Pagan Community Notes: TDoR 2017, Interfaith Podcast, new Pagan survey, and more

TWH – Today marks Transgender Day of Remembrance. People around the world are honoring those people that have been lost in 2017 due to transgender-related violence.  There services and rituals that are being held specifically within Pagan communities. Trans woman Brianne Ravenwolf of Circle Sanctuary will be co-facilitating a ritual, which will live stream on Facebook at 1 p.m. central. We spoke with Ravenwolf in 2016 for our annual TDoR article. She said, “For me [TDoR is a] very solemn day and has been.

Part Two: The Experience of MountainTop 2015

These are critical and challenging times. But, your leadership blesses us, your passion for justice inspires us, and your determination to make a difference for racial justice and equity in our own day gives us hope. – Reverend Doctor Katharine Rhodes Henderson, president of Auburn Theological Seminary
Dr. Henderson offered these words to the participants at Auburn Theological Seminary’s MountainTop 2015 convention. As reported Wednesday, I was able to sit down live with several attendees to talk about the programming and their experiences. In that article, I highlighted the unique adventure that is MountainTop and how the 3-day program is structured to allow for creative collaboration and safe engagement.

Part One: The Experience of MountainTop 2015

This week, in the city of Atlanta, Auburn Theological Seminary is hosting its biennial “convening of faith and moral leaders.” The event is called “MountainTop” and is described as a summit that “advances a multifaith movement for justice.” In 2013, we reported on the last summit, held in Nashville. In that article, we featured a conversation with Aline (Macha) O’Brien, who was one of the four Pagan participants at that year’s event.For the 2015 conference, I was able to sit down live with a group of six women, during their lunch hour, to talk about the process of MountainTop. The event began Monday morning, June 8, and will continue through Wednesday.

Reflections on MountainTop with Aline “Macha” O’Brien

On June 17, 2013, religious leaders from around the country met in Nashville, Tennessee at the very first MountainTop Summit. Held at the Vanderbilt Center for Better Health, the three-day event “uniquely focused on exploring the shape and priorities of this nation’s multifaith movement for justice in the 21st century.”  MountainTop was founded and presented by Vanderbilt University’s Divinity School, Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City, Imaginal Labs and Synthesis Corps.  In a press release, they explain:
“In sessions designed to discuss organizing, collaboration and new media, among other topics, the summit [equipped] leaders with the tools, methodologies, and relationships to inform their work on a range of issues — from immigration to marriage equality.”
MountainTop was attended by over 80 participants who are “working in the sectors of education, media, research, community organizing, arts, and culture [and] whose work is rooted in their faith and values.”

In attendance at this unique and progressive event was Aline “Macha” O’Brien known to many as M. Macha Nightmare. In February, she was invited to attend the event by way of friends and her association with Auburn Theological Seminary. Macha said, “anything that would foster collaborative efforts towards social, economic and environmental justice among different religions was something I’d like to participate in.”  So on June 17th, she packed up her bags and headed for Nashville. I had the pleasure and the opportunity to speak with Macha about her experience at MountainTop.