My friend Katrina, the acting mistress of ceremonies for MVPN, replied to an email the other day and updated me on the situation with the Mohawk Valley Pagan Network. Apparently, with myself and another ADFer moved out of the Utica area, the other members, who are all some form of Neo-Wiccan, want to focus more on that path. They want to conduct more private Sabbats and Esbats rather than reach out to the community (I guess). Katrina says the forums will remain to maintain communication with Pagans of other paths and other places in NY (like myself). She has yet to reply to my email requesting a confirmation of these points, but I'm assuming that means MVPN, for all practical purposes, is going to be an online networking site.
There are positives and negatives to this. On the one hand, I can completely understand why everyone left in Utica would want to focus more on their own path. While us ADFers were there, MVPN did its best to cater to our wants and needs. My friend and I pushed for more diversity because not everyone is Wiccan and if that's the first impression non-Wiccans get, they will usually run away without giving the group a chance. With us gone, it's only natural for the Neo-Wiccans to study what they feel most called to. If nobody else in the community is looking for Druidism or Heathenism (etc) then why go out of their way? In addition, I wouldn't feel it appropriate for a non-Druid, for example, to have a Druid ritual just to be diverse. That would be somewhat offensive, in my opinion.
At the same time, I can't help but wonder what would happen if a Druid showed up in Utica. I know the group wouldn't turn him or her away, but I get the feeling that the hypothetical "other" would lose interest. When I was in Utica, I seriously thought about starting a protogrove. I asked Robert Lewis, a fellow ADFer and then representative of the North Eastern groves, for a reading. The omens indicated that I had too much going on and that I should wait. Boy am I glad I listened - I got a new job and had to move, after all! That would have really complicated things... Then my friend moved to Albany. I would have been by myself, really... At the same time I wonder if I'll ever go back to Utica and whether or not I'll set up a grove there or anywhere else. I definitely feel the calling but it's not the right time. I feel like I need more experience, to begin with.
But I digress.
So, yes. The core group of MVPN seem to be moving away from MVPN and more towards a private/semi-open circle of sorts. Until the council meets to discuss what this officially means, all I can do is conjecture. In the meantime, the forums, which are supposedly going to be left for networking, are all but dead. Every once and awhile, a new person pops up but then goes quiet. It's usually just Katrina and myself having discussions. My other ADF friend will occasionally chime in. Otherwise the forums have been used for nothing more than RSVPing for events. I fear that, should "other" Pagans enter the Mohawk Valley, and if they find MVPN, they will think it's dead and give up. I don't understand why nobody else joins in on the conversations. Even simple ones like "What are your Yule traditions?" I can see that people looked - but why didn't they respond? Have they really just given up on networking? On the community? I'm two hours away and I haven't given up. Should I?
I guess I'll have to see what the council says.