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Finding our Way Forward: Covenant

Posted by Erik Alsgaard on

The BWC recommended at its 2018 Annual Conference Session that this covenant be used by local churches as they explore the way forward and how churches address homosexuality and other critical conversations.

Be it resolved that the Baltimore Washington Conference adopt the Accountability Covenant (slightly adapted) below, proposed for the Commission for the Way Forward for our own work together as the Conference and in our local churches as we work through the proposals of the Commission and any adopted proposal by the Special Session of the General Conference of Feb. 2019.

Accountability Covenant

We covenant to pray for one another, for the Commission, for the United Methodist Church, for the mission of Christ, and for a way forward together.

We covenant to attend all meetings concerning The Way Forward, unless unexpected urgencies prevent us, to prepare adequately for meetings by reading assigned books or papers, to stay engaged and focused, to participate actively in learning experiences and conversations, and to follow through with any assignments or projects that we agree to accept. We will offer our best and highest to the work of the United Methodist Church as servants of Christ and leaders of the church.

We covenant to treat one another with respect, to assume the best in others, to represent one another in the best possible light, to speak the truth with love, and to practice and expect trustworthiness. We will each do our part to offer grace, to create an atmosphere of hospitality, and to moderate our anxiety through mutual encouragement, good humor, and with genuine love for one another.

We covenant to listen actively to others, to seek first to understand rather than to be understood, to ask for clarity or help from others, to remain attentive to cultural, language, and contextual diversity, to be patient with one another, and to foster hopefulness and mutual encouragement.

We covenant to maintain strict confidentiality, and so we will avoid inappropriate sharing of personal information, stories, or perspectives of other members without their consent.

We covenant to avoid harmful speech toward or about others, during our meetings and outside our meetings. We will refrain from blaming others, misrepresenting others, making judgments about others, or using derogatory speech about others or the Commission.

We covenant to avoid the practices of interrupting others, ignoring others, discounting others, speaking for others, or exhibiting dominating or domineering behavior. We shall practice self-monitoring, gently holding one another accountable for divisive or hurtful behaviors.

We covenant to avoid dividing into factions, politicizing our processes, and retreating into camps and silos based on ideology or regional affinities. We will intentionally seek to cultivate deeper relationships with those we do not know rather than merely spend time with those we already know.

We covenant to restrain ourselves from distracting behaviors during our meeting sessions so that we may remain attentive to one another and to our work. We will refrain from checking emails, reading online news, and otherwise letting ourselves become distracted for outside obligations.

We covenant to abide by the agreed-upon protocols for sharing news, information, or photos on social media.

Be it further resolved, if conversations have not begun in local churches, they should begin now; this is part of our responsibility as pastors and lay leadership. Superintendents will receive summaries of those conversations at the Fall 2018 Charge Conferences. Addressing the final adopted proposal with our local congregations will also be required. We will report those conversations and work at our Charge Conferences in the Fall of 2019.


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