Contemplative worship survey, listening session, and communication covenant: July 15, 2022
Hope your summer is going well, including some time for relaxation with family and friends. Last Sunday was marked by two fun community-building FPC events:
ART SHOW honoring God’s beautiful creation. Elder Scott Krysztofiak writes: “What a great first annual art show at FPC this morning! It was so nice to see the talent that our members have. I am definitely looking forward to this becoming a yearly event!”
BOAT RIDE for children and youths. Erin Sanzero, Abby Carlson, and I were pleased to take a boatload of FPC children and youths on a cruise to Mt. Vernon, with time for swimming in the Potomac River in front of the mansion. Ask us about the crazy jump contest!
This Sunday, July 17, I want to invite you to the worship service at 9:30 am, including a sermon on “The Problem of Pain.” Then, at 10:30, we will have a Listening Session in the Sanctuary. This will be an opportunity for you to share your feelings about Yena Hwang’s departure, about the life of our church, and about our efforts to improve communication through the Communication Covenant recently approved by our elders. The text of the covenant appears below.
Also, I want to invite you to share your thoughts on the Contemplative Service which we introduced in February at the 8:45 am service, and experienced through the spring. We also offered a Contemplative Service at 9:30 am on Sunday, July 10. You can offer your feedback, which will be very helpful to our staff and Worship Ministry, through the short survey found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VSCBCV3
May God continue to build up our community—in faith, hope, and love -- as we come out of this pandemic together.
Henry G. Brinton
Communication Covenant for Fairfax Presbyterian Church, approved by the Session in June 2022:
Ephesians 4:1–3: “I, therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
As members of FPC, we believe that communication in all forms must be focused on the benefit of the community, toward building up the body of Christ through the life of the church. In this spirit of Christian discipleship…
- Be mindful of how your message may be received.
- Assume good intent. Give others the benefit of the doubt.
- Bullying, demanding answers, questioning people’s motives or integrity, physical aggression, and other abusive behavior shall not be tolerated.
- Scripture is a gift from God. Do not use it as a weapon.
- The opinions and rights of the minority shall be respected.
- Respect and abide by PC(USA) processes as laid out in the Book of Order, including decisions made by Session, pastors, committees, and other church groups.
- These communication guidelines pertain to all forms of communication, including but not limited to social media posts, email, written correspondence, and face-to-face communication.
Communication guidelines for church business:
- Substantive personal communication should be reserved for phone and video-calls or in-person meetings.
- Social media, including but not limited to Facebook, shall be used for announcements and other posts about the life of the church, as well as the ministry and mission of the church, that are of general interest to the congregation.
- Email should be used for announcements, time-sensitive business, and documentation.
- Questions for a specific individual, group, ministry, or committee shall be directed solely to them and/or to the appropriate session ministry.
In the spirit of this covenant, and as members of FPC, we agree to the following outcomes and reporting:
- These guidelines can be used to facilitate members speaking directly and effectively to one another when conflict arises.
- Persistent or egregious breaches of the communication covenant shall be reported to Member Connection Ministry (MCM) elders.
- MCM elders shall address the behaviors with the person or people involved.
- Session and/or pastoral staff may be involved as a next step to provide guidance and counseling.
- A communication commission may be created and a specific behavioral covenant created for a member to address serious and/or repeated violations.
- Members who repeatedly engage in communication that is inconsistent with the covenant may be removed from the Facebook group, ministries, other groups in the church, or the congregation.