Dear Right Relations Advocates and East Shore Team Leaders,
We thank you for your commitment to making East Shore the best church it can be – which is a beloved community in which conflict generates growth and excitement – not division and pain.
With that in mind, we want to find ways to encourage spreading the Right Relations principles throughout the church to ensure our training isn’t lost and forgotten.\
We invite you each, as members and leaders of the various teams, task forces, and committees in our church family, to spend some time with your team mates thinking through how you can embed Right Relations guidelines into your meetings – into all of your interactions. If we can create guidelines for how we treat each other (and ourselves), and then practice them and revisit them regularly, we have a chance to slowly shift the culture of the church.
Many U.S. organizations, including churches, are fundamentally oriented to task completion. We are very good at that. Yet some cultures find relationships more important than accomplishing tasks. One would hope that churches would be cultures of relationships more than tasks, yet we so often focus on what we need to get done and think little about the mystery of the people around us. We may assume we know them well and discount their needs and feelings, and their thoughts when we don’t agree, or they get in the way of getting something done. What can happen is that we become more political than spiritual.
So we are sending you a Guidelines Template (click here) – hoping you will spend some significant time together creating your own group guidelines to help make your team, committee, or task force a sacred space where we truly live the values we espouse. This Template is just to give you some ideas. We invite you to create your own Right Relations guidelines that you have thought through and agreed upon together.
Once you have your list, if you revisit it at each meeting, it will slowly infuse you all with a new spirit that can transform each of us and our relationships – and the whole church, so that we become a truly spiritual community – where we actively practice love. And you may change them – they may grow as you learn from the challenge of these new guidelines.
When you are finished, at least with your first draft, we would love to have a copy of your guidelines to help us as we develop a Right Relations Covenant for East Shore. We want each of you to have a part in creating that Covenant.
Thank you again for your involvement in and commitment to this church. It is truly an oasis of hope in a very upside-down world!
Your Right Relations Task Force
Mary Anderson, Lee Dorigan, Aisha Hauser, Louise Wilkinson