Hello from Cynthia, PFNE District Interfaith Officer
I have been a member of the Pagan Federation for over 30 years and held quite few posts during that time, locally and nationally, holding each position for about three years.
I became a Regional Co-ordinator in 1992 then in 1995 was elected – yes, we had elections back then – onto the PF national committee. After the major re-organisation into Districts and Regions I was appointed District Manager for PF North East in 1998 then in 2002 took over from Sandy Brock as District Liaison Officer. From there I became Local Co-ordinator for Wakefield and PFNE’s District Interfaith Officer.
At my first PF Council meeting in 1992, Vivienne Crowley reported on the PF’s request to join the Interfaith Network as a faith representative body. The request was denied because Pagans weren’t involved with interfaith. Vivienne suggested that RCs could look for local interfaith groups to join, she even supplied a list, so I went to my first Concord interfaith meeting in Leeds. It took 20 years and a lot of meetings by a lot of people in a lot of places before the Pagan Federation was eventually accepted.
When I was Local Co-ordinator for Wakefield I spent my time meeting members, hosting a pub moot, contributing to our newsletter and organising Earth Day events.
I have always enjoyed Earth Day ever since the first one I attended in the 1990s, a litter-pick around a North Yorkshire car-park. Unfortunately that day was too wet, cold and miserable for the planned litter-picking, walk, picnic and ‘Earth
Healing’ ritual in the countryside, but still a worthwhile experience. Afterwards, however, it seemed a bit counter-productive travelling miles to celebrate Earth Day when there were plenty of things to do on my doorstep. So I asked Wakefield’s Countryside Rangers if they had any tasks in the local woods for a group of Pagans. When I mentioned that we would like to finish with a ritual they were a bit dubious, but gave us some general clearing-up to do and stayed around to see what sort of ritual we did. We must have passed the test because they managed to find us something to do each Earth Day for the next ten years – and when it was time for our ritual they were happy to leave us to it.
One task was part of a significant project organised by Wakefield Rotary Club. A small group of us did some work around an old stone bird-hide and had our photo on the resulting information board – with the PF logo. We were also invited by the Countryside team to help out with their summer Family Fun Days – on one occasion we dressed up as witches!
I’ve been District Interfaith Officer for PF North East for at least ten years and while I’ve had some involvement with Bradford and Sheffield my main activities have been in Leeds and Wakefield. In those cities I am a member of interfaith groups and take part in a variety of events such as multi-faith tree-plantings, litter-picks, peace services, Holocaust Memorial Days as well as attending meetings and serving on the committees. For a few years I helped to organise Walks of Friendship to places of worship in Leeds, ensuring that a Pagan place was included on their list. I have also assisted with Pagan contributions to interfaith displays at Leeds museum events, established a women’s interfaith group and given talks in Wakefield schools.
One of my favourite interfaith activities has been tree-planting, particularly the annual event in Wakefield where, over ten years, we have planted a circle of different oak trees in a central Wakefield park.
My personal path is now that of a solitary Pagan, celebrating the changing seasons under an oak tree in my garden. It also involves supporting Fairtrade, volunteering with our local Countryside Service and trying to raise awareness of climate change.