Covenant of Right Relations
(to be voted on at Annual Meeting, May 31st, by Membership)
As congregants and staff of First Universalist Church, we interact and work together in ways that exemplify our spiritual values and honor our Unitarian Universalist principles as we strive to fulfill our mission and achieve our visionary goals. We abide by the policies of the Church and maintain a community of safety, security, and trust. We seek to work together in ways that help all contribute to our common vision and feel respected within our community. We share a collective commitment to analysis of racism and white privilege, and establish accountable, responsible and inclusive relationships with our entire community. We use this covenant as a framework for right relationships with others as we work outside our walls in the larger community.
We welcome, affirm, and protect the light in each human heart, creating a culture of mutual respect, trust, and care. We:
- Act with kindness and compassion toward one another.
- Treat each other with respect, even in times of confusion, misunderstanding, or disagreement.
- Work together to clarify and understand our own roles and to respect the roles and responsibilities of others.
- Actively listen to one another with openness and a desire for genuine understanding.
We communicate constructively demonstrating clarity, candor, and kindness. We:
- Share our own views with openness and tact.
- Offer generous thanks and encouragement, thoughtful criticism, and constructive options, as appropriate.
- Speak directly to others when we have concerns.
- Avoid gossiping.
- Assume positive intent on the part of each individual.
- Deal with complex, awkward and difficult to resolve issues to the best of our ability.
We make thoughtful, wise, and sound decisions. We:
- Commit to examining where white privilege and racism may be informing our interactions, discussions, and decisions, and to discerning what a decision made from a racial justice lens would look like.
- Seek out reliable information, consider alternative viewpoints, contemplate intended and unintended consequences, and use critical thinking.
- Understand that not all decisions within the church are consensus decisions; some may be staff decisions and/or the decisions of elected or appointed groups.
- Strive for transparency in decision-making.
- Communicate and respect the stated process for coming to closure.
We recognize that we will sometimes fall short, failing to do and be all that we would wish. We:
- Acknowledge our own mistakes.
- Stay engaged in the process of reconciliation with each other.
- Practice forgiveness and begin again in love.