8/13/2016 by Orren Whiddon
I first walked The Land that became Four Quarters in the fall of 1993, and we raised the first stones together in 1995. It all seems so long ago. Together, we have grown and changed, and The Land has too. From small doubtful beginnings we have grown into a real community of people, with real sorrows and joys, who return year after year to this Land set aside as a place of Sanctuary and Spirit. It is a good thing; a very, very good thing. Made in a good way by many hands.
For me personally it has been a challenging road, and I am not sure I have always risen to the challenge. But I have tried to do my duty, fulfill my responsibilities to you, and defend the Land against all comers while Four Quarters was young and tender. With the recent legal recognition of Our Land itself as a protected place of worship, with our purchase of The New Land now enclosing the entirety of the river valley in that protection, and most importantly for me, the entrance of my youngest child into her youthful adulthood; I now feel that I have fulfilled the promises of duty and responsibility I made to myself many years ago. In a good way.
Accordingly, on Saturday July 23rd, at a duly convened meeting of our Board of Directors, I resigned my position as Executive Officer of Four Quarters InterFaith. I have recommended to the Board that they name Patricia Althouse and Michael McConnell as the Executive Officers of Four Quarters InterFaith, and I commend them to you now with my full confidence. I ask that you personally support them in this burden that they will take on, and bless them with your own hands at this years Stones Rising. For myself I need to be given time to conclude some unfinished business and seek out other ways to serve Four Quarters. I will still be here, but I will be there as well!
Many of you know that in 1999, with the birth of my daughter Catharine, I was marked for the Ifa Priesthood of the African Diaspora, as a Babal'awo, a Father of Mysteries. This is a call that I have spent the following 16 years running away from, for reasons of how I thought to best discharge my duty to my family and to Four Quarters... and because I make poor choices.
Saturday the 4th of September, at the conclusion of the Members' Meeting in the Pavilion, I will lead a ceremony for Michael and Patricia, to recognize them in their new office. I will then give myself over to the assembly of Ifa Priests, Santeras and Santeros who will be my guides for the following two weeks of seclusion and initiation as a Son of Shango and a Priest of Ifa; a prospect that frankly terrifies me, and brings me peace. I ask that you bless me and release me to walk this road. About 2pm Monday, the 6th of September, after Stones Rising Closing Ceremony, I will be presented to you for a ceremonial party as a newly made Son of Shango. I hope you will be able to delay your departure just a bit, and join me.
In the early afternoon of Saturday the 17th of September of our Lecture Series Moon Service Weekend, the Ifa Priests will release me to you with, let us say... a different hairstyle. I intend to give you a great party with roast meats, fruits and drink... music and dance. I hope you will bring your drums, smiles and blessings. While I know the demands on your time are many and the distance is great, please do join me on the 17th for my coming home to The Land.
PS: This invitation is extended to your friends and family. If there is any chance you may come for the Sept.17th party, please do RSVP to the church office, we would rather have too much food than too little! 814-784-3080