In our baptismal covenant, we are called to “respect the dignity of every human being.” Here are some simple Rules for Respect for community interactions. We invite our congregational members to hold themselves and one another accountable to these rules as we share our lives together
If you have a problem with me, come to me (privately).
If I have a problem with you, I will come to you (privately).
If someone has a problem with me and comes to you, send them to me. (I will do the same for you.)
If someone consistently will not come to me, say “Let’s go to Fr. John together. I am sure he will see us about this.” (I will do the same for you.)
Be careful how you interpret me–I’d rather do that. (On matters are unclear, do not feel pressured to interpret my feelings or thoughts. It is easy to misinterpret intentions. Assume the best of me and ask if you questions about my intentions.)
I will be careful how I interpret you. (I will assume the best of you and ask if have questions about your intentions.)
If it’s confidential, don’t tell. (If you or anyone comes to me in confidence, I won’t tell unless a) the person is going to harm himself/herself, b) the person is going to physically harm someone else, c) a child or senior has been physically or sexually abused. I expect the same from you.)
I do not read unsigned letters or notes.
I do not manipulate; I will not be manipulated; do not let others manipulate you. (Do not let others manipulate me through you. I will not preach “at you.” I will leave conviction to the Holy Spirit–she does it better anyway!)
When in doubt, just say it. (The only dumb questions are those that don’t get asked. Our relationships with one another, at the end of the day, are the most important things, so if you have a concern, pray, and then [if led] speak up. If I can answer it without misrepresenting something, someone, or breaking confidence, I will.)
Pray for one another. (That’s not just a throwaway line. Lifting one another to God in prayer is how we learn, slowly and sometimes painfully, but ultimately joyfully, to see each other with God’s eyes, hear each other with God’s ears and love each other with God’s heart. Pray for each other, for our leadership team, and for our wider community.)
This covenant is based on a community covenant practiced by the congregation of St. David’s Episcopal Church, Spokane, Washington.