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The Charter For Compassion
On Sunday, March 15, 2015, the congregation of Symons Valley United Church voted unanimously to affirm The Charter of Compassion. See the Charter written below or click here for a wonderful video of people reading the Charter.
The Charter Of Compassion:
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.
We therefore call upon all men and women to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.
The Board has been studying Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life since October 2014. A Visioning Working Group was created to discern how the congregation could be actively engaged in being compassionate in our world. One activity has been to commit to making sandwiches for Calgary’s Drop-In Shelter each Communion Sunday. The congregation makes approximately 400 sandwiches each month.
Now that the congregation has signed The Charter, the question is, ‘what are we going to do to uphold our commitment to a more compassionate world?’