Sacred Friends Agreement
We enter Sacred Friends to develop interfaith friendships with individuals of other faiths, backgrounds, and races. In order to nurture these relationships, we each voluntarily pledge to follow all the following guidelines in our interactions and relationships to create a safe environment free of judgment, criticism, or betrayal:
1) Encourage: I will welcome and encourage each member’s open and genuine communication. My pledge is to hear, respect, and cherish the messages and stories that my sacred friends disclose in a spirit of trust and friendship.
2) Listen Empathetically: My focus throughout our Sacred Friends interactions will be to listen without judgment, concentrating on the aim of understanding with my heart as well as my mind, my friend’s point, and perspective. I will not interrupt nor criticize. I will wait until my friend has finished asking questions.
3) Responsive Restatement: When my friend has completed his statement, a group member will repeat the speaker’s message until our friend confirms it has been accurately restated. Then, all members of our group will have a chance to ask the speaker questions so long as those inquiries are centered upon the speaker’s statement and solely asked for purposes of better understanding.
4) Deliberate Communication: When it is my turn to speak, I pledge to be open, direct, honest, and kind in my words. I will think before I speak and consider my chosen words in light of my sacred friends.
5) Collective Voice: Once all friends have spoken and had their messages confirmed by all other members, our group will begin the process of collaboratively framing a group response to our assigned module content. I will respect the disclosures and opinions shared by all my friends in this process. I pledge to empathetically listen and constructively participate in the process of attempting to reach mutual consensus. If consensus is not possible, I will continue to accept and acknowledge the individual perspectives revealed. Our group may or may not wish to revisit this collaborative process at another time.
6) Confidentiality: I pledge to each of my friends that I will treat all individual and group interactions as strictly confidential. Understanding that trust is foundational to our friendships, I will not disclose these interactions to anyone without the permission of all group members.
7) Punctuality: I pledge to be considerate to my friends in all ways, including my timely attendance at each of our scheduled virtual meetings. I will not go over our agreed meeting time without the mutual agreement of all my friends.
8) No Proselytization: I pledge that I will not proselytize nor attempt to convert my friends to my own faith, religion, or viewpoint. I understand that this is an interfaith group that accepts and encourages all participants to be their authentic selves, transparent in their relationships, intentions, and motives.
I agree not to use my relationships or this program as an occasion to influence, sway, or convince anyone of the truth, credence, or appeal of my own faith, religion, or viewpoint. I make these pledges understanding that this agreement is the basis of the friendships that I will be forming in this program. My friends will trust and rely upon my adherence to this agreement in extending their friendship to me. I accept the condition that if I break any of these pledges that I may be expelled from the Sacred Friends Program.
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