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These are the values which shape our shared activity.  They may not exactly express your personal values but, when you sign up as a member, you agree to embrace these values and express them in all your contributions and interactions on this site.

These values are important to us, but they are not set in stone: what follows is the best (the most accurate and most helpful) expression of our values we have managed to produce so far.  As with everything on this site, if you think they can be improved, please let us know.

As with any set of values, there will occasionally be some conflict between them, so the following values are listed in order of importance to us.

Our Priorities

We seek to act in an open, honest and transparent way: open, because everbody's views are important; honest and transparent, because that is the only way to build and maintain the trust which is needed.

  • We seek to help people flourish, for everyone to develop as fully as possible in every way they can – not only spiritually, but mentally, emotionally, physically, relationally, and so on.  Nothing is unimportant if it is important to someone.
  • We seek to find the best answers we can, but recognize that an answer which satisfies one person may not satisfy another, and also that in practice we must often be satisfied with ‘good enough’ answers for the time being.  Finding a good enough answer does not mean that we stop seeking, but it may mean that our search takes on a different significance and urgency.
  • We seek to articulate a set of beliefs and values which we can embrace.  We seek to understand beliefs and values, not only to understand and affirm them, but so that we can attempt to live by them.  By seeking to understand them better ourselves, by articulating them more clearly, and by identifying with them personally, we are better able to influence the society around us.  In particular, we want the churches, charities, political parties and other groups we support to share and identify with the beliefs and values which are important to us.

We commit ourselves to act in an ethical and compassionate way:  ethical, because wherever there is injustice, to remain neutral is to side with the oppressor; and compassionate, because people matter more than abstract principles.

  • We commit ourselves to provide a space where people can ask questions and explore, not only ideas but also practical challenges; aiming to connect the details of everyday life with our deepest values.  We value truth for its own sake, but we also seek answers so that we can live them.
  • We commit ourselves to provide a space where everybody is treated with dignity and respect, where people can be known and be accepted for who they are, which means they must have the opportunity to talk about themselves, to share their story as well as their questions.
  • We commit ourselves to provide a space where everybody is safe and welcomed, whoever and whatever they are, recognizing that a safe space is one where we are valued and cared for, not one where everybody agrees with us or approves of everything we do.

We recognize that our words and actions have a limited but real impact: they affect people, even if they appear to be about abstract principles; and it is worth making the effort, even if they are unlikely to achieve all that we might wish - it is better to light a small candle than to curse the darkness.

  • We recognize that every question is a personal one, even if it is shared by many people.  The questions which trouble us are rooted in human life: questions may often be presented in absolute and abstract terms, but I only ask the question because I have a need to find the answer – even if that need is only simple curiosity – and the nature of my need shapes both the question and the answers I am interested in finding.
  • We recognize that everybody is different, even though we share many things in common; we can learn from one another, but cannot demand that what works for me will also work for you.  We seek to find, not ‘the’ answer to difficult questions, but a range of answers, each of which will work for a different group of people, so that while you will probably not find every answer helpful, you may at least find something helpful.
  • We recognize that we are not called to do everything, but we are called to do what we can do best.  Other people and groups offer a great deal which is good and helpful, and we are not called to reinvent the wheel; but we aim to create a space which works for our members, and has the potential to work for everybody..

A Word of Caution

We are talking about some important and difficult subjects - which is a good thing.  But, inevitably, some of the talk will be too superficial, and some will be mistaken.  So we need to say a few words of caution. 

  • Everything on this site is provisional.  Everything is subject to change, correction and improvement.  We may aim for perfection but, while we work out how to get there, our intention is to be useful.
  • We want to improve.  We think it is better to say something, rather than say nothing for fear of being wrong.  If you can point out when we are superficial or mistaken, then we have made progress: we have expressed what we understand and we have discovered that it can be improved, so we have learned something.
  • We want to be clear.  We believe it is more important to be clear then to be correct.  If we are unclear, nobody will benefit.  If we are clear but wrong, someone can show us where and why we are wrong, and we can become less wrong.  What matters is that we are moving in the right direction.
  • We want to discover the truth, but sometimes different people have different understandings of what is true.  When we discover that this is the case, then we have learned, and gained from the encounter.
  • We want to be fair.  We want to make the world a better place, but we need to ask: better in what way? And better for who?  We are aware the temptation is that we seek to make the world a better place for us, when there are many people who do not have our advantages, there are many people who are voiceless, and the world is full of creatures we should care for, which have no voice at all.

If you think we need to hear other words of caution, please say them.  And if you think we have forgotten to keep these words of caution in mind, please tell us - gently, but clearly.  Thank you.