As many reading this will know, I retired from all official roles within the East Midlands Pagan Federation on the 30th of September 2013. Looking back now at some twenty years of membership, with the last ten as an officer and representative, I can see lows and highs, successes and failures. I spent the first eight years of that last ten year period as Regional Coordinator for Derbyshire and the last two as the EMPF Deputy District Manager.
On a personal level I can look back with pride as the organiser of twenty seven of the thirty Elvaston Castle Pagan Picnic in the Park, as the lead on the planning committees behind the All Fools Gatherings of 2007 and 2008, together with the Derby Witan 0f 2011. I look back on the latter as my high point as although not as financially successful as the All Fools Gatherings, it was perhaps the most satisfying both intellectually and professionally, coming as it did after a period of illness.
Chattering Magpie by Jane Burton 2013
During the last ten years I have also seen a great deal of change, as we the Pagan community have adapted to change within our more secular community and I dare to suggest, the Pagan community nationally has forced some of these changes. I have represented the Pagan Federation as many other officers have, on television, on radio and in print. I have liaised with local government, religious leaders and Inter-faith charities. Twenty years ago when I first joined the Pagan Federation, the involvement of our officers in such activities was sporadic and always worthy of note. Today such activities are almost commonplace and often ignored by the Pagan Community, yet the work the Pagan Federation and other community organisations carry out, is becoming increasingly important.
I feel that the great turning point came in 1998 with the passing of the Human Rights Act, as this amazing piece of legislation gave many organisations and individuals the leverage to finally push for change. Today the representatives of many Pagan organisations continue to work behind the scenes, protecting our rights, pushing forward our own agenda and taking an increasingly important role in influencing our greater non-Pagan community.
Although I have now retired from my position of Deputy District Manager having as part of my role the responsibility for the coordination of policy within Interfaith and Hospitals, I sincerely hope that others will come forward, to take up the flag of the Pagan Federation and push on to even greater successes.
The immense strides that have been made within the religious and civil rights movement over the last twenty years; benefit not simply the Pagan and Occult community but also our mainstream society. Yet today, we see our rights threatened increasingly by a secular society and those in Government who neither value the rights of the individual or the environment.
To protect our rights and to further them, the Pagan community needs volunteers, people with dynamism and vision. Are you who are reading this, an individual with such qualities? If the answer is yes, get involved.