The Unitarian Church in Westport and its Board of Trustees are providing an online forum for the discussion of thoughts and concerns related to our senior minister’s pending retirement, the events that led to his announcement of that, and the path we will take in transition. Participation will be limited to members of the church or regularly attending non-members.
This forum exists to provide a safe environment that reflects our unique shared values as Unitarian Universalists as expressed perfectly in our Principles and Purposes at www.uua.org/beliefs/principles/
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
We invite you to express any opinion you like, while following the covenant, standards and guidelines specified below. To participate, please click AGREE
1. ONLINE COVENANT
As we become an online community, it is important to clarify group values and expectations. We seek to create a safe and welcoming space and will operate under the following principles:
RESPECT – Our overarching value will be one of respect for self and others as well as for people and ideas we may disagree with. We will value the worth and dignity of all people.
TOLERANCE AND APPRECIATION OF DIVERSITY – We will seek to operate under a “both/and” rather than an “either/or” philosophy (i.e., we will honor others’ paths and welcome differences.
COMPASSION – Ours is a group with a spirit of caring and support. We will seek to encourage and lift one another up – especially in difficult times.
CONFIDENTIALITY – What is shared in the closed group stays in the closed group.
ACCOUNTABILITY – We will hold each other accountable to these shared values (lovingly), and in the rare case that a post is offensive or inappropriate (it is okay to say “ouch”), the post will be removed by the moderator.
- Express yourselves with UU principles in mind and with kindness, tolerance and mutual respect.
- Agree that words have power – be mindful of how you use that power.
- When disagreeing, don’t make it personal. Disagree with the idea – not the person.
- Agree not to publish the words or opinions of any other participants from the forum outside of the forum without their express written permission
- Agree to identify myself when commenting
- Agree not to engage in any personal attacks on other congregants or forum participants
- Ask yourselves:
Is this the best place and time to make these statements?
Will the probable effect of my words be healing to others?
Am I furthering the mission of the congregation?
- Acknowledge that the forum is being provided as a service to the congregants but in no way obligates the BOT or staff to respond or participate in this forum,
- Agree that the views expressed in this forum do not necessarily represent the views of the congregation.
- Avoid the use of “never”.
- Avoid the use of “always”.
- Refrain from saying “you are wrong”.
- You can say “your idea is mistaken”.
- Attack the idea, not the person.
- Use “many” rather than “most”.
- Avoid exaggeration.
- Use “some” rather than “many”.
- The use of “often” allows for exceptions
- The use of “generally” allows for exceptions.
- If you quote sources and numbers, be ready for someone to dispute them with their own set of sources and numbers!
- If it is just an “opinion”, acknowledge it.
- Do not present “opinion” or “belief” as fact.
- You do not need to win every battle to win the war.
- Concede minor or trivial points.
- Avoid bickering, quarreling and wrangling.
- Keep your perspective — this is a discussion list, not a debating contest.
- Frame your statements with phrases such as “I think…”, or “I believe…”, giving those who oppose you opportunity to express what they think or believe, even if it is different than yours.
Moderators of the UCW Forum will scan the postings and will delete those that do not follow the above covenant, standards and guidelines. Moderators will edit or delete posts that contain:
- NAME CALLING In all its various forms
- Using disrespectful language when talking about individuals or groups (clever name-calling).
- Using a clever nick-name or other device to refer to individuals or groups (e.g., “fundies”, or “Slippery Tom or Harry”, or “Big T”, etc.
- Clever skirtings of respect (e.g., “I don’t call people ‘idiots’ but if I ever wanted to, Candidate A would be on the short-list” –).
- Making presumptive comments about a group or person’s personality and/or values (e.g., ” He couldn’t care less about <fill in the blank>!” OR “She is evil”).
- Setting up an Us vs. Them scenario that creates division.
- Posting for Youth or RE based forums will be subject to review before posting.
We’ll all learn more about each other when we listen with compassion, rather than react with anger The hope is for our congregation to move forward positively.
Before you post, ask yourself if your posting is in the spirit of the covenant we affirm at every Sunday service.
Love is the spirit of this church, and service its law. This is our great covenant: to dwell together in peace, seek the truth in love, and help one another.