KATHMANDU, Nepal –This past Saturday, at about noon local time, Nepal was struck by an 7.8-magnitude earthquake said to be equivalent to 20 thermonuclear bombs, causing widespread destruction and loss of life. As of this writing, the death toll is reported at over 5,000, and that number is likely to rise as information is gathered from the remote areas closest to the epicenter. As is often the case with powerful disasters, there is a strong desire to help. However it’s not always clear what assistance is going to be the most effective. The Wild Hunt spoke to Peter Dybing, whose experience on the front lines of disaster relief for the 2010 Haiti earthquake gives him a unique perspective on the issue.
Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. Pagan Community Notes is just one of the many regular features The Wild Hunt brings you to help keep you informed about what’s going on in our interconnected communities. If you appreciate this reporting, please consider donating to our Fall Funding Drive (and thank you to the over 200 supporters who have already donated). Now, on to the news…
Pagan prison chaplain Patrick McCollum has penned an open reaction letter in response to a New York Times article about a Southern Baptist Bible college located inside the Louisiana State Penitentiary.
Here are some updates on previously reported stories here at The Wild Hunt. The Temple of Witchcraft Wins Zoning Permission: The Temple of Witchcraft, a religious organization co-founded by author Christopher Penczak, after encountering some resistance from neighbors to expand and make improvements to their new building in Salem, New Hampshire, has received unanimous approval from the local Planning Board. “The Temple of Witchcraft has received final approval to expand its operations on North Policy Street, despite opposition from neighbors. The Planning Board voted unanimously last week to grant the nonprofit organization the permission it needs to relocate from 2 Main St. to a two-story building at 49 N. Policy St.” Opponents insisted this was only about traffic and noise, and not about Witchcraft, though one neighbor did question if the Temple of Witchcraft was “truly a religious organization deserving of a zoning exemption.”
There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. The Pagan Federation in the UK is challenging the Charity Commission in a tribunal hearing after the organization was denied charitable status. Quote: “A Charity Commission spokeswoman said it was denied charitable status as the basis of its beliefs are too loosely defined to constitute a religion, as understood in charity law […] A Pagan Federation spokesman told civilsociety.co.uk that it was appealing to the Charity Tribunal as it believes it missed the Commission’s criteria by “only a hair’s breath” and wants the opportunity to explain its organisation better.” In 2010 The Druid Network had its charitable status approved, the first Druid organization to be so recognized.
Top Story: Though still small religious minorities throughout the world, contemporary Pagan groups have increasingly involved themselves in charitable campaigns, and created charities of their own. In Kansas City, Missouri Gaia Community, a Pagan Unitarian-Universalist congregation, raised a half-ton of food at the 2011 God Auction, which was donated to Harvesters Community Food Nework. It was estimated that the food raised was enough to provide for 795 meals. “…one of the reasons we schedule this fund raiser in the summer is we know it’s a time when donations to Harvesters tend to be low, while demand for food is high with children out of school.” – David Reynolds, Gaia Community member
You can read more about Gaia Community’s efforts by downloading the press release for the event, or visiting their website.