Two Elders Respond to OHF Issues

Notes from a few elders

It has come to our attention recently that the ending of Iris Firemoon’s marriage to Sean Bennett has ignited a firestorm that has engulfed our new Pagan Community Center and the OHF. It is unfortunate of course, but we humans tend to have loves, loss and lives beyond even our most esteemed values and dreams.

We send our love and prayers of comfort to Iris. She obviously is in great pain. She deserves support and understanding, and her spiritual community should surround her with love and compassion.

We send love also to Sean Bennett, because he too must be suffering from the airing of the personal and intimate details of his private life. May he find comfort and support as well.

Being older yet mindful of our youthful transgressions, we are well aware that often relationships that begin with a fiery passion must surely end as well in a fiery rage. It is the way things work, but it still is painful for all concerned.

And for this we offer our love, compassion, understanding and support to all affected by the end of this relationship.

And having been in leadership positions in more than a few organizations over the decades, we also understand how interpersonal issues can obfuscate the mission, goals and activities of groups as diverse as political parties, unions, churches, nonprofits, advocacy/social justice organizations, and businesses.

We are human, and we bring out humanity into everything we do in the world, it is inevitable.

And so we offer two suggestions to the OHF in the interest of learning from this painful episode.

1. We suggest a bylaws change to the effect that board members cannot be involved with other board members in an intimate relationships, as business owners, work for the same boss, have supervisory relationships or be related by marriage or blood. If two or more board members find their soulmate on the board, all but one needs to resign.

2. And although many would feel otherwise, we feel that Sean’s membership on the board is currently a liability that OHF can ill afford. Regardless of how you come down on the dissolution of their marriage, the board and by extension our community center cannot operate effectively while this scandal is alive.

There was a time, that Katrina Messenger faced a similar issue with her membership on the board of a nationally recognized organization. Despite being innocent of any wrongdoing, a whisper campaign against her was making it difficult for the board to operate. So she resigned in the interest of the organization's health and well being.

We do not think Sean is guilty of anything except being human and fallible just like the rest of us. So this is not a condemnation of him in any way. We just think the fallout from his marriage’s dissolution is harming the community center. And we as a community could be better served by his stepping down from the board to become maybe a volunteer of some sort if he so desires.

Now we know that our opinions are just one among many, many opinions. But we hope that our input can be heard at the very least by those whose hearts, like our own, are in great pain because of all that has transpired as of late.

And to put our money where our mouth is, so to speak, we freely offer our spiritual counseling services to all parties involved in this issue. And further, we are willing to act as mediators for all the offended parties.

We just love our interlacing, overlapping, beautifully diverse communities of pagans. And so we pray for the best possible outcome with the least harm to all concerned.

In service and blessings
Katrina Messenger
Eridanus Kummerow

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Thu, 08/09/2012 - 10:30am.

Kat, Emralde (not verified) | Mon, 08/13/2012 - 2:13pm

Thank you for this perspective. I very much appreciate the voice of the elders as I struggle with my own (not-voiced) feelings about this situation and its outcome.

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Peter Dybing (not verified) | Thu, 08/09/2012 - 11:54am

I attempted to, one on one, have a conversation with Sean about doing the honorable thing and protecting the organization. His response was self centered and blaming others. Very sad. Recent posts from other women confirming his abusive behavior should make it clear to the community that this is not a personal issue gone public. Frankly, there is a wolf in the house and he belongs outside where he can not make victims of other women.

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