How are we adding fuel to the sacred fire across the world? How are we growing, transforming, connecting and bringing warmth to our people? Stay tuned for more updates from the leadership of the international community in this new column called “Feeding the Fire.”
We’re entering a time of dynamic change in the Sacred Fire Community.
Over the past years, we’ve established an organizational structure, and our next challenge as a community is to more fully own it and to come together in a common understanding of the profound gift we’re bringing the world. At a recent Fire, Grandfather said (paraphrasing — who takes perfect notes!?), “You’ve seen firsthand the benefits the Fire as medicine can bring to people’s lives and to those other people in their lives.” At the core of who we are is just this — to bring the medicine of Fire to a world that has lost touch with and actively suppressed Fire — both externally suppressing the naturally needed effects of Fire in the forests for renewal and inwardly suppressing the Fire of emotions and heart.
A big obstacle appears to be that this “mission” can seem so vast and so dear that we shy away from it. Many people we consider members of our community when asked, “Are you a member of the Sacred Fire Community?” say something like, “I never thought of myself that way. Yes, I’m a member of this community, but not of the Sacred Fire Community.” Perhaps this is because we don’t ask people to sign on the dotted line. But there’s something deeper here. How much has each of us really embraced the profound and vast activity Grandfather has inspired us to bring to the world?
With this as the background, Grandfather has directed us to make some changes in our structure, which signal that the time has arrived for the next stage of development towards the fully embodied community that we are meant to be. As we have been researching and moving towards being accepted as a nonprofit entity for the last two years, we are adapting into these required structures for the community’s benefit. Grandfather has spoken about the time in the future that the community would choose a council and the council would direct the priorities and work of the community. In this upcoming phase, we’ll be putting this council-precursor into play under the name of “board of directors” in order to satisfy the U.S. government’s language requirements. As in nonprofit organizations, the “board” members represent the interests of the community as stakeholders. As such, the “board” is accountable to the community; the organization empowers and focuses leadership through an executive director who, in turn, is accountable to the “board”; and the other directors, area heads, and staff are accountable to the executive director. All of this is to produce some efficiency and effectiveness in supporting this work in the community and the world.
Our goal at this point is to get the structure in place, and as Grandfather has encouraged us to do, present a living, functioning model so the community will see how this can work. Once this is in place, we will create a mechanism for the community, in upcoming years, to select the “board,” the governing body of the community. Of course, Grandfather often provides direction as long as He’s around — but we shouldn’t take this for granted. He will not be with us forever available in this easy-to-hear “human suit” form. While He is available in this way, He is acting in the role of Divine Architect to help us put structures in place that will benefit our people for years to come.
So the initial changes are that we now have one executive director, and the group that was once known as “the executive directors” in the past have been retasked as the “leadership group,” with each director having a domain they oversee. Larry Messerman, having devoted years of service to the organization, is leaving to focus on his healing practice and local Fire community. When looking for a replacement, we saw the need to have more direct representation of the Firekeepers in the Leadership Group. With this in mind (and with Grandfather’s encouragement), we have asked a representative of the Firekeeper Council to be represented in the leadership group. For the coming year, this will be Tim Simon, the Firekeeper Council Representative.
So the Leadership Group now comprises…
- Bill Sutton: Executive Director
- Susan Skinner: Director of Operations
- Jeff Bartlett: Director of Communications
- Karen Aberle: Director of Programs and Participation
- Tim Simon: Firekeeper Council Representative
We are also in the process of putting together the initial board of directors; more news on that in the next issue. We feel inspired by the possibilities, so please stayed tuned as we take our next steps!
[Stay tuned for our swan song goodbye to Larry Messerman in the May issue of HotNews! —Ed.]