We come to the end of our Grove’s business year on an upswing. Our Samhain rite was well attended and included the active participation of enthusiastic new folk, some of whom have already become ADF members.
This was our first full year operating with our provisional charter. It was not an easy year. The circumstances surrounding the departure of the former Scribe put our commitments to each other as a community and as a functioning religious organization to the test. What I have learned from this and other issues is that you, the members, have the passion and commitment to help the Grove through whatever troubles may confront us. I am deeply grateful for your dedication!
I do feel that the shadow hanging over us since the end of 2013 has noticeably lifted. Our outreach at this year’s Pagan Pride Day elicited genuine interest and immediate concrete results at our Samhain, as I mentioned earlier. I believe that it is critical for us to build upon this positive momentum; in order to function effectively in ways that do not burn out the members we have, we must encourage new people to get involved, to become members and to take up the work of the Grove.
Throughout our downs and ups, we have continued to serve the spiritual and religious needs of our members and the community at large. The Grove’s High Day rites continued to be meaningful and moving for those involved. Our ability to create and perform these rituals as a group is, perhaps, our greatest strength.
Thanks to the efforts of Carolyn MacLaury, we had an extremely valuable series of study groups focusing upon specific aspects of the Dedicant Path that were also of general Pagan interest. We should recommence these groups as soon as possible. I suggest that we form a committee that would devise a curriculum, select discussion leaders, set a schedule and promote the classes.
Along with our study groups, we must also increase our efforts in other areas of Community Service. Therefore, I ask each member to come up with a single idea for Grove Community Service, to develop the idea, and to organize it. I thank you all in advance for considering my request.
From our beginnings as a nameless “pre-protogrove”, the Goddess Brigid has been a palpable presence in our work—so much so that some have assumed that she was our patron already. Over the course of this past year, it has become clear that we must formalize our relationship with her. Our discussion at this Annual Meeting should, at a minimum, provide a framework for progress in this direction.
The Kindreds are definitely taking notice of our devotions. Alongside Brigid, Manannán mac Lir has been an ally of the Grove. He has often served as our honored Gatekeeper. Now, he has requested that we hold a ritual focusing upon him in order to deepen our relationship. This, of course, we will gladly do. It is clear to me that we are building a Grove that exists not just in New York City, but in the Other Worlds as well. We shall find strength and solace from these connections; we must strive to live up to the obligations such bonds demand.
All Grove members should be thankful for the hard work of Chris Goffredo as Pursewarden and Mario Pabón Andraca as Scribe. Personally, I would not have made it through the year as Senior Druid without their unflagging dedication to the Grove; I am deeply grateful to them.
Thank you all for the energy you have poured into our little community. It honestly gives me great joy to work and worship with each of you!
Carraig (Peter Coughlin)
Senior Druid, Inis Úll—Apple Isle Grove, ADF
November 22, 2014