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Thread: Pagan Clergy

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freyja
    Of course, my thinking as a social worker would be, "why isn't it your job?" I'm into the whole "it takes a village" thing.
    I just got through telling a local mail list that I had one or two things too many to do for me to open ANOTHER maillist!! Particularly on regular politics!! lol

    Quote Originally Posted by Freyja
    What I meant was in relationship/marriage or job issues, etc. It wouldn't hurt for clergy to have some background in mediation. There's a book called "Getting to Yes" that is used in training that may be helpful.
    My group has used that technique a couple times. Once it achieved silence and the other time it didn't. In both cases nobody was satisfied and frankly there's too much emphasis on stopping the argument and not nearly enough on whether or not somebody is just plain wrong!! Both conclusions were clearly unfair to anyone not involved. Particularly if there are any ethical questions involved, this is the worst possible technique. Like concensus government, they are fine part of the time and complete disasters some of the time.




    Quote Originally Posted by Freyja
    That's why I mentioned "delegate!" Tasks like that could be delegated out to 'congregation' members. I feel it's very important to put forth a positive image to the community and this should be a team effort.
    And some thing you can't deligate. Prison visiting can only be done by someone who can be given some sort of credentials, preferably clergy.

    Unfortunately, nothing is going to make it easy. 8--)

    GC

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Cat
    I just got through telling a local mail list that I had one or two things too many to do for me to open ANOTHER maillist!! Particularly on regular politics!! lol
    Well, at least you have saying "No" down! LOL, this is a good thing.



    My group has used that technique a couple times. Once it achieved silence and the other time it didn't. In both cases nobody was satisfied and frankly there's too much emphasis on stopping the argument and not nearly enough on whether or not somebody is just plain wrong!! Both conclusions were clearly unfair to anyone not involved. Particularly if there are any ethical questions involved, this is the worst possible technique. Like concensus government, they are fine part of the time and complete disasters some of the time.
    I'd like to talk about that in another thread. Interestingly, I am a certified mediator but don't practice as such, since the court sends all the work to a chosen few. Most of my clients are seeing mediators, and all I hear are complaints. I am actually doing a lot of mediation between them while the mediator is making $80 to $100 per hour and doing nothing. The method you described is not the point or goal of mediation. The goal is to make it a win/win situation, and to give people the skills to talk to each other without needing someone else. The mediator is supposed to be neutral - and I've heard a lot of complaints that this is not the case......okay, I've gotten myself started and don't want to go off topic.......

    If not mediation, communication skills would be helpful. There are tons of books out there, and I still maintain that the one I mentioned earlier is a good one.






    And some thing you can't deligate. Prison visiting can only be done by someone who can be given some sort of credentials, preferably clergy.

    Unfortunately, nothing is going to make it easy. 8--)

    GC
    Are you sure? Years ago, I used to volunteer for alcohol/drug rehab support groups at the prison and I had no certification or credentials at the time, so you may want to research that further. My son belongs to a Baptist church, and I had tons of visitors when I was hospitalized by everyone but the pastor!

    Sounds like this is an overwhelming task, or it's looking that way. Is there a hurry? Perhaps it would be best to break it down into one duty at a time, try out your ideas, see whether they work or don't work, and move on to the next thing.

    Blessings!
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freyja
    If not mediation, communication skills would be helpful. There are tons of books out there, and I still maintain that the one I mentioned earlier is a good one.
    Here I completely agree. Does anyone have titles of books on this which they KNOW to be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Freyja
    Are you sure? Years ago, I used to volunteer for alcohol/drug rehab support groups at the prison and I had no certification or credentials at the time, so you may want to research that further. My son belongs to a Baptist church, and I had tons of visitors when I was hospitalized by everyone but the pastor!
    This all depends on the state and even more (in TN) on the prison chaplain.

    QUOTE=Freyja]
    Sounds like this is an overwhelming task, or it's looking that way. Is there a hurry? Perhaps it would be best to break it down into one duty at a time, try out your ideas, see whether they work or don't work, and move on to the next thing.

    [/QUOTE]

    It certainly can be! That's one reason why I put so much empahasis on learning to say "no". Individuals really must allow themselves to add tasks one at a time. One group I know requires everyone interested in studying for clergy to write a paper describing exactly how they are going to make time just for the studies.

    I'm afraid I look at the not-infrequently encountered person who is aimed at clergy (or whatever it is called in their group) for the status and imagined "perks" and have to think again, "be careful what you ask of the Goddess, she may give to you!"

    B*B
    Grey Cat

  4. #14
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    There's another facet to this question that I think is worth bringing up: in many (if not most/all) Wiccan traditions, *all* initiates are given the title priest/ess. Can a person be "clergy" and not minister to anyone but themselves, or is this an essentially meaningless title? There was a really fantastic thread on (a slight tanget to) this topic over at MothersMagic (may it rest in peace ):
    http://mothersmagic.net/forums/showt...?threadid=3684

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ari
    There's another facet to this question that I think is worth bringing up: in many (if not most/all) Wiccan traditions, *all* initiates are given the title priest/ess. Can a person be "clergy" and not minister to anyone but themselves, or is this an essentially meaningless title? There was a really fantastic thread on (a slight tanget to) this topic over at MothersMagic (may it rest in peace ):
    http://mothersmagic.net/forums/showt...?threadid=3684
    In Wiccan groups which have formal degree initiations, first degree is the point at which the individual is given the title "priest" or "priestess". They have been trained to participate in and usually the basics of leading ritual. They are considered qualified to handle their own interactions with deity, to lead ritual for themselves and for small groups and to help teach newcomers the basic ideas of Wicca.

    However, this is only the first step in the training of clergy! Which is why there are years of study ahead before the initiate is prepared to fully assume the job title.
    Blessings

    Grey Cat
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  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Cat
    In Wiccan groups which have formal degree initiations, first degree is the point at which the individual is given the title "priest" or "priestess".
    ...
    However, this is only the first step in the training of clergy! Which is why there are years of study ahead before the initiate is prepared to fully assume the job title.
    While I certainly agree that first degree is not the end of training, I'm not entirely comfortable with this use of the word clergy (ie restricted to HP/Ses). One of the most unique aspects of Wicca is it's lack of middlemen - it's not like the Christian system where you have a congregation and then a priest or minister between them and God. While someone with a low degree might not have much in the way of community responsibilities, there are many high priestesses who don't either. There are also groups that don't use a degree system at all and rotate responsibilities, and whose members may or may not do clergy-like work in their own time. If we're going to designate some individuals as "clergy" based on their community work, we exclude those who have high levels of responsibility solely in their covens. If we base it on number of initiations, we leave out those first degrees/members of no-degree groups/solitaries who might be involved in counselling, leading public rituals, writing, PR etc.

    At a more basic level, we start splitting Wiccans into clergy/congregation. Is that really doing anything positive? IMO all Wiccans should be able to fulfill basic ministerial functions (ie running a simple ritual, being educated about many different aspects of the religion both practical and theoretical, able to teach the basics to someone unfamiliar with them etc) that are not required of laypeople in other religious traditions. I feel that to then designate them "not clergy" takes away some of the autonomy that we as a community take pride in having.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ari
    While I certainly agree that first degree is not the end of training, I'm not entirely comfortable with this use of the word clergy.
    Why are you uncomfortable with the word? It's from the latin clerk meaning someone who reads and writes for a living.

    I don't insist on the word. We can use minister, pastor, reverend, whatever you like -- so long as it means a person who serves their deity with service to co-religionists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ari
    (ie restricted to HP/Ses)..
    If I seemed to limit clergy to this, it was not intentional. Although if we want to have legal handfastings and accepted funerals, we have to accept a clear methodology of designating the individuals empowered by our religious community to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ari
    One of the most unique aspects of Wicca is it's lack of middlemen - it's not like the Christian system where you have a congregation and then a priest or minister between them and God. .
    I believe only the Catholic church makes this claim. Certainly I have never heard a Wiccan HP/S or a Druid say this.



    Quote Originally Posted by Ari
    While someone with a low degree might not have much in the way of community responsibilities, there are many high priestesses who don't either. There are also groups that don't use a degree system at all and rotate responsibilities, and whose members may or may not do clergy-like work in their own time. If we're going to designate some individuals as "clergy" based on their community work, we exclude those who have high levels of responsibility solely in their covens. If we base it on number of initiations, we leave out those first degrees/members of no-degree groups/solitaries who might be involved in counselling, leading public rituals, writing, PR etc. .
    The work of any minister in a religion is extremely varied and much of it has nothing obvious to do with the religion. Someone has to schedule the rituals, make sure that everything is there, make notes about what the classes should cover, keep track of the money, help people who need counselling, help after a fire, help when a child gets into trouble and on and on and on.

    I have never excluded either the quiet coven leader who isn't active in the outer Pagan community nor do I exclude the community worker who neither has nor wants any initiation.

    Although, as I said above, we must accept some sort of standard of job and training if we want legally recognized ministers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ari
    At a more basic level, we start splitting Wiccans into clergy/congregation. Is that really doing anything positive? IMO all Wiccans should be able to fulfill basic ministerial functions (ie running a simple ritual, being educated about many different aspects of the religion both practical and theoretical, able to teach the basics to someone unfamiliar with them etc) that are not required of laypeople in other religious traditions.
    Any group with a teacher and a student is already split. Surprisingly enough, few traditional covens I've known have any particular split between initiates and HP/S. Most of them function in an informal, concensus manner 99% of the time.

    Most Wiccan groups are working on the clergy/not-clergy question but within the coven (or other group) it isn't of great practical importance.

    The primary factor which makes the word clergy useful is that the general Pagan community does have many people who wish to be "laity" and Wiccans were the first group with in the community to have a training tradition which prepared an individual to function as clergy. Additionally, the support of the close-knit coven allows an individual accepting responsibilities in the wider Pagan community to work with the backup of the group -- a very important help.

    There are now Druidic groups which have organized training and not a few Pagan groups with real training programs, Summerland Grove in Memphis, TN and NSC in Knoxville, TN being the two I know a bit about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ari
    I feel that to then designate them "not clergy" takes away some of the autonomy that we as a community take pride in having.
    I really don't know of any way of taking away a Pagan's autonomy except by cutting off their feet!
    Blessings

    Grey Cat
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  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Cat
    Here I completely agree. Does anyone have titles of books on this which they KNOW to be useful?

    B*B
    Grey Cat
    Anything by Deborah Tannen and believe it or not, John Gray. His entire Mars/Venus theory is based upon communication skills.

    The basics are being willing to listen to what the person is actually saying - and this is not always what you think you are hearing. This involves taking time to process what you believe you heard and giving feedback by paraphrasing what they have said to you; i.e., "I'm hearing that you are upset because so and so decided to......is that right?" About 25 percent of the time, what we think we heard is not what the person said. Everything we process is based on our own perceptions, values and beliefs, which are not always the same as the other person's.
    My adopted smilies:
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    I Proudly And Lovingly Accept This Banner On Behalf of Our Beloved Flar7 for his poem, "The Chase." It Was Truly How He Lived.



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  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freyja
    The basics are being willing to listen to what the person is actually saying - and this is not always what you think you are hearing. This involves taking time to process what you believe you heard and giving feedback by paraphrasing what they have said to you; i.e., "I'm hearing that you are upset because so and so decided to......is that right?" About 25 percent of the time, what we think we heard is not what the person said. Everything we process is based on our own perceptions, values and beliefs, which are not always the same as the other person's.
    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.
    Blessings

    Grey Cat
    Deepening Witchcraft: Advancing Skills and Knowledge
    American Indian Ceremonies: Walking the Good Red Road
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  10. #20
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    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.

    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.

    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.

    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?
    Last edited by tensen; November 3rd, 2003 at 11:13 AM.
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