This is Ryan, the MPRC president.
I’m writing this message to you as I sit back and realize that I have been president for one year now! As I reflect back on what’s taken place this year at the MPRC, I’m really quite proud. It’s been nerve-racking and exciting, and a really phenomenal experience for me as I have never done anything like this before!
Last year at Imbolc, 2012, the MPRC was approached by a staff member at Melange Magique. They had asked to see if we would be interested in organizing a labyrinth of lights as a special event; their mother was visiting from the US, and she wanted very much to invite her mother to a special Pagan experience. We excitedly agreed, and decided to make it a public event for Imbolc.
Given that Imbolc isn’t one of the more “exciting” holidays, and our short notice (I think it was about 9 days), we planned a brief 2 hour duration for the labyrinth and invited the public to come and walk the path of lights with us. It was an excellent event for me to “cut my teeth on” as they say; there was no ‘ritual’ to plan, and it was an introspective experience that worked around solitude and reflection. I was off the hook planning-wise and got to meet more of the community (some of whom I’d met at previous events, as I was a volunteer for some time prior).
Well, if any of you attended that Imbolc event, you can remember how I was not off the hook at all! Our small, last minute event drew in far more people than we had ever expected, and I spent the whole 2 hours running back and forth, offering people tea, helping inquiring students, introducing myself, and trying to keep myself from buckling under the pressure of “Hey, I’m the new president!”
It was a bit of a sink-or-swim moment for me, and as I doggie paddled onto the other side of that river, I came out frazzled and energized and ready to do more exciting, new things for the MPRC!
Shortly after we had a small and cozy Ostara event with some friendly faces and some excellent food! What was special about this event is that it was organized by two community members! Many people do no know this, but the MPRC actually has a ‘grant submission process’ for community members who would like to host Pagan-related events, or workshops! These two community members wrote, decorated for, and lead the Ostara ritual (their first attempt at public ritual!) and did a phenomenal job! We’d love to see more community members bring in new ideas, not only for Sabbat rituals, but also for Pagan rituals devoted to particular paths (Kemetic, Hellenic, Druidic, etc.) to expose us to your areas of expertise, and also for Pagan-related events or workshops! The MPRC is a community hub that wants to support these kinds of interactions; socially and monetarily! A good example of a community suggested event is our Pagan Art Show!
During the summer months, the MPRC is usually pretty quiet. People are away on vacation, getting housework done, or attending festivals of all different stripes. While MPRC events were fewer during the summer, our board was still out and about mingling in the community: Kaleidoscope Gathering saw all of us networking and inviting people from across the country to come visit us or involve us in their works!
After returning from our summer treks and events, we started preparing for our biggest annual event: the Samhain Witches’ Ball.
Now, sadly, this look back on the year has to hit a bit of a bum-note.
Despite a lot of hard work and energy on our part; despite some favours called in; despite calling on stand-bys and fresh faces alike…well, the Samhain ball was a bust. It is the egg on our face for the year 2012. Due to several complications that occurred with our venue choices, we were left with a space that was less than inspirational. Loose ends came back to bite us, and our ritual was less than stellar. And, given the lack-luster feelings people had about the ritual, the ball itself was a bit of a flop as well.
We received some feedback from the community, and while some people were doing their best to be supportive of the group and our efforts, the consensus was that the Samhain ritual and the ball were not even remotely up to the standards we usually set for ourselves for this particular event. We tarnished our reputation, and let a lot of people down. We know this, and we sadly accept it. As president, even I was pretty crestfallen and so I won’t try to spin this, or pass it off as inconsequential. I accept, and the board of the MPRC accepts, the critique and the honest reviews that we received regarding this event.
We are so sorry.
There isn’t much that can be said on the matter that doesn’t boil down to “We are so sorry.”
With that in mind, we did our best to dust ourselves off and try to regain the trust and excitement that we so value in our community. Yule was coming up, and that meant our annual Yule Fair hosted in partnership with Melange Magique!
