To help us in a formal way with their experience and wisdom, at the Spring Gathering in Malibu 2012, the California Men’s Gatherings inaugurated a Circle of Elders. Since we started over 35 years ago, we have always felt the need for elders, benefitted from them, and honored them. Now we have a formal role for Elders.
Into the Circle of Elders we invite men with longtime service to the CMG, demonstrated commitment to CMG values, and who are respected for their wisdom and heart. CMG Elders are willing to serve the CMG when they are needed to hear concerns or when they feel the need to speak.
We honor them, and the memory of the elders who have died. We thank the Elders for their dedication to keep the CMG safe and ready for all men, especially the men whose lives are changed by the CMG.
Our current CMG Elders are Al-Binky Hoch, Bert Cassan, Bob Ames, Cat Walker, Jim Ruboyianes, Joe Wagenhofer, Lamar Kerley, Mike Fahy, Patrick Knisely, and Richard Farshler.
Our past members of the circle, remembered with love, are Buzz Young and Randy Harrison.
The elders can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Al “Binky” Hoch
Elders in Community
Elders have long served as peacekeepers in traditional communities. Elders also play an important role in reconciliation for they realize that each member of a community has something to contribute to its health and success. Elders ground a community by reminding it of its origins and traditions which temper the youthful impulse toward novel or short term gratifications at the expense of longevity of the organizing principles of the group.
CMG has faced conflict and division throughout its existence and is only now recovering from perhaps its most contentious conflict. During the darkest hours of this time, CMG created a formal role for elders in our community with hopes of preventing such divisions from flaring to this level again. CMG established a Circle of Elders which was invested with authority to step into any situation with a time out and to convene Tribal Councils where a conflict could be aired in an environment of wisdom and calm.
Elders are invested and honored at nearly every Gathering and one purpose of these ceremonies is for the community at large to witness the esteem with which we hold our elders. In a culture that worships youth and physical perfection above all else it is difficult to counter program love and respect for age, experience, wisdom and judgment…but CMG is that rare exception.
Elders exist in our community in far more places than just the Circle of Elders. The Circle of Elders is only one expression of elder in CMG. We are fortunate that a few men have stepped forward and volunteered to serve on the Circle of Elders. But look into the eyes of any CMG man for evidence of experience and wisdom and be brave enough to ask this man about his life. Ask an elder for his story you are participating in the continued health of your community!
This is the text of the resolution that was passed in May 2012 in Malibu:
To inaugurate the formal role of CMG Elder, longstanding CMG members respected for their character and commitment to CMG values shall be appointed for life by the board to the position of CMG Elder and form a CMG Circle of Elders.
After the initial formation of the circle, the circle and the board shall jointly appoint new elders for life.
Individually and as a circle, CMG Elders shall have respected roles in the CMG. They shall organize themselves.