SNOWBALL FIGHT! (A Non-Zoom Activity)

Salve Accolens! Hello Debatable Lands and Neighbors!

Let’s have a snowball fight! I have in my hand a “snowball” – an envelope containing a bunch of stamps and a few sheets of blank stationary – that is just asking to be filled with your notes, doodles, and well-wishes to each other!

A little confused? We’re basically gathering and sending each other goodwill notes through the mail, cumulatively, so it grows like a snowball. Would you like to play? Here’s how:

  1. Fill out this form with your name and address: https://forms.gle/cPG29SvgMjSNhch96
    Everyone who signs up will be put on the list of players. (You can just send to the Baroness directly, too, if you prefer.)
  2. When your turn comes, you’ll receive the “snowball”. Open the envelope, read and enjoy. And then add a note, doodle, poem, just a signature – whatever your heart desires – of your own to the stationary. Don’t be afraid to take up space – we can always add more paper! Or add your own paper, if you like. Multiple people in the same household can add at the same time.
  3. Take a stamp, then put the papers and the unused stamps into a new envelope. Address the new envelope with the next player’s address. Addresses will be online at a link to be provided to players only. Or just contact the Baroness for the next address, if that’s easier.
  4. Mail the snowball to the next person the SAME DAY (putting out for your mail carrier for next day pick-up counts).

That’s it! You’ve lobbed your snowball of community goodwill! And feel free to take a picture of the snowball’s contents and share on social media before you send, if you like. The point is to connect with each other in a new and fun way.

The only requirements:
+You have to use your own envelope to lob your snowball
+You’ll be sharing your address with other players (not public)
+You have to lob your snowball the SAME DAY
+You should live in the Debatable Lands or one of our neighbor Shires.

Again, here’s the form to sign up – sign up anytime: https://forms.gle/cPG29SvgMjSNhch96

Please be safe! Wash your hands and wear a mask to add your note. If you get sick, send an email or message to Hilda to be moved down the list or removed. Other questions can also be sent to Baroness Hilda at baroness@debatablelands.org.

Many thanks to Master Ishiyama for coming up with how to do this new pandemic Baronial activity that doesn’t involve a screen. 🙂

Looking forward to the first volley of our SNOWBALL FIGHT!

Sad Tidings – Master Remus Fletcher

Salve Debatable Lands,

By now, most of you have heard of the passing of Master Remus Fletcher (Ron Schwoegl), or as he liked to be called, Uncle Remus. He died Friday, December 18th, after a short battle with pancreatic cancer, at home with his beloved family.

You can read his lovely obituary, which includes some SCA notes, here: https://obituaries.post-gazette.com/obituary/ronald-michael-schwoegl-1081267348

Remus was one of the first people we met when we became active in the Debatable Lands, in the late 90s. His presence and voice would fill the room, and he was always eager to lend a helping hand wherever needed, but especially to us newer folks. He had a keen wit, and his eyes rarely stopped sparkling, looking for the next sly joke or terrible pun. Hilda remembers him introducing himself as “Remus T. Fletcher… the ‘T’ stands for ‘the’…” followed by his full laughter. Her favorite memory of him is the moving and romantic aria he sang as the processional to his wife, Mistress Amaryllis’, Peerage elevation ceremony. Brandubh remembers his great love of music. He was always happy to fill the halls and Courts with music.

We would be remiss if we didn’t remark further upon Remus’ incredible influence here in the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands. For literally decades, he was crucial to the substantial musical community here in the Barony – and also the Kingdom and Pennsic. His actions helped found our musical ensemble, the Debatable Consort, and encouraged many an individual to follow their own love of joyful noises. He was quick to share and let folks play his myriad and oddly wondrous collection of period instruments. His powerful singing voice filled every hall. And who can forget the spinning plates and the bear suit?

Remus filled our Barony, our feast halls, the Courts, the dancehalls, the Loud Band, our camps… and most especially our hearts… with a unique and awesome beauty. Our world is dimmer, and more silent, without him.

Our hearts, thoughts and wishes for peace go out to his wife, our friend, Mistress Amaryllis, and to his son Daniel, daughter-in-law Nicole, and all his family and friends.

