Wow! Got the call on Friday that the Associated Press article about our event was picked up by the NY Times!!!! We even hit the news in Taiwan...I mean, seriously??? Let me tell you, doing a Google search on yourself can be unnerving!
Here's a copy of the thank you letter I posted on our website:
I want to thank *everyone* who came out yesterday (9/12) and everyone who sent prayers our way. We received support, both in words and in person, from all over, even an email from Holland. Pagans, Christians, and Atheists all came out in support (if there were folks from other faiths there was not aware).
Even in the rain we had a wonderful day. The shop owners who were open were all very kind and welcoming. Some of the shops that had originally decided to close changed their minds. One in particular even apologized to me for deciding to close in the first place, that this is America and we have the right of religious freedom. Almost each and every shop that we talked to expressed that they were not only glad we were there, but invited us to return. One even made me promise to make this an annual event. Even a few residents who aren't shop owners expressed the same.
The Opening & Closing Blessings were so heartfelt (though I wish I could have heard the entire Opening). The Harvest Rite was beautifully done by our Youth Exploring Spirituality & Family Time-Out Circles (they even received a round of applause at the end). I would estimate that we had at least 200 people attend, not including those out there in protest and concern. All in all, I couldnít have asked for more. The rain seemed to keep the ďcircusĒ stirred up before the event to a minimum. I saw so many familiar faces, and even more that I didnít know. So many people came up and thanked us for having the event, many who didnít know about us or even the Village, and those were the locals!
Though the good far outweighed the bad, Iíd be doing a disservice to all of you waiting to hear about the "protesters" if I didnít let you know what happened with them.
From what Iím told, there was a wall of prayer far outside the village, but I never got the chance to see them. Inside the event there were 2 distinctly different groups of those who gathered in protest. The one group, who made it *very* clear that they were NOT with the proselytizing group, were kind, loving, and invited into an interfaith opening prayer with us. Though they politely declined, they did to a touching (it brought tears to my eyes how much love they have to share) blessing for one of our vendors who couldn't be there because her husband had his leg amputated earlier this week. They then turned their prayers of light and love to me, personally, and our event as a whole. To this Pagan, those men & women walk the path that Jesus did. I had some wonderful talks with some of these folks. I even had a very jovial, theological discussion with an older gentleman at the beginning of the day that will bring smiles to my face for a long to come, I'm certain.
We did have several benign, and one not-so-benign, incidents that involved another group from a local fellowship. This proselytizing group interrupted "the natural order of business" (to quote one of the Village's shop owners). They went as far as to interrupt a reader who was in the middle of a reading. This particular reader is Christian. They then began moving from merchant to merchant. I interceded at one point and asked that they, and the RPW group member speaking with them, move to the (empty) tent where we had talks scheduled for later in the day. When Project Wendigo went on for their first set the men decided to start singing in front of a nearby store. This is when several residents told them that they were welcome to hold an event of their own; however they had to move to the parking lot if they wanted to sing, they couldnít sing in our event area.
They even cornered several of our children and asked them what religion they were. When they cornered my daughter, I got involved in a conversation with them. Iím told I politely held my own, I really donít even remember what was said on either part as I was pretty upset. I do remember telling them that if my 15 year old daughter chose to accept their invitation for her to visit their place of worship she would be allowed to. I left the conversation when someone else engaged them and went about my business of visiting the shop owners. Shortly thereafter I was flagged down by someone who said one of our kids was hurt!
One of our Youth Exploring Spirituality members told the man who tried to give him the pamphlet, ďnoĒ. He then tried to walk away, was followed, and began to run away, fell and twisted/scraped his ankle. By the time I got to him, less than 3 minutes later, the man had left. The police were then called by the Village's own Owners Association. A report was indeed filed and the police, followed up with a photograph of the man from one of the photographers there. From what I understand, the police suggested that the remaining members of the group should leave. Some of the members of our Youth Exploring Spirituality Circle are Christian. They were the ones who got the most upset with the proselytizers. They couldn't understand how someone claiming to be Christian acted, in their opinion, so un-Christ-like.
Despite that one negative incident, all-in-all the day was a huge success and we look forward to seeing you all next year!
Jen Anderson - Wenger
President, Reading Pagans & Witches
)O( She changes everything She touches
Rebooted 5/14/13@ 253.0
248.0 (5 lbs Gone!):
243.0 (10 lbs Gone!):
240.4 (5% Gone!):
238.0 (15 lbs Gone!):
233.0 (20 lbs Gone!):
227.7 (10% Gone!):
| Pounds lost: 0.0