GROUND RULES FOR FAITH SHARING GROUPS
1.This is a safe place. People are respected, accepted and appreciated for
who they are. We are committed to building trust which is a basic human need.
2. We honour confidentiality, which is different from secrecy. Secrecy is
motivated by power and manipulation; confidentiality is motivated by a deep
respect for the sacredness of people's stories and experiences.
3. We understand that the presence of each individual is greatly valued and
necessary for successful development of the group. As a valued group member
we strive to attend each meeting unless unforeseen circumstances prevent us
from doing so. In that case, we will try hard to notify the contact person
of our absence.
4. Everyone is invited to share and contribute, but no one is forced to speak.
We give ourselves and others permission to "pass."
5. We are responsible for giving one another space, both in the time allotted
for group sharing as in an individual's need for private space within the group.
We watch that no one or two people dominate the group sharing time.
6. This is a sharing group, not a discussion group. The purpose is to deepen
the connection between our faith in Jesus, the sacred Scriptures, and the ups
and downs of our daily lives. Discussing church doctrines or contentious political
issues both in and outside the church are kept at a minimum so as to preserve
the objective of faith sharing.
7. If our sharing changes into discussing, if one person dominates or sets
as an "expert," the facilitator or other group members may gently
remind the group of its primary purpose and redirect the conversation.
8. Since the Gospel invites us to grow, change and deepen our insights and
our ability to love, we give ourselves permission to change our minds, to not
always having answers to life's challenges, to learn the value of silence and
reflection, even in the group.
9. We believe in the dignity of each person, and in her/his responsibility
to make life-giving and love-giving decisions and choices in his/her life.
We refrain from giving one another advice unless specifically asked.
10. "In my Father's house there are many rooms," Jesus said (Jn.
14:2). We welcome the diversity of paths, personalities, life experiences,
and perspectives which each person brings to the group. We admit that no one
of us has the complete window on the truth, but that together we grow into
reflecting God's image and likeness.
11. We appreciate and respect that introvert and extrovert personalities have
different needs when it comes to balancing reflection/silent group time and
sharing time. Also, there are times when even great talkers may not feel like
talking. We are responsible to communicate these needs in the group and we
honour and try to accommodate this diversity as much as possible.