Help Us Make Our First Impression A Good One

Warm spring temperatures bring the thawing of the snow, and soon flowers will pop their heads up out of the ground, and so will folks who are interested in coming to one of our Grove events for the first time. I always thought that people would be more inclined to think about joining our community during the winter months, when they’re spending more time indoors and have more time to be contemplative. But no, it’s definitely the spring months when people start thinking in terms of spending time outdoors that their thoughts turn to our Grove and the neo-Pagan lifestyle (if there is such a thing). Hopefully those who do join us will find the joy of being pagan all year round rather than just a few months at a time.

In any case, the e-mails I’ve been getting this past week made me realize that we need a new FAQ list for our Web site, since many people want to come to one of our events but aren’t quite sure which one would be best. (And let me just say thank you and bless you to those of you who do realize that we’re an open group and you don’t need permission from me to attend our meetings, you brighten my heart!) So I’ll jot some notes down now, which will both serve as a blog article for today and an outline for something later.

In general, people want to take part in our Grove for one (or both) of two reasons: to be social with other like-minded people; and to be spiritual and/or religious. (If you consider those to be identical and want to know how I’m distinguishing them, that’ll have to wait for a later article, I so don’t have the space for that here.) Some events have more of one than the other, and some really have neither. Of the regular events we’re currently offering:

High Day Rituals
spiritual content: high
social content: high

Lots of us attend, and there’s lots of time before and after the actual rite to socialize. What’s not to love? (The exception to this is if you want to get one-on-one chat time with me, which some people actually seem to want. Generally I’m too busy on ritual day to spend a lot of time talking to any one person, since in addition to helping set up the ritual space and usually officiating the rite and helping clean up after the ritual, there are a few dozen people who want to talk to me about something. No, ritual days are not the time to go over your wedding plans!)

Fire Watch / Fire Lighting Ceremonies
spiritual content: high
social content: medium

Our pre-ritual rituals, so to speak. Nowhere near as many people show up (especially for the indoor winter ones), but still a good time to be both socially and ritually engaged.

Coffee Hour
spiritual content: medium
social content: high

Lots of us attend, but the conversation rarely covers Pagan topics directly. But if you want to meet our members but aren’t quite sure you feel comfortable attending a “pagan rite” just yet, this is probably your best bet.

Liturgists’ Roundtables
spiritual content: medium
social content: low

Our ritual planning is always open to everyone, but generally our members trust us to get things done without them. This is a good place to meet me and a few other members in a private setting, but if you don’t know our ritual format (or don’t care about it all that much), the actual meeting may well bore you.

Producers’ Guild Meetings
spiritual content: low
social content: medium

A few members get together to do craft projects. If you like doing crafts, this may be the best first event for you to attend, otherwise I’d pass. (The head of the Guild may well contest my opinion if/when she reads this.)

Business Meetings
spiritual content: none
social content: low

Only the officers attend, and we discuss finances and calendar planning and such. Do not do not do NOT make this your first SLG meeting. Please. We want you to come back.

An Bruane

Not open to folks who aren’t official members of SLG, so obviously this shouldn’t be your first event. >8)

Various Huron River Watershed Council events
spiritual content: low
social content: low

These are the events we do for our local rivershed protection group as part of our public service to the community. These aren’t really Grove events, and there are seldom more than three Grove members in attendance, and then they usually get split into separate teams. Probably better to come to some other events first.

So there are my opinions. Other grove members should feel free to agree or disagree with any of them in the comments here.

Think happy springy thoughts, and hopefully I’ll see many of you at the ritual on Saturday! (And don’t forget, egg dyeing at the Fire Lighting on Friday!)

Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF

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One thought on “Help Us Make Our First Impression A Good One

  1. (Comments from the original post on our old site:)

    Posted by Lisbet:
    Just my personal opinion…but maybe a bit less of the reading at coffee hour, and more social interaction? 15 minutes of sitting at a table where 6 people are quietly reading magazines is usually enough to send me to the shelves looking for a good book to converse with. Just sayin’. You know I love you guys and wouldn’t miss a coffee hour…
    Sunday, March 16th 2008 @ 7:43 PM

    Posted by Rob:
    Like any event, Coffee Hour’s chattiness level can vary. January’s had twelve people, and was quite noisy, and ran until, well I left around 10:30 and they were still going. >8) There were also a few new folks there so I made sure to talk to them for a bit. February by contrast had all of six people show up (there was snow and bad driving conditions in the morning, and even though it cleared up by late afternoon I think people had given up on driving to Ann Arbor by that point) and no new folks, so yeah, reading time for me.

    So I should lower Coffee Hour to “medium” on the social scale, you think?
    Sunday, March 16th 2008 @ 9:00 PM

    Posted by Lisbet:
    I would put away the magazines unless you are using them to point out something really cool and clever.

    It’s not just social time for new folks, it’s a time for all of us to interact in a non-ritual environment.
    Monday, March 17th 2008 @ 5:00 AM

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