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July 15th, 2011


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10:29 am - Clergy Services! Get Yer Clergy Services Here!
Three Cranes Grove, ADF has been providing clergy services for several years now, but some recent chats have led me to realize that we need to expand those services, and to be prepared for some that may come up.

seamus_mcnasty and I are already doing fairly well with weddings, and we love doing them. Slowly but surely, we're getting our process down to a pretty finely-tuned operation: we've both done religious and secular services, both inside and outside the Grove. I'm starting to take bookings nearly two years in advance at this point, which shows me that we're actually moving along nicely. Look: we've even got a temporary logo!

Seamus and I have even been talking about creating a set of "Wedding Hallows" that includes white table cloths, unity candles, handfasting ribbons, a well and tree, and other decorative things. We're at a point where we've got the ritual down: now it's time to take it to another level.

Recently, we were asked to do a rite of passage for a boy about to turn 13. The fact that people feel we can provide religious support for such a rite is rather humbling: the idea that we might magically forge a man out of the raw material that is a boy is startling. We'll have more of those types of things as well down the road.

We know, too, that there is a need for Pagan funeral services out there. There are, I suspect, plenty of people out there who want to honor a loved one's wishes to be buried according to some type of Pagan belief, but I know that there are people who get blind-sided by such requests. We'd like to provide services to people who really don't know what to do when their loved one comes "out of the broom closet" from beyond the grave, to make it easier for the family and to make sure that the way is smooth for the individual.

The Grove has done 5 weddings this year: that's a lot. But it means that, in the near future, we are rather likely to have births (and their less talked about but no less important opposite, miscarriages) to deal with as well. These involve blessings, namings, and potentially some form of "Druidic baptism" (nowhere near as oxymoronic as it may sound).

Of course, all this has also led to researching fees. Looking up the fees for funeral services is somewhat depressing, and looking up fees for passage-to-adult services is both curious and strange to do. Add to this non-rite-of-passage sorts of things (house blessings, protection work, healings, and other things), and it becomes even more complicated, particularly when placed against a backdrop of 70 years of Craft "tradition" about how no one should ever take money for "teaching the Craft," a very well-known tradition in modern Paganism. The notion that paying for time and services rendered, so long as fees are not used as a barrier or extortion, will cause issues is actually rather silly, all told, but it's something to contend with, and it often makes me dread the conversation about fees, even though it's never been an actual issue.

Balancing the work we do because we're called to do it against the fees we need to collect to ensure that the work can continue for others is rough sometimes. It's a necessary thing, as are contracts for services, deposits, and payment plans. Still, it feels very strange to put a price on ushering someone to a happy afterlife or welcoming a child into the world. These are things that, by all surface views, we should do of our own heart's joy or sorrow. Still, these things take time to prepare for and time to do. They cost real money in ritual supplies and gas to get places.

Can you tell I'm a bit conflicted about the money part?

Anyway, the thrust of this post was to be this: we've reached a point where we're ready to move on into other rituals, in preparation for the day that we have to do them for our own members, which we know will not be far off in many ways. This is exciting and wonderful to me: I love the way our Cranes grow, and I love the way we come together. This has been a joyous year, and I look forward to many, many more.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: satisfiedsatisfied
Current Music: "Such a Long Haul, Such a Short Fall", -JB

(18 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:verginiamus
Date:July 15th, 2011 02:37 pm (UTC)
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Why about the money? You provide a service, you need to be paid. Ministers are paid for what they do. Why not you? It would make you more legitimate since there is a strange idea that Pagan clergy are sort of fly-by-night types. It would cement your role in the community.

BTW, this is the third posting that I have read this week from various folks about being Pagan, doing goods and services, and asking for money. Is there some sort of strand in Paganville that equates spirituality and money as bad?
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From:teacup_werewolf
Date:July 15th, 2011 02:41 pm (UTC)
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Because the fear of greed is very real, just look what it did to the Christian church. At least that's my interpretation is.
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 15th, 2011 03:01 pm (UTC)
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It's not just the Christian Church: the brahmins of Vedic India are another example of a corrupt group of priests.

The only real defense against it, I tend to think, is self-reflection and knowledge of the situation.
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 15th, 2011 02:59 pm (UTC)
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There is a strand, yes. The issue is (as mentioned above) that there's an old Wiccan "tradition" (that goes to its founding) about not charging for teaching. This has been expanded to not charging for anything. It's not as bad as it once was (very few people bat an eye at the idea of paying), but I know that there are people out there who not only want, but expect that the services provided by clergy will be free.

The rise in ULC ministers (who need not invest anything, if they have no desire to) has compounded the issue in some ways. I have a friend of my wife who is getting married, and she's got an "internet-ordained" fellow (dunno if it's ULC or not) doing her service. Apparently, he's getting ordained just for this one, which is well-and-good, but I have a fear that he'll really mess up. He hasn't even done the footwork to know how to send in the paperwork.

