Agreements foster an environment where free and profound exchange is possible. Respect for a diversity of views, sharing in the responsibility for the well-being of all members, and guiding the directions of the group are assisted when everyone holds to the agreements. The agreements for our Synod Sessions are:
- We respect and honor each other’s stories, perspectives and experiences.
- We listen with attention and speak with intention - we open our hearts to listen with compassion and curiosity, seeking to understand. Only the one holding the talking piece may speak, while others listen.
- We hold each other’s stories as sacred and confidential.
- We speak only for ourselves - we bring our personal experiences to the circle, no one else’s.
- We are invited to speak freely, with confidence and “parrhesia,” knowing that we will not be interrupted or silenced.
- We bring our entire selves to the process- our thoughts, opinions and experiences are all important.
- We welcome silence; we can hold silence together and allow space for new things to emerge.
- We do not debate or respond directly to others in the circle. If/when we are impacted or challenged by something someone says, we may acknowledge it by saying phrases like: “What you said made me think,” “Thank you for sharing,” “I never thought of it that way,” etc.
- We listen to the facilitator and the scribe who tend to the group’s needs, and agree to pause when needed.