1. Using the ADF vision statement at https://www.adf.org/about/basics/vision.html as a guide, how would you (as an ADF Priest) promote the growth and vision of ADF? (minimum 100 words)

One thing that really stands out in Isaac's vision is that we need to be focused on excellence and scholarship. This is what truly differentiates ADF from the majority of the other Neo-Pagan religions out there. The other thing that comes out of the vision statement is that we need to also be focused on giving good ritual. I believe it is through these two things that we should be promoting ADF.


What that means is that as leaders, we need to get out in our communities and talk to others about ADF. This can be one on one as we're at events, or by giving workshops and discuss who we are, where our heritage lies, and show that we're scholastic based. We need to do that though without disparaging other groups. At the very least, doing this will remind us who we are as a group.


For the other part, we need to be doing public and open rituals, especially as pan-pagan festivals. The scholarships will draw some people in, but lets be honest in that it will be only a hand full. On the other hand, putting on a good ritual and making the people feel during the ritual, that is what will bring in a large amount of people. My experience has been that a combination of both, giving a good ritual and having good discussions with people before or after about ADF is the best way we have to attract new members into ADF. It is also the best way we have to dispel any myths or rumors people have about ADF.

  1. Describe five techniques you can use in your own life to improve your management of time. (minimum 300 words)

There are many time management techniques that can be employed to improve ones management of time. Five of the more common ones are making and using lists, use “tickler” files, minimize meetings, block out your time, and profit from off time (5 Time Management Techniques Worth Using).


Making lists is one of the easiest thing to do. This is really the heart of all time management techniques. There are a few lists that need to be made on a regular basis. One is your actual schedule, what are you doing and where should you be. A second one is a to do list that lists what all needs to be done, ideally organized by deadline and priority. A third one is a to call list that lists who needs to be called organized by deadlines and priority. A final list is essentially a scratch pad of thoughts that occur during the day that you need to talk with someone with, organized by person. Making the lists, organizing, and updating is a good way to keep yourself focused on what needs to be done, when it needs to be done by, and a record of what you have done.


The use of “tickle files” is a way of remembering to follow up. The idea is simple, you basically create a folder for each day of each month. When you have a correspondence that you need to follow up with on a certain date, you put a note or file into the appropriate folder. Every day you open that appropriate folder and you should be able to see what follow ups need to be done. This is described in the article I referenced above as actual file folders, but it could easily be done as notes in your electronic calendars.


Minimizing meetings is a very important thing to do. Very little ever gets done when you have multiple personalities all vying for their own self preservation get together. This is why the adage of 'to kill an idea, send it to a committee' exists. More can be accomplished by discussing things one on one than in a meeting setting, and therefore meetings in general should be minimized as they rarely accomplish much.


Blocking out time is another important technique. This is not just blocking out time for your work, but also for yourself. What this boils down to is you need to set apart time to do the actual work, and set apart time for you to do what you enjoy too. If you don't keep this balance, and start doing work during personal time, you quickly get to the point of feeling burnt out. Also, if you block all your time to do phone calls, meetings, etc. and not set apart time for you to do the actual work you need to do, you will feel the pressure to do the work during your personal time, and again lead to feeling burnt out.


Profiting from off time goes hand in hand with blocking out time. Here the idea is that you need to separate work from life. That means that in your off time you should not be returning phone calls, sending emails, or doing anything else work related. That does not mean that you shouldn't be spending time learning. Off time is a great time to increase your knowledge that can be useful for your job, but it need to be time for yourself and it shouldn't be wasted.


  1. Describe four ways to run an effective meeting. (minimum 50 words each)

I prefer to think of this as 7steps to running an effective meeting. They are making your objective clear, consider who is invited, stick to the schedule, take no hostages, start and end on time, ban technology, and following up (Hartman).


Making your objectives clear is one of the most important steps for a meeting. If you don't have clear objectives for what you expect out at the end, then how do you know where to go during the meeting? A clear objective will give everyone an end point to focus on, and will give you something to keep pushing people back to in the event that you wander away from it.


Considering who is invited to a meeting can make a big difference in the meeting. Do you need to invite everyone? People who are only going to be there and do nothing but observe, or turn you off track from what you are there to do should not be invited. Invite only people who are affected by the meeting, or are able to help with whatever the final objective is.


Sticking to your schedule requires the creation of an agenda with timing. This needs to be published to everyone prior to the meeting, and it needs to be followed. Once people know what they are supposed to be talking about, and how long they have to talk about it, then they will be more apt to keep their part of the meeting focused on what needs to be done, and not on all the extra stuff that they may want to bring up. Using an agenda and sticking to it will ultimately keep the focus and assist with the start and end on time step.


