2008 Annual Report – MoonFire
MoonFire, a Pagan circle at UUCA since 1995, is a chapter of the Covenant of UU Pagans (CUUPs). Our 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. Regular attendees who wish to 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, through social action such as stream clean-ups and feeding the homeless, as well as through web sites such as WitchVox.com, that of the Northern Virginia Pagan Network (NVPN), and our own web site, www.moonfireuuca.org. In addition to our having a clear web presence, it provides a central location for news and events.
In keeping with the eclectic nature of UU Paganism, we draw from a wide variety of themes and Pagan traditions. Third-Sunday rituals held in 2007 included a household protection/blessing ritual, a Native American Spring Equinox rite, a July ritual that featured a meditation on our animal spirit guides, and a Fall Equinox ritual about fellowship. Each year, MoonFire also leads more-traditional rituals which follow the four seasons. This year, these included an August harvest celebration and a Tarot-themed Samhain (All Souls’ Night) ritual in October.
We are self-sufficient, having no UUCA budget line item. All of our money comes from contributions by the attendees. We were able to make a donation of $100 to the Native American Heritage Association in South Dakota. Our contribution of record to the church for 2007 was $300.
To foster our spiritual growth, we led a series of Paganism 101 classes that served as an introduction for some and as a “refresher course” for others. In late summer, MoonFire began a monthly Working Circle on second Wednesdays: Various topics included energy work, spirit/totem animals, and classic archetypes and symbology. Members of our Steering Committee also led a First Friday service and taught three summer RE classes.
MoonFire held two camping retreats at Little Bennett Campground in Maryland for fellowship, workshops, and informal fireside rituals. In June, we gathered to celebrate a female member’s coming of age, and our September retreat was marked by a nighttime ceremony of personal resolutions.
Also in September, MoonFire was honored to lead the opening ritual for Pagan Pride Week at Lake Accotink--the ritual celebrated community and, similar to UUCA’s “Gathering of the Waters” service, each Pagan group in attendance brought some water to represent them. The waters were combined, and a portion was shared at the Interpath Service for the DC Pagan Pride Day (at the FDR memorial); some was also taken to the week’s final ritual in Baltimore. During the week, MoonFire hosted a chocolate ritual led by two NVPN members; it was a tongue-in-cheek celebration of typical Wiccan rituals and the “food of the gods.”
MoonFire members participated in several social outreach and advocacy events. In both February and September, members made and delivered sandwiches for the homeless via Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (ASPAN). In August’s overwhelming heat and humidity, half a dozen members removed roughly 6 bags of trash and debris from Four Mile Run.
On July 4th, three of our members participated in the dedication of the first Wiccan headstone at Arlington National Cemetery. This ceremony marked the federal court’s landmark approval of Wiccan symbols on service members’ tombstones in national cemeteries. It was the culmination of a long, controversial legal battle for religious rights.
In support one of our youngest members (a part of our circle since his birth), MoonFire’s Steering Committee endorsed a Pagan curriculum so the child might earn his Religion in Life badge offered by the Boy Scouts (and Girl Scouts) of America.
Our current officers are Co-Coordinators Leah P. and Patrick Q.; Secretary Lynn K.; Treasurer Erich S.; and Webmaster Ed M. Leah and Ed are active members of UUCA.