Asatru Folk Assembly members in the Sacramento area have never formed themselves into a kindred. It's not that we don't get together a lot; most kindreds have nothing on us when it comes to being with each other for social and religious events. And it's not that we aren't committed - our devotion to Asatru and to the AFA is unquestionable. But a kindred? Nope, we never felt we needed one.
Sean, one of our members here in northern California, must agree with me, judging from a tee shirt he wore at a meetup a couple of weeks ago. It said simply: “The AFA is my kindred.” I asked him about it, and he said that his friends had been urging him to start a kindred, but that he didn't need one. The AFA, especially in its local manifestation, filled that need for him.
We didn't always have kindreds in Asatru. Back in the 1970's I used the term “skeppslag,” or “ship's crew,” to designate local Asatru groups. Some years later I changed that to “kindreds,” and the name stuck. Not everyone was happy with the change. Edred Thorsson has told me on a couple of occasions that he preferred the old title, presumably because it suggested more structure and implied a team of people cooperating in the accomplishment of a given mission. In retrospect, I agree with him.
Today, however, I would use neither skeppslag nor kindred. I'd simply say that I was a member of the “Sacramento Area AFA Community” - for that is what we are, a community of men and women united by faith, culture, and blood. And the “AFA” part of that designation is crucial: We are, first and foremost, AFA. Neither a kindred nor a skeppslag would make us any tighter, any more unified.
If you've got a kindred and it works for you, that's fine. Some kindreds are great successes. Brad Taylor-Hicks' kindred in Florida is an example. (Of course, every member of that kindred is a member of the Asatru Folk Assembly, so they're in agreement on a common worldview to start with.)
But if you're in the AFA, you're already a member of a community. We're bound by the Declaration of Purpose, by the AFA Family Support Program, by the intercessions we make when any of us is in need of healing or help. If there are any two of you within driving distance of each other, you and that other members constitute the AFA community of wherever-it-is. And if you don't know an AFA member nearby, you're still connected to the organization as a whole. If you're an AFA member and don't have a kindred...The AFA is your kindred!
Asatru Folk Assembly