This was another exciting time for me as President because the style of the fair allowed me to meet and talk with many of our community members in a way that is impossible at a ritual. Before the fair proper, I was able to accompany Melange Magique to a craftshow at Concordia University; we shared a table, representing the Pagan and witchcraft communities here in Montreal and tried to drum up interest in our Yule Fair and annual ritual! It was a great day and really got me back into the headspace of energy and positivity that was necessary to pull off the fair!
The fair itself, as I mentioned, was fantastic for me as an opportunity to sit down with some of our community members and talk face to face. But what was really exciting was our BIG move! In the more recent past, the MPRC has been generously offered a space at the back of Melange Magique for our read-in library and physical resource centre. After some discussions with the owners at Melange Magique, we got to experience a bit of a “coming home”. You see, long before the MPRC occupied the space at the back of Melange Magique, we actually had a community lounge space for people to read books, drink some tea, and discuss, all up at the front of the store by the windows! Well, at the Yule Fair 2012, we were gifted back our old home at the front of the store, wich gave us considerably more space! Our lounge space is being built again, and in the coming months we will be creating a beautiful new public altar space for those who need a moment of devotion or meditation!
This brings us round, round, round back to Imbolc!
My one year anniversary as president!
We decided that last year the community really responded well to our labyrinth of lights (even if I was running around with steam shooting out of my ears), and that it would bear repeating! Learning from last year we made sure to adapt the event so that people weren’t lined up out the door; we made the event 6 hours long, with a different style of labyrinth to allow for easier and faster passage, and incorporated a “gift-exchange” of sorts in order to foster some good will and prosperity in our community!
It was amazing! People were glowing with positive energy, and I was floored by the overwhelmingly supportive responses from the community! We had students from a diversity of programs and schools come to experience the labyrinth for assignments; we had a local webTV show interview us; we had old and new faces alike join us for the event. It was a beautiful thing, if I do say so myself.
We’re also very excited about new things coming up in the near future!
As mentioned, our space is evolving and soon our public altar space and lounge area will be completed. We’ve also upgraded our website to include a public forum for people to discuss Paganism, witchcraft, spirituality, ritual, etc., as well as look for new group members, or find people looking for groups! We’ve also begun to rework our Pagan Discussion nights, as well as Pagan Sunday Brunches, and we have some fun events planned for moots and Bingo/Event nights!
It’s been quite an experience, this first year of being president at the MPRC, one that I have enjoyed immensely and hope to repeat (of course, having learned some lessons for this year). With that said, I would like to inform everyone in our community that the MPRC board is entering its annual elections! That means that anyone who wishes to help as part of the board is welcome to enter their candidacy.
The public board meeting where we will be collecting nominations will be held February 28th, 2013. The meeting will be held at Melange Magique (1928 St. Catherine West, Montreal, Québec, Canada H3H-1M4) from 7:00pm-9:00pm. Nominations can initially be sent electronically, but for them to be valid they must be made in-person at the public meeting. This means you can tell us through e-mail “I’d like to be included in the nominations for position X”, but unless there is a human being (yourself or a proxy) at the meeting that informs us “This person is submitting their candidacy for position X”, your nomination will not be valid.
Let me repeat that: in order for a nomination to the MPRC board to be considered valid, a human being must be present at 1928 St. Catherine West, Montreal, Québec, Canada H3H-1M4, between 7:00pm and 9:00pm on February 28th, 2013 to present the nomination.
All nominations must be made with the knowledge and consent of the nominee.
Nominations will be collected, and an online voting system will be used to determine the election or re-election of all positions.
The following are the board positions and who they are currently held by, though all positions are open to re-election or replacement depending on the votes won:
- President (Currently Ryan S.)
- Vice President (Currently John M.)
- Secretary (Currently Luna G.)
- Treasurer (Currently Luna G., interim position)
- Volunteer Coordinator (Currently Kevin C.)
- Event Coordinator (Currently J.D. Hobbes)
- Head Librarian (Currently John M.)
- Public Relations Rep. (Currently J.D. Hobbes)
Any feedback you, the community, have is always appreciated. We are here to represent you, but also to serve you; we need to know how to best do those things! Contact us by Facebook, e-mail, or through our new MPRC forums!
Thank you all a million times over for a phenomenal year and we hope to see you all at our upcoming events!