Clergy Council Member Annual Report Form
Priest Name: Rev. Jan Avende
Time covered: January 1 2022 – January 1 2023
This report is designed to illustrate how each individual priest has chosen to fulfill their oath to love the land, honor the deities, serve the folk, and continue in their studies as best suits their individual vocations.
Loving the Land
This section is for you to record your continuing relationship with the land. The below items are suggested activities for those seeking ways to enrich their relationships with the natural world. No sections are required and those not applicable to your activities this past year may be left blank.
Nature-Based Community Service Activities (List):
- Not only did we begin composting here at home, I also helped teach our Cub Scout Pack about composting and we made at-home compost buckets
Nature Awareness Work (List):
- On my own homestead I continued developing my personal relationship with the land. This year I began to move beyond just learning about native plants, and started to combine that knowledge with companion planting. I also expanded my square foot raised bed, and added several new garden beds in the front and side yard. I am slowly working on removing our entire lawn and replacing it with plants that will increase biodiversity and sustainability. I’ve also started to learn about Winter Sowing in recycled milk jugs this year, and plan to implement that in January.
- I did more work this year preserving food including not just rabbit, but also various garden produce. I also worked on more intentionally eating in season produce, as well as preserving beyond just ingredients. I learned to make various sauce bases this year in order to use more of our harvest, and managed to successfully share our surplus with the community.
- I continue to raise meat rabbits, which helps me stay connected to our food sources, knowing where our food comes from and ensuring that it is sustainably and ethically harvested
- Making an effort to go hiking at least once a month, or otherwise visit the MetroParks and take advantage of their trails and programs.
Advocacy Work and Environmental Activism (List):
- This year I branched out and partnered with Sacred Table Community Garden (https://sacredtable.org/). I am really passionate about their mission to build community through food and food justice, as well as enjoying the interfaith work. I worked to get our grove involved as well, though that was less successful than I’d hoped. I’m hoping to have time to be more involved this year.
- I continue to educate others on meat rabbits – benefits and sustainability, how to get started raising their own, dispatch process, and laws surrounding raising them and selling them both as breeders and as meat. I conducted several hands-on sessions this year, including how to honor our food in a spiritual context.
Serving the Folk
This section is for you to record your continuing relationship with the folk. The below items are suggested activities for those seeking ways to enrich their relationships with their grovemates, local communities, ADF members, and global pagan presence. No items are required, and those not applicable to your activities this past year may be left blank.
# Special Occasion Services Led:
- Pre-Elevation Rite (for Rev. Missy Ashton) & Summerland Unity Rite
- Initiate Trials (Kelli)
# High Day Services Led:
- 7 (each high day except Winter Solstice)
# Lunar Services Led:
- 13 Druid Moons (6th Night rites)
# Pastoral Visits/Consultations:
- Average about 4 per month (some months had more, some less)
- Includes appointments, informal discussions, hospital & nursing home visits
Digital Media Created (Videos, etc.):
- Prayer Cards during the November #PrayerADay Project
- “Druids in Cars, Going to Festivals” podcast episodes https://druidsincars.podbean.com
Sacred Art Created:
- Prayers written during #PrayerADay
- Performed in Bardic Circles at both Summerland (also emcee) and Harvest Nights
- Music Written: https://www.youtube.com/@Skylark913
Community Service Activities:
- Spoke to college class about Druidry, and Paganism in general
- Chaplain at Otterbein
- Presentations on paganism at Otterbein
- Meeting 1-on-1 with students at Otterbein
- Serving as Chaplain for our Cub Scout Pack (which mostly involves leaning into the ways scouts value nature) that our grove now charters.
Events attended (list ADF & community-sponsored events and festivals):
- Wellspring 2022
- Summerland 2022
- Harvest Nights 2022
- February Clergy Tea Time Roundtable
- Dawn Summer Solstice Labyrinth Walk
- Rev. Missy Ashton’s Elevation at Summerland 2022
Grove Specific Activites
- High Day and Druid Moon rites listed above
- Attend and contribute to Business Meetings
- Attend and contribute to Liturgy Meetings (also leading those where I am in charge of the upcoming rite)
- Led discussions on ritual techniques and theology
- Member of the Planning Committee for Summerland 2022. I handled Workshop proposals, day-of schedule, and the Main Rite planning
- Assist with grove social media tasks
- Serving on the Mother Grove as Vice Arch Druid
- Laying the groundwork for the new ADF Blog
- Contribute to discussion about the direction our organization is going
- Submit, Read, and Review Quarterly Reports
- Write Articles for Oak Leaves (detailed below)
- Assist with various Social Media tasks (including content creation and announcements)
- I serve as a mentor for upcoming clergy and initiate students, both in a formal and informal capacity.
- Networking in the broader local pagan community – I’ve made an effort to attend pan-pagan rites, gatherings, and events.
