Pagan Community Notes is a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note series, more focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. I want to reinforce the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So lets get started!
Top Story: Pagan chaplain and activist Patrick McCollum has recently returned from the first International Conference on Transforming Conflict in Amman, Jordan. The event centered on dialogues with youth and adults from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and other countries, for which McCollum served as a speaker and facilitator. “It is clear to me that the younger generation in particular, has a clearer vision of what it means to be a global citizen, and it is this shift, in my opinion, that gives us hope for a better future” said McCollum, praising the Arab and Israeli youth who attended the conference. During the conference McCollum also met and spoke with Sharif Zeid Bin Hussein, the cousin of King Hussein the II, and former Jordanian Prime Minster Taher Nashat al-Masri.
“His Excellency was very gracious in his invitation to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed our discussions. Over the course of the evening, we touched on US-Arab relations, the Palestinian–Israeli conflict, the part youth has played in the Arab Spring revolutions and beyond, and new ways to move forward toward peace.”
In addition to his work at the conference, McCollum also met with local Bedouins, and visited the famous sacred sites Petra, Mt. Nebo, and one of the possible sites of Jesus’s baptism by John. In summing up his trip and experiences, McCollum said that “it is clear to me that I will return once again to the Middle East, not only to Jordan, but also to visit Palestine and Israel. And I look forward to once again to be present in the company of the many new friends I’ve made in each of these countries. I firmly believe that drawing on the touchstone of our common humanity, rather than focusing on the age-old narrative of our geographical and cultural differences, is the key to world peace.” The Patrick McCollum Foundation blog is now posting his daily thoughts from the trip if you’d like to know more about his experiences in Jordan, and the work of the conference.
In Other News:
- Sacred Paths Center, a Pagan community center serving the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (aka “Paganistan”), has been able to reach its fundraising goals, and will be staying open. The center announced $13,140 had been raised during the past month, they needed to raise $12,000 to restructure for long-term survival. You can read all of my coverage on this story, here.
- Dead, Mad, or a Poet: A Journal to Faerie, a biannual magazine devoted primarily to poetry, fiction, articles, and art by Pagans, has released its inaugural issue. The first issue features contributions from Kathryn Hinds, Catherine M. Wilson, Kerry Higgins Wendt, and several others. It is edited by S. C. L. Amis, a contributor to No Unsacred Place, and a member of the Pagan Newswire Collective’s editorial team. The magazine is available in both print and PDF formats.
- The planned movie adaptation of Starhawk’s novel “The Fifth Sacred Thing” has reached its first fundraising goal. Nearly $62,000 dollars was pledged towards making a professional pitch video to the major film studios. This is an astounding achievement for Internet fundraising within the Pagan community, doubling what was raised earlier this year for Japan relief. At the project’s website, Starhawk writes that “Lammas is also a time for gratitude, and I am deeply thankful for all the wonderful support we have been receiving in so many ways.”
- COG Interfaith Reports has posted another report from NAIN Connect 2011, the annual meeting of the North American Interfaith Network. This time from Covenant of the Goddess member Rachael Watcher, a longtime interfaith activist, who was elected to the Executive Board of NAIN in 2010.
- Devin Hunter and Rowan Pendragon’s Modern Witch podcast features an interview with yours truly, in which I discuss The Wild Hunt, the Pagan Newswire Collective, my own podcast, and why building our own media is important. You can download the audio file directly, here.
That’s all I have for now, have a great day!