Fantastic Midsummer Gathering 2019
A fantastic Gathering was held this Midsummer at the Newark Odinist Temple, with members of the Odinist Fellowship coming from far and wide, from as far afield as London and Scotland and elsewhere. I met some members that I had not seen for 30 years! And other acquaintances were renewed. The ritual went brilliantly with a real sense of spirit and vigour. And folk from all sorts of different walks of life got on famously.
Amongst the business conducted, we agreed new protocols for child safeguarding, which will be sent to all Hearths of the Odinist Fellowship. We also considered the invitation we had received to affiliate ourselves to the European Congress of Ethnic Religions, and resolved to find out more about what was involved before acting. Most importantly, a Temple Steering Committee has been set up to deal with day to day concerns of the Newark Odinist Temple, and more will be announced on that matter soon. Finally, the "Great Mistletoe Debate" resurfaced, with a proposal to rescind Temple Bye-Law Nine. It was defeated by a two-thirds majority but we agreed to reconsider the matter at the Midsummer Gathering of 2020.
The intention of the sacrifice was that our ambition to see a second Temple may come to fruition soon. So I ask all Odinists to lend their prayers for that noble cause! Thank you.
The Newark Odinist Temple is open to visitors every Wednesday afternoon from 1pm to 5pm, commencing on Wednesday, 30th January 2019. Our first Open Day took place on 30 January 2019 and I was delighted to welcome six visitors, an excellent opening gambit!
We welcome pilgrims, tourists and passers-by to drop in and have a look at this fine, old, historic building and its artwork, or to take the opportunity to ask questions about Odinism if they wish. There will be somebody on hand to answer any queries. We hope that this will make an interesting, new addition to the local tourist trail, and showcase the religion in a positive fashion.
If, for any reason, the regular Wednesday Open Days need to be cancelled, we will try our best to affix a notice to the Temple’s external noticeboard, but if you are travelling from some distance, it is best to confirm ahead of time before setting off.
On 7th January 2019 our long-awaited sign- and noticeboard was erected near the entrance to the Temple. The sign reads "Odinism is the original, Old Religion of the English people, the native faith of the northern lands," and gives other information about the Temple’s services, and how to get in touch, or find out more information.
One of the workmen who installed the signboard commented on the day, that he had often passed by this ancient old building and wondered what it was. Well, now anyone curious about the nature of this listed edifice can read the sign for himself and take steps to find out more, if he wishes. For too long the Newark Odinist Temple has - involuntarily - been a well-kept secret. Now, at last, Odinism is coming in from the dark! May the Gods use this new acquisition to further our holy cause!
Two Freyas Named
In November we were delighted to perform the Naming ceremonies - the first so far in our Temple - both of infant girls, and both called Freya! Obviously, it is a very popular name this season. We renew our prayers and good wishes for both little girls, and for the families of both. May the gentle Goddess Freya, Lady of the Vanir, look over them and give them every blessing!
I am pleased to say that the bollards we ordered for the Newark Odinist Temple were installed on 14th and 15th June, just in time for our Midsummer Gathering on 17th. There are two at the south, and five including one removable bollard at the north bay. These bollards will help avoid collisions by vehicles with visitors exiting the building, and also prevent cars crashing into the building itself. All those who attended the Gathering also agreed that not having our beautiful little Temple overshadowed by large 4 x 4s and vans parked right up against its walls, adds greatly to the appreciation of the listed building’s architectural and historic merits. The Newark Odinist Temple must rank among the top five of the town’s most significant buildings, from the architectural point of view, and at long last that fact can be properly evaluated by the visitor and passer-by.
Lease on Land Signed, Sealed and Delivered!
A lease on land at Bede House Court valid for seven years at a peppercorn rent has been granted by Newark & Sherwood District Council to the Newark Odinist Temple Trust. Previous news items announced that this move was pending.
Clause 9.5 of this lease states, "The Tenant (i.e. N.O.T.T.) shall within 12 months of the date of this Lease erect bollards of a type and in locations to be approved in writing by the Landlord (i.e. N.&S.D.C.)".
It should also be noted that clause 9.2.(c) states, "The Tenant shall not obstruct any public road, footpath, right of way or any means of access to the Property." This must be read in conjunction with clause 1.11 which states, "Any obligation on the Tenant not to do something includes an obligation not to allow that thing to be done and an obligation to use best endeavours to prevent that thing being done by any person."
Clearly therefore, we are obliged to use our best endeavours to halt the obstruction of the footpath and forecourt by fly-parked motor vehicles. And we shall proceed with alacrity in arranging the installation of the long-overdue bollards, Gods willing!
No Entry Charges! It's the Law!
One of the matters discussed at the Midsummer Gathering 2017 was a change to the Temple Bye-Laws. These are laws not just for the Newark Temple, but for all future Odinist Temples in the land.
The new Temple Bye-Law makes it clear that entry charges must never be levied on those entering the Temples for prayer, worship or contemplation, which of course includes those who merely visit to admire the architecture or artworks.
We are well aware that many Christian churches and cathedrals charge for entry. St. Paul’s Cathedral in London charges the grand sum of £17 per head. Think what that would set back an average family wanting to show the children around Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece. I think if he could see how mercenary the C. of E. has become nowadays, he would be shocked.
No, we Odinists say that a Temple is a house of the Gods open to all men, women and children who wish to come to it. The Gods do not charge for their favours, so nor should we. It is a Temple, not a museum or an amusement arcade, that we should seek to profit from people’s desire to encounter the spiritual. Our decision seems like the only honest option.
A copy of the revised Temple Bye-Laws is now displayed in the Temple’s lobby.
The Newark Temple Now Registered as a Charity
In November 2015 we were able to announce that the Newark Odinist Temple had been registered by the General Register Office as a place of worship under The Places of Worship Registration Act 1855. Not only was this the first temple dedicated to the Old Religion of England to be so registered, but it also obliged the General Register Office, an official government agency, to add ‘Odinism’ to their list of recognised religions.
Now we have some more good news. On 10 October 2016 the Newark Odinist Temple Trust was registered as a religious charity by the Charity Commission of England & Wales, and of course this is the first heathen temple to be recognised as a charity. It is registered under charity number 1169576. The Trust, and its trustees, Ralph Harrison, Ian Holt, Ian Briggs, Donald Holden, David Rigden, Matthew Boyd and Wulf Grimes, will be responsible for the running and upkeep of the Temple. (More recently, Alan Peace and Bob Warren have been added to the number of trustees.)
Both these steps forward not only help us operate more effectively in promoting Odinism, but they have also put Odinism on the map among the world’s religions. Not so long ago, it was common to hear people ask, ‘Odinism? Is that a real religion?’ Of course, we have always known that Odinism is the one true Old Religion of our people. The Anglican Church is a recent invention of the 16th Century; Catholicism was introduced among us only in the 7th Century; but for centuries and centuries before, going back into the mists of pre-history, our folk have worshipped the elder Gods of the Odinist faith.
Now, at last, the Law of this land gives credence to our religious status. And none can gainsay us!