Pagan Community Notes: Patrick McCollum, PFI-Ukraine, Mills College and more

Patrick McCollum has announced that he will be awarded the 2016 Ralph Bunche Medal For Peace by the International Human Rights Consortium. He will be receiving the medal at the UN’s Commission for the Status for Women held in March. McCollum explained that the Peace Medal was named after Ralph Johnson Bunche, who was “an American political scientist, academic, and diplomat who received the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his late 1940s mediation in Israel.”  It was designed and sculpted by Alex Shagin, the world-renowned metal sculptor and coin designer best known for designing Olympic medals and other similar items.

In his announcement, McCollum also said that he will be the last recipient of the award and that he is thankful to “the many friends and colleagues who have supported and encouraged [his] work for World Peace over the years.” He added, “I share the honor of this award with all of you.”

Pagan Community Notes: Huntsville Alabama, PAEAN Conference, Oberon Zell-Ravenhart, Witches in London and so much more!

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. If you enjoy this series and our other recurring entries, please consider donating to our 2014 Fall Fund Campaign. Your support and donations make it possible for us to keep sharing the news and these important stories with you. Now let’s get started! 

The Interfaith Mission Council (IMS) of Huntsville, Alabama has announced that Wiccan Priest Blake Kirk is scheduled to offer an invocation before the Nov.

Pagan Federation International helps flood victims in Serbia and Croatia

EASTERN EUROPE — The Balkan region of Eastern Europe is suffering under the pressure of extreme floodwaters unlike anything they have seen in recent decades. Serbia and Bosnia have been the hardest hit as waters from the River Sava and River Danube swell well beyond their banks. The area has been declared a disaster zone with rising casualties and “tens of thousands” homeless. Now that storm waters have now crested and damage is being assessed, the Pagan Federation International (PFI) divisions in both Croatia and Serbia have stepped in to help their countries recover. Similar to the response by the Pagan Federation International Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, PFI Croatia and Serbia have both mobilized to provide disaster relief within their own communities.

Russian Pagan Community Cleans Up Vandalized Sacred Stones

On May 3, for the second time in two years, two stones long associated with pagan worship, were vandalized. The stones are located in Kolomenskoye Park in Moscow. Vandals spray painted “This is sin!” and “Idolatry” on the two stones. Area Pagans, who came together to clean the stones, suspect radical Christians for the vandalism.

A Brazil federal ruling states Candomblé and Umbanda are not religions

[Note: This article was updated to reflect changes in the case that were made public after publication. See below.]

BRAZIL — On April 28 a federal judge in Brazil stated as part of an official court ruling that “African-Brazilian cults are not religions” because their “religious events do not contain [the] necessary traits of a religion.” The ruling continues on to define these necessary traits as “a basic text (Quran, Bible, etc.), a hierarchical structure and a God to be worshiped.” (O Globo, 5-20-2014). In the opinion of Federal Judge Eugenio Rosa de Araujo, Candomblé and Umbanda do not meet that definition. The ruling was the outcome of a case filed by the Federal Public Ministry or Ministério Público Federa (MPF) in Rio Janiero. The MPF is the public prosecution office whose mission is “to promote … justice for the good of society and in defense of the democratic rule of law.”