On October 2nd, I went to the annual Carry the Vision conference at Santa Clara University. NCLC CoG had decided not to be a Participating Organization this year but I was in the clergy procession and welcomed people on behalf of the Wiccan community and Covenant of the Goddess. There is always someone who seeks me out to say how wonderful it is that the Wiccan community is present in this interfaith gathering which brings together faith and civic organizations with the aim of making a positive difference in our community and our world.
At the vip/clergy breakfast I had lots of good conversations with folks. I met Jim Beall, Assemblyman from the 24th Dist. When he found out I was Wiccan he told me he is descended from Scottish Druids and his name is related to Beltaine. I was charmed. The level of acceptance that our community has earned with our interfaith presence is heartening.
After the blessing and various welcomes, Fr. John Dear gave the keynote talking about his work in anti-war and peace movements. He was quite an engaging speaker.
In the afternoon I went to a session on Modern-day Satyagraha Gandhi Jayanti given by Nipun Mehta, founder of CharityFocus and his colleague, Pancho. They showed the Power of One video and talked about making a difference. Their model for organizations was (1) Be volunteer run. (2) Don't fundraise and (3) Think small - assume value in every part of the process. Their philosophy is that "Wealth lies in contributions, not possessions. Reward lies in density of interconnections via circulation of gifts." The four shifts that have to be made are (1) Consumption to contribution, (2) Transaction to trust, (3) Isolation to community and (4) Scarcity to abundance. They have restaurants called Karma Kitchen where people pay what they feel it is worth... and whether there is a meal the next week depends on whether this weeks folks pay. Another project is Daily Good, a newsletter that gives a quote, a related story and an action every day.
The ending keynote was by Rev. Dr. Bernard Lafayette, a a longtime civil rights activist.
This conference is a wonderful cross-section of the many faith and civic organizations in the South Bay community. I hope that next year NCLC will consider participating in a deeper way again even though our general focus is more in the North and East Bay.