To those of you that do not know me, I am Mary Hudson, President of the Church of the Greenwood in Central New York; a religious organization fostering Earth-based faith traditions and individual spiritual path as each person experiences it. I am also the Pagan Chaplain at Syracuse University; the only Pagan Chaplain in higher education in the United States.
In 2012, I attended the Global Conference for Chaplains in Higher Education held at Yale University. It was a unique experience that I had hoped would help create better understanding of Earth-based faith traditions by my peers at other institutions and also give myself insight to the “larger” interfaith experience. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. The experience was abysmal and highlighted not just the immense amount of work that needed to be done to forward non-mainstream faith traditions but also to combat the ongoing prejudice that existed in those in attendance the conference and all those they represented.
The initial fear I experienced from the other conference goers was palpable and soon transformed to anger. How dare they make me feel “less than,” when I had never felt that way before! It was then that I spoke to a very kind woman attending the conference. I told her I didn’t think that I belonged there and she relayed the idea that maybe I was the one who most needed to be there. Maybe I belonged to remind people that not everyone fits into neat faith boxes and it was time for them to understand that.
So now, four years later, after submitting a personal reflection of how horrible the experience was for an outsider, I have been asked if I would be willing to participate in a presentation at the 2016 Global Conference. My voice, a tiny voice, has been heard and it has been acted upon by those that had the power to facilitate change. This is where my request comes in: I need help to get there.
The cost of the trip is approximately $5000. This covers the airfare, train from the airport to the destination town of Bendigo, Australia, hotel, meals, registration fees, and other incidentals. I know it is a great deal of money, but I also think that it is extremely important to go. As Pagans we have asked for a seat at the table, for our voices to be heard and now the opportunity has been given. I just need help to get there.
If you have it in your heart and your pocket book to help, anything will help, please do. I know that magic happens and that I will be standing in front of a global audience in Bendigo Australia participating in this presentation. If I didn’t know that I wouldn’t be asking for your help to make this magic work.
Any funds raised that are not used for this endeavor will be put to good work in the Church of the Greenwood’s over all mission of serving earth-based faith traditions through public service, education, prison outreach, and the Syracuse University chaplaincy.
All donations are tax deductible as the Church of the Greenwood is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
To donate visit https://www.gofundme.com/greenwoodpagans.