Vice-Arch Druid Bio Statement

I’ve accepted the nomination for Vice-Arch Druid of ADF for the 2022 election. The VAD is one of the two Mother Grove positions reserved for clergy, but beyond that doesn’t have a lot of specific responsibilities. This opens it up for the VAD to help define their role according to their specific talents.

According to the ADF Bylaws: “The Vice Archdruid (VAD) is the Vice President of the Board of Directors (the Mother Grove). The VAD exercises the functions of the AD in his/her absence. The VAD would replace the AD in the event of his/her recall, death, retirement, or permanent incapacitation. The VAD may perform all those duties that would otherwise be performed by a non-profit corporation Vice President.  The VAD must also be an ordained member of ADF Clergy in good standing.”

I’ll be answering candidate questions at the upcoming virtual meetings (March 13, 2022 @12pm Eastern, others are TBD), as well as posting them here on my blog once I’ve composed them. If you have additional questions for me (or others) I’d encourage you to submit them to the ADF election officers (adf-election-officer@adf.org) so all can answer them, or send them to me directly. In the meantime, here is my biographical statement that will be going on the ballot:

Rev. Jan Avende has been a member of Ár nDraíocht Féin since 2009, and is an ADF Initiate and Consecrated Priest belonging to Three Cranes Grove, ADF.  They serve their local community by running High Days, Moon Rituals, and specialty rites, as well as providing pastoral care and assisting in the day to day running of the grove. They have also deliberately focused on broadening their service to meet the needs of the wider ADF and pagan community, working to build a strong online community that all can feel like they are a part of, no matter their physical location or ability to travel. Jan has been meeting the needs for virtual worship and community long before the 2020 Pandemic forced a change in the way we practice. They’ve been crafting inclusive and engaging methods of reaching out to members and the public with everything from the #PrayerADay challenge (coming up on its 7th year!!!) to the #DailyShrine challenge to live-streaming a Blessing Rite in Animal Crossing. Alongside Rev. Michael J Dangler, they co-host the popular “Druids in Cars, Going to Festivals” podcast, which is designed to help bring interesting topics and conversations to folks who may not otherwise experience them.

Jan is a talented Bard, Liturgist, and Spiritworker, and active as a member in many of ADFs subgroups. They are currently the Coordinator for the Children’s Education & Parenting Special Interest Group, as well as the Preceptor of the Initiate Path. They have a passion for helping folks work through some of the more hands-on work, experiences, and Study Program requirements that are present in Our Druidry, such as Trance, Magic, and Divination. Using their talents as a certified teacher to aid in mentoring folk, building resources for pagan families (including some published books), and making the details of Our Druidry accessible to all, they hope to engage with the community and help keep this a thriving religion. As one of the authors of the Hearthkeepers Way, they hope that their work has been helpful and meaningful to others, and that they can continue to make those contributions to our community. 

Outside of ADF, Jan works as a pagan chaplain at a local university, interfacing with pagan students, as well as taking part in inter-faith discussions. In their free-time Jan enjoys spending time with their partner, kids, and many many animals. They are slowly working on turning their yard into a little suburban homestead with a thriving garden, orchard, and some small livestock. They spend a lot of time in nature either hiking or at a playground with the kids, but also enjoy crocheting, coloring, martial arts, and playing video games like Animal Crossing and Pokemon. Mostly, Jan enjoys feeding their vocation, which involves writing rituals and prayers on request, being a sounding board to help others work through struggles, and talking with others about how they practice paganism and Our Druidry. They share a lot of their work at hellenicdruid.com

As VAD, Jan would like to continue to work towards helping people feel more connected with the organization, work to ensure transparency in the Mother Grove’s decision making process, and be a compassionate point of contact for all members of ADF.  They are particularly interested in making our educational offerings more accessible by removing needless barriers, especially to subgroup study programs, in order to reinvigorate our membership and community. They would also like to explore ways that the organization in general, and Mother Grove in specific, could be reorganized to better reflect our values, the best practices for non-profits, and empower laity to take on more leadership roles. 

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