Taking no hostages is all about giving everyone their fair share of the time to talk. Nothing can derail a meeting faster than having one person hog all the time. This discourages other ideas from being spoken, and makes everyone else feel less important. For a good meeting, it is imperative that you give everyone equal time.


Starting and ending on time are very important. This first will give the idea to everyone that you recognize that their time is important, so you gain some respect from them. It also will make people stick to the agenda more, and help keep the meeting focused. A second part of this is that meetings should be limited to 1 hour or less if possible. People in general start to disengaging after an hour.


Banning technology has become one of the more important steps. Most everyone has a smart phone now that can do email, Facebook, games, etc. These are all distractions from the meeting, and distractions need to be minimized because they are counter productive . As a result, nobody should be allowed to be on their technology during the meeting.


Finally, following up after the meeting is necessary. At the very least a summary of the meeting (e.g. minutes) should be provided to everyone there. They should be allowed to make changes, and when all agree, you finalized the summary. This ensures that everyone is on the same page after the meeting, knows who is supposed to be doing what, and also serves as a record of the meeting for use in the future.


  1. Describe four barriers to running an effective meeting and discuss how you would overcome each barrier. (minimum 50 words each)

As with the steps to running an effective meeting I listed above, you can see that some of the steps are directly related preventing to barriers to an effective meeting (Hartman).


Not having a clear objective is a big and common issue for effective meetings. If you have no set objective, or the objective is overly broad, then you will lose focus. Without focus, or with an overly broad focus, your meeting will begin to wander, and in the end, not much will ever be accomplished. Having that clear and narrow objective is highly important.


Along with the objective, not having your time planned out is another common issue. If you don't have an agenda that sets the schedule for the meeting, people will just keep taking up the time for their pet projects, and not let you get to the other things that need to be done. Setting a clear time limit for each topic in the meeting helps alleviate this, and helps people narrow down what they are saying or presenting so that it can fit within the time.


Long winded people who like to hog the discussion are another barrier that has to be dealt with. A meeting is about exchanging ideas and either coming up with a solution, or disseminating what has happened. When it becomes one person talking, everyone else disengages. It is important to give everyone a chance to speak, and also keep them limited to the time allotted on the agenda.


Technology is a relatively new barrier that we have in meetings. Years ago, people didn't have ready access to distractions during the meeting. That doesn't mean they were any more engaged, but it does mean that it was more difficult to not be engaged in the meeting. With the ready distractions we all have now through technology, it is very easy to become lost in a meeting. As a result, people should not be using their technology during a meeting unless it is directly related to the meeting.


  1. Define and describe the characteristics of the term "effective communication" and discuss at least three barriers to effective communication. (minimum 200 words)


There are many things that go into effective communication all of which are ways of overcoming specific barriers (Tardanico). One of the more important characteristic of effective communication is doing what you say you are going to do. This comes down to trust. If you make a promise and keep it, you build trust, and people are more willing to listen to and believe you in the future. Breaking this trust is a big barrier to being an effective communicator.


Being wordy is another barrier that people tend to face. We are bombarded with information overload day in, day out. There is just to much to take in. The best communicators out there will distill the most complex ideas down into something more simple and easier to understand. The simpler you can make something while maintaining the essence of the idea, the better it will be received, and the better communicator you will become. The fewer the words, the better.


Related to being wordy is using someone else's words. It is important that you speak with your own voice. When people start seeing you speak with corporate language, they will start to tune out. It is important that you still use correct language and grammar, but do it with your own voice. Be authentic and people will respond positively.


Being visible and seen in the trenches is another important part of effective communications. If people see you as being hidden behind the curtain, or sitting on top of your mountain and not approachable, then people will have a tendency to not really listen to what you say. If you show them that you are a person too, and that you are willing to go down and be with them, talk with them, listen to them, you will be received in a much better light.


Finally, to be an effective communicator, you also need to be a listener. You need to listen to what people say to you. You also need to make them feel included as in what I stated above with being visible. Listening to the people you come in contact with taking to heart what they are saying will bring them to respect and trust you more. As I said at the start, it is all about trust. If you break the trust,then you lose all effectiveness.


  1. Describe three avenues of communication that you have utilized to raise awareness about ADF in your community and name three more avenues that you may utilize in the future. (min.300 words)

Most of my work to raise awareness of ADF in my local community has been through work with my grove. Probably the most important thing that we do is hold open and public high days. This is especially visible in the summer where we tend to hold them in parks and have no control over who may be around us. While it was one stressful ritual, our Lughnassadh in 2013 where we had the disruption by some evangelical Christians disrupt our ritual, I do believe we at least got across to one of the people that was watching us that we're not as scary as she may have been lead to believe.


