RKA Membership

Kindred Membership

The basic level of membership in the Raven Kindred Association is that of the member Kindred. The RKA believes strongly that the future of our faith will be in local groups with common beliefs gathering themselves together for mutual support and focus.

The by-laws state that a kindred must have at least three members who, first, must be Professed Asatru. Profession is a ritual in which one dedicates oneself to the Gods of Asgard. We view such a commitment as serious, binding, and exclusive (i.e., you can't be Asatru and some other religion at the same time--although you certainly can attend your non-Asatruar friend's wedding or visit other people's rituals). Members must sign the RKA Principles of Asatru, which lay out our beliefs about Asatru and what it means. For more information on what we believe, consult the Principles or read Ravenbok, the Raven Kindred Ritual Book.

The RKA Thing must also vote to accept the kindred in. In deciding whether a kindred is a good candidate for the RKA we have several criteria which we consider. Primarily, our aim is not to simply add kindreds to prove we are better or more important than other Heathen or Asatru groups. Our aim is to come together with other groups who have similar beliefs and a similar approach to the religion. If people see the initials RKA after a kindred, we want people to understand that this means something and that, within reason, the group conforms to a certain set of beliefs and also ethical and performance standards. We generally expect that RKA kindreds will schedule meetings at least monthly. Their kindred members will be local people, or at least local enough to attend most meetings (the RKA is not interested in being a mail order church and we don't want our kindreds to be either). RKA kindreds are open to new members and are not closed groups. While some meetings or rituals may be reserved only for members, the majority of RKA kindred meetings should be open to anyone who is interested and not otherwise disruptive. We also expect that the group will work in a democratic manner, although we're more concerned with being accountable than any particular process. Similarly, we are uncomfortable with many of the oaths of personal loyalty that other kindreds require of their members, either to the kindred or to the kindred leadership. We prefer that people's loyalty be won through actions, not oathed. These are guidelines, not rules however. They are simply offered as indicators of the type of people we are interested in working with and what we see as our aims. In answer the most common question we are asked, no, you do not have to call your group "Raven Kindred." The proper membership designation would be "Kindredname, RKA."

Joining the RKA has few actual benefits. Kindred organizers will be forwarded mailings from other RKA kindreds which, in turn, they are expected to distribute to their membership in the form of a newsletter. RKA member kindreds also get to appoint a delegate to the RKA Thing, who receives one vote for each ten kindred members or fraction thereof. The RKA has plans to incorporate as a tax exempt religious organization. This will require member kindreds to keep accurate and acceptable financial records. In return, when a few kindreds have successfully become tax exempt, we can apply for a blanket tax exemption, which will automatically cover affiliate groups.

The real benefits of RKA membership are not material. Many of them are hopes for the future. Being in the RKA will mean fellowship with people who believe similarly, who have a clear vision of what Asatru is, where we want it to go, and how we're going to get it there. As the RKA grows, we hope that it will also mean that people will come to understand that RKA kindreds are special. They are real and in the RKA you will meet people who are in this for real. RKA kindreds won't just exist on paper. They will be reliable and sane places to turn for worship and support. The real benefits of RKA membership aren't in what you will receive, but what we can build together.

The RKA is currently considering a designation of proto-kindred for persons currently in the process of setting up kindreds, who would like them to be affiliated with the RKA. Proto-kindreds will not receive voting rites in the RKA Thing, but will receive our strongest support and expedited membership when they meet the requirements to become a full fledged RKA kindred.

III. Membership in the RKA is available for Kindreds as follows.

A. Member Kindreds shall consist of three or more persons who are Professed Asatru, have signed the RKA Statement of Principles, and have been admitted to the RKA by The Thing.

B. Each Member Kindred shall designate a single person to act as their Delegate to The Thing. If a Member Kindred wishes to change the person acting as Delegate, they must inform the RKA President 30 days in advance. In the case of death or incapacitation of the Delegate, the 30 day requirement may be waived at the option of the President or The Thing.

C. The independence and autonomy of Member Kindreds shall not be infringed upon by the RKA, the President, or The Thing.

Individual Membership

Membership in the Raven Kindred is most active on the Kindred level. We believe very strongly that Asatru is a community religion and that it must be practiced with others of the faith to be properly understood. Our faith will also only grow with the formation of strong local kindred, so there is a practical element as well. It is for this reason that full membership is only available to members of RKA member kindreds. We don't want to abandon people who are worshipping alone, but we're not interested in being a "mail order church." Our main focus in offering individual memberships is to support people forming new kindreds and offer support to those in positions where they cannot form a group.

Having said that, we do offer two levels of membership to unaffiliated individuals. Associate membership is the basic level of individual membership. In order to become an Associate member, first one must become Professed as Asatru. Profession is a ritual in which one dedicates oneself to the Gods of Asgard. We view such a commitment as serious, binding, and exclusive (i.e., you can't be Asatru and some other religion at the same time--although you certainly can attend your non-Asatruar friend's wedding or visit other people's rituals). One must sign the RKA Principles of Asatru, which lay out our beliefs about Asatru and what it means. For more information on what we believe, consult the Principles or read Ravenbok, the Raven Kindred Ritual Book.

Associate Members receive limited voting rights at the annual meeting where they may nominate one representative to the Thing for each 10 Associates present. Associate members also receive our newsletter, which consists of the schedules of RKA member kindreds, news of Asatru as a whole, and other contributions that people wish to make.

A second level of individual membership is "Limited Membership." This requires no commitments and amounts to declaring (unofficially) that you are a friend of the RKA and that you wish to receive our newsletter.

IV. Membership in the RKA is available for individuals in three categories as follows.

A. Full Members are those individuals who are Full Members of Member Kindreds. A list of such individuals shall be provided in a timely basis by each Member Kindred.

B. Associate Membership shall be available directly from the RKA to Professed Asatru who sign the RKA's Statement of Principles.

C. Limited Membership shall be available directly from the RKA to persons who agree with the RKA's Statement of Principles, but who are not yet Professed Asatru or who do not wish to sign the Statement of Principles.

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