As stated in his obituary: “Ron was very adamant that everyone remains safe during the COVID pandemic and therefore there will be no visitation hours. A Latin Funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday, December 22, 2020, 10:00 a.m. at St. John Baptist Catholic Church in Plum.” Please see the link above for more information on donations. The Mass will be live streamed for all who wish to attend, likely at this link: https://holyfamilypgh.org/weddings-funerals-covid-19

Rest In Peace, Uncle Remus. We will miss you.

In Caritate,
Baron Brandubh and Baroness Hilda

Sad Tidings: Master John the Artificer

Salve Accolens, Debatable Lands,

We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Master John the Artificer, who passed away November 25th in his home.

We met Master John in the late 90’s when we first joined the SCA in the Debatable Lands. He was an incredible wealth of knowledge and generously offered himself as a resource to all who knew him. More than that, while recent years saw less of him, Master John was an important part of the community of the Debatable Lands, especially in the early days. He was a consummate artisan, and created items of Baronial regalia, such as the hefty ancestral Seneschal’s key.

Most will remember him as the owner and proprietor of the Stave Church at Pennsic. Master John bought the structure from some industrious CMU students, who had built it for the University’s annual Carnival. The stave church was one of the earliest and most impressive structures in Merchants’ Row – certainly the tallest! Master John’s vision and work allowed many artisans over the years – especially Debatable Lands artisans – to sell their high-quality wares to eager SCAdians – years before the internet is what it is now. Master John was a great man who improved the lives of thousands. He will be greatly missed.

Take a look at this lovely memorial article, written by Mistress Arianna of the AEthelmearc Gazette, to see pictures and read more memories of a few of the people whose lives he touched: https://aethelmearcgazette.com/2020/12/08/in-memoriam-master-john-the-artificer/

Final arrangements are not known at this time.

In Caritate,
Baron Brandubh and Baroness Hilda

From the Baron & Baroness: On Core Values

Hello Debatable Lands! Salve Accolens! Hello Neighbors!

Below is a restatement from our letter appearing in the June (2nd Qtr) Althing:

We have long felt and said that the SCA and our Barony is a safe space. A place where we can leave our modern worries at the metaphorical door, and be exactly who we want to be – warriors and artists and leaders and so much more… And you know, while that is true for many of us, to varying degrees, it’s not true for everyone. We are but human. Humans who cannot leave parts of their very selves and souls at the SCA door. We acknowledge this. Now, we ask that we all acknowledge this.

So, what do we do? The SCA does not exist in a vacuum. We are not simply warriors, not simply artisans, not simply leaders, or archers, or builders, or any of the myriad paths that we have the opportunities to follow. The SCA is, at its very heart, based in chivalry and courtesy. It’s in our highest Laws, our highest expectations of ourselves. Our Core Values*.  It’s time we take a hard look at ourselves and what the true meaning of our values are. We must actively seek the ways that our systems, our processes, our words, and above all, our actions, inhibit equity in our game. Every single one of us, even we, your Baron and Baroness, have unconscious bias. We must all examine ourselves, our words, our actions, and the systems that we build and take part in. And above all, when someone tells us that something is wrong – that something in our great hobby is harming them – we must listen.

We will say this, unequivocally: in our Barony, we will no longer turn our heads away from intolerance. We are a people of compassion, reason, and acceptance. *You are welcome here*. Whatever your race, ethnicity, orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, religion, political beliefs, age, socio-economic status, or appearance, you are welcome here. The only thing that is not welcome is intolerance. 

In this self-examination, we are not perfect. Let us be patient with ourselves, let us not rush to judgment, or alienation of friends and neighbors. We say again: we are but human. And humans are flawed. We ask that we all practice kindness, and compassion, and patience, and respect –  as we navigate these current rough waters. 

We know our words this time have far more gravitas that you may be used to hearing from us, and we know that we ask of us all things that may be difficult. Know this: we will continue to hold every last one of you in our hearts, and to strive to keep our vibrant, amazing Barony a fun and welcoming place.

We are here because you believe.

