This year students and others involved with the President's Commission on Diversity collaborated to create a "Beloved Community Covenant," to articulate the values, intentions, practical, and ideal commitments by which the community will agree to live, learn, and practice together. On April 5, students led a worship service to receive, reflect on, and pray about the covenant. The text of the Covenant follows:
The Beloved Community Covenant
All persons are of sacred worth. This foundational principle becomes the corner stone of social and professional engagement at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The intrinsic value of each individual person merits a culture that embraces and lives into the diverse spectrum of backgrounds, traditions and value systems that comprise the seminary community.
The intrinsic value of each individual person merits a culture of radical hospitality which calls each person to serve the needs of the other; these needs are grounded in the care for one’s self and one another.
The intrinsic value of each individual person merits a culture that beckons diverse perspectives and conversations, where members of the community are invited to experience diversity, in whatever form it presents itself. Indeed, members of this community are encouraged to engage in their differences in both word and action; respectfully, honestly and with a hermeneutic of generosity.
As a Christian Community, we understand that love is discovered in these distinctions. It is our differences that preserve for us unique and powerful opportunities to love one another, in peace, in conflict and in uncertainty. We therefore seek to cultivate an environment that reflects a community that is and is becoming. This process provokes in us a spirit of vulnerability and compels us to see, acknowledge and listen to one another. Through our daily interactions, we realize new opportunities to practice attitudes of hospitality and attitudes of love. These daily interactions, no matter how insignificant, remain fundamental to the relationships that will nurture us, care for us, sustain us and form us during our sojourn.
At times we will inevitably choose not to act generously, graciously or hospitably. In these moments, may we remember that the God of reconciliation is at work within us, and through the Holy Spirit, moves us as a people of sacred worth to actively seek reconciliation with the one who has offended us or the one whom we have offended. In this way, we seek to become a community of conscience and practice, a beloved community that remains worthy of the individuals who embody it and the Grace that God has bestowed upon it.