A&S and Bardic Championships at 12th Night!

Just a quick reminder that both the Baronial Bardic Championship and the Baronial Arts & Sciences Championship are at 12th Night on Saturday!

Any Debatable Lander, or gentle who’s been awarded a friendship (green) Comet is eligible to win, although anyone can display/perform. The new Champions are asked to represent the Barony at the Seven Pearls Champions’ event in the Rhydderich Hael after Pennsic, and to run the Championship next year. They are also asked to display the regalia of their achievement and to stand with us in Baronial Court, if they prefer.

We can’t wait to see your arts!

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

And here’s a little more about each Championship:

From Lady Argentia, current Baronial A&S Champ
Call for entries for the Baronial A&S Display! Show off your latest creations or your current study obsession. If you’re wearing it, just leave a card with what it is that says to see you. Also, it need not be a tangible thing! Are you really into early astrology and divination? Do you have impeccable table manners for an Angelo-Saxon? Can you tell us the signs farmers looked for to know it was safe to plant their seeds? Perhaps you’d just like to set a period table? If so, do a little write up and maybe bring some source materials for us to peruse. It counts! Even a work-in-progress can be put in the display. We want to see your works! Please enter by 1pm.

From Lady Beatrix, current Baronial Bard
Calling all bards!!    Join me, Beatrix, your Baronial Bardic Champion at Debatable Lands 12th night.  
I will be hosting this year’s competition, but more importantly, we are going to fill the hall with music and poetry and merriment all day long.  Open Bardic Circle from 10-12 and again after 2pm. 
Please join me on my cushions and carpets with your favorite song book to share your talents.  All are welcome to join in the singing, playing, recitation and any other performance art, regardless of skill and talent (or confidence).  Let’s sing together and make a joyful noise.  
If you want to participate in the competition, there will be a sign up from 10am to noon and the competition to perform for Their Excellencies will begin at 12:30.    There are no particular rules, but please limit your performance to 5-7 minutes to accommodate all interested participants in the allotted time. 
See you there!  


Seneschal Spotlight: 2019 In Review

It’s the end of the year and the end of the decade and the usual thing to do is to write about the things that have happened in the last year. This is a view on the positives, negatives, and everything in between.

This is not going to be comprehensive and if I missed anyone, it is completely accidental.

Changes

  • The Baronial Position of Steward was held by Michelina for 16 years (2003-2019) and this year she chose to hand off the responsibility of storing/maintaining/etc. the Baronial Larder and Master Alaric MacConnell was selected to take on that role.
  • The Baronial Sewing Guild was generously hosted by Ts’vee’a for many years and was handed off to Hara, who has already been doing a wonderful job of filling some very difficult to fill shoes.
  • We created a new Newcomer’s Guild to help our new members find their way in the Barony and get more information about what it is that we do. Lord Ronan, Lady Svava, and THL Libby have been doing a great job running the meetings and getting things rolling. I can’t wait to see how this grows in 2020.
  • Elss of Augsburg stepped down as A&S Minister to focus more time on the Culinary Guild, which has been wonderfully active and a true pleasure to watch bloom over the last year.
  • Baroness Isabel Fleuritan became our new A&S Minister, her first time ever serving as an Officer of our Barony.
  • Lord Ronan took on the Archery Marshal position from THL Kathryn Tantzel after many years of service from her to the Barony in that job.
  • The Agincourt Event was passed on to me by Baroness Constance and Baron Liam. There are some awesome things in store for the 2020 event and I am humbled by their trust in me to carry this event forward.
  • Baronial Twelfth Night passed from the capable hands of THL Elss to THL Kathryn. Elss was the autocrat for this event for about five years.

Celebrations

  • We were in THREE parades this year, the most notable of which was the WPXI Thanksgiving Parade. We were invited because of our presence at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Heritage Days in Lawrenceville. People loved seeing us and it was a heck of a lot of fun. We were even on television! Lord Yingurz and Lord Ronan were the masterminds behind making the parades as successful as they are.
  • Speaking of parades, Lady Kat Fixis, known as Vixxie, who has been instrumental with coordinating things on the back end with Yingurz is expecting a child!
  • The Woodworker’s Guild was activated by Master Ishiyama and has been a fantastic addition to the activities in our Barony.
  • The fencing community now has a monthly practice with the folks at Broken Plow. The ability to share knowledge between combat organizations only makes the martial community stronger.
  • Thanks to a robust training program built by Mistress Anna and Baroness Soteria, there were more MoLs trained in 2019 than previously. It’s always a pleasure to see more people finding something that makes them happy and feel like part of the Barony.

