Timothy and Gabrielle

King Timothy and Queen Gabrielle. Photo by Christina Mary Lowe, called Jinx.

Unto glorious Æthelmearc do Timothy and Gabrielle, Prince and Princess send warm greetings,

Prior to moving here, the SCA had lost much of its magic for us. Once we got to Æthelmearc , we found ourselves once again enjoying all the wonders that the Society has to offer. But we understand that isn’t the experience that everyone has here. Like any large organization it can be easy to feel left out or left behind if you aren’t part of the “in” crowd. We have always endeavored to treat everyone, regardless of rank, with courtesy and kindness, and are pleased that so very many of everyone in this kingdom does the same.

However, with many thousands of members, sometimes personality conflicts arise. Members with different ideas of how things should be compete with one another and typically, one comes out on top. This can cause many fine people to become disillusioned and leave, taking with them a little piece of our magic. We have solicited for ideas, and continue to do so, as to what we can do to bring people back into the fold. As you can imagine, we received quite a bit of feedback. There were many ideas, many of which (big surprise) were in direct conflict with one another. Setting those aside for now, there was one large, over-arching theme, the cliquish nature of the organization makes our warm welcome, while not the sole exception, far from the norm, even for people whose first experience with the society is in Æthelmearc .

There are several steps we would like to implement to try and correct this situation. First and simplest, for the duration of our reign, we would welcome those with Peerages into the Grant level order meeting along that track Knight/Gage, Pelican/Millrind, Laurel/Fleur, Mod/WS. Further, we invite those who have the equivalent Grant level award from other kingdoms to join us in our order meetings. We welcome PMs discussing this matter, as we will be considering adding this to kingdom law. These members have valuable contributions, and why should we exclude them simply because they have not had the good fortune to spend their entire SCA career in Æthelmearc?

Second, and more difficult, concerns the single largest facet of the cliquish nature of our organization. There is no polite way to say this, so we will be blunt. There are more times than any of us care to admit that some of the more strong willed members of our polling orders can effectively and thoroughly block someone who is deserving of recognition in perpetuity. We clearly don’t know every personality conflict, we haven’t been present at every conversation where someone spoke rashly, or when a sentence was taken out of context. In the past, We have given awards to gentles we are familiar enough with to recognize that they have been blocked unfairly. As King and Queen, we had that right, and as Prince and Princess, we soon will once again, but not everyone is afforded the opportunity to correct injustices they perceive. So we would ask our citizens this: if you feel someone has been unfairly victimized in this fashion, make your best case to us. We certainly will not grant all of these requests, but we will honestly listen. It is easier to go into an order meeting and discuss a candidate if we understand some of the background and personality conflicts before people voice their opinions. Just please do this prior to our order meetings, so we have time to look into the background, and your case.

Finally, we want to see members of our polling orders actively fostering others. If you are a knight, or would like to be, go out and train newer fighter, whether they are your squire or not. If you are a Laurel or a Fleur, why wait for an Æcademy? Run a workshop or a guild. In short, mentor people. We should be shepherds, nurturing folks as they grow, rather than serving as goaltenders keeping them out of our Orders.

In service to Æthelmearc,

Timothy and Gabrielle