The CARE Covenant and You

What is a CARE Covenant? The Care Covenant is West Shore's version of what some churches call a Behavioral Covenant. This covenant is the way that as members of this community, agree to be in relationship with one another. We know that no institution is perfect; that we often say and do things that we may regret; however, in a community such as ours, we agree to live by these principles in the spirit of affirming the dignity and human worth of all persons.

In order to most authentically live our faith in our relationships with each other, we covenant to CARE for each other by acting with:

Courtesy

Showing kindness, warmth, and patience.

Treating others with dignity and sensitivity when in disagreement.

Acceptance

Affirming the value of physical, life style, perceptual, and religious differences.

Agreeing to disagree when unable to reach consensus.

Respect

Actively acknowledging the contributions of others to the life of the church.

Being quick to listen, slow to judge, and willing to negotiate.

Engagement

Inviting others to participate in opportunities to serve, grow, and heal.

Seeking mutual resolution to conflict through clear and sensitive communication

Contact a minister if would like to talk about the CARE covenant and how it applies to the members of West Shore. All members are expected to abide by the CARE covenant, which is reaffirmed as a community, during each of the New Member Ceremonies; typically held in November and April.


How do I use the CARE covenant?

  • Because we are a relational faith, we ask all church members first to go directly to the person with whom they have a conflict, issue or concern. Speak to that individual honestly, but compassionately, about your concern. Use "I" Statements. Wait until you've cooled down a bit. Invite the other into a conversation with the hope of being in what's called "right relationship," meaning that you have no ill feelings towards one another. Most conflicts can be resolved by a face to face communication. Using email does not substitute for face to face communication.

  • If you feel you are unable to meet one-on-one with an individual, ask a fellow church member or friend if s/he would go with you to discuss your concern. This is the point at which you may ask a member of the CARE team or a minister to go with you. If you still are uncomfortable with a face to face meeting, then write a letter or send an email, expressing your concern and asking for a face to face meeting. Again, please do not try to resolve conflicts via email. Use it as an opportunity to set up a meeting to talk.

  • If you are still uncomfortable with a face to face meeting, even with the support of a friend, a member of the CARE team or a minister or staff person, and aren't willing to write a letter that asks for a face to face meeting, then you may wish to just talk about your feelings with a minister, knowing that s/he will not try to solve your problem for you - but listen and be supportive of your emotional process.

  • Avoid gossiping about the person with whom you're in conflict. To continue to process with other church members your feelings if you aren't willing to address them directly is a violation of the CARE covenant.

What if I have a problem with a member of WSUUC's staff?

We expect you to go directly to the individual first, but if that is difficult or impossible, then contact the individual's supervisor. The supervisor will arrange a meeting between you and the staff member to discuss and to rectify the concerns.We also do have a Personnel committee whose primary role is to recommend salary for the Senior Minister and Executive; however, they may also play an adjudicating role in conflicts.

 

What if I have a problem with a minister?

Talk to the minister first. Send an email asking for a time to meet; or call, or make an appointment to talk OR  Ask a member of the CARE team to arrange a meeting with you, a member of the CARE team and the minister, OR  Talk with the Board President, and request a meeting between the Board President and the Minister. Although minister-parishoner concerns are confidential, they cannot be anonymous.  The only way to make something better is by being in relationship with one another, face-to-face.  

 

How do I get in touch with a member of the CARE team?

CARE Team members have staggered terms.  They are appointed by the Board of Trustees.  The names and photographs of all CARE team members (3) are posted on the bulletin board to the right of the Chapel.  We do not publish church members contact information on the church website; however, their contact information is also in the church directory.