USGL is Opening

 

Priestess' Cup Under O.T.O. Lamen

 

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

U.S.G.L. O.T.O. is OPEN!*  

*Subject to state and local law, and mandatory U.S.G.L. COVID guidelines.

ALL INITIATION AND GNOSTIC MASS requires a written proposal and  clearance from the U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team.

Fun fact: every single proposal submitted to the team has been accepted.

OTHER OUTDOOR EVENTS do NOT need advance clearance–but DO NEED to follow the U.S.G.L. COVID guidelines–to hold OUTDOOR events that are not initiations or Gnostic Mass. Need some ideas? Meet up at a cafe patio or outdoor beer garden. Practice yoga or meditation outdoors. Take your book club to the park. Go hiking or biking. Write an original ritual for outdoor performance (bonfire, anyone?). Celebrate the full moon, the summer solstice, or another feast for the times.

ALL INDOOR EVENTS require advance clearance, and the COVID Response Team is ready to help you plan a safe and successful event.

BREAKING NEWS ON FVPs! The CDC has recently released new advice on best practices for fully vaccinated people (F.V.P.), defined as those who had the final dose of their vaccine two or more weeks ago. In accordance with the news, U.S.G.L. has relaxed many of the requirements for F.V.P.-only events. In addition, the Local Body Master (or the High Priestess and Most Wise Sovereign, for Chapter-sponsored events) may now choose one of two options for OUTDOOR events: either (1) everyone wears a face mask, or (2) documented F.V.P.s only are not required to wear a face mask, all others wear face masks.

NEED MORE…?

…details? Find COVID protocols here: https://admin.oto-usa.org/covid19

…help with your proposal? Email planning@oto-usa.org

…ideas for outdoor events? Send an email to The Watering Hole the-watering-hole@oto-usa.org where Local Masters, Electors, and Mentors share ideas.

…recognition for your Local Body’s awesomeness during COVID? Tell planning@oto-usa.org to share your success via Agapé, future EC blog posts, and more.

…publicity for your Local Body’s public offerings–online and in-person? Email mackay@oto-usa.org to be added to the USGL Education Committee’s public events calendar.

…material for your outdoor class/discussion? Grab one of the USGL Education Committee’s outlines and class resources. Email education@oto-usa.org

Love is the Law, love under will.

The Virtual Valley

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

As of this writing seventy percent of local bodies are in the process of moving into what is known as the Virtual Valley. It is seeing regular use and further support resources are soon to begin rolling out, so an increasing number of members are becoming aware of its existence and are wondering what it is all about. I wanted to take a few minutes to give you all the history and vision of the Virtual Valley.

No one joins the Electoral College without some experience in the operations of a local body. Some of us may have ideas or goals for improvement coming into service. Some of us get the opportunity to realize those goals, some learn that we were woefully clueless before serving five or so years. That certainly happened with me. I came in wanting to support the development of local body leadership and specifically to raise local body standards.

Through my service on the College and the Kaaba Colloquium team, I have had great opportunity to observe our strengths and weakness, mine included, over the last eleven years, and I came to some surprising conclusions. Or at least they surprised me.

To raise standards, we didn’t need to just increase the requirements placed on local bodies and expect them to meet them, placing undue pressure on the members to live up to these aspirations. Instead, we needed to provide better resources and more training, and to focus on the development of a strong leadership core from all the initiates interested in one day serving in this capacity.

The College had two committees tasked with the discussion of developing resources for masters and mentors, but they did not seem to be getting anywhere quickly, so as the President of the College, I rolled them into one committee and solicited members from outside the College to participate. Specifically, I solicited seated and past masters interested in the objective.

We started with what they wished they had or had had when starting in the role and issues the College had seen repeat over the years, and as chair of the committee, I started outlining a plan.  It would take multiple years and would culminate with local bodies moving into the U.S.G.L. Workspace in semiautonomous electronic oases, we call the Virtual Valley.

