Forum Participation Guidelines

PURPOSE

The purpose of the Forum is the stimulation of discussion and the sharing of information, ideas and, where suitable, feelings.  We are all volunteers and we all want to feel comfortable here.  Forum topics are decided upon by consensus, two months in advance.  Everyone is welcome to attend Forum gatherings and encouraged to participate.  We try to discourage partisan prejudices in our discussions.

ORGANIZATION

Forum roles will be three : moderator, presenter, discussion members.

PRESENTER and PRESENTATION

Forum gatherings begin with a presentation of facts and ideas, about a group-selected topic, lasting about 15 - 20 minutes. After the presentation, we hope that the presenter will limit his further participation to responding to questions of information, or perhaps to offering additional information which may become pertinent during the development of the discussion.  The presenter will avoid dialogue with any member.

GUIDELINES FOR CIVIL DISCOURSE 
  • Everyone will have a chance to talk.   We hope each person will contribute.
  • We hope that each person attending will have a turn to speak before anyone speaks a second time.
  • We address all contributions to the group as a whole.
  • Only one speaker will speak at a time.
  • We avoid interruptions, dialogues and negative personal remarks.
  • Nobody will speak many times or at great length.
  • Private discussions will be deferred for a later time, outside the Forum.

The moderator will use his judgment to enforce these guidelines.  Other members follow and support the moderator's lead in this function.

SCHEDULING
The moderator will open the meeting at 9:00 a.m., invite all attendees to give their names, and then introduce the topic and the presenter.  Late comers will enter as quietly as possible.  Group discussion will not be interrupted by recapping for late comers. 

At 10:15 a.m, the moderator will briefly summarize the discussion and close the formal part of the meeting. Informal discussions may continue as long as members care to stay.  Room 6 will be available for Forum attenders who wish to continue discussion after leaving the Fireside Room.  However, the time for vacating the room comes at 10:15 or thereafter when the first robed choir person or CRE person appears outside the doors.

On the occasions when the early service isn't yet finished, we exit quietly.

Additional suggestions which were offered but not decided upon:
  1. We could have a more formal structure with set turns going around the circle at the beginning and end of each meeting.    
  2. We could use a timer to help participants to be concise in their statements.    
  3. We could try reminders, in the form of printed cards, of our guidelines, for the participants, for the moderator and for the presenter.

2nd draft,  1/4/04, G. Schwaar

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