MPCA’s 20th Anniversary!

One and All!

Please join us in celebrating the 20 year Anniversary of the founding of the Maine Pagan Clergy Association!

The Maine Pagan Clergy Association (MPCA) was incorporated on November 21, 2001 as a non-profit religious organization, with a focus on providing support to Pagan Clergy in the State of Maine.

In time, the MPCA also created a pathway to licensure, thus allowing Pagan Clergy a route by which to become legally recognized in order to provide services in healthcare settings, prison ministry, and officiate life-events like weddings.  Since that time, the MPCA has grown into a multi-function organization that encourages leadership-skill development, networking opportunities, and various support services.

Please join us as we celebrate 20 years of service to the Maine Pagan community and beyond. 

You can find us on Facebook and the Interwebs!

For more information about MPCA you can email us at:info@mainepaganclergy.org

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A Response Letter from the Maine Pagan Clergy Association.

 A recent letter (An Open Letter to the Pagan and Greater Communities) was posted to various Maine Pagan websites regarding the illegal and unethical activities of one of our community’s leaders. This letter was one to which many members of the Maine Pagan Clergy Association affixed their names.

 While the individual in question is not a member of the Maine Pagan Clergy Association, we believe it important to hold each other accountable, and to address issues impacting the well-being of our shared communities.

 We, as a non-profit organization, have no say regarding the operations and decisions of other organizations.  What we do take a stand on is the expectation that all Pagan leaders, and especially those in positions of authority, be held to a high standard of ethical behavior.  (http://www.mainepaganclergy.org/statement-of-ethics/)

  From the MPCA Board of Directors

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An Open Letter to the Pagan and Greater Communities

An Open Letter to the Pagan and Greater Communities

As elders and leaders in the Pagan community, we are obligated to look to the welfare of our community,  new seekers and long-term members, of all our varied traditions. We also have a responsibility to the State and our non-Pagan neighbors, friends, and fellow citizens. With this responsibility in mind, we are obligated to report a serious crime and breach of trust.

A recent audit of EarthTides Pagan Network’s finances revealed the unauthorized withdrawal of thousands of dollars. As an NPO (Not for Profit Organization) we have a duty to report suspected activity. Therefore, the suspected embezzlement by the former Treasurer of EPN, Lorelei Jones, was reported to the Department of the Attorney General for investigation.

A collective of community leaders has reviewed the facts surrounding this situation, including statements Lorelei herself has made, and cannot in any manner endorse her as a public representative of the Maine Pagan Community. It is our belief Lorelei should not be leading public ritual, giving sermons, presenting workshops, doing readings, or otherwise promoting herself as a person that others will seek for teaching or guidance. We do not believe her behavior is representative of the Pagan community in any way.

Our goal isn’t punishment or shame. It is truth and reconciliation.

First and foremost in our minds is the protection of our community and all those who come to us seeking a living, earth-based spiritual path. That is why we have put our names to this letter. If anyone would like to speak with us, or a Pagan clergy-person, we are here for you. Please reach out to us.

Yours in service,

Ginger Roberts-Scott
James Lindenschmidt
Janine Marie Gorham
Joie Grandbois
Joy Eosswith Auciello
Julia A. Gustafson
Kerry M. Robinson
Kevin E. Emmons
Michele A. Littlefield
Nikki Starcat Shields
Paul S. Ridlon
Shannon R. Rooney
William Andrew Perkins

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Let the Cats Wander

It’s been said that organizing Pagans is like herding cats. I’m a lifelong cat lover, and I wonder if it’s not better to let the cats wander where they may. That being said, as Pagans who consider ourselves clergy, don’t we need some cats, um, some Pagans to wander around with? How do you serve your Pagan community?

There is, of course, the traditional path of serving as High Priestess or High Priest of a coven, circle, or grove. But there are many other ways to serve. You might be devoted caretaker for a patch of wild land, offer writings or healing sessions, be the go-to person for your local Pagans when they need a sympathetic ear, deliver interfaith services at a UU church, volunteer at prisons, hospitals, or hospices, or many other options.

The MPCA is now in the midst of its second decade. The EarthTides Pagan Network is even older, having been around since 1989. The needs of the Pagan community in Maine have changed over the years. I’ve noticed over the past few cycles that our Pagan organizations have fewer participants and volunteers, and wondered what, if anything, should be done about it.

Where do those cats go when they wander, anyway? Well, to the internet, if the popularity of Facebook (and in particular, the Maine Pagans group page) tells us anything. To Popham Beach Beltane, which is still a heavily-attended gathering that has become a spring tradition for many of us. Back to the land – the number of Pagans getting involved in permaculture and other green avocations is increasing, which is a wonderful thing. To help our aging population live their final years with grace. To teach and encourage the next generation of Pagan kids.

As members of Pagan organizations, it’s rather challenging to know what we should offer in order to support the Pagans who are out there doing the work in their communities. We can offer, as MPCA does, space for clergy to gather and share their concerns, as well as a means to official licensure for those who seek it. We can provide, as EarthTides has for years at the Common Ground Fair, outreach to Pagans who might not be aware there is support available. We can offer educational workshops on topics of communal interest.

What other ideas do you have? What would you like to see MPCA offer in the coming months? What would you like to learn about that would help you as a member of the Pagan clergy? Where have you seen your cats wandering off to lately?

 

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The Pagan as Professional Chaplain

I ran across this recent article, and thought it might be of interest to MPCA people.

The Pagan as Professional Chaplain

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New Website is Live

Greetings all, as of today this new MPCA website is live! Please let us know if you see any problems with it.

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Why Pagan Clergy?

At the most recent MPCA meeting, we were discussing outreach, as well as our place as clergy in the Pagan community. One of the attendees mentioned that she posted to Facebook that she was coming to the meeting, and that it sparked a comment thread. Most of the people in that thread were at the very least suspicious, if not downright incredulous, at the very notion of a Pagan clergy, associating it with the prevailing power-over paradigms of clergy from monotheistic religions that dominate our culture.

These concerns are quite legitimate, it seems to me. Indeed, one of the main attractions to paganism is an escape from a religious paradigm in which one’s experience of the divine seems mediated by a clergy person or another hierarchy of sorts. Some of the commenters in the Facebook thread openly wondered if we were trying to impose such a hierarchy.

Of course, this is not our intention. The existence of the MPCA is purely pragmatic. The essence of clergy is service, in the sense that the clergy member is in service to his or her community, providing counseling, officiating at ceremonies such as weddings,  etc. Many of these functions are legal in nature, with laws that govern them. A wedding is an obvious example of this.

However, some examples are more pressing, and potentially even tragic. For instance, imagine a scenario where a Pagan is sick or injured in a hospital, and requests his or her circle, grovemates, or covenmates to come and spend time with them, possibly for healing or even for an end-of-life ceremony. If there is no legal recognition of clergy status, it is within the hospital’s power to deny entrance to the grove or would-be clergy person to come, despite the patient’s wishes, if the person is not immediate family.

Situations like this are why MPCA exists in the first place, to provide a legal infrastructure for Pagans doing this sort of work in their communities (no matter how big or small their communities are) to be credentialized. And in addition to credentialization, our other main function is to be a support network for those of us acting in this role as clergy.

MPCA provides support — both legal support and fellowship — for those in service to their Pagan communities. Nothing more, nothing less.

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New Website

Welcome to the new MPCA website! With this new design we hope to bring our website a bit more up-to-date, and enable it to be more easily maintained. Rather than a separate Calendar page, instead each event will have its own entry on this page, and they will be tagged with the EVENTS category so you will easily be able to find events.

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