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Thread: Pagan Clergy

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tensen
    I have a strong opinion on the need for a clergy.
    But I've come to the conclusion that we need to start defining our own terminology.
    Exactly!!

    Quote Originally Posted by tensen
    Looking at it accurately, I see many people don't even define clergy in other religions exactly. In jewish faiths, Rabbis, are just teachers. That all they ever really claim to be, although you may expect more of them.

    We are looking at the aspect of clergy as the one that speaks to the divine. We expect each of our people to be able to do so.. and as such they are clergy. Well at least I think that was the intent when the ball started rolling, but I don't think thats what we can current say. I see lots of people that are there to gather at large rituals, but otherwise don't perform rituals on their own or converse with the divine.
    I think our clergy has two aspects of the community to serve -- and it's fine that some people only serve one of them. These two are the 'covens' (however constituted and named). The small groups of people with a specified level of knowledge and training. And there is the wider Pagan community which includes people with almost no knowledge or experience. Obviously rituals for these two groups need to be quite different.

    Quote Originally Posted by tensen
    Looking at everyone as teachers... well more and more people are advancing just a short distance along the obvious paths and chosing to go no further. They are welcome to that choice... but I don't expect them to become the teachers of the future either.
    No one can really train for all possible aspects of clergy. It's necessary that we all specialize at least to some extent.

    Quote Originally Posted by tensen
    Training:
    Jewish Reformed Rabbis may take 3-5 years in a seminary school...although for the most part that isn't a very strict track.. because the same time period is fit into the 1st year of seminary school for a Conservative Seminary.. and then they have another 4 years to go. Obviously that shows there is limited consistancy within the simple faith of Judiasm.... and I think we will find that it has a lot more similarities to itself then trying to compare all the Pagan faiths into a single clergy.

    But what aspects do they train in their seminaries? What things do the Christians teach?
    And out of that, do we decide what the Pagan Clergy should have?

    Or do we decide to look at our community's needs and define the needs of the Clergy from that?
    To design NorthWind's clergy training, I started by attempting to prepare them for situations I'd been presented with. I also think that clergy should be as knowledgeable as possible about their own path and about Paganism in general.

    Since then both my students and I have found more aspects which our community wishes to have clergy who are knowledgeable. Our program presents guidelines for areas of study and each student designs their own specific program in line with their own sense of where they need to be.

    A few things are obvious: counselling, group dynamics, ritual design and technique, leadership/administrative skills and so on. Once those are planned, the field opens way up and it's necessary to pick and choose. Our upper degree studies usually take 4 to 7 years to complete. There's no rule on this, but clergy needs to 'have a life' as well as study.
    Blessings

    Grey Cat
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Cat
    I do this a lot. It's a good technique.

    In the case of students, I teach them to listen this way. I also try to teach them to learn to communicate more clearly so that they can be heard by everyone. Writers have to learn not to allow their personalities to rule their communication -- and to define their terms at any point where a word has developed a lot of baggage. I think 'clergy' needs to learn to do this.

    I teach a mantra, "Words are magic, treat them with respect". Using the Humpty Dumpty rule that words mean what I say they mean is always very tempting but is deadly to one's communications skills.
    Yes, I agree. Part of the reason that I burned out early in my field was the realization that too many professionals knowingly allow their personal values and beliefs to influence their actions and ethics.

    I do like that mantra, very powerful.
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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freyja
    Yes, I agree. Part of the reason that I burned out early in my field was the realization that too many professionals knowingly allow their personal values and beliefs to influence their actions and ethics.

    I do like that mantra, very powerful.
    Burn-out is a really serious problem in Pagan clergy. My impression is that it's decreasing slightly -- there are more people taking responsibilities and a lot has been emphasized on taking time for yourself, saying "no" and so on.

    And it's true that our clergy isn't immune to confusing their personal beliefs, etc. to apply to all Pagans. Notable in my mind is some "Lady" posting on the death of a child something implying that it was wrong to be sad. SO hurtful.

    I suspect people who read my stuff get a little tired of my pulling out the (digital) dictionary all the time but there's no point having a conversation if you are talking about two different things!
    Blessings

    Grey Cat
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  4. #24
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    maybe some people wont like this.. maybe some will, but variety is the spice of life right?
    i think pagan 'clergy' would be a bad idea. what's wrong with the way we are now? if there were an actual clery or counsil, or whatever name would be given, people like me would be left out for the most part. i am solitary and eclectic.. i do what i do, always for the good, but not always by tradition.
    there's my two cents

    blessed be
    LadyLeo

  5. #25
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    There are many forms of pagan clergy and they serve a purpose. For example if you want to be handfasted you have to have it done by leagally recognized clergy of some sort or a sea captian.

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  6. #26
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    yes.. i know there has to be some sort of clergy for marriages and things like that, which we have already. the impression i got from 'clergy' is something organized, maybe like the catholic church or something similar. that's what i think is a bad idea. we've been perfectly fine for a lot of years and i just dont see any reason to mess with it, thats all

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by LadyLeo
    yes.. i know there has to be some sort of clergy for marriages and things like that, which we have already. the impression i got from 'clergy' is something organized, maybe like the catholic church or something similar. that's what i think is a bad idea. we've been perfectly fine for a lot of years and i just dont see any reason to mess with it, thats all

    We already DO have clergy in that we have teachers, ritual leaders (people who can marry and bury) coulsellers and so on. We don't (except in some cases) any true heirarchy but that doesn't mean that we don't have people who provide many of the sorts of services that ministers, preachers, priests, etc. of other religions provide.