In Levitate et Caritate, and Cheers
Baron Brandubh and Baroness Hilda

___________________________

*SCA Statement of Core Values 

In pursuing its mission, the SCA is committed to excellence in its programs, communications and activities and to

∙ act in accordance with the chivalric virtues of honor and service;

∙ value and respect the worth and dignity of all individuals;

∙ practice inclusiveness and respect pluralism and diversity;

∙ promote a safe and respectful environment for all SCA events;

∙ act with transparency, fairness, integrity and honesty;

∙ be a responsible steward of SCA resources; and,

∙ be committed to maintaining the trust of its members and participants.

It is the expectation of the SCA that its members and participants, in all events and activities of the SCA, will conduct themselves in accordance with these tenets.

A Challenge For You!

Hello Debatable Lands! Salve Accolens!

We, your Baron and Baroness, hereby challenge you! In these strange times, it can be difficult to feel the camaraderie, the warmth, the connection among us all. We therefore issue this CONNECTION CHALLENGE:

Between now and the Baronial Social* on Sunday, we challenge those that would like to participate, to call three people that they have not heard the voice of since at least May of this year.

Feel free to use the phone, video chat in the app of your choice, or even an in-person call/visit (all proper precautions, please). CONNECT with your voice, to those folks you have been missing.

And then tell us about it, if you can! Bring your stories from this week to the Social Meeting* on the 20th (1pm), or post to your social media, or our email list. Let’s hear about our connections!

Can we all together make 100 connections? Let’s try!

In Levitate et Caritate, and Cheers,
Baron Brandubh and Baroness Hilda

_________

Barony Meeting and Social is on Sunday, September 20th, at 1 pm via Zoom. We’re celebrating AEthelmearc Day, and our connections! Link to the Zoom Room will be posted on our email list, and in the Facebook event (https://www.facebook.com/events/237731854325937) closer to the date of the Social.

Thinking of You

Hello Debatable Lands, from Baroness Hilda! Salve Accolens!

I’m writing to say, I’m thinking of you. Tonight would have been our annual Pennsic Baronial Reception, in a different world. A few hours where our Baronial folks come together, just to chat, eat, see each other… one of my very favorite times different Baronial communities mingle and catch up. Sun or rain, the warmth in our hearts and smiles on our faces are always quite the balm for the soul. We are missing you tonight.

I hope that, this week of all weeks, each of you will reach out to an old friend, or someone you only see at events, someone outside your normal group communications…. At Pennsic we run into these folks that feed our spirits all the time. This year, we must be more deliberate…. Reach out to each other, my friends!

I also wanted to share this bit of Episode 5 of AE Live, the King and Queen’s virtual show, hosted by Baron Brandubh. The theme was “Bling and Brag”, and His Excellency chose to share a video brag, created by Mistress Arianna, of YOU, his Barony.

Here’s the link, video fro 8.50 to 10.45: https://youtu.be/xYfl0Zcel-Y?t=530

Thanks to His Excellency Brandubh, Mistress Arianna, and my beloved Debatable Choir.

See you in the AEther!

In Levitate et Caritate,
Baroness Hilda

Input Requested: Baronial Activities Online

Hello Debatable Lands! Salve Accolens!

By now, you may have heard that the SCA Board of Directors, at the behest of most of the Kingdoms, has suspended all in-person SCA activity until at least January 31, 2021.

Here’s the announcement:
https://www.sca.org/news/resolution-to-suspend-in-person-sca-activity-until-january-31st-2021/

There are provisions for small gatherings like meetings and martial practices, when it is safe and within local regulation to do so. Here in Allegheny County, that may be awhile, as cases of the virus do not seem to be decreasing.

While we can’t hold in-person events, we can continue our activity online! We’d like to hear from YOU! What would you like to see from our Barony over the next 6 months? What would you like to organize and run? Let’s get creative! What shall we do for Barony meetings? For Baronial Courts? Other online gatherings?

What would ignite the fun, passion, and camaraderie?

We’re looking forward to the conversations!

In Levitate et Caritate, Cheers, and In Service,

Baron Brandubh
Baroness Hilda
THL Muirgheal, Baronial Seneschal

Scroll & Award Tour of the Debatable Lands – 6/20

From the vibrant mind of Lady Tierrany Rose Orre:

On Saturday, June 20th at 1pm, we’d love to invite all to participate in a virtual show-and-tell Scroll and Award Tour, via Zoom!

