Thanks to everyone who attended this year’s Vancouver Pagan Pride for making our celebration a success. People were coming and going from Hawthorne Park in Surrey all day. By mid day the people on site had swelled to 148 people and total attendance is estimated at 250. So we’ve certainly increased the attendance from last year, probably doubled it (judging from the rough estimates of attendance from last year’s event).
This is the first year that government officials had been invited to this event. MLA Bruce Ralston attended and Mayor Diane Watts would have, had she not had her serious accident. She sent a message to be read at the gathering, as did the Lieutenant Governor of BC and Harry Bloy, the Minister of Social Development . Ralston told me that Pagans at this gathering were the most welcoming that he’d ever encountered and that he was impressed with our opening ritual. People in high places are starting to take note of us. This is what we want.
We’ve been receiving a lot of positive feedback and we appreciate it. We encourage you all to give us feedback and suggestions to make next year’s event even better. Many people are asking: “Will you be running next year’s VPPD?” Yes, we will. Some others asked if they could become involved in running next year’s event, even though they are not members of our Order. Yes, you can. Volunteers are certainly welcomed.
One person commented that my Order of Scáthach, which sponsored this year’s event, was the most visible presence at this year’s VPPD event, and said that it had given him the impression that we were the only religious group present. Being a group of committed individuals who are organized and active, we can’t help but be visible in the community. We are proud of our organization and put up an information booth at VPPD with color signage, displaying the banners of our knights. We wear a “uniform” which makes us visible (and easy to find, which is important if you are running an event). We make no apologies for that. It was those characteristics that allowed us to take charge of this year’s event and make it successful. However, we have no desire to monopolize the spotlight on our Pagan community, nor to overshadow any other community group. We hope that next year groups attending Vancouver Pagan Pride will follow our example and organize themselves to set up information booths, put up banners and signs advertising their groups, and either dress in identifiable outfits or wear name tags to make themselves visible to the visitors who would like to seek them out and ask questions. At this year’s VPPD I had several people approach me (highly visible in my black Order of Scáthach gi) asking me to direct them to representatives of other Pagan religious groups (dressed casually and indistinguishable from anyone else in the crowd).
We had a few individuals approach us at the last minute wanting to be squeezed into the program. One individual seemed to suppose that they should have automatically been included, presumably because they viewed themselves as important in the community. We treat everyone equally in this process. We started putting out invitations to participate 9 months in advance of the 2011 event. We’ll start taking reservations for the 2012 event starting now. Be advised: The rule is- You snooze, you lose. If you can’t get your act together and sign up on time, then you’re probably not organized enough to have a successful presence at the event. We don’t do “Pagan Standard Time.” Showing up late or trying to squeeze in at the last moment without a valid excuse is inconsiderate and a violation of the part of the Wiccan Rede that says: “Harm none.” As attendees at this year’s event discovered, we run things on time.
Hope to see you next year!
In Her Service, Kerr Cuhulain
Preceptor General, Order of Scathách
Chairperson for Vancouver Pagan Pride
Order of Scáthach web site: http://www.dunscathach.com/
Order of Scathách training blog: http://dunscathach.wordpress.com/
Kerr Cuhulain’s blog: http://kerrcuhulain.blogspot.com/
Kerr’s latest Smashwords book: Modern Knighthood: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/34975
Check out Kerr’s daily affirmations:
Facebook: Kerr Cuhulain
YouTube channel for the Order of Scathách: http://www.youtube.com/user/goibhniu13?feature=mhum
Pagan Religions: A Manual for Diversity Training: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Pagan-Religions-Manual-Diversity-Training-Kerr-Cuhulain/9780971005068-item.html?cookieCheck=1