necessary and work together in support of achievable goals. Gone is the quietly whispered sentiment that Pagans do not work together or that Pagans do not give to charity.”
It seems certain that Dybing will bring his style of hands-on engagement to Officers of Avalon, an organization of first responders who will no doubt appreciate his “act now” activist impulses. One can also hope this signals a new era of growth and engagement for this organization. My congratulations to Dybing, and to the other board members that were elected.