Clergy Intention Letter

Why do you want to be a Priest, and what is your plan for making that goal happen?
When I was first considering what direction to go following the approval of my Dedicant Path documentation I waffled for a long while between the Initiate Path and the Clergy Path.  I talked to initiates and priests.  I asked questions.  I journaled and wrote a lot.  When I asked the counsel of my gods, it was obvious to me: I needed to do the Initiate work.  I didn’t feel ready, and didn’t know that I would ever feel ready, to embark on the path of clergy.  I still felt like I had a call for it then, but it was quiet and I questioned whether it was actually there.  I wanted to do the Initiate work first.  I needed to solidify my own practice before I could truly listen to see if the call was true.  
The closer I got to completing the course requirements for the Initiate Path, the more I noticed that as I was growing in my own work, the louder the call was getting.  As my own practice grew, I began seeing places where I could offer my knowledge and skills to those around me.  I feel that, next to walking your walk and owning your path, it is imperative to help others walk their path as well.  I found myself seeing voids in the community, and they were voids that I could fill.  I began leading Full Moon rituals every month, with the focus for those rituals being the magical work that we didn’t really get to do or engage in elsewhere.  It was also a place where I fostered a “no fail” zone.  I wanted to help others find their voice, the way I felt like I was finding mine.  
As I reached the final months of journaling for the Initiate Path, my call to the work of the priest solidified.  It felt just as obvious to me as my initial decision to embark on the Initiate Path first.  I knew without a doubt that I needed to first complete that work, and that I could then allow my focus to shift and set my foot upon the path of clergy work.  The paths all merge.  The work of the Dedicant is the first stream.  As it flows along, other rivers join it, bringing with their new waters new inspiration, new knowledge, and wider banks.  The Dedicant stream continues to flow strong in the river of my own Druidry, and will always flow in my river as its headwaters.  It has been joined by the Initiate Current, which brings a deeper understanding and a deeper level of work.  These two rivers flow, their waters mingling, and yet each flowing just as strong, now a single river.  As I encounter new waters, like the work of the Clergy, the river will continue to flow, and grow stronger as all the waters mingle.  My work as a Dedicant is a constant, ever continuing path, as is my work as an Initiate now, feeding the river.  I see the work of a priest the same way: once joined they are ever flowing, becoming just as much an integral part of the river as the other waters.  
I want to be a priest because I want to help others on their path, whatever that path may look like to them.  I want to provide liturgy to folks who are having trouble coming up with something fitting on their own.  I want to provide my knowledge and skills to those who need them.  I want to help grow our children in our tradition. 
I have built my strong foundation, and the pull has intensified.  I understand why so many people refer to it as a “Call.”
I plan to, above all, continue my own hearth work and maintain my own piety, because that is the solid foundation upon which all my other work is done.  I don’t think you can lead the Folk as a priest unless you have a solid practice of your own and feel comfortable leading yourself.  In addition to the continuing hearth work, I plan to continue filling the needs I see in my community, wherever they arise.  As far as the Clergy Training Program within ADF goes, I plan to complete about one course a month.  
Why do you want to be an ADF Priest in particular?
ADF is my community.  ADF is my tribe.  These are my Folk, and make up a large chunk of those who I want to serve.  This is the pathway to make that happen.  I am drawn to the vision of ADF: particularly the mandate to provide regular, public rituals.  I want to help grow ADF into a church that my children can be a part of and feel connected to from a young age.  I want to help develop programming that engages our new members, particularly those who are being raised in our traditions.  One of the biggest draws to ADF for me is its inclusiveness and family-friendly nature, and I want to help grow that.  I feel that one of the ways I can be sure that I’m providing the best knowledge is by becoming clergy within the organization.  
I’m also drawn to the high level of scholarship and the quality of the training provided to ADF Priests.  I love the balance that exists within ADF between faith and scholarship, between practice and study.  I want to help others see that same joy.  I want to help others in ADF blossom in their practice, and should they decide to embark on the course of higher study within ADF, I want to make sure that the coursework is accessible to them in a way that they can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. I want to help others feel capable and confident in adapting their hearth culture and practice into the greater whole that is ADF practice.
I have no desire to be a “pay your fee and be a Priest” type of leader.  I’m in it to serve, and I see the ADF Clergy Path as the best way to both learn appropriate skills to serve in a religious capacity, as well as work with the Folk of my community and my faith.  

What does being a Priest mean to you in the cultural context of your Hearth Culture?
There were two types of priests within the Hellenic hearth.  There was the priest of the community and the beggar-priest, the mantis.  The mantis brought his skills and his knowledge to the folk.  This type of priest to me aligns with the work of the Initiate.  They work more in a one-on-one context, and support the work of the community priest.  The priest of the community aligns to the work of the ADF Priest.  The community priest was the one who led the public rites.  He ensured that proper sacrifices were made at the proper time.  He ensured that the community honored the Gods as needed to maintain the relationship with them.  

One thought on “Clergy Intention Letter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.