Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ten Pagans Who Made A Difference In 2013

This years Top Ten post features individuals who quietly engage in making a meaningful difference in the world as well as those who have made very public contributions to the greater Pagan community. I believe this subjective list reflects that there are thousands of Pagans engaged in meaningful service around the world.  So here is my list, my question to my Pagan sisters and brothers is who would be on your list?

Jerrie Kishpaugh Hildebrand

Having worked on several, in process, projects, this year with Jerrie, I have come to regard her as one of the most positive leaders in the Pagan community. Always ready to contribute as a Designer, a Minister or just a supportive worker she is an unsung hero of our community. Her status as the go to person for positive insights, advice and assistance in our community makes her a Pagan who made a difference in 2013.

Elizabeth McNally

If you are part of the DC area community it is impossible to not stumble upon this individual of compassion, understanding, and healing energy. Elizabeth’s contributions include involvement in both local and national Pagan efforts.  She has been a guiding light to her local coven, a national Pagan Magazine and countless efforts within the Pagan community.  This year her steadfast compassion has made her a Pagan who made a difference in 2013

Zenah Smith

Those who know Zenah do not have enough fingers and toes to count her many accomplishments within our community. This long time servant of the Covenant of the Goddess, not only has volunteered for years for positions that would overwhelm us mere Pagans, but also has remained as an emeritus in her many roles, always willing to step up, always professional and always a purveyor of wisdom. There is many a Pagan organization that can credit Zenah with their continued success.  Zenah you are my favorite quiet Hero, always deserving of recognition, but to humble to step into the lime light to receive it.  Your years of service place you as one of the 10 Pagans who made a difference in 2013!

Brian Rasmussen

Between Brian’s service to his local Pagan community, his work as a sign Language Interpreter and his volunteer efforts with wild birds at Wildlife Rescue Inc., it is almost impossible to site any single thing he is involved in that defines his efforts. Brian is a shinning example of a Pagan that has dedicated his life to service.  This no bounds servant of the community, the planet and his fellow human beings stands as an example of Pagan belief in action.  Brian, living your beliefs in everything you do makes you one of the Ten Pagans who made a difference in 2013.

Teo Bishop

Teo began the year as probably the hottest emerging Pagan personality. His writing at Bishop in the Grove stood as an outstanding example of authenticity and self-disclosure in spiritual process. Teo’s transition back to his former beliefs also demonstrated great courage and prompted a much-needed conversation within our community about authenticity, compassion and the need to support spiritual seekers on their path, not just the multitude of Pagan related paths. Thank You Teo for your insights, honesty and integrity. Your actions place you among the Pagans who made a difference in 2013.

Alane Brown

Pagans across the country learned of the sacrifices of Alane this year.  For a Princeton educated PhD and full time College Professor to surrender her comfortable life for one of service with the Peace Corps in Peru, is no small commitment. Further, Alane’s actions in manifesting sustainable economic activity in Peru reflect her belief in real world action.Thank You Alane for reminding us all that service to humanity is a higher calling that reflects the best of Pagan belief. Your worldwide efforts place you on this list of Ten Pagans who made a difference in 2013.

Kathy Lezon

Kathy’s service to the community has been impressive this year.  First she runs for National First Officer of COG, a rewarding commitment to be sure, but one that I can tell you personally, is also akin to painting a target on your back during hunting season. Second, she applies to found a new Pagan Pride day event. Finally, as if the above was not enough, she stood as a guiding light of compassion and service during the multiple Pagan rights issues that arose in Florida this year. Kathy, your over the top commitment to community service places you high on this list of Pagans who made a difference in 2013

Selena Fox

One could go on for hours about the contributions of Selena Fox.  Generally, individuals do not appear on this list for multiple years. In this case however, an exception is being made. During recent Pagan rights issues in Florida this writer received some positive attention for his actions. The fact is, that attention was not deserved. Each action, each word, each engagement was taken only under the wise guidence of Selena. I could not be more impressed with the depth of knowledge, wise counsel or measured engagement that she advised.  For being the guiding force in the defense of our communities rights Selena is being named, once again, as a Pagan who made a difference.

Heather Greene

Wow where to start? Heather could be named as the National Public Information Officer of Pagandom. National PIO for COG, Public information advisor for Circle Sanctuary, outstanding writer at The Wild Hunt, she does it all.  With class, integrity and great skill Heather has emerged as the voice of the Pagan community. Most remarkable, she has done so with out the need to build a reputation for herself or falling into the minefields of speaking for all Pagans. Heather your outstanding professional communication skills and willingness to engage, place you not only on the list of Pagans who made a difference but among those that I personally greatly admire.

Alley Valkyrie

There is an old narrative we all have heard many times; that of the Hero that takes up the cause of the down trodden. In service to those who have no voice, this Hero makes great sacrifices, overcomes great obstacles, and fights the good fight mindless of self-preservation.  In my book, Alley is such a Hero. Evidenced by her tireless advocacy for the homeless population in Eugene Oregon.  She fights business interests, governments, individuals of privilege and never wavers in her commitment.  Alley, your efforts make you a personal Hero of mine and I believe the best of what our community can be.  For heroic action in the face of daunting odds you sit atop the list of Ten Pagans who made a difference in 2013.

So that's this years list, Who would be on your 2013 list? Please let me know in the comment section.


Hedin Brugh said...

Alley is an amazing woman.

Melanie Moore said...

How is Paganism changed for the better by Teo Bishop?

David Watson said...

I was wondering that one myself!

David Watson said...

I love Jerrie! I lived and worked in Salem many years ago and found her to just be such a wonderful person all around. (She was also the "manager" of the short-lived goth-rock group I was in.)

