Each ADF Grove is required to commit themselves to a level of community service. The requirement is not difficult: it is simply one community service activity per quarter. That means that once every three months, we need to do something to maintain our Charter.
As one of seven Fully Chartered Groves of ADF, and as the Grove with the fourth largest membership in our church, Three Cranes has always felt it was important that we should take a lead in providing community service within ADF. Our full community service activity can be found on our Service page, but today, I wanted to mention what the Grove did most recently.
This weekend, we set our feet along a new trail in our community service work: The Lower Scioto Multi-Use Trail. This trail runs from the confluence of the Olentangy and Scioto Rivers, past the central business district of Columbus, Ohio, and down to State Route 104. It is one of the most visible trails in Columbus, and it incorporates much of Columbus’ history and community.
The trail is just under 5 miles long, and a small contingent from the Grove said a short prayer to the Spirits of Nature, then set out at about 11 AM on a cold December 1st morning, and picked up as much trash as we could.
As our trashbags became heavier and the day grew brighter, we found ourselves laughing and enjoying the time together. We felt the Grove growing closer, as it always has and will during our service. We are a Grove that walks in service.
Halfway through the cleanup, we saw a blue heron standing in the waters of the Scioto River. We stopped for a moment to watch him, and then continued on our way, feeling more blessed and more certain that we had made the right choice in this stretch of trail.
While there were areas that we simply did not have the ability to clean thoroughly, we made a promise to return with more help in order to clean some of these areas in particular. Each of us removed about 45 lbs. of trash from the trail and the banks of the Scioto.
Later that night, the Grove participated in an interfaith service for World AIDS Day, with our Senior Druid, Seamus, and our Grove Scribe, Shawneen, reading names at a candlelight vigil in the Topiary Gardens downtown, and I participated in the service itself, issuing a call to community and awareness to people of all faiths.
ADF Groves have never been only available for public worship. It may be our primary focus, as offering public sacrifice to the Kindreds will always come first; but it is vital that our Groves remain part of the community, and that we be there when the Folk need us most. Our service and our outreach are the fruits that each Grove must produce in order to survive. When we are out in the community, tasting of these fruits, it is then that we know just how sweet they are.
And when we embraced each other as a Grove and as friends, those fruits tasted sweet indeed.
May we grow in our service, and may we serve the Kindreds when we serve each other.
-Rev. Michael J Dangler