CoG’s Northern CA Local Council reception for AAR

November 23, 2011 in Events, Pagan Groups, Pagan Leaders by gregharder

On Saturday Evening November 19, in San Francisco, the Northern California Local Council of the Covenant of the Goddess held a reception for the Members of the American Academy of  Religions.  This event, (the conference not the reception)  drew ten thousand participants, and last Saturday evening it felt as though most of them passed through the suite on the 43rd floor of the Hilton which had a sweeping and breathtaking view of the city.  The Hilton was one of the five dedicated hotels for theAAR.  The event was, to say the least, successful if we are to judge by the comments on Sunday.  

 Lise Dyckman, from the California Institute of Integral Studies wrote:

“Based on how many people we managed to fit into Puck’s room last night, and how noisy lively those conversations were, and also on the comments I heard at sessions today (Sunday), it was a very successful event last night…”

More than just successful, this event might even be termed historic for the number of local Pagan and Heathen groups gathered for a specific purpose.   Eventually over 30 different groups, organizations, and distinguished Elders were physically represented as examples of the Bay Area’s diverse Pagan and Heathen spirituality available to our community.  They came together for the specific purpose of meeting and reaching out to scholars, Interfaith leaders, and Peace makers outside of our community.  Reverend Patrick McCollum had this to say from the AAR’s view point:

“I want to thank everyone involved in putting together the Pagan reception. It was awesome.  As an ongoing Program Chair with the AAR and as a participant in many AARreceptions over the last sixteen years, ours was right up there with some of the best.  It was professional, classy, and most importantly… it was full of meaningful dialogue.

As you glance down the list of attendees which follows, you will see a large number of non-pagan folks, many of whom are working with such organizations as the Hindu American  Foundation, and the  Tony Blair Faith Foundation.  There were many Interfaith friends there as well.  Among them Bud Heckman, Director for External Relations at the Coexist Foundation, brought two people with him, one of whom was from out of country. He told us at an interfaith Breakfast this morning that the reception was the highlight of her experience in San Francisco even though they had visited so many of our unique sights.   For her it was a rare experience to stand in a room and realize that the people surrounding her were very different in practice than she was and she had, for the first time, the experience of feeling like a religious minority. Then she circulated, was greeted warmly and with enthusiasm, and began to realize that maybe folks in the room were not so different.

 Elderflower Women’s Festival Coordinator Edye Cheeseman writes:

“Thanks to all the hard work of getting together theAARreception, and Thank you for inviting me. What a wonderful evening full of conversation, seeing old friends, and meeting new ones.”

In fact that was our closing question to everyone in the room.  “Did you meet someone new tonight?” The one thing that is certain is that if we plan this event again, it will be red wine and Scotch as the beverages of the day!

 Next year’s AAR will be held in Chicago and NCLC would challenge CoG’s  Mid-West Local Council to host a pagan reception there as a specific part of that event.

 Follows Don Frew’s list of attendees.  Please forgive us if we missed anyone.

American Magic Umbanda House – Mama Maeva, Mae do Santo
Oshun Iya Oshogbo – Andrea Johnson


Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn – Frater Sam Webster, m.div

TempleSophia – Nathan Bjorge


DRUID groups:

Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids – SusaMorgan Black (Druid), Michael Black

 HEATHEN groups:

The Troth – Diana L. Paxson, Elder

 PAGAN groups:

Adocentyn Research Library – Rowan Fairgrove
Cherry Hill Seminary – Wendy Griffin, Academic Dean Christine Hoff Kraemer, Department Chair, Theology & Religious History,William Blumberg, Chair, Board of DirectorsAline (Macha) O’Brien, Board of Directors
Church of All Worlds -Jim J. Emert

Elderflower Women’s Festival – Edye Cheeseman
Fellowship ofIsis – Priestess M. Francesca Gentille
Fellowship of the Spiral Path – Rev. Debra Cardoza, President 
Feraferia – Jo Carson
Fire Family Tradition – Tao Starbow
Holy Order of the Epicene – IrRev. joi wolfwomyn
Pagan Alliance – JoHanna White, President Arlynne Camire
Pagan Newswire Collective, SF Bay Area – Greg Harder 
PantheaCon / TheurgiCon /Ancient Ways – Glenn Turner
Patrick McCollum Foundation – Rev. Patrick McCollum, Barbara McGraw 
Radical Faeries – Chuck Hohman
Romuva – Prudence Priest 
Solar Cross –  T. Thorn Coyle
Spark Collective – DeborahHamouris 
StoneCity Pagan Sanctuary –  Winter, Director

 WICCAN groups:

Come As You Are Coven - Lady Kahin Yeshe Rabbit
Covenant of the Goddess (NCLC) – Elder Don Frew, CoG National Interfaith Representative 
Daughters of the Goddess –  Leilani Birely, High Priestess & Kahuna 
Eko, Eko: Gardnerians of the Bay Area –  Polly Moller (Lady Argante)
NewWiccanChurch - GaryMattingly, California Branch Magus New Reformed Orthodox Order o/t Golden Dawn (NROOGD) – Kurt Piersol 
Reclaiming – M. Macha NightMare, CoG National Interfaith Representative

 AAR hosts:

Robert Puckett, Kitty, Lori 

 Just a sampling of the AAR guests who signed the guest book:

       Helen A. Berger

       Sasha Caitow

       Chas S. Clifton  

        Rev. Judith Fleenor 

        Lee Gilmore 

        Amy Hale 

        Graham Harvey 

        Bud Heckman 

        Leigh Ann Hildebrand 

        Sabina Magliocco 

        Jason Mankey

        Mihir Meghani 

         Pamela Morgan

        Jason Pitzl-Waters 

        Katerina Ragousi 

        Caroline Tully 

        Steve Wehmeyer 

NCLC COG Reception Committee & hospitality team:


       Crystal Blanton (NCLC co-First Officer) 

        Lise Dyckman 

        Deborah Bender Frankel 

        M. Macha NightMare (CoG National Interfaith Representative)

        Anna Korn 

        Glenn Turner

Rachael Watcher (NCLC co-First Officer & CoG National Interfaith Representative and Nationa Public Information Officer.


Rachael & Greg for PNC Bay Area