- Assist Grove & ADF members in teaching ritual performance & how to plan and write a meaningful rite
- Divination readings – both paid and unpaid depending on the circumstance
- Setting boundaries – I feel this is important to call out here in the “Serving the Folk” section because having good boundaries has allowed me to expand and deepen my service with far less danger of overextending myself or burning out. It was a particular goal of mine for this year, and I feel like I’ve done well at improving it.
Honoring the Deities
This section is for you to record your continuing relationship with the Deities. The below items are suggested activities for those seeking ways to enrich their relationships with the gods, goddesses, and deities. No items are required, and those not applicable to your activities this past year may be left blank.
# High Days Observed:
# Personal or Communal Retreat Days Observed:
# Order Work Journeys:
Frequency Regular Personal Practice (Daily, Weekly, Monthly):
- Varies between daily and weekly, depending on the season and how mundane tasks are flowing that day
# Shrines, Sanctuaries created or maintained:
- Maintained Grove Ancestor Box during October & November
- Help to maintain and improve our Grove Nemeton at the UUCE
- Keep my own Home Shrine in good working order
- Work continues with my homestead as a spiritual place
- Detailed above under “Sacred Art”
- Led and wrote for the Prayer a Day Project during the month of November, in addition to continuing to maintain its online presence
- I worked to deepen my trance work as it relates to my own Inner Grove and spirit ally connections
- Increased work with Teutates following VAD election
- Increased work with Earth Mother & Nature Spirits as my homestead continues to develop
This section is for you to record your continuing relationship with the Deities. The below items are suggested activities for those seeking ways to enrich their relationships with the gods, goddesses, and deities. At least one of the below items is required to fulfill our obligation as an organization to provide trained clergy to our church. Remaining items not applicable to your activities this past year may be left blank.
# ADF Study Program courses reviewed:
- Reviewed Capstone and conducted Initiate Trials for Kelli
# ADF Study Program courses completed:
- None, though I have worked on increasing resources for many of the Initiate courses.
# ADF Study Program mentored:
- I serve as the IP Preceptor, which includes both mentoring and administrative tasks
# Articles/Works published in Oak Leaves (list titles):
- “Use the Fancy Art Supplies” – Aug 22
- “Harvest & Homesteading” – Nov 22
- “Reigniting Your Devotional Practice” – Feb 23
- As needed while writing music, prayers, and ritual scripts
# Articles/Works published outside ADF (list title of works and link/cite publication):
- Various blogs posts at https://hellenicdruid.com/
- Read “Pagan, Goddess, Mother” and wrote a Book Review
- Contributed to “Beginnings: A Book of Rituals and Prayers Selected Works from the ADF Clergy Council”
# In-person or Virtual Courses/Workshops taught (list names and venues):
- Panelist for “ADF Clergy Tea-Time”
- Druids in Cars, Going to Festivals: Extemporaneous Prayer Challenge! – presented with Rev. Dangler at both Wellspring and Summerland
- Taught “Intro to Trance” workshop at Harvest Nights
- Taught “Trance 101” at local pagan shop (The Magical Druid)
# In-person or Virtual Courses/Workshops attended (list names and venues):
- Working With the Not-Gods – presented by Rev. Ian Corrigan @ Wellspring
- Animals, Animism, Runework – presented by Rev. Garrik Hamr @ Wellspring
- Cernunnos Devotional Ritual – led by John Beckett, Rev. Kirk Thomas, and Rev. Amber Ferrebee @ Wellspring
- Talking about Druidry to Non-Druids – presented by John Beckett @ Wellspring
- Being a Pagan Monk in an Instagram World – presented by John Beckett @ Wellspring
- Fairy Faith and Lore of Newfoundland! – presented by Carmelita Coffey @ Summerland
- Sitting Behind the White Table: a comparison of the Ritual and Oracular work of ADF and Sanse Voodoo – presented by Anthony @ Summerland
- Living in Accordance With Nature: How the Pursuit of Virtue Upholds the Cosmos – presented by Mike Kaan @ Summerland
- Creating a Miniature Nemeton – presented by Kathleen @ Summerland
- Interspirituality and Pagan Paths – presented by Rev. Diane Emerald Bronowicz-Egelhoff @ Summerland
- Further Beyond the Ninth Wave: A Deeper Look at Manannán mac Lir – presented by Mike Bierschenk @ Harvest Nights
- Homemade Oil Lanterns for Ritual – presented by Dan F @ Harvest Nights
- Ritual Faux Pas Round Table – discussion led by Kathleen @ Harvest Nights
- “Pagan, Goddess, Mother” by Nané Jordan and Chandra Alexandre
- “A Psalm for the Wild Built” by Becky Chambers
- Regularly read “Under the Ancient Oaks” posts by John Beckett
- “Companion Planting for Beginners” by Brian Lowell
- “Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet” by April Sayre
- “Four Season Food Gardening” by Misilla Dela Llana
- “Mystical Stitches” by Christie Johnson
Reflect on the previous year. Discuss what you intended to accomplish, what you did accomplish, and what you learned from this year of service.
