The St. Bede’s Way: How we are with each other
This set of community norms was developed at the Annual Parish Meeting on January 22, 2017. It guides all our interactions with each other, and it serves as a model for relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
Jesus is always part of the discussion
Wherever two or three gather in his name, he is in the midst of us.
Respect for everyone
No cross-talk, no interruptions
Ask yourself W.A.I.T.––why am I talking?
Am I talking because I have something to contribute to the discussion, or a question no one else has asked? I should speak up. Am I talking to score a point against someone else, prove that I’m an expert, make myself feel better, shut down conversation, etc.? I should probably be silent.
Monitor your airtime to allow time for others to speak
Reach out when someone is experiencing difficulty
Listen carefully without judgment of the individual; no shaming or “fixing”
When we talk about our problems, we aren’t always looking for solutions. When in doubt, ask what the person wants before offering advice. Prayer or being heard may be what is needed.
Speak only for yourself; don’t assume your experience or opinion is universal
We are all different. Statements that begin “We all know…” or “Everyone has done this…” are bound to be false. We will offer our perspective with a humility that leaves space for others to disagree.
Ask permission before sharing someone else’s story
This includes health information and family news as well as personal anecdotes.
Monitor your own emotional reaction
Intent does not always match impact; if impact is hurtful, speak up
Sometimes our words and actions don’t come across the way we meant them. When someone’s words or actions cause us pain, we will say so in a way that invites apology and forgiveness.
Ensure everyone who wishes to speak has an opportunity to contribute
Encourage and support diverse opinions and ideas
Do not be afraid of silence; use it to listen to the Holy Spirit in our midst