Good-Byes
We lost some good people this year:

  • Alan and Fran Lefkowitz
  • Richard Berlin.

Thank yous

Thank you to the officers of the Barony, who donate their time and energy to helping make the Barony run as smoothly as possible: Baron Brandubh, Baroness Hilda, Maighster Kieran, THL Robert , Lady Arthes, Skjoldrbjorn, Baroness Isabel, Baroness Anna, THL Libby, Don Joundr, Lord Ronan, Lord Kuma, Lady Jasmine, Lady Gesa, and Baron Kameshima. Also, thank you to all of our Deputies who make our lives easier and ensure that we don’t have to learn the skill of cloning or bi-location. Your time and energy is deeply appreciated by all of us.

Happy New Year, Debatable Lands!

On a personal note: Thank you to Maighster Kieran, Lady Alethea, Baron Liam, Baroness Constance, Baroness Anna, Baroness Hilda, THL Murigheal, Lord Eamonn, Mistress Ts’vee’a, and my household Huis Witschoof for all of your support, love, advice, and guidance for the last four years while I have been Seneschal. I literally could not have done it without you.

Seneschal – Call for Letters is Closed

I want to thank everyone that considered sending in a letter and sent in a letter. The deadline passed yesterday 28 December 2019. The official vote for our new seneschal will take place at the 5 February 2020 business meeting.

I don’t have the words to truly express what an honor and a privilege it has been to serve the Barony as its Seneschal for the last four years. Thank you to everyone that made my job a true pleasure and I look forward to seeing how my successor will serve you.

~Odriana

Motto Poll

Hello Debatable Lands!

We’d love your input on a new Baronial Motto! Last month, we asked for suggestions from the populace, and here they are! Feel free to write in, too!

https://forms.gle/YFFzy4eey4yEimwk7

A couple notes:

  • A few suggestions have some additional context, reasoning and/or information provided by the submitter – click on the links in the poll for those.
  • Fair warning… I did not check any of the Latin except for my own suggestion.
  • Remember that creating and using mottoes in the SCA is always completely optional – just for fun! – and unofficial.

Those reading from the email list can open the link to the blog below to see the active poll link, or just copy and paste it.

If you prefer, feel free to send me feedback and/or your choices to baroness@debatablelands.org .

In Levitate et Caritate (with Levity and Affection),
Baroness Hilda

Call for Letters – Seneschal

After nearly four years serving this fine Barony, it is time for me to step down as your Seneschal. I am officially calling for letters and requesting that letters be sent to me (seneschal at debatablelands.org) and the Baron (baron at debatablelands.org) and Baroness (baroness at debatablelands.org) by 28 December 2019.

The job of Seneschal is rewarding and unexpectedly difficult at times. It is a way to serve the fine populace of the Debatable Lands in a deep, meaningful way. Take time with your decision and ask many questions. There are quite a few former Seneschals in the Barony still participating (Baroness Hilda being one of them) that are your resources for the reality of the everyday job. If you are interested in becoming the Seneschal and want more information about what the job entails, please contact me directly and I will be happy to talk with you about what the needs are and how the Seneschal serves the Barony. There are also online resources such as the Seneschal’s Handbook (http://socsen.scaserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Seneschals-Handbook-January-2018.2.pdf) that you can use to inform yourself before making a decision.

I don’t have the words to truly express what an honor and a privilege it has been to serve the Barony as its Seneschal for the last several years.

My term is officially over in February, however, I want to ensure that there is enough time for people to make informed choices prior to submitting a letter. Again, remember that the deadline for letters is 28 December 2019. Thank you all for your time and for allowing me to be your Seneschal for the last four years.

~Odriana



Business Meeting TONIGHT

The Business Meeting for the Debatable Lands will be this Wednesday, 4 December 2019 at the Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church (416 W North Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 – map. From 8p until 10p.

Agenda

  • Open Meeting
  • Approve the minutes from the previous meeting
  • Officer’s Reports
  • Close Meeting

If you would like more information about attending a Business Meeting, please read the Seneschal’s Spotlight article.

If you would like to be on the agenda, please contact Odriana.

A gentle reminder that the minutes from the previous meeting should be read prior to arriving at the meeting on Wednesday. Please pay particular attention to the list of attendees, I know that I missed a few people and want to be sure that the list is accurate. Please email those corrections directly to me so they may be updated prior to the meeting.

The Officers of the Debatable Lands are elected by the membership and is made up of members of the populace, just like you. The Officers are responsible for ensuring that the policies of the Kingdom and Barony are followed and are accountable to the populace of the Debatable Lands. The Business meeting is open to everyone in the Barony and attendance by the populace is encouraged. Have a thought you’d like to share with the Officers? Email seneschal@debatablelands.org.



