In our life together at PSR, we rely on God’s presence among us as we build a community that values diversity, mutual respect, and listening and learning from one another. The importance of these values transcends PSR: when we work to create community with others different from ourselves, we acquire important skills for leadership in churches and other faith communities.
At PSR, you’re sure to be with others different from yourself. We welcome students who have diverse theological views and cultural backgrounds; international students; new college graduates as well as second-career professionals; heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans students; families with children; and people with disabilities.
Our students relate to campus life in a variety of ways, depending on where they live and work: Half our students are in residence, living in dorms on campus or adjacent apartments. Half are commuters, from as close as Berkeley or Oakland and as far away as Reno or Seattle. Commuters make an important contribution to the life of our community, helping to connect life on campus to diverse faith communities around us.
The PSR staff—particularly the Office of Community Life—offers a number of services that encourage community building. But our community is really created by students who take the initiative to develop systems of care and support and opportunities for conversation and play.
Rev. Ann Jefferson
Director of Community Life and Spiritual Care
510/849-8257 | email@example.com
For the 2015-16 Academic Year
Pacific School of Religion – students, staff, faculty, and trustees – seeks to inspire a world of abundance, compassion and justice where all can thrive and flourish. To that end, the following Covenant presents qualities we seek to uphold in our life and work together.
Building on a foundation of truth, love and our identity as an institution of spiritual faith and practice, PSR desires to create and sustain an environment of “fearless welcome and radical hospitality.” Based on our belief that each individual is divinely empowered to create this community of inclusion and affirmation, we witness this co-creative enterprise to honor and value our diversity as a source of communal strength. We further commit ourselves to doing the difficult work together, supported by God’s grace, when living into this reality exceeds our realm of comfort and human capacity.
PSR is an ecosystem of interdependent connections – which includes not just our human relationships, but our connections to animals and the land and environment upon and within which we exist. Thus, we also affirm these covenantal intentions to respect and engage with PSR’s existing and evolving policies and practices, as they have been developed to express our institutional values and to foster safe, healthy and sustainable community.
INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS & ATTITUDES (Romans 12: 4, 5, & 18)
WE COVENANT TO:
. Respect and celebrate our unique and diverse identities, perspectives and pathways, and to practice an attitude of “fearless welcome and hospitality,” embracing all of who we are— through both self-acceptance and acceptance of others.
. Practice “drawing the circle of community wider” to include rather than exclude
. Celebrate our growing edges by listening and speaking authentically
. Remember our common humanity and practice forgiveness with generosity and discernment
. Honor and support the value of our own self-care and that of others
COMMUNICATION (Ephesians 4:15)
WE COVENANT TO:
. Communicate in ways that foster a community of respect, safety, intellectual growth and vibrant spirituality
. Communicate with conscious awareness of our inter-connectedness in body, mind, and spirit and seek to “understand as well as be understood”
. Build and affirm the safety of our community by practicing patience and speaking our truth directly and compassionately
. Invite every person in our community to enter dialogue, assuming the best of intentions of all involved
. Engage our communications around topics and issues rather than personalities
NEGOTIATING CONFLICT (Romans 12: 17 – 18)
WE COVENANT TO:
. Create spaces safe enough to risk truth-sharing
. Step out of [or Avoid] hiding in silence when difficulties arise
. Find value in differing perspectives
. Approach one another as allies and not enemies
. Be committed to healing and reconciliation
. When appropriate, engage institutional policies and processes designed to mediate conflict
This covenant is a living document which we will revisit each year and adapt as community needs and expectations grow and change. We are committed to infusing awareness and practice of this covenant into the full institutional life of our seminary – spiritual, theological, academic, social, and environmental – thereby engaging the entire community in “covenant keeping.”
That being said, we understand and expect that there will be times when our Covenant is broken. In such cases, we will seek to have our responses to alleged or confirmed fractures be guided by pastoral concern and practice. Every effort will be made to resolve breaches in a manner intended to be respectful, reconciling, restorative, liberating and healing.
Community Covenant Workshop Team: Alex Rush, Eli’jah Carroll, Grace Gilliam, Laurie Isenberg, Schmian Evans with support and facilitation of OCL staff, Ann Jefferson and Alison West.
In preparing this document we reviewed Covenants and/or Codes of Conduct from the following institutions: Auburn Theological Seminary, Andover Newton, Brite Divinity School, Candler School of Theology, Chicago Theological Seminary, Claremont School of Theology, Drew, Harvard, Lexington, Seattle University, United Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Wesley, and Yale.
Our Covenant was also influenced by prior work of the Unitarian Universalist Association in helping their congregations develop “Covenants of Right Relations.”
Office of Community Life
Welcome to the Office of Community Life! This office aids and mentors students through the process of their educational journey, including the major milestones of their degree programs. We also oversee pastoral services for PSR students and assist faculty and student organizations in developing a shared vision and practice of student formation. We can provide immediate pastoral care for the PSR community in emergency situations when the Pastoral Care Team and the Campus Care Network are not available.
For more information, drop by Community Life offices where you will find plenty of resources to ensure your time at seminary is rich and rewarding.
Contact Office of Community Life
Rev. Ann Jefferson – 510/849-8257
PSR is a diverse community reflecting regional, national, and international interests and perspectives. The cultural diversity of PSR provides a very rare opportunity for students to engage difference as a gift: as a spiritual practice. Conscious engagement of cultural differences head on allows students to grow emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Thus time spent at PSR is an occasion for the kind of personal and spiritual growth that happens in a vibrant working and learning community. The Office of Community Life (OCL) is designed to provide support and nurture students as they adjust to this new phase of life.
