Why does Forn Sidr of America call itself a ‘church’?
In order to become a recognized religious entity in the United States, an organization must register as a 501(c)(3) Church. We use “church” as a way to demonstrate we have this registered status and can operate as a religious entity serving a membership body and offering religious services. However, we do not call our houses of worship “churches.” Instead, we use the word “Hof” which means “hall” in Old Norse.
What do you mean by ‘Universalist Heathenry’?
Universalist Heathenry celebrates a diverse and decentralized approach to Heathen practice. The foundation of our religious identity is intended to be universally applicable to any expression of Norse paganism that someone may have. This allows practices and beliefs to be self-determined rather than being explicitly identified by an authority or institution. Universalist Heathenry fosters an environment where practitioners can venerate any and all Powers they deem sacred in the way that best suits them. Additionally, it affirms that Heathenry is for all who find meaning in it regardless of ancestry.
What do you mean by ‘Humanist Heathenry’?
‘Humanist Heathenry’ refers to the philosophy of ‘religious humanism’, which means that our approach to ethical policies, congregational rites, and our community activities center upon human needs and interests, rather than orthodox teachings. In other words, we place the needs of people before doctrines, creeds, or dogmas.
What inclusion and equity policies do you have in place for marginalized identities?
As a religious denomination with universal humanist values at our center, Forn Sidr of America is committed to serving equitably the wellbeing of our marginalized members with respect to the specific needs of different identities. We have an ongoing process to improve our representation of marginalized identities in leadership, increase our own awareness of personal biases, and to consistently assess policies and procedures with respect to maintaining equity within our organization.
One way we will ensure this commitment to marginalized communities is to establish an intersectional Inclusion and Equity Advisory Board, which will have checks and balances of powers. This will allow for ethical accountability between our membership and our leadership.
You can read more by visiting our Inclusion and Diversity page.
What is your response to discrimination, hate, and violent extremism?
Extremist ideologies have no place in a religion that is built on compassion and humanist principles. We are committed to maintaining a community that openly addresses discrimination bias and unequal power dynamics, and also works to educate on the dangers of toxic group dynamics and methods of radicalization. To protect the safety of our underprivileged members, we will always consult psychological experts in confronting extremist ideologies and their tactics.
Do you have a membership?
We are in the process of building structures needed to facilitate membership. We will open up membership applications once this is complete. You can read more about memberships and sign up for our mailing list on our Membership page.
What services will Forn Sidr of America provide?
We will offer basic spiritual activities such as religious services and meetups; marriages, funerals, and other rites of passage; holiday services; community activities and events; educational workshops and group studies; and an eventual clergy program.
Will you have chapters?
Yes! This will open once we have the infrastructure in place to take on chapters. We will offer more details on chapter registry in the future.
Will I be able to attend Forn Sidr services as a non-member?
Yes! Like any church, all of our basic services will be free and accessible to the general public. Those who wish for a deeper involvement with Forn Sidr of America can become members to support the growth and maintenance of our community.
Are you affiliated with Forn Siðr of Denmark?
We have no affiliation with the Forn Siðr group in Denmark that expresses sentiments of White Nationalism and White Supremacy. We chose the anglicized name ‘Forn Siðr’ for its historicity as the oldest known name of the Norse religion and with respect to its surviving incarnations in Scandinavian countries. It is often referred to as Forn Sidr or Forn Sed, depending on the language.
Do you offer religious beard accommodations for those serving in the US military?
No, we do not. You can read our official statement regarding beard accommodations here.