Article: Appropriate Spiritual Leadership

Article: Appropriate Spiritual Leadership

This post wasn’t what I was expecting, given the source was “Hearthstone Community Church’s February 2014 newsletter”. I think everything it has to say is very intelligent, and also useful to me as a reality check on my leadership style.

I have always struggled with concerns about how to be an effective, ethical spiritual leader. Lately I have been increasingly concerned about how to not be financially dependent on my partner or family, while still having the time and focus to be the full-time clergy I feel called to be.

One of my congregants recently suggested that our meetings begin including a collection jar, to offset my costs. At first I balked – my contributions to the meetings are intended as my share of the potluck. Belatedly, I realized three things.

1: This counts under the general heading of Freyja having forbidden me to refuse people’s gifts and payments if they value my service and skills. I’m only to refuse payment if the process of delivering said payment would somehow place me or someone I love in danger. (i.e. I’m not obliged to give my home address to someone I don’t trust so that they can mail me a gift.)

2: If I were being reimbursed for my expenses, I could furnish our rituals and meetings with better supplies.

3: I shouldn’t assume the rest of the congregation would balk, as long as contributing was voluntary, and no one is turned away for lack of funds.

This article reminds me what really matters in leadership ethics. I appreciate the help.


About EmberVoices

Ember Cooke has been a member of Hrafnar and Seidhjallr for more than a decade, where she trained to be a Seidhkona, Galdrakona, and Gythia. She founded the Vanic Conspiracy and made ordination vows to the Vanir and her congregation in the summer of 2013. She has contributed to several publications on Heathen and Northern Pagan subjects and regularly presents rituals and workshops at festivals. Her personal practice is more diverse, as the Vanir have lead her into cross-training and service for the wider Pagan community. This has including medium and servitor training in American Umbanda, clergy training with the Fellowship of the Spiral Path, and jail ministry for local counties. She holds a BA with honors in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University. Ember has lived all her life in the south San Francisco Bay Area, and is intimately bound to the valley of her birth.
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