Six months later the pandemic hit. Just as we were about to solicit volunteers for our traveling resources lists, suddenly no one could travel.  We put that project on hold and started looking at what the local bodies needed right then to maintain their communities. The answer was first to provide the ability to stay connected.

So, we would give them the ability to Meet online for free in the U.S.G.L. Workspace. To do this, they needed oto-usa.org emails. We would buy them for all officers of local bodies. I asked the Assistant Internet Secretary what it would cost the Electoral College to buy up to 4 emails for each local body. Turned out, we had enough emails included in the U.S.G.L. workspace to do it for no additional charge. But, with that email came so much more than a calendar and the ability to host a Meet for up to 250 attendees and we had other goals from the plan that could be met at the same time. Resources local masters needed. Resources that would solve recurring issues.

We started rolling out the Virtual Valleys on a voluntary basis at the end of March 2020 and the initiative was announced in the Spring 2020 issue of Agape. Subsequently, at the EC’s Spring Policy and Procedure meeting, I outlined for the College what the Virtual Valley came with and how it could help by providing:

  • email archives that pass from one office holder to the other with ease
  • calendar for online meetings
  • drive space to place all electronic resources in the hands of the body rather than individual members
  • groups for communication between the local and regional leaders, a public announcement list, member lists, and others by request (with proper security settings prescribed for said lists to protect member contact information from accidental public exposure)
  • training sessions on how to use all of the above.

The College voted to mandate the use of the Virtual Valley, leaving the calendar and electronic meeting software as optional, knowing that several bodies had paid services with which they were happy. This was announced on the internal U.S.G.L. policy update elist in June of 2020.

The Resource Development Committee continues to work on resources we plan to roll out over the coming months, including the aforementioned traveling resource lists. It turns out, however, that the first developed resource released in the Virtual Valley after the initial roll-out was not developed by our team, but instead came from the Diversity Task Force of U.S.G.L. This is quite encouraging, as one of the committees’ goals is to provide easy access to resources from across Grand Lodge to the local body leadership, and we are thrilled to collaborate.

If you have any questions, or to set up your local body, do not hesitate to contact me.

Love is the law, love under will.

Fraternally yours,

Hattie Quinn

 

 

Electoral College: Tenure Limit Policy

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

At the recent Fall 2017 meeting of the Electoral College, a resolution was passed that provides for limits on the length of time any given person can hold the position of master of a local body.

The base tenure limit is 4 years, starting on the date of the E.C. meeting at which the master was appointed or confirmed.

By the submission deadline for the fourth anniversary of that E.C. meeting, that master must have either turned in an application for change of mastership or a tenure limit extension application.  For example, a master appointed at the Fall 2016 meeting must turn in an application by the submission deadline for the Fall 2020 meeting.

Tenure limit extensions, when approved, will add one additional year to the tenure. These will be readily approved for most reasons.

All current masters will receive their tenure expiration date information soon. Masters who were appointed or confirmed three or more years prior to the next Winter meeting on 1/6/2018 will have the following Winter meeting in January 2019 as their tenure limit date.

The goal of this policy is to encourage regular turnover of mastership, which can be indicative of, and conducive to, good body health. If masters are given an expectation of a tenure limit, our hope is that they will be more likely to turn over the mastership instead of holding onto it even if they are feeling burnt out. It also helps prevent a body from becoming too reliant on the mastership of any individual, promoting delegation of responsibility to offices that can persist beyond the tenure of any master.

However, turning over of mastership just for the sake of doing so is not always beneficial to the body, especially in developing or low population areas. If there are reasons that the mastership can not be passed on, it is good for the E.C. to be aware of them.

It should also be noted that this is not an establishment of a term for body masters, thus the use of “tenure limit” instead of “term.” A master does not need to fulfil 4 years; rather that is the maximum amount of time that they can be in the role without providing an explanation of why they cannot hand it off to another person. Masters who wish to allow someone else into the office sooner are more than welcome to do so.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the E.C. Tenure Limit Secretary at Mike.Estell at oto-usa.org

Love is the law, love under will.