Ever since our founding back in the day, ADF has always strived to be a public and outward-looking organization. I don’t fault other people and groups for wanting to be closed and private if that’s their choice, but I’ve always felt that Paganism as a whole need to be more “out there”, both to improve our public image and to better honor our gods and our ways. That was just one more way in which ADF was the perfect place for me, and I still feel that way fourteen years later.
One requirement for ADF Groves that ties into this view is our public service requirement. At least once per quarter, every Grove must do some kind of service work for a local charity or nonprofit. (And even though our Groves are nonprofit organizations, working with ourselves doesn’t count. >8) In past years, SLG has done lots of field work with the Huron River Watershed Council, food and dry good drives for Food Gatherers and the Humane Society, and once we even cleaned up a section of a MetroPark where someone had dumped a month or two worth of garbage among the trees. I learned some interesting things that evening, like how bad a turkey carcass can smell, and also that illegal dumpers generally aren’t smart enough to remove the evidence from their trash that would point right back to them, like, say, envelopes with their address on them.
For the current quarter, we’ll be doing another food and dry good drive for HARC, collecting the items at our Lughnasadh weekend on August 6th and 7th. Hopefully there will be a little less torrential downpour this year than there was last year, so we may actually get more than two bags’ worth of items!
One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is looking for a service activity that would actually get lots of us together at the same time and place and in the public eye. Food drives are very helpful, sure, but that just gets us a line in a list of donors on someone’s Web site. And the HRWC events are very visible, of course, but it’s been years since we’ve had more than two or three people attend one. I’d love to see a sizeable group of Druids show up somewhere and do good works in front of other people, for at least one of our quarterly events. Obviously we have to pick something that people would actually show up for, as too many of our Grove events are getting too little attendance these days. Ooh, there’s a thought, have one of the High Day rituals at a soup kitchen and trick everyone into showing up! But seriously, does anyone have any recommendations for something we could do as a group in real time?
On an unrelated note, don’t forget that our Grove Picnic will be next Sunday at Bandemer Park from noon to 6, and will include a saining ritual for Janek Hartzer, a Roman-style Ludi Apollinares ritual, and me trying to tune in the World Cup final on my portable radio. I may also pick up some discs to try out the disc golf course there. Please bring a dish to pass!
Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF