Tuesday, September 8, 2009

If You Build It...

Wow the last week has really blown by. Between my regularly scheduled work day, continuing education classes, college classes, Masonic homework, Wife, Kids, Prison programs and Mill Creek Church, it leaves little time for idle hands.

We started the official Church to insure our religious rights and freedoms and assist in several aspects of Carcer Via Prison Ministry. But also in hopes of building a Pagan community here in the bible belt of California. So we set up shop at the Local Metaphysical / New Age supply and book store "THE CRYSTAL BARN". They're great people there, it's our home away from home. Our church rents a temple space there every month for Wiccan services, which are open to the public.

We thought positive...If we cast a circle....they will fill it...

And they have. To my surprise this weekends service had a record breaking turnout, and we had to get more chairs from storage. It was so great to see so many Pagans gather together in fellowship. The service went well and there was an open discussion on the subject of Initiations that was really enjoyable. It was great to see so many get together and GET ALONG.

Thank you Holy Mother, Holy Father.

The Prison Ministry is going well, and I have made the leap from the Department of Corrections to the Department of Mental Health. Last week I met with the Administrators of a local State Hospital to go over plans for my "Exploring Alternative Spirituality" program.

I was so surprised by the warm reception and the willingness to accommodate the various needs of my program. I was given the Grand Tour and a choice of locations; including two different Chapels, I opted for the smaller of the two for simple reasons.

I remember the way it was when I first started at the Prison, whispers and jeers from staff and inmates. I got messed with, mostly by guards. But I never said anything about it, I never complained. I just took it with a smile, never letting them trick me into getting mad and taking every opportunity to remind them that they were messing with a Priest by responding with a "Bless you" or "you have a blessed day".

Fighting back with "kindness" is a somewhat foreign concept to me, but as a combat veteran I recognize what powerfully effective weapon it is on them and on myself. It has taken nearly a year, but I can say I have earned the respect I now receive.

But something else has changed. Facilities I have never been too before are welcoming me as a Wiccan Chaplain with open arms, there has been no battle for basic rights and the respect is given freely from day one.

The tides of social acceptability are starting to change, what we are doing is working and I now have very good reason to believe that I will see my labors bare gainful fruit, very soon.

Thank you Holy Mother, Holy Father.

Blessed Be.

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