    I personally think we should retain our preferences for unsalaried, "living-room" trained clergy. Yes, the more training the better in some ways and I have no major argument with Wiccan/Pagan seminaries and such, but when clergy becomes a career choice and is expected to support the individual completely, some undesirable things can happen. Size becomes extremely important, hanging out with other clergy students at an early age can often lead to intellectualizing one's religion and since the clergyperson's income depends on contributions, those in the "church" who are well-off become more important to the clergyperson than poorer members of the group.

    Certainly in traditional Wicca, the optimum group size prevents any possibility of earning one's living that way.

    On the other hand, I think it's more than merely appropriate that when a Pagan clergyperson performs a service for individuals or the community, that they be paid for this service. If they perform a wedding they've put at least 3 hours of time (and probably travel) into it, when they organize a gathering they put untold hours into it and it's completely reasonable that they receive some compensation and unethical for those benefiting from those services to make no return.
    Blessings

    Grey Cat
    Deepening Witchcraft: Advancing Skills and Knowledge
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  8. #28
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    Pagan clergy is made up of those people who have the desire to help others regardless of having "official" training from a college per se. I do have a college degree but it is not in theological studies, and I have the desire to help those who need help regardless of this “formal” training that some people think is required to be “clergy”. I have completed my high priestess training and before my coven dissolved we were planning on serving our community as pagan clergy just like the catholic priests do with traveling to the hospitals, etc…We never got to do it which is unfortunate because I’m sure that we would have been able to help those pagans and/or wiccans in need; I also know that there is another coven in that area who was successful in doing this.

    So here I am volunteering my services to those who need it. I am licensed through the Universal Life Church (ULC) and received my ordination January 2001, but I have not used it to full capacity other than holding public pagan rituals.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to email me privately at jmhkalinowski@comcast.net and please put in the subject line “Clergy Inquiry” or something of that nature so I don’t accidentally erase it as Spam.
    MP & BB,

    SieraMari Jacobs

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Cat
    I personally think we should retain our preferences for unsalaried, "living-room" trained clergy.
    I actually think this is more comfortable. Like seeking out an experienced family member for help, rather than someone paid to help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Cat
    Yes, the more training the better in some ways and I have no major argument with Wiccan/Pagan seminaries and such, but when clergy becomes a career choice and is expected to support the individual completely, some undesirable things can happen. Size becomes extremely important, hanging out with other clergy students at an early age can often lead to intellectualizing one's religion and since the clergyperson's income depends on contributions, those in the "church" who are well-off become more important to the clergyperson than poorer members of the group.

    Certainly in traditional Wicca, the optimum group size prevents any possibility of earning one's living that way.
    That's certainly true. Even the idea of being supported by the general pagan community in an area really doesn't seem that feasible. It's actually something I would love to do to make a living "when I grow up" ^_^ but it's not feasible, especially with the number of talented unpaid 'clergy' out there. I'd simply be no competition. ^_^

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Cat
    On the other hand, I think it's more than merely appropriate that when a Pagan clergyperson performs a service for individuals or the community, that they be paid for this service. If they perform a wedding they've put at least 3 hours of time (and probably travel) into it, when they organize a gathering they put untold hours into it and it's completely reasonable that they receive some compensation and unethical for those benefiting from those services to make no return.
    I'd say this depends upon the situation. It's common courtesy to give gifts to the HP/HPS who officiate your handfasting, of course. But -- and not to seem crude or anything -- but how would that work for a funeral? For one, it's a much more difficult (I think) service to perform, but on the other hand, the idea of who "pays" is more complex. Would you suggest an offering plate or a donation box? And it also varies according to personal intimacy. One would expect a clergy-person of a more general community to be more compensated, esp. at a funeral, but what if the person is their close coven-mate and friend? What is appropriate there? And also, how would this work for a clergy-person who feels like they are donating their time and refuse compensation, even if they need it? Do you just refuse to take no for an answer? I know ethically it is the thing to do, but does it work out realistically? [Of course, maybe this is a difficult concept for me because we have a rotating system. If something needs to be done, someone does it, different every time, so it the result is that everyone ends up scratching everyone else's back, so it's all not dumped on one or two people. We're rather interdependent.]

    Thank you for your time.
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  10. #30
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    Talking

    Is or should there be such a thing. If there is such a thing, what are their duties. What studies should they have undertaken in order to reach that position?[/QUOTE]

    What do you think about "Pagan Clergy".
    I think I AM one. At least thats exactly what the sign in my window that caused me soooo much problems with the property manager says!


    What are their duties?
    Marriages,(3 so far. My 4th is coming up.), funerals and spiritual counseling.

    What studies should they have undertaken in order to reach that position?
    Lets seeeeeee. In my case it was 25 years of life training with college courses in comparative religion, 1 year of counseling and intro to psych. classes and countless hours with books on counseling and the human condition.

    Even though my ordination is ULC, I take the responsibility VERY seriously and anyone whio doesn't is causing more harm than good....but I'm "funny" that way.

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