Pamela Daw said...

So happy to see Elizabeth and Teo both mentioned on this list. Elizabeth is a loved close friend who makes a difference in everyone's lives who have the pleasure and privilege of knowing her. Teo's integrity in being honest and forthright in speaking about his insecurities and his path has been a source of inspiration to many of us.

Pagan In Paradise said...

By his example of authenticity, self disclosure, and honesty. As a community we learned much from Teo about supporting all spiritual seekers and open compassion based communication.

Anonymous said...

Making lists like this only serves to make everyone else who has put their hearts into their efforts feel a little...slighted. I know personally I'm not working the Pagan angle in my community to land on somebody's top ten. I don't think anyone on the list is, either. Aren't top ten lists a little...I don't know...juvenile?

Pagan In Paradise said...

As I said in the intro, I believe there are thousands of Pagans doing good work. Your negativity along with your status of posting as "Anonymous" is noted. As for me, I will continue to bring attention to positive works and encourage others to do so also, as evidenced by my call for others to post thrier own lists.

Kyrja said...

Having been the receipient of much of the assistance provided by several of the individuals listed here, I can certainly say that Randy and I are TRULY grateful we had faith-based individuals and organizations to whom we could readily turn in our moments of need.

Like you, Peter, I know many who quietly serve, and many who serve with brass ... horns. For me, service (along with personal responsibility) is truly part and parcel of the definition of "Pagan" - no matter what form that service may take.

My hat is off to those in this list, as well as to many others - you included. Much peace and courage to each of you as you follow your Callings and your Path.

Anonymous said...

I know a pagan, I am not sure she would want her name posted, but she is always ready to selflessly help anyone in need. Whether it be with advise, a shoulder to cry on, or a swift kick in the tail to get you back on track. Her positive attitude is contagious and her smile brightens everyone around her. She started a group called Flinthills Pagan Alliance in Kansas and while I was there I had the pleasure of being part of Adopt a mile, gathering food for food banks and generally spreading the word about the good that pagans can do. While I no longer live close to her, I cherish her and make sure to keep in contact with her as often as possible. My life and many others have been greatly enriched for having known her.

Pagan In Paradise said...

That is a great reply to this post, Thank You so much. I truly believe that stories such as yours enrich our community and lead to a positive ethic of recognizing the contributions of members of our community!

Rev. Philipp J. Kessler said...

We're coming up on the 20th anniversary of one of my favorite radio programs, Murphy's Magic Mess. Nadine Murphy, the host of the show, has been an inspiration to her listeners for two decades and continues to be so for me. Five years ago she asked me to join her on the show. I am happy to say that I am still with the Mess and still learning from Murf. She's definitely on my list of people who have made a difference in my life, Pagan or otherwise.

Emelia McCord said...

by using "Anonymous" and stating what you have stated, i see that you are not truly Pagan and i am sorry for you friend. to be Pagan is to inspire, and be inspired by everyone who is a positive light. to even use the term "working the Pagan angle" saddens my heart. accepting everyone and everything and seeing the positive in all things is the Pagan way. Harm ye none friend..especially YOUR own self. i do not know your name but i will send bright blessings to you and hopes that the veil of sarcasm will be lifted from your life and that you will come to know all that is good. blessed be my friend. Love and Light to you.

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Pagan In Paradise said...

Over the past few days I have received many messages from "Pagan" individuals taking me to task for naming Teo Bishop as a Pagan who made a difference in 2013. Some of these have predicted that Teo will turn on the Pagan community as a notable "ex-Pagan". Some state that my blog has lost all credibility in naming him on the list. Others comments I will not print as they are so outrageous.

Let me be clear, I admire Teo, his writings have always been full of self disclosure and authenticity. His return to his former faith was handled with grace and dignity. I will never surrender my respect for or friendship with Teo due to his religious choices. Frankly, what I find "Not Pagan" is the many comments I have received from Pagans. An individuals character is not dependent upon the religion they practice, but rather upon their actions in the world. To cast asunder all that an individual has accomplished because of a personal religious choice would be to engage in the very type of behavior I left organized religion for in the first place.

If I have a choice I would much sooner spend some time with Teo than any of these individuals within our "Pagan" community who feel justified in sitting in judgment. Theirs is an ethic that leads to separation, religious intolerance and hate.

To those who celebrate when any individual finds a spiritual path that has meaning for them, you are my sisters and brothers in belief, Pagan or not!

Rant Complete!

Tombstone Jack said...

What a list. I can't think of anyone that deserves it more than Heather, Kathy and Zenah. I am honored to be acquainted with them all and cherish the time I have with them. To the list I would add Peter for you also are one of the " Pagans who made a difference in 2013."

Anonymous said...
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garzafam10 said...

I would love to see David Trexler ( Merlynfirstborn). He runs a Pagan group in MI. Witches of Michigan. He is always there for his members online and real life. He holds monthly gatherings so everyone can mingle and get to know each other. He started it as a safe haven for children to be allowed to feel at ease and safe. He sponsors the Midwest Witches Ball Yearly. He is also a member and supporter of The Pagans in Need food bank in MI. He is just a wonderful man who is there for everyone.

Melissa Murry said...

I was witness as Teo started to transition back to his former faith. I also have been Christian after being Pagan and returned back to the Goddess and God. I find that our needs and use here in this world don't always fit others idea of what we should do but that by following our heart and the voice of Spirit (Goddess, God, or however you choose to identify) we will not be lead astray. Thanks for acknowledging Teo for his voice and honesty...And thank you for this blog Peter! BB!

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