A significant aspect of OCL’s mission is to provide students the learning opportunity to make conscious connections between what they learn in classroom settings with the non-academic aspect of campus life, in particular, the relationships that they build outside the classroom and the gifts that they offer to the PSR community. Conscious awareness of interconnections between classroom learning and relationships on campus provides rich soil for spiritual growth and learning. It allows students to intentionally integrate theory and praxis in the moment.
Community Life provides space for relationship building and networks of support in various ways:
Organize Community-building Events
We host events to provide the PSR community an opportunity to fellowship: F, Community Life Open Houses (twice per semester), Holiday Dinner, and Eschatos, the end of the school year party. While OCL hosts many events, the majority of the community-building events and activities that happen in the PSR campus are led by students.
Orientations and Commencement
Partnership with CAPSR Council (Community Association of PSR)
OCL works closely with the CAPSR Council in building community and advocating for student needs and concerns on campus.
Circles of Care
As framed by Ignatian spirituality, our lives are filled with moments of consolation (moments of joy, moments when we feel love, or feel closest to God), and moments of desolation (our “desert moments” when we feel farthest from God, moments when we are lonely, or angry, or feel the least amount of love). As we move in and out of our highs and lows, we at the OCL want to make sure that you are not alone in your journey.
OCL coordinates systems of care within the campus community. The OCL provides networks of support for the PSR community in four ways:
Circle of Care 1: Campus Care Network
The CCN provides student-led campus care: to listen, pray, and to support and to respond to crises and everyday concerns in the lives of students and their families at PSR. CCN members are available around the clock to provide assistance in cases of emergency or crisis. To learn more, contact Ann Jefferson, Director of Community Life and Spiritual Care at 510/849-8257 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Demitrius Burnett: “My name is Demitrius Burnett. I’m a third year Master of Divinity Student with a concentration in Preaching, Poetry, and Worship, and I currently serve as the Youth Pastor of Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Richmond, California. Though my last two years of experience have been in the Black Baptist Church, I come from a nondenominational background. I have also had a wide range of exposure across denominations. Before starting the M.Div program, I initially came to PSR as a part of the inaugural class of Change-Maker Fellows after moving from Phoenix, Arizona. That being said, my PSR experience includes being a Bay Area transplant, Change-Maker Fellow, M.Div student, campus resident, Black student, and a budding activist being transformed after coming from more traditional beginnings. Whether these describe your experience or not, feel free to talk to me. I can be reached at email@example.com, or often seen around campus.”
Eli’jah Carroll: “Hey Friends! I’m finishing up my last year at the incredible institution. In May, I hope to be receiving my master’s degree in Divinity, which I hope to use as part of ordination with the United Church of Christ. I’m always interested in Social Transformation, keeping at the forefront a very wide and liberal theology. If you have any questions, or just need a guy to laugh with, you can count on me! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org“
Nikki Hunt: “I am a second year MDiv student preparing to be a Unitarian Universalist minister. I have training and experience in peer counseling and group facilitation. I have used these skills in my work with the issues of domestic violence, LGBTQ, peace and justice organizing, and as a daycare educator. Besides having lots of experience, I have always had a knack for listening from the heart. I joined the Campus Care Network this year so I could formally offer my compassionate listening skills to my fellow students. I can be reached at email@example.com“
Tara Limbaugh: “I’m a second year M.Div. student at PSR who entered as part of the Changemaker Fellowship. I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition in South Carolina and currently profess a nondenominational, progressive Christian theology as a self-professed “progressive evangelical.” I’m interested in working at the intersection of parish ministry and the nonprofit sector. I’ve worked on advocacy projects with LGBT youth/young adults. I’d love to hear your thoughts about how the Church intersects with our culture, identities, nonprofit programs, liberating advocacy work – and how the Spirit is moving in your own life. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Circle of Care 2: Campus Pastors
The Pastoral Care Team is comprised by ordained clergy with office hours and location in the PSR campus. The campus pastors have set aside a time from their particular ministries to provide pastoral care for free for the PSR community. Click here for more information about the campus pastors, their office hours and location. Note that the PCT provides “pastoral care,” not “pastoral counseling.” Pastoral care is a broad and inclusive way of pastoral work that is concerned with the support and nurturance of persons and interpersonal relationships. Pastoral counseling is an extended and structured conversation focused on the needs and concerns of the one seeking help (as defined by The Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling). Contact the Office of Community Life to learn more. To learn more, contact Ann Jefferson, Director of Community Life and Spiritual Care at 510/849-8257 or email@example.com.
Circle of Care 3: Director of Community Life & Spiritual Care
In situations when the CCN and Pastoral Care Team are not available, the Director of Community Life and Spiritual Care will provide pastoral care, especially during emergency situations. This includes PSR’s after hours (weekdays and weekend). Contact Ann Jefferson, Director of Community Life and Spiritual Care at 510/849-8257 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Circle of Care 4: Spiritual Directors, Counselors, Therapists and other off-campus Resources
The CCN, Pastoral Care Team, and Assistant Dean of Students will refer the community to self-care resources outside of PSR when needed (although a PSR community member is welcome to access this resource anytime). The lists are not given as endorsements but as a starting place to begin your search for a spiritual director, therapist, or counselor who meets your needs and desires. See links below for more information.