COLUMBIA, S.C. — After the rise in reported cases of vandalism and threats made against U.S. Jewish Community Centers and temples, the Interfaith Partners of South Carolina (IPSC) took immediate action and reached out to the area’s Jewish community. Pagan priestess Holli Emore is on the board of IPSC and attended a February meeting between the organization and a local JCC management team. “As it happens, they are very worried, as nearly all JCCs are, about enrollment for the summer children’s programs. Without that income, their budget becomes very challenging, and without being able to serve children, there goes their mission, too,” said Emore. The JCC representatives informed IPSC’s board that Jewish centers around the country have had “so many parents pull their children out of the preschool that they are facing closure.” In response, the IPSC will being help the local JCC with an April festival to show support to the local Jewish community.
Isis Books & Gifts, a metaphysical store located in Englewood, Colorado, erected its new sign after the original was destroyed by vandals. As we reported in November, the bookstore’s sign was destroyed shortly after the terrorist attacks on Paris and Lebanon. At the time, bookstore owner Karen Charboneau-Harrison told local news, “I don’t know if somebody walking down the street just saw our name on the sign and kind of lost it for a moment and threw a rock through it … or if it was an ignorant person who actually thought this was a bookstore for terrorists, I don’t know.”
The vandals were never caught, but Charboneau-Harrison immediately had a new sign created. However, this sign is slightly different. On a blue background, it reads “Goddess Books & Gifts” with an image of Isis to the left. And, the website graphic now reads the same.
On Sunday, June 13, a wildfire exploded in Willow, Alaska, about 80 miles north of Anchorage. According to reports, the wildfire went from covering 2 acres to 6,500 acres within a matter of hours. Gov. Bill Walker has declared the region a “disaster area,” with an estimated 1700 people displaced from their now-destroyed homes. Along with residents, firefighters have had to rescue hundreds of sled dogs, as wells as goats, sheep, horses and many other local animals. Making its home in Willow and now nestled within that devastated region is the Alaska Pagan Community Center (PCC). Fondly called “The Land,” the PCC is a “non-profit Nature Sanctuary and Earth Retreat Center … where people can come out to … celebrate the changing of the seasons and create a relationship with others and the earth that sustains us.” It was purchased just over 5 years ago and has served the local Pagan community ever since.
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. Our hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started!
On Jan. 21, the Pagan History Project announced its official launch on its public blog site.
“If it can be done in the South, it can be done anywhere….”
A 2012 Gallup poll showed that 7 of the top 10 most religious American states are in the south east. A Pew Forum study expounds on that statistic noting that “The South, by a wide margin, has the heaviest concentration of members of evangelical Protestant churches.” Of these top ten states, South Carolina is number six. Of the estimated of 4,723,723 residents between 72-90% are protestant with up to 50% being evangelical. Informally, South Carolina has the reputation for being the “go to” state for evangelical Baptists. (Pew Forum, “Key Findings on Statistics on Religion in America”)
Considering that data mixed with a few assumptions and a pinch of extrapolation, why would any Pagan consider moving to South Carolina?