September lies in the heart of Pagan Pride season, where communities large and small come together to celebrate all that it means to be Pagan. On Pagan Pride Day in many places, one of the public components is the act of giving back, such as hosting a food drive for the homeless. Many Pagan Pride Day celebrations are held in parks, as one requirement of these events is that the festival be held in a public venue. At these times, those who have little to no knowledge of Paganism can find the best of any local community in one place during one day. Whether through the variety of rituals, music, vendors, or religious organizations on display, a local person who might have an interest in Paganism can seek and find answers to questions. For those who already consider the Pagan community home in some sense or another, Pagan Pride events are also the perfect places to find role models or mentors.
HOUSTON — “Texas has never seen an event like Harvey,” says FEMA Administrator Brock Long. The category 4 hurricane made landfall Friday 10 p.m., bringing sustained winds of 130 mph. It has since been downgraded to tropical storm, but that does not eliminate the dangers and threats to the region. “The storm is forecast to head southeast toward the Matagorda Bay and Gulf of Mexico where it will pick up additional moisture before sliding back over Galveston and Houston, cities it’s already hammered,” as reported by CNN. Due to the storm, Houston Pagan Pride Day (HPPD) was cancelled.
TWH –This is the time of year when, in advance of the nearly-inevitable “real witch” stories that are written in October, many Pagans try to shape the public image of their religions by participating in local Pagan Pride Day events. While not all of these are affiliated with the Pagan Pride Project, that organization’s model is why the bulk of PPD celebrations take place in late summer or early autumn. Sanctioned events are expected to include press releases inviting media coverage, public rituals, and fund raising for a charitable cause. According to the Pagan Pride Project website, the rationale for a charitable component is:
A food drive or other charitable activity, to share our abundant harvest with others in need, and to make a clear statement to those who have misconceptions about Paganism. We know that our ethics, based on concern for ecology, personal responsibility, and individual freedom, mean that we feel strongly called to actions of social responsibility.
DENTON, Tex.– Eight months after a fire damaged its building, Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship came together in a newly constructed space to celebrate and recommit to its mission. As we reported in December, the Denton church was repeatedly vandalized by a single teenager, who eventually set fire to the building. At the time, Rev. Pam Wat said, “The damage from the fire is significant, but not overwhelming.” Since that point, members were invited to hold their services in the First Christian Church, located across the street. As noted by Denton CUUPS chapter coordinator John Beckett, “They displayed the best of Christianity.”
BUTLER, Mo. — The Sacred Well Congregation, an “independent, non-evangelical Wiccan Church,” announced Thursday that it has become an “Ecclesiastical Endorsing Organization for the Department of Veterans Affairs.” The announcement reads, “We will now be able to endorse qualified clergy from Wicca and Earth-Centered Spiritualities who wish to apply for chaplaincy positions with the VA.” The Sacred Well Congregation needed to meet a number of very specific criteria to qualify for this designation. These requirements included things such as functioning exclusively as religious ministry, being a tax-exempt religious organization, and agreeing to abide by “all federal, VA, and VHA laws, regulations, policies, and issuances on the qualification and endorsement of persons for service as VA chaplains, federal employment, and veterans health care.”