O is for Openness
Qf&P 20.20 For a Quaker, religion is not an external activity, concerning a special ‘holy’ part of the self. It is an openness to the world in the here and now with the whole of the self. If this is not simply a pious commonplace, it must take into account the whole of our humanity: our attitudes to other human beings in our most intimate as well as social and political relationships. It must also take account of our life in the world around us, the way we live, the way we treat animals and the environment. In short, to put it in traditional language, there is no part of ourselves and of our relationships where God is not present.
Harvey Gillman, 1988
Openness is therefore also something that should be included in the way our buildings are used by both Quakers and the other hiring groups.
It is hard to move beyond our own unconscious processes and inherent biases. This is one of the most complicated issue – and often over looked. How can we ensure that the way we allow our buildings to be used and the relationships these usage create reflect our Quaker way rather than just a business matter.
How can we find ways not only to be willing to work with those in our local communities but also to welcome them – to live out our openness.
Qf&P 13.32 We appear to offer our facilities, but in fact we offer our love’
This is easy to say but can be tricky to do!
One simple step to demonstrate our openness – is the use of a publicly available lettings policy. Such a policy can be a way of ensuring that those coming to look at or use our building can see and assure themselves, that our decision to hire or not is not based on personal biases but on our overarching concerns and testimonies. It is also a good way of giving us a frame work of reference to work from when a enquiry comes in and there is a concern about the appropriateness of the hire.
Good Business: Ethics at Work: When we realise that everything we have comes to us as a gift from God, we understand that we are all stewards accountable for our use of time, people, money and all natural resources. In each situation a good steward seeks the right balance between prudence and adventure; conservatism and creation; leading and serving; stimulation and supporting. Good business is the way we serve the social and economic community.
- How does your meeting show and practice openness to the wider community around you?
- Do you have a lettings or room hiring policy?
- Is it publicly available?
You can find more information on this topic in: H is for Hirers and Hospitality.
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