In 2021 a lot of my work was focused on pursuing professional chaplaincy and providing resources to serve the community. My goals were to continue improving my voice and seek more opportunities & education to practice pastoral care. I also noted that a long term goal was to focus on Family resources within ADF following the publishing of “Kindling Sparks.”
This year, I mostly have accepted and come to peace with the fact that attending seminary is financially out of reach for me, particularly because job prospects wouldn’t reliably provide enough income to offset the cost of grad school. However, I have really been able to expand my pastoral service, even though it is in a non-professional and unpaid capacity. To that end, it’s also worth noting that I have been able to fine-tune and set my boundaries between life and work much better this year than in past years. I’ve spent a fair bit of time reflecting on what fulfills and serves me, what things I can feasibly help with, and what things are beyond my capacity. I hope to continue seeking out resources that will help me better serve in a pastoral context.
I spent some of this year continuing to build resources for the community, however being elected VAD has shifted some of those priorities towards improving the organization as a whole. Helping to facilitate better communication between the Mother Grove and the Membership is a valuable resource. I have often said that one of my strengths is finding people who are skilled and passionate, and connecting them with a job and to others with the same goals and projects. Being on the Mother Grove has really allowed me to use that skill set. I am generally good at communication and getting people to work together for a common goal. I am hoping to get even better at connecting people and opportunities this year.
As far as resources go, with my position on the Mother Grove I’ve also been doing the groundwork to get an ADF Blog set up when the new website releases, and I’m looking forward to managing that. I’ve also gotten the ADF Event Calendar back into use, and am keeping it regularly updated. In addition to those things, I am hoping to brainstorm and gather feedback from parents, families, and possibly children, on what they are looking for in terms of family support or access to a child membership.
I’ve also started working on sharing my knowledge in more mediums. I’ve managed to maintain my blog fairly well, but I’ve also been branching out into teaching classes and workshops. I’m hoping to seek out more opportunities to teach, and possibly become a regular Reader at local shops.
Plans for the Year to Come
Love the Land
- I am slowly working on removing our entire lawn and replacing it with plants that will increase biodiversity and sustainability. I’ve also started to learn about Winter Sowing in recycled milk jugs this year, and plan to implement that in January.
- I’m hoping to have time to be more involved with Sacred Table Community Garden this year.
Serve the Folk
- I continue to mentor and teach (formally and informally) to those in my local community as well as the broader ADF community
- My work in a pastoral context (at Otterbein, as well as generally in the local and ADF communities) continues to grow
- Our Oracular group is finally getting back together after COVID to offer open oracular rites to the community on a quarterly basis. We’ve also taken on students in order to train them in trance and oracular work
Honor the Deities
- I am hoping to write more songs this year, particularly since diving back into that practice during PrayerADay was so fulfilling.
- PrayerADay will continue next year
- I have been slowly working through Pagan Theology 2, and hope to turn that in in the coming year.
- I will be continuing to write Articles for both Oak Leaves, as well as my personal blog. As the new ADF website comes online I will also be contributing and editing for the ADF Blog
- I am teaching a class for OhioHealth CPE students on pagan religions, and how they may best serve pagans in need of spiritual support.
- I am now one of the regular instructors at The Magical Druid (local pagan shop), and will tentatively be teaching at least 1 workshop a month
- Books I want to read this year:
- “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer
- “The Odyssey” (trans. Emily Wilson)
- “Seeking the Mysteries: An Introduction to Pagan Theologies” by Christine Hoff Kramer
- “Magic for Troubled Times: Rituals, Recipes, and Real Talk for Witches” by Deborah Castellano
- “A Monk in the World: Cultivating a Spiritual Life” by Wayne Teasdale, Ken Wilber
- “Non-Religious Pastoral Care: A Practical Guide” by David Savage
- “Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others” by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, Connie Burk
- “Earth and Spirit Songbook: An Anthology of Songs Celebrating Earth and Peace, Book One” by Jim Scott
- “The Pagan Leadership Anthology” by Shauna Aura Knight
- “Poetry as Initiation: The Center for Hellenic Studies Symposium on the Derveni Papyrus (Hellenic Studies Series)” by Ioanna Papadopoulou, Leonard Muellner
- “Earth Prayers: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations from Around the World” by Elizabeth Roberts, Elias Amidon
- “Visual Alchemy: A Witch’s Guide to Sigils, Art & Magic” by Laura Tempest Zakroff
List the title of any documents you wish to upload to help you find them later. Documents may be useful for those seeking feedback on particular items. Otherwise, feedback will be provided based on the content of the report.
most links are embedded above. To read the report in GoogleDocs in case the website messes with the formatting, go here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/16VybvgHtht8AUNhBLPJFZPG2Z6d7vSeDnZITC_gkU9M/
If you’d like to see my regular priest work reports, follow or join my Patreon.