This event was mishandled from the beginning.
It was scheduled too soon. It was advertised as “healing” without addressing what was going to be healed or how.
If OHF had explicitly, publicly announced that this was to heal the breach with Firefly and specifically reached out to Firefly to attend, then when Katrina stepped aside – and Mike and possibly other Fireflies had a problem with what she wrote – OHF would have credibly been able to say that with Katrina stepping aside from the event, they were still hoping Fireflies would attend. If the Fireflies didn’t, OHF could have reasonably said that the Fireflies were holding OHF responsible for Katrina’s actions and that Katrina was not representing OHF.
By relying on personal relationships and private communications in order to try to get people to come, OHF has made those personal relationships and private communications valid reasons for people to refuse to come. Personal relationships and private communications were what got OHF into this situation.
It is past time for OHF to learn to be more transparent.
When the original plans for the event fell apart, someone (who? when? how? I was on the email list and I don’t know) decided to drop back to a more meditative event led or facilitated by people all part of OHF’s leadership. Eldritch, as spokesperson for the organization that is being criticized, cannot be the bridge builder to his critics, no matter what his experience in conflict resolution is.
At that point the event became an OHF event rather than a community event, and it looks self-centered and self-serving.
This morning, I offered to lead/facilitate the event, not to try to step into Katrina’s shoes or to mediate disputes, just to get the focus off OHF and simply try to get people in the same room. I reached out to Mike to see if he would consider coming under those circumstances. Mike refused; OHF didn’t seem to be interested; and if no Fireflies would come, I didn’t want to do it either.
As it is, this event looks like asking people to support OHF in its own healing, rather than being outreach to the community in general or Firefly in particular. If people find value in it, I’m glad for them; I personally think it has been too badly mishandled and runs the risk of doing more harm than good. I do not want this to solidify Firefly’s withdrawal.
I am going to continue to meditate and pray for honesty, openness, strength, dialogue, and healing for the Pagan community in general and to support the community center in particular, but I will be doing so privately.
I continue to donate to OHF; I continue to call for OHF to seriously consider a major leadership reorganization and policy and practice changes. I implore Firefly members and all interested Pagans to stay engaged with the organization in order to support its larger mission and try to make it a more responsive organization that better meets the needs of the Pagan community.
Comments for this entry are closed because this is a contentious issue and I will be taking my Internet-free day starting at sundown, so I will not be able to stay on top of the comment thread. I am sure there will be plenty of future opportunities to continue discussing the situation.