Giving Thanks

To our beloved Barony:

For your warm welcomes and wide smiles;
For sharing your songs and stories around the campfire, real and figurative;
For your generosity with time, skill, and spirit;
For laughing with each other in mirth and joys;
For holding each other in hearts and minds and arms in sorrows;
For your passion and interest in everything medieval;
For challenging each other and yourselves on field and in hall;
For teaching each other;
For supporting each other;
For having forgiving and open hearts;
For standing and walking with each other;
For creating “found families”;
For seeing the very best in each other;
For creating and participating in this vibrant, generous, compassionate, and fun community we know as the Debatable Lands;

For all that and more – Thank You!

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

Call for Letters – Seneschal

After nearly four years serving this fine Barony, it is time for me to step down as your Seneschal. I am officially calling for letters and requesting that letters be sent to me (seneschal at debatablelands.org) and the Baron (baron at debatablelands.org) and Baroness (baroness at debatablelands.org) by 28 December 2019.

The job of Seneschal is rewarding and unexpectedly difficult at times. It is a way to serve the fine populace of the Debatable Lands in a deep, meaningful way. Take time with your decision and ask many questions. There are quite a few former Seneschals in the Barony still participating (Baroness Hilda being one of them) that are your resources for the reality of the everyday job. If you are interested in becoming the Seneschal and want more information about what the job entails, please contact me directly and I will be happy to talk with you about what the needs are and how the Seneschal serves the Barony. There are also online resources such as the Seneschal’s Handbook (http://socsen.scaserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Seneschals-Handbook-January-2018.2.pdf) that you can use to inform yourself before making a decision.

I don’t have the words to truly express what an honor and a privilege it has been to serve the Barony as its Seneschal for the last several years.

My term is officially over in February, however, I want to ensure that there is enough time for people to make informed choices prior to submitting a letter. Again, remember that the deadline for letters is 28 December 2019. Thank you all for your time and for allowing me to be your Seneschal for the last four years.

~Odriana



Salve Accolens! A Motto for the Debatable Lands

Note to those reading from the email list, click on the link below to see a formatted version with live links at the blog website.

On this, the eve of our third Debatable Lands Equestrian Championship (details, and schedule), we’d like to introduce to you our new Baronial motto!

SALVE ACCOLENS!

What does it mean?

HELLO NEIGHBORS!

It is the week of World Kindness Day, embodied by the greatest modern champion of kindness and courtesy, especially toward oneself and their neighbors: Mr. Fred Rogers. The Debatable Lands is his home Barony, and we hope that all our people will strive toward these ideals: kindness, courtesy, generous and open hearts, mindfulness to feelings, and to be helping and loving and welcoming. All these, we feel, are encompassed by “Hello Neighbors” – “Salve Accolens”.

We hope to enact these these ideals in word and deed, and hope you all will join us. We are ALL each others’ neighbors.

SALVE ACCOLENS!

Please use this new Baronial motto with gusto and verity.

(Also, it’s Latin, so you can say it the other way: ACCOLENS SALVE!)

See you at Baronial Equestrian Champs tomorrow!

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

“Listening is where love begins: listening to ourselves and then to our neighbors.” -Fred Rogers

Seneschal’s Spotlight: Business Meetings

I wanted to cast a spotlight on our Business Meetings because there are some misconceptions as to their purpose and who is “allowed” to attend. In order to address some of this, I had started including the following paragraph at the end of the information about the next Business Meeting:

The Officers of the Debatable Lands are elected by the membership and is made up of members of the populace, just like you. The Officers are responsible for ensuring that the policies of the Kingdom and Barony are followed and are accountable to the populace of the Debatable Lands. The Business meeting is open to everyone in the Barony and attendance by the populace is encouraged. Have a thought you’d like to share with the Officers? Email seneschal@debatablelands.org.

This is absolutely true. Everyone is invited to attend Business Meetings and everyone is encouraged to do so. Attending gives you the opportunity to understand more about the non-profit business side of the organization and an opportunity for the populace to hold us accountable as Officers.

To give you an idea of what happens at an Officer’s Meeting, here is an annotated version of the general Agenda that we follow for each meeting:

Meeting opens at 8:00 p.m
The Seneschal announces that we are going to get started. This is done as close to 8:00 p.m. as possible. Prior to the Seneschal starting the meeting, they will have already checked off who is in attendance and listed who else is attending the meeting. This is to create a record of which officers have attended, if there are any proxies (which I will explain in a moment), who those proxies are, and to ensure that the record of who attended the meeting is as accurate as possible.

Proxies are someone that is representing the officer for the purpose of the meeting. They would also carry the vote of that officer and cast it appropriately for any known business.

This is a copy of the attendance record for a recent Business Meeting. As you can see, we have run remote sessions in the past, but we have not done that for a while. Look for an announcement about that coming up soon.

Approve Minutes
The Officers of the Barony are responsible for reading the minutes of the previous meeting prior to the next meeting. The minutes are made available prior to the following meeting, at least three days before the meeting. They are posted again the day of the meeting. Anyone attending the Business Meeting should also take the time to review the minutes. This will help give you a sense of context to some of the discussion and will also allow you the ability to ask any specific questions that you may have about what was done in the previous meeting.

Officer’s Reports
Each officer of the Barony then gives a report that is recorded into the minutes. Often when an officer is unable to attend, they will send a pre-written report that is then either read into the minutes or included in the minutes as a cut/paste of what was sent by the officer. This is where we talk about what we’re doing, what plans are coming up, events that have just happened or may be coming up. Anything that pertains to the officer’s area of responsibility.

What about Guilds?
Guilds are defined in Corpora as:
E. Unofficial Entities
In many kingdoms, there are groups in which many people participate but which are not formally recognized by the Society. These can range from highly structured guilds to loosely associated camping groups. Entities that fall into this category can have many names, including but not limited to households, guilds, ships, and clans. Although these entities are not recognized by the Society in any formal way, some kingdoms have awards that can be given to these groups. Because they are not official Society groups, unofficial entities cannot sponsor Society events.

This does not mean that guilds are not important, because they are. This means that guilds are free to structure themselves in any way and are free to engage the populace in whatever way that they believe best serves the populace. It also means that guilds can dissolve or create themselves as needed without paperwork or any official intervention. People who are not members of a guild are in no way restricted from doing any art or science for which there may or may not be a guild for. It’s a learning opportunity like so many things in the SCA. We encourage guilds to report at the Business Meeting, but they must contact the Seneschal prior to the meeting to be placed on the Agenda.

What about Baronial Positions?
These positions include Gold Key, Iron Key, Steward, Signet, Dark Pages Editor, Historian, and Minister of Youth. These are also unofficial positions, some of whom report into the Exchequer because they have Baronial property that must be accounted for and reported on yearly. We also encourage Baronial Positions to report at Business Meeting, but also must contact the Seneschal prior to the meeting to be placed on the Agenda

After Officer’s Reports a number of things may be on the Agenda:
Reports from Guilds and/or Positions
Event Reports – Income generated (or not generated) by any events held since the last Business Meeting. Given by the Exchequer.

Letters of Intent – We choose our Officers by vote. The way to get on the ballot is to send in a letter of intent to the Office you wish to volunteer for, copying the Seneschal. The Seneschal’s office requires a letter to the Seneschal with a copy sent to the Baronage. ANYONE may vote in an election for any position as long as an officer does not call for an Officers Only vote.

Event Bids – Any event bids that you have to bring before the Officers. It is preferred to have event bids at least two weeks prior to the Business meeting so everyone has time to review it and include a link to it in the published agenda. Only members of the Financial committee may vote on the final approval of funding for any event.

Budget Meeting – We hold our annual budget meeting in April of each year and everyone is invited to come and discuss how we are planning to spend money in the barony in the upcoming year. This is also a great place to discuss what kind of fundraisers can be done for the Barony prior to clearing it with the Kingdom Exchequer. Only members of the Financial committee may vote on the final passage (or not) of the budget. BUT everyone may put in a funding request and may engage in the discussion about how Baronial funds are to be spent to ensure that their opinions are heard.

How to know what to vote on?
Our Baronial Policy states:
Unless otherwise stated, decisions of the officers are by consensus of the people attending a scheduled officers meeting at which a majority of the Officers are present. An individual may cast only one vote. Officers may be represented by proxy.  Only the members of the Financial Committee may vote on financial decisions.  Any Officer may call for an Officer Only vote, in which case each Office gets one vote, with a simple majority of the votes cast deciding the issue.

Close Meeting
To close the meeting, someone must move that we vote on closing the meeting, then second it. Then a vote of simple majority is taken and the meeting is adjourned if the majority agrees to it.

So, while this is very long and digs a lot into how we as an organization structure things down to the Baronial level, I hope that I have answered most questions that people may have about attending the Business Meeting. It is a completely open meeting that anyone may attend and you are encouraged to participate in this part of the organization just as you are welcome to participate in any other aspect of the organization.

If you have any questions, or need more information, please contact me, Odriana vander Brugghe at seneschal (at) debatablelands (dot) org.