Day 29 of My Month of Thanksgivings: CHS

by Beth on November 29, 2012

Today, I give overflowing thanks that I live in a place and a time when an institution like Cherry Hill Seminary exists.

If you don’t already know, Cherry Hill Seminary is the leading provider of education and practical training in leadership, ministry, and personal growth in Pagan and Nature-Based spiritualities.

I am especially grateful and honored to be an officer on the Board of Directors. It is my great pleasure to be service, to help this wonderful resource grow strong.

Unlike any other university or college I’ve ever heard of, CHS has no wealthy endowments, corporate sponsors, alumni legacies, or even bank debt.

Instead, we have been building the world’s first all-tradition, graduate-level Pagan learning center (since Roman times) from scratch: from individual donations and gifts. (Like other schools of higher learning, our extremely modest tuition fees don’t cover our operating costs.)

It isn’t easy. In tough economic times, everyone’s charitable giving takes a hit. And people don’t always know about us, or why we matter.

But let me tell you.

If you cringe every year when some local loony in a black hat appoints themselves the spokesperson for explaining “Sam Hain” to a TV news crew; if you are or know someone who is either incarcerated or in the military, but has no access to their Earth-based spirituality practices; if you are fed up with the poor scholarship in some of the popular occult books, or the local make-it-up-as-you-go “teachers” with iffy backgrounds and agendas; or if you long for something more in-depth and juicy than the same old Wicca 101 — Cherry Hill is for you.

If you are seeking guidance from the most respected, thoroughly vetted teachers and leaders; if you have had an ill, or dying family member at the mercy of proselytizing hospital preachers; if you want to have a deeper, richer background in your own tradition, or the many other Goddess and Nature-based paths you might have heard of .. this is what Cherry Hill can do for you. And more.

You know we need our own counselors, researchers, teachers, pastoral care, media spokespersons, and leaders. Would you expect an aspiring Jewish rabbi to “make do” by studying at a Christian seminary?

So why is it okay to expect our own leaders and teachers to get their spiritual training from schools representing a faith with a long history of persecuting us?

We need outstanding, full-time experts who have been trained in OUR own traditions. And if we ever want to be taken seriously by the mainstream faiths, we need men and women who are highly educated and recognized as serious, knowledgeable professionals.

Okay. Off my soapbox now.

But I will say that in the pivotal times that we find ourselves, where there is a growing backlash from extreme right fundamentalists, now more than ever it is desperately important to NOT be complacent.

Having a place like Cherry Hill Seminary – where people around the world can gather, thanks to our online classrooms, and can be assured of the very, very best scholarship in our spiritual traditions — is not something to take for granted.

It’s still a fairly new beginning for us. We are working hard to get official accreditation, which takes many years and thousands of dollars.

In a repressive, reactionary climate, or if our own people do not dig in and support us, we could find ourselves once again at the mercy of a monotheistic monopoly on spiritual training.

But I am grateful that today, at least, such a time is not upon us. Those dark days are past, as long as we unite and say so.

Registration is now open for the best Spring semester offerings I have seen yet (and that’s saying something!).

And we always, always appreciate your donations, which are tax-deductible. We run our school on a very lean budget, so every contribution makes a difference, whether large or small.

Thank you, to the great Givers of Good, for Cherry Hill Seminary.

Macha November 30, 2012 at 4:16 am

Brava!

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