From the Shared Ministry Team

UUWpgViewfromSanctuaryThanks to all of you who participated in Imagining a Covenant of Right Relations on Sunday, 6 November. And a special thanks to the Monday Morning Chalice Circle - Nancy Gilbert, Maureen Kachmar, Lois Whyte, Joanne Kelly, Jo Johnson, Esther Katherine, Joan Carolyn, Carol Carver and Janet Redgwell - for providing a lovely lunch. The Shared Ministry Team has heard your ideas and will be working in the coming months to draft a Covenant of Right Relations from those ideas. In May, we will present our draft to the congregation for us to "live with" for a year before we adopt our covenant formally. Below are some ideas that we shared.

Our Covenant of Right Relations

On Sunday, 6 November, about 70 people, including about 10 children and youth, participated in a two-hour workshop, "Imagining a Covenant of Right Relations." At the workshop, participants reflected on what is important in our relationships with each other – what kinds of behaviors contribute to being our best with each other. These ideas were recorded:

  • Acceptance of differences
  • Respect
  • Consideration of reflection
  • Freedom from manipulation – no hidden agenda
  • Transparency
  • Willingness to challenge
  • Respect for same
  • Honoring all our relations
  • Intentional communications
  • Checking assumptions
  • Taking care
  • Becoming aware of how entitlement and comfort can impact others
  • "Talk to me like I'm someone you love"
  • Tone of love and respect
  • Practice deep listening
  • No gossiping
  • Is it kind? Is it true? Is it constructive?
  • Cooperation more than competition
  • Being open not judgmental
  • Cooperation not competition
  • Open to possibilities
  • Taking responsibility – not off loading on "them"
  • Processing with intent for respectful communication in appropriate context
  • Respect for church policy & by laws
  • Assumption of good will
  • Approach person in conflict directly
  • Safe space for growth/neutrality/ground zero
  • Place to grow and experiment
  • Process for conflict resolution
  • Respect / awareness of different forms / understanding of what is respect
  • Seek clarification of values
  • Being sensitive to other person's reactions
  • Put self in other's shoes / empathy
  • Appreciation of each other
  • Seek clarification of values
  • Being sensitive to other person's reactions
  • Put self in other's shoes / empathy
  • Appreciation of each other
  • Everyone is valuable / valid
  • Humour
  • Self-awareness / self-reflection / humility
  • Acknowledge issue with another to self then speak respectfully directly to person in question
  • Follow protocols

Participants also looked at the covenant written by the children in the Religious Exploration program, and noted how well it captured many of thoughts generated at during the workshop.

Children's Covenant

  • Treat others the way you'd like to be treated
  • Think about how others feel
  • Respect others
  • Allow people to be alone or with others depending on what they need
  • Try to solve problems – if you need help, go to a trusted adult
  • Use kind language
  • Help people when they need help
  • Be kind to each other
  • Include everyone
  • Keep our community safe

The Shared Ministry Team met on Tuesday, 8 November, and began the process of drafting our covenant from these ideas. We looked for common threads in the ideas and for words that capture the essence of these threads. We plan to develop a statement that will fit on a 9" x 12" plaque, and could be used at the beginning of meetings. Our covenant will be brief and simple, written in language all ages can understand. Our covenant will describe what it looks when we are interacting with each other as our best selves.

The Shared Ministry Team will present the draft covenant to the congregation at a service in the spring of 2012. After that, we will live with the covenant for a year. The Shared Ministry Team will revise the covenant based on that experience, and present the covenant to the congregation for formal adoption in the spring of 2013.

In the meantime, the Shared Ministry Team will continue with its other major responsibilities, including monitoring the health of ministry in the congregation. If you have questions or concerns about our work or the congregation's ministry, please approach a member of the Shared Ministry Team: Barbara Fuller, Pat Lane and Jon Cowtan.

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