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Leadership Development, Question 7

Describe three avenues of communication that you have utilized to raise awareness about ADF in your community and name three more avenues that you may utilize in the future. (minimum 300 words)

A reporter asks, "A member of your Grove has just been reported to have molested a number of children over the last three years. Does your organization condone this behavior and what steps is it taking to protect its members from this behavior?"
This was a very real fear for a short time, after a regular attendee (not a member) was found to have a history like this. While it is very hard to answer a question like this on the spot, especially when you do not know about it in advance, I like to imagine that I would answer like this (assuming that we actually did not know about it):

"Our Grove was actually not aware of this history. While we of course do not condone any sort of behavior like this, we also do not judge others based entirely on past actions. That said, the Grove's leadership will discuss this at their next executive meeting and determine a course of action that appropriately deals with this situation. Until then, he will of course be prohibited from contact with minors and not allowed at rituals where minors will be present. We believe our older members have the ability to decide whether or not they can work with him on their own until the executive committee has heard all sides and made a decision."

A fireman says, "Your neighbors have reported that you have a fire in your backyard. We need to see what's going on!"
"Absolutely. We are in the middle of a religious service right now. Can it wait until we are done? You are welcome to watch from over here, or come in and join us."

(assuming the answer is "we need to see now")

"Okay, as our ritual continues, I'll show you what we're doing. First, you can see that the fire is contained in a metal fire pit. We keep a small fire extinguisher in our Grove supply box, and most of our members know how to get to it. Additionally, there is a first aid kit in the supply box as well, and we have members with training in some form of emergency response. Our religion is a fire religion, and fire is required for our rites. Additionally, the fire is our point of offering, and so we pour various things into the fire throughout the rite, on the understanding that the fire devours and transforms the offering and makes it fit for the Gods. We generally discuss how to pour things safely onto the fire a couple of times each year to ensure that our members are safe when they do it. Do you have any questions?"

A reporter asks, "I understand that ADF views itself as a legitimate church. Why do you think you should be treated as a real church?"
"ADF is registered as a 'real church' with the IRS, even though there is no requirement to do so in tax law. Contributions to ADF are tax-deductable, and our Groves fall under the non-profit status of ADF as a whole as member congregations. Additionally, ADF has the most rigorous programs of training for our Priests in Neo-Paganism, and it is indeed more rigorous than the training many non-Pagan religions offer. We engage in community service activities and have participated on an equal footing with other major churches in our area in interfaith events. We are fortunate that our legitimacy has little to do with how we view ourselves, and much more to do with how others view us in our community."


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