1: What draws you to the path of Initiation within ADF?
When I first completed my Dedicant’s Program in 2013, I had no idea what I wanted to do next. I knew that I loved being a part of ADF, but being a solitary practitioner made me feel like my options were somewhat limited. I had been the only member of ADF in Nebraska since I joined in 2008. That changed quickly and unexpectedly, and by the fall of 2013 we had created a Protogrove. At that point, I found myself in a leadership position, guiding rituals and helping others get to know and understand ADF in their own way. I realized that I both wanted and needed to be working on the Clergy Program. I am honored that my ordination happened very recently, and now I find myself again looking at the next step in my path. For me, the path of Clergy is very focused on service to the people and providing the community the aid that it needs. From my perspective, Initiation is more focused on the internal exploration and being able to navigate and understand your personalpath more clearly. This internal focus is a tool that I think will be very important, both in my personal workings and in my work as clergy. This focus is what draws me to the path of Initiation.
2: What does being an Initiate mean to you?
When I hear the word “Initiate” there are two things that come to mind. First is the idea of beginning something new. Second is the idea of admitting someone into a group with its own practices and rituals. I think that becoming an Initiate within ADF is a combination of these two ideas. Working through the Initiate’s Program will give me the opportunity to continue exploring my personal practice on a deeper level, and to begin a new journey toward Initiation. Essentially, I see the Initiate Program as a spark, helping to ignite the flame that through hard work, careful tending, and focus can eventually become a deeply burning fire. In addition to this new beginning, becoming an Initiate allows you to become part of the small family of people who have completed Initiation. For me, being an Initiate means establishing a strong personal practice, built upon scholarship and ingenuity. It means looking at my challenges and working through them. It is a path of learning and experiencing the world from a different perspective, and I look forward to seeing what this path has to show me.
3: What services do you hope to provide to your community with this training?
Overall, I believe that the training of the Initiate’s program will allow me to become a better leader, Priest, and human being in the community. The studies of this program will allow me to explore my own beliefs and practices more deeply, which I think will be beneficial in helping me understand how to help others find their own path. I also think that the required practice involved with the InitiateProgram will help me to become more comfortable with ritual and ADF liturgy, as well as my personal pracitce, which will allow me to lead better rituals with my protogrove. Also, this path gives you the opportunity for self exploration and understanding, and being able to better understand your own strengths and weaknesses makes you a better person overall.