Along with this, we do maintain ties with other local Neo-Pagan groups. When Trinity Temple was around we would host many of our rituals there, and participate in the rituals that they put on. It is a good form of outreach to just be visible and participate in a friendly way with other groups. This then allows us to discuss ADF before and after the ritual with people that are curious.


A third thing that we do as far as outreach is web based. We do maintain a website, and are currently working on adding more stuff to it and keeping it up to date, a task that is never ending. This is our official face for those that are seeing us via the web, and it is important that we make a good first impression.


As for what can be done in the future. We do not have a pagan pride day because of issued that happened years ago, but there is a group that is starting a small festival in the fall, and this is something we have considered doing workshops and rituals at. Another thing we have tried in the past, and may try again in the future is to hold druid meet-ups. Basically get together at a coffee shop and talk druidry with those interested. I am also considering doing more public divination, e.g. fortune telling, which will get me out more, and give me the opportunity to talk more about ADF with people I would not normally come across.


  1. Choose three of the following questions that you might be asked by the media or public and write a response that you might give. (minimum 100 words for each response)

    1. A reporter asks, "A member of your Grove has just been reported to have molested a number of children over the last three years. Does your organization condone this behavior and what steps is it taking to protect its members from this behavior?"

We as members of Tear of the Cloud Grove, and ADF are deeply concerned with the allegations that a member has molested numerous children over the last three years. As a grove, and as a religion, we do not condone or agree with what they have done. We have notified our governing board about this situation, and will continue to keep them updated as things progress.


The organization at large has a zero tolerance for this kind of behavior, and if they are found guilty, they will be dealt with on the organization wide level so that they cannot fall through the cracks and show up elsewhere. Until the point in time that they are proven guilty, on the local level we will be sure that they are never left alone with children, and work with any concerned parents to make our grove a safe place for all. We also will continue to pray for the victims and provide any support we can.


  1. "We're here to protest your satanic cult and to protect our children from your evil behavior."

  2. A fireman says, "Your neighbors have reported that you have a fire in your backyard. We need to see what's going on!"

This would be more of a conversation than a press statement. I would invite the firemen into the back yard and show them that the fire was a small, contained fire and that we had fire extinguishers and/or water readily available to put the fire out. That by itself should quell any safety concerns assuming that it was legal to have a fire in the first place.


Apart from that, I would explain to the firemen that the fire is an important part of our worship. We believe that through the burning of offerings, that they get sent to the beings that we are honoring. This makes the fire a necessary part of our practice. We also recognize that fires can be dangerous, and as a result we do take all the precautions we can to keep it confined, starting with burning within a bowl or ring, keeping it as small as reasonable, and having fire suppression material available.


  1. Your neighbor is yelling obscenities at you during your ritual.

This has actually happened to my grove during our Lughnassadh 2013 ritual. The first thing that is not obvious is that you need to be able to have someone else run the ritual while you deal with the disturbance. With that taken care of, I stepped out of the ritual and started to try to calm down the person that was causing a disturbance. I tried to relate to them using experiences that were relevant to them, and tried to make them see that what they were doing would be highly offensive to them if we did it during one of their services.


I also looked around to try to find others that were with her to try to get her to calm down and away from us. The whole time, I kept being positive, polite, and calm while offering to discuss what we were doing at great length when we were done, basically make it an educational situation instead of just a disturbance. Ultimately she did calm down and lose interest in us, although it mostly took up that last half of the rite.


The other tool that we were close to using was to call the police and get them involved. We didn't want to do that unless totally necessary as it would most likely only escalate the situation. But it was our last resort and we were sure that we had working cell phones ready, especially if things became violent.


Overall though, being calm and collected, talking with them not to or at them, and trying to deescalate the situation is the best way to handle the situation. Just ignoring them will only go so far, and maybe, just maybe, with a little bit of education they will come to at least realize what they are doing is wrong and not do it again in the future.


  1. A reporter asks, "I understand that ADF views itself as a legitimate church. Why do you think you should be treated as a real church?"

  2. "I have heard that ADF members practice polyamory. Isn't that against the law?"

  3. "Is ADF a cult or a religion?"


Works Cited

“5 Time Management Techniques Worth Using”. Entrepreneur. 6 July 2014. <http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/229772>. Web


Hartman, Neal. “Seven Steps to Running the Most Effective Meeting Possible”. Forbes. 5 February 2014. 6 July 2014. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2014/02/05/seven-steps-to-running-the-most-effective-meeting-possible/>. Web.


Tardanico, Susan. “5 Habits of Highly Effective Communicators”. Forbes. 29 November, 2012. 6 July 2014. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/susantardanico/2012/11/29/5-habits-of-highl…;. Web.