ADF Structure, Customs, and Policy; Requirement 4
Describe the Guilds, SIGS, and Kins of ADF in general, their function within the organization, and the goal of the Guild, SIG, and Kin systems. (150 words min. for each type of subgroup)
The purpose of the Guilds is "study, learning, and training in a particular focus area."¹ Generally speaking, the Guilds are the major movers of the study programs of ADF, with each Guild having a sort of mandate to create and administer its own study program. Additionally, they are also required to support any of their members in activities that might relate to the focus of the Guild (which should be clearly outlined by the Guild's bylaws) and offer services relating to that focus if the Guild is able (for instance, the Liturgist Guild has traditionally worked to critique ritual scripts, while the Seers' Guild offers divination help and the Bardic Guild offers help writing performance or literary pieces). The goal of the system of Guilds is to provide an atmosphere conducive to the training of our members in a variety of foci. While loosely based around the Dumezilian tripartate structure of IE society, there is no formal rule regarding this structure within the Guild system.
The purpose of the Kin system is to "support ADF members worshipping in a particular Indo-European hearth culture context." ADF Kins are meant to help members focus their worship and work with the deities, usually of a single culture. Much of the intent is to work on ways to worship and on the study of the culture. Unlike the Guilds, which are centered around training and have a broad, cross-cultural focus, the Kins are centered around acts of worship within a specific culture. The goal of development of traditions within ADF was a core driving factor of the Kins, and providing a sort of "safe space" for people (new and old) to ask questions about the hearth culture(s) that the Kin specialized in was important too. Kins have also formed that represent multiple cultures, such as the Eastern Gate Kin, which functions as a sort of "umbrella" Kin for most of the eastern IE hearth cultures, allowing smaller groups to come together to have the safe space that other, larger hearth cultures might have almost by default. The Kins also are charged with assisting Guilds in their educational missions, though how they are to do this is left open. Their seat on the Council of Lore indicates that one of the things they are to do is offer an ethnic opinion on study programs presented to the CoL, and there has been talk of culturally-specific Dedicant Program books, as well as Initiate Program books in the past.
Special Interest Groups
Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are harder to pin down than the other two in this question. They are to "support ADF members regarding an interest not otherwise in the scope of an existing subgroup."¹ The SIG, as a result of this wording, can be nearly anything that the ADF member who founds it (or the members of the SIG) wish it to be. The goal of this particular type of subgroup is clearly "support": both through the activities that the group provides or does, and through the environment that it creates by bringining together ADF members of like interest. Often, SIGs are seen as "stepping stones" to Kin or Guild status, much as a Protogrove is a stepping stone to Grove status, but there is no "clock" that gives a window of time for the SIG to grow into a Guild or Kin as there is with PG's, and there is nothing in the Charter for a SIG that might indicate that the SIG is in any way inferior to Guilds or Kins. Some of our strongest subgroups (such as the Solitaries SIG, the LGBT SIG,and the Ecstatic Trance SIG) are Special Intersest Groups: some have a desire to become a Guild or Kin, and some are unlikely to advance beyond their state as a SIG. Their status as a subgroup that is vitally important to ADF is not at all in question.
¹ - The Subgroup Charter Manual includes purposes and information about what each of these three subgroups do.
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