The Behavioral Covenant below comes out of the work the Revitalization Team has done through the Conference's Church Revitalization Program. The Revitalization Team, the elders and the consistory have all contributed to its creation. At the recommendation of the Revitalization Team and by approval of the Consistory, this Covenant is presented to the congregation for consideration for eventual adoption into the life of this church. During this time of discernment, p[ortions of this document will be read during worship for prayerful consideration. At the annual meeting, the congregation will be invited to decide whether to adopt this document as a guiding principle to life in this church and our lives.
The Revitalization team Beris Brown, Pat Delp, LenParks, Joe Rosiek, Pastor Bud Zehmer.
Boehm’s Church Behavioral Covenant
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NRSV trans.)
Paul’s words to the church at Corinth speak about Holy Manners, manners that guide how Christians are to work and live with one another in community that reflects the Kingdom of God. The letter was written to a church filled with disagreements that threatened to split the church; in the letter, Paul reminded the church that love for God and one another, not self-interest, should be its guiding principle.
Recognizing that all communities encounter disagreements and passionate differences, this covenant, like Paul’s letter, was written to encourage us to act as Christ taught us, whether we are in harmony or in passionate disagreement. It is the Consistory’s hope that this covenant be shared among the leadership and throughout the congregation as a guideline for behavior in our community. As Jesus is present in our midst whenever we gather, may this covenant govern our life together.
1. A Life of Prayer and Listening
We promise to pray, alone and together, to thank God and to ask for God’s help in our lives and in our work for our church;
We promise to listen to God’s answer to us, through prayer, worship and in the words and lives of others;
We promise to include our joys as well as our disagreements in our prayers, not praying for the triumph of our viewpoint, but seeking God’s grace to listen attentively, to speak clearly, and to remain open to the vision God holds for us all.
We promise to start meetings with prayer and contemplation through practice of lectio devina.
We promise to share with one another our concerns in a spirit of love and respect in keeping with Jesus’ teachings.
2. A Life of Faith and Trust
We promise to demonstrate our leadership and commitment to our Church by our example.
We promise to support our Church pastors, staff, and leaders so that their efforts can be most productive for the church.
We promise to try to discover what is best for our church as awhole, not what may be best for the individual or for some small group in Church.
We promise to be open to new learnings from various perspectives
We promise to seek to stay in community with each other, though the discussion may be vigorous or full of tension
We promise to treat each other respectfully so as to build trust, believing that we all desire to be faithful to Jesus the Christ
3. A Life of Grace and Humility
We promise to be ready to forgive and be forgiven when those occasions arise;
We promise to hold each other accountable with respect and honesty, speaking the truth in love.
We promise to not assume the motivations or experiences of others. We will not ask questions or make statements in a way which will intimidate or judge others. We will not engage in name-calling or labeling of others prior to, during, or following the discussion.
We promise to listen and respect one another’s opinions when making decisions, but once voted upon, the course of action becomes the whole church’s decision, not one group’s action.
We promise that when conflicts or disagreements arise,we will go to the individual or individuals with whom we disagree to work out our disagreement.