Educating Pagan Clergy

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As the depth of pagan generations increases, communities are finding a need to provide more services than just handfastings and sabbat celebrations. Today’s pagans often run into media pagans who are attracted to the philosophy and practice through movies and television shows and pick up popular 101 books, and are looking for structure or authorities in a culture which has long prided itself on the “do as thou will” philosophy. Long-time pagans are facing end-of-life transitions, empty-nest syndrome, and a new set of expectations from younger generations as they look to their elders.

Faced with the exploding popularity of pagan culture, icons, and the mainstreaming of eco-spirituality to one degree or another, pagans as individuals and organizations are seeking more rigorous tools and standards for ordination, teaching, and ministry. But rather than fall into a hierarchical culture most of us have happily left in unhappy childhoods, we are looking for information on new paradigms and the study of how we came to be and how we are evolving and the tools we can use. This is where Cherry Hill Seminary comes in. With courses like Addictions & Recovery, Psychology of Religion as Applied to Paganism, and Religion & the Law, they reach far beyond the basic magical training and into the more societal aspects required by pagan clergy. Cherry Hill offers three basic tracks for different student goals:

  • Full Matriculation for Graduate training in Pastoral Counseling or Public Ministry
  • Continuing Education (individual courses)
  • Cherry Hill Seminary Fall Lecture Series (New!)

Cherry Hill Introduces Their Fall Lecture Series

Cherry Hill Seminary is pleased to introduce the first of a series of stand-alone lectures given by prominent members of the community in their respective fields. The series aims to provide unique opportunities for individuals to share ideas in short, two hour “mini-classes”. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session.

The cost for these lectures is $25 each, payable through PayPal at the Cherry Hill Website. The lectures will take place online at the CHS site on various Sundays throughout the Fall semester. 8-10 pm ED/ST; 5-7 pm PD/ST

We’ve perused the Cherry Hill website and found some cool sections on their site:

Light a candle on the online altar
http://cherryhillseminary.org/cgi-bin/candle.pl

View the Course List
http://cherryhillseminary.org/admissions/courselistings.html

Admissions
http://cherryhillseminary.org/admissions/admacademic.html#admissions

More about Cherry Hill Seminary

from their FAQ Page http://cherryhillseminary.org/faq.html

All Pagans can have a direct relationship with their gods. The ways that we each honor that relationship vary, depending upon the gods, the tradition we practice, and our own gifts and callings. There is no higher calling than that of priest or priestess. However, some priests and priestesses are also called by the gods to public service through such ministries as those described above. These roles require advanced training and skills beyond the basic education received when one is learning a tradition. Because of that, we are looking for serious students who are already well grounded in their particular Pagan tradition and practice and are now called to serve in some aspect of Pagan ministry.

Our goals are to:

  • help experienced and skilled Pagan community leaders supplement their education with training geared toward professional ministry skills rather than basic magical skills;
  • help those newly called to Pagan ministry to get a comprehensive education in all aspects of Pagan thea/theology, practice, society/community, and ministry skills;
  • support Pagan communities reaching out for skilled leadership for legal and sacred rites, education, networking, pastoral counseling, and intra- and interfaith collaboration.

For that reason, the program is designed so that the amount of reading, written assignments, and academic rigor expected are equivalent to those of an accredited Master’s degree program. While we do not yet require a B.A. degree for admission, it is a good preparation for the kind of study CHS provides.

Visit Cherry Hill Seminary on the web at http://www.cherryhillseminary.org/

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