We invite everyone to come and watch, but hope lots will participate in the tour!

If you’d like to join the fun, please choose anywhere from one to five of your favorite scrolls, tokens, and/or awards to share via your webcam, then bring us all on a little trip down Memory Lane, telling us a bit about where, when, and how you received them. It can be as simple as a token received from your favorite Queen’s hand or as ornate as a treasured scroll crafted by a friend. We’d love to see and hear about your items of honor!

We hope this will be a fun chance for our populace to learn a bit about each other, revisit pleasant times past, and view some of the beautiful pieces of artistry the members of our Kingdom (and perhaps others!) have created. Chances are pretty good that you have an item made by one of our barony’s gifted artists… imagine how seeing it once again will make your scribe’s day!

We envision this as a great opportunity to create deeper connections in these disconnected times. Hope to see you there!

Zoom link, when available, will be provided as a reply on the email list, and in the Facebook event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/848414322318730/

On the Pennsic Postponement

Salve Accolens Debatable Lands,

By now, you may have heard the announcement that Pennsic 49 has been postponed to 2021 for the safety of the populace. You can read the words of King Maynard and Queen Liadain on this here. As Their Majesties say, we applaud this difficult decision and the people that agonized over it, including the Pennsic Mayor and staff, and the Primary Kingdom Seneschals, and particularly our own hardworking Kingdom Seneschal, Master Illadore de Bedegrayne.

Our dear friends… we, like you, have heavy hearts today. Like many of you, we feel Pennsic is more than just a convention for a cool hobby…. it’s home. It’s a place to create space outside the mundanities of modern life. A place where strangers and friends alike greet each other with genuine affection. A place where, when you need ANY kind of help, strong hands and smiling faces greet you at every turn. Pennsic is a distillation, in two weeks, in the fields and hills of Western Aethelmearc, of a great part of the love and happiness in our lives. Our hearts ache today. Truly ache.

And yet, we remember today, too, that that happiness and love and joy does not stem from a field in Pennsylvania. It doesn’t come from tents or even camps and fires. It comes from YOU. The peace and well-being of Pennsic is, at its heart, you. Chosen family and friends, joining together in joy and love common interests to stimulate the heart and mind. We are still here!

Dearest Barony, your safety is more important than anything. We can still join in joy and laughter through these strange and difficult times. It’s just going to look a little different for a little while.

We will eventually gather in smaller groups when it is safe to do so. Until then, let us gather aethereally this Sunday, in the Kingdom Zoom Rooms, from 2pm to 4pm. Link to follow. See you there.

With all our love and affection,
In Levitate et Caritate, and Cheers,
Baron Brandubh and Baroness Hilda

THL Guillaume Named as Jewel – and more!

Today, Their Majesties held an Æthereal Court – Kingdom Court via Zoom, a video conferencing program. Over 250 people attended, and Their Majesties recognized many worth people. But here, we give our hearty congratulations to the Debatable Landers (and former Debatable Landers):

THL Guillaume le Noir – 48th Jewel of Æthelmearc… Vivat!
Lady Sorcha McKenzie – Order of the Cornelian… Vivat!
THL Gesa von Wellenstein – Queen’s Award of Excellence… Vivat!
Master Illadore de Bedegrayne – Augmentation of Arms… Vivat!
THL Sumayya al Ghaziyyah – Golden Escarbuncle… Vivat!
Baroness Hilderun Hugelmann – Golden Escarbuncle

Congratulations, All!

Note that this Æthereal Court was held on the Kingdom’s new Zoom account, which has 8 channels able to hold simultaneous meetings. Anyone wishing to hold an eSCA activity (personally-hosted or branch-hosted) can request a Zoom Room online here:
http://aethelmearc.org/zoom-room-availability-sign-ups/

If you’re hosting an eSCA activity (personal or official), on ANY platform, and want to be on the Kingdom calendar, use the form here:
http://ae.scaforms.org/view.php?id=53679

See yinz in the Æther!