In many ways, you get what you pay for, so caveat emptor, I suppose, but still.
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From:seamus_mcnasty
Date:July 15th, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
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yeah but the old Wiccan "tradition" is to charge someone 45 to 100 bucks for a reading...why is that service any different than the others?
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From:verginiamus
Date:July 15th, 2011 02:39 pm (UTC)
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Second comment - there is a need for funeral services. Would be interested in what you come up with.
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 15th, 2011 03:01 pm (UTC)
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Yes, we hope to have something broadly IE for use very, very soon.
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From:Caryn MacLuan
Date:July 15th, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)

Fees

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I researched weddings about 10 years ago in my area and found the going rate was about $500 for a set service with no creative interventions. I work with the couple to create a ceremony that fits them. It's not about me, it's a magical ritual and what they want is important. Which is why I will be subject to Harry Potter jokes forever when the pics from the most recent wedding surface with me blessing their rings with their humongous wand..oh well. At any rate I generally charge $200 with $100 of that going to my Grove. We also charge $100 per day to rent out the Grove Sanctuary and spaces. That is literally 'nothing' in comparison to other churches. Back in '83, the "standard" donation for a minister to perform a funeral was $100 I am sure it's about $500 nearly 30 years later. Remember.. a gift calls for a gift...You are giving the gift of a service and there should be a gift in return. BTW...get the money up front as I have been stiffed twice. Obviously these people do not actually "believe" in magic because if they did the priest who performed your 'magical' ceremony would be the last person on Earth you would want to piss off. Just my 2 cents.
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 15th, 2011 03:05 pm (UTC)
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Hehe. I want to do a workshop sometime called, "Why it's a bad idea to stiff your priest." We should do a joint one at Wellspring or Trillium!

Our going rate for weddings is $175, which is a bit low in our area, I suspect (though not by much), these days. Half our payment goes to the Grove as well (we may have stolen that directly from you, actually). We charge Grove members less (about half that), and encourage people to join to get the discount. Seems to work :)
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From:kargach
Date:July 15th, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC)
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I'm charging $150 for weddings these days, after starting at $50 for a few years and then finding out how very very low that was from a few couples. Apparently it's still a lot less than others are charging. But apparently I'm a greedy bastard in that I keep it all. >8)

How many couples are you officiating for who want an ADF-style wedding, or even a Pagan one? Out of the eight legal ones I've done, all of one was ADF style, and a few were very non-Pagan in my eyes, more New Agey if anything. (Worst case was the one who asked if I could skip over the beginning part of the script I'd sent her. "You mean the Bardic Invocation?" "No, the part where you talk about gods and ancestors..." i.e. everything before the vows) Brides seem to have no problem bringing their own script to the party. (Reminds me, I'm negotiating with a possible bride right now who says she has the script already, I'd better make sure she sends it to me before I commit.)

And thanks for anticipating the possibility of a miscarriage ritual (there must be a better term for it than that), that's definitely something we need people to know that we can do for them.
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From:disarray2
Date:July 16th, 2011 09:48 pm (UTC)
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I'm not certain if there needs to be a separate miscarriage ritual. A lost child ritual may be just as well or maybe even better considering most woman want the acknowledgement they lost a child.
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From:kargach
Date:July 17th, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
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A good point. In my head, "miscarriage ritual" and "losing a baby ritual" were synonymous, because that's always how I've treated miscarriage, but better to make it explicit.
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From:romandruid
Date:July 15th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC)
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Is there another Lulu book in the works here with ritual scripts and ideas? Inquiring clergy wan to know...
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 15th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
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There is. Right now, I think Seamus and I have it titled. . . "Traveling Along the Path."

It is slated to cover all the possible rituals mentioned above, plus a few more.
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From:Grey Whittney
Date:July 15th, 2011 03:56 pm (UTC)

On the subject of Pagan Funerals

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Funnily enough, I just got an email back from the family that we did a funeral for saying thank you, and we don't think we paid enough, that it meant a lot, and without it we wouldn't be where we are right now (in a good way).

I actually wish now that I'd recorded what we did; It was ADF Core order, unscripted. We were able to do it at the cemetery to place the urn of ashes into the ground, and the groundsman had no issues (but we had asked the family to talk to him first to make sure).

We did a simple flame, bowl and had a Staff as the world tree, "set up the stage" so to speak, invited the newly departed to join us all in the praise offering section, asked for the offerings to the him, and handed it over to those gathered (of which only 2 knew about ADF, and the rest were a younger group).

After a couple of examples (and not great singing on my part..), they figured it out (yes, we said in the pre-ritual briefing, but i don't think they knew what to expect). They spoke from the heart, had their last drink (note; don't take too much whiskey, and make sure they know to offer it, not drain the bottle themselves), and offered a smoke and tobacco (mostly ;) and they made many offerings into the well, and the grave itself.

After a few went, the rest all joined in (we didn't have to prompt, or add anything).

For the Working section they had a number of balloons with personal messages scribbled on (which was a really nice touch), and we lowered the urn into the grave, and closed down the rite.

We joined them for potluck food at the local bar, and had a number of people tell us that's the send off they want when they go.

Alas, wish I knew what I said..

We got a donation, and replacement of consumables (mostly whiskey), but we didn't really ask for anything, as we considered that it was for the folk and friends of the grove.

I don't mean this badly, but it was a wonderful way to bolster my confidence, and helping out the community. That said, I don't really want to see many funerals have to be done. Coming of Age, Weddings, and re-affirmation of wedding vows please #smile#
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From:athenamsb
Date:July 16th, 2011 04:16 am (UTC)
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Did I ever send you the text of the baptism I wrote? It fits into the working section of a Core Order.
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From:stmbl_inthemist
Date:July 20th, 2011 08:59 am (UTC)
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When my son passed away a couple of years ago, I couldn't handle the word 'funeral' (still can't), so I called it a 'celebration of life'. We then used that term for my brother's service and then my gramma's service as well.

I wouldn't blink at paying a fee for services for any type of ritual. I would fully expect to pay someone for their time and effort.
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From:gracedoyen
Date:July 26th, 2011 01:45 am (UTC)

coming-of-age

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I would be very interested in the coming-of-age ceremonies; either in seeing what ya'll do or making my own. It's something that's often on my mind...

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