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.
A Happy Midsummer Gathering
For the first time, on 18 June 2017, the Odinist Fellowship’s Midsummer Gathering took place at the Newark Odinist Temple, and we welcomed a couple of dozen Odinists including three children. Although small, our Temple managed to accommodate all participants fairly comfortably, the exceptionally hot weather notwithstanding.
The rite on this occasion was conducted by our comrade-in-faith, Ian Holt from Gloucestershire, and we were particularly thrilled to administer the Pledge of Faith to Ellie Hill. She is the first lady from Scotland to be so sworn in.
The rite was followed by a trustees’ meeting of the Newark Odinist Temple Trust, and then an executive committee meeting of the Odinist Fellowship. But we managed to expedite the business of the day fairly speedily, with several members retiring afterwards to a local hostelry, so as to renew old acquaintances and make new ones.
Hail the Aesir! The Vanir hail! May we continue to thrive and grow!
Repairs to Damaged Wall
Visitors to the Temple will no doubt have noticed some damage to part of the Temple wall at the south-west corner of the building where one of the upright plinth stones is badly cracked and another one has been removed for safekeeping. This damage will now very shortly be repaired by Kirk & Bills, the church restoration building company we have used in previous renovations.
The damage occurred on 17 or 18 March, when a car evidently clipped the corner of the building, cracking one plinth and displacing, but not damaging, another. As if this was not bad enough, a second accident occurred on 13 May, when another car reversed into the building, hitting the same spot, but fortunately not adding substantially to the original damage caused.
None of this would have happened if the local Council had got around to replacing the missing bollards along the kerb, as they have promised us they would do. We will continue to press them on the matter.
May Frigg, the guardian of hearth and home, defend our holy Temple from all dangers so that it may continue to shine like a beacon, spreading the light of true religion about the land!
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!