Middle of April we’re heading back east to New York and Connecticut on our own Blue Stockings Tour. One of our stops is right near Syracuse, New York. Syracuse University has recently announced Mary Hudson to be the university’s first Pagan chaplain. We heard Hudson has voiced a strong desire to bring guest speakers to campus. Well, we can do you one better because Z Budapest, the feminist witch, will be in Fayetteville to give one of her world famous Women’s Spirituality speeches at none other than the herstorical Matilda Joslyn Gage Home.
We invite Hudson, all of the members of SPIRAL and the Syracuse University’s Women’s Studies Department to join us. The price is very reasonable at $10 and all proceeds go to the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation. We say, let Mary Hudson’s dream start right here with our visit to their community on April 27, 2010.
Hudson is the second Pagan chaplain appointed at a college in the United States, the other being the University of Southern Maine. Internationally there are Pagan chaplains in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
What does it mean to be a Pagan chaplain?
Paganism is seen as an umbrella theology meaning anyone who follows a polytheist religion could reside under this theology’s hat. Generally, Pagans are nature-based, Earth-based polytheists who follow religions like Wicca to Native American traditions.
Even though there are only eleven registered Pagans at Syracuse University as of 2009, it’s believed that many more attend the University.
“Now that we have the chaplaincy, we should get a little more support, and have our voices heard,” said Jessica Mays, president of SPIRAL, the Student Pagan Information Relations and Learning group
at Syracuse. Adding, “This involves both (the) education of non-pagans as well as helping student Pagans find their spiritual path. That can mean something different to each student.” Hudson has also been with SPIRAL for the last eight years.
As chaplain, Hudson said she hopes to bring guest speakers to campus and resource information for students interested in understanding different aspects of Paganism. But also, Hudson wants to “dispel the misinformation and fear that many people have about who and what Pagans are,” thus promoting diversity. Mary Hudson is yet another resource for the students of Syracuse University and the community at large.
It was interesting to hear the comments from the community at large regarding this appointment. From what we could evaluate, there seemed to be a good mix of “way to go Syracuse University” to some very fearful right-wing Christian comments with the typical misinformation about what Paganism is mixed with “all this for eleven students.” As one commenter noted … Jesus only had twelve!