2006 Annual Report – MoonFire
MoonFire’s mission is to explore, learn, and share traditions of earth-based religions as a UU fellowship in a sacred and safe community, and celebrate holidays marked by the solstices and the four seasons. All participants have the opportunity to express their creativity by helping to plan and participate in our monthly rituals. MoonFire is democratically led; each year we elect our leadership from members of our Steering Committee. All who show up and contribute are eligible to participate on the Steering Committee.
MoonFire is a path to UUCA membership; thirteen of our members and friends currently belong to the church, and newcomers to both the church and the DC area frequently attend. We reach out as representatives of the UU community, both through our booth at Pagan Pride Day, as well as on web sites such as WitchVox. Our new web site, www.moonfireuuca.org, is part of that outreach process. In addition to our having a clear web presence, it provides a central location for news and events.
As part of our participation in Pagan Pride Day 2005 we sponsored a booth, distributed UUCA and CUUPs literature, and held a special “Chocolate Ritual” at the church, which was attended by a large number of DC community members. An article about the ritual, including interviews with UUCA members, was published in the Examiner Newspaper (“Ceremony Marks Pagan Pride Week” by Andrea Useem, The Examiner, 21 Sep 2005).
We are self-sufficient, having no UUCA budget line item. Our Contribution of Record to the church for 2005 was $150. In response to the Church mold problem we held an auction of donated items with proceeds going to the mold fund.
Our rituals this year reflected the diversity and eclecticism of our group. Some of our rituals this year have included a Samhain ritual where we visited the land of the dead. Our Samhain ritual is our yearly large, public ritual, and was well attended this year. We also held rituals celebrating Earth Day, the Inuit Goddess Sedna and the Northern lights, a winter’s “Solstice Around the World” ritual, a Native American Thanksgiving Ritual, a ritual influenced by the work of British traditional Witch Robert Cochrane, a Shinto ritual, and an Aztec Corn Sacrifice ritual.
This year, in addition to our third Sunday rituals, we have been experimenting with holding special rituals very close to the day of the Sabbat (Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnassa, and Samhain).
We also worked with our members through transitions, donating money to the education fund for the children of Michael, holding a pregnancy blessing ritual, and helping with Barbara's memorial service for her husband.
MoonFire’s Pagan Fellowship Discussion Group has changed into a general fellowship, with movies and discussion. We have been meeting quarterly, with “Monty Python and the Hold Grail” being the most popular movie so far. The Working Circle, a study group for those who wanted to explore Pagan traditions and skills on a deeper level, also changed this year, meeting on the two months in between the fellowship meetings. Topics this year have been closely tied to the seasons, with discussions of Imbolc and Samhain. Other topics have included Shamanic Journeys, poetics of ritual, and Chanting/Drumming during rituals.
MoonFire held two Family Camping Weekends at Little Bennett Regional Park in the past year; in June, we celebrated the Summer Solstice with a ritual honoring the Hawaiian goddess Pele. We also took a nature walk and worked on building our own dream-catchers. In September we took a nature walk, worked on crafts, and held a dark/light moon ritual that made use of the site’s two fire pits. Our group also made a pilgrimage to the Maryland Renaissance Festival in October.
Representatives from MoonFire were again busy this year discussing Paganism, debunking myths and stereotypes, and leading basic Pagan rituals for RE classes at several area UU churches, including the River Road Unitarian Congregation in May 2005 and 2006, UUCA's own 7th grade RE class in November 2005, and the Northern Virginia Ethical Society, also in November 2005. They also led a Summer Solstice ritual in June 2005, and an Imbolc ritual in February 2006, for UUCA’s Fellowship X, for their Friday night services.
We are committed to charitable works and social activism. MoonFire held two special collections this year, one for Katrina victims and one for the Native American Heritage Association in South Dakota. Twice a year we volunteer to help with the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (ASPAN) Bagged Meal program, this year in September 2005 and April 2006. We have also conducted stream cleanups, this year focusing on Lubber Run.
Our current officers are Co-coordinators: Kate and Ed ; Secretary: Patrick ; Treasurer: Erich ; and Newsletter Editor: Leah. Kate, Ed, and Leah are all active members or friends of UUCA.