This document is an attempt to define the kind of things that the group will do and the way that it will do them. I hope that people will feel that this is a liberating thing rather than a straitjacket and that the rules are a commitment to respect one another rather than an act of proscriptive control. I see them as a commitment to keep the group as an environment where people feel able to share.
There are three types of meetings:
- Conversation meetings
- Presentation meetings
- Experimentation meetings
A conversation meeting is a meeting for discussing subjects which readily engage with almost anyone’s life experiences. Conversations are guided discussions on a topic prepared beforehand by the chairperson. Each conversation will revolve around a series of open questions and a variety of resources sourced by the chairperson. Use is made of small group discussions, large group consolidation, the presentation of materials and summarisation.
There will be space at the end of each session for feedback on the session itself.
Conversation Meeting Commitments
- We will respect the views of others, however different they are to our own.
- We will give our complete attention to the person who is speaking
- We will give others space to speak.
- We will think before speaking and try to stick to the point of the thread.
- We will avoid making judgmental pronouncements and bear in mind that we speak for ourselves and not for others.
- We will feel free to criticise what is said but not the person who said it.
- We will try not to get upset if our opinion is challenged.
Presentation meetings are used to introduce new material. It is not reasonable to expect the group to have formed opinions about some subjects, and it is better to present and discuss than to pretend that a discussion is happening whilst introducing a lot of new information.
Presentation Meeting Commitments
In addition to the Conversation rules
- Information will be presented as individual opinion and not as fact
- For each point that is made space must be made for discussion
Experimentation meetings are designed to allow the group to experiment with forms of worship and spiritual exercises (multimedia, meditation, smells, bells etc.) and then to discuss the outcome. The meeting will alternate between a practical experiment and discussion. How this is done will depend upon the exercises involved. In most cases material will be introduced beforehand, discussed and tried if the group wishes.
Experimentation Meeting Commitments
- Any type of worship will be ‘a way’ and not ‘the way’
- For each exercise space will be given for discussion
- Each person is free to sit out every experiment.