A young adult community can reflect a wide variety of backgrounds, faith journeys, and convictions. These differences enrich our experience in many ways. They also call for some common understandings and commitments so that we can live together in harmony. All members of the community are expected to uphold the basic guidelines outlined below. These guidelines are informed by our identity as a Christian community, and by the traditions that have shaped our understanding of the Christian life. We welcome students from other identities and traditions, but all who choose to stay at the Vine & Table are expected to respect the convictions and values of this community.
A primary expectation of all members of the community is that we take seriously the interests and wellbeing of others. It is hoped that a Christian spirit of love, care and concern will permeate all of our interactions. We want to be supportive of each other, but we also want to hold each other accountable for the choices we make.
Behaviour that is not in keeping with the values of the community, regardless of where it occurs, is cause for community concern. Students are asked to participate in any resulting accountability process by demonstrating a readiness for dialogue and a willingness to give and to receive counsel.
Our approach to accountability and discipline is based on Matthew 18:15-18, commonly known as “The Rule of Christ.” This passage outlines a healthy way of approaching confrontation and beginning dialogue on issues that affect the Vine and Table community. It is this foundation that informs our Philosophy of Discipline and stands as an example of how to approach each other with an attitude of love and concern.
Philosophy of Discipline
Young adulthood is an important season in the journey of becoming mature adults, active citizens. Because of our urban context and the variety of settings into which young adults are entering, there is often exposure to a wide range of new ideas, opportunities and temptations. We recognize that one of the tasks of the community is to help one another learn and choose responsible lifestyles in this new context.
As a community we will not have an institutional law-and-order approach with a list of written "do's and don'ts". The expectation of conduct falls into three areas:
- On certain points we do have clear-cut basic guidelines or rules, as noted below, that we expect students to observe. It is important for you to know this as you decide if this is the place that feels right for you.
- There may be other specific guidelines that are created and agreed on once the community has formed.
- In other areas, we expect that students’ conduct in specific situations will be guided by more general criteria such as consideration of others, welfare of the community, and/or good taste.
In all three areas, our approach is not to enforce compliance through policing. Rather, we seek to make a serious attempt to regulate life through commitment, discussion and mutual accountability. We are convinced that this approach to discipline - though sometimes time-consuming – is more conducive to fostering a sense of community and more effective in shaping Christian character in the long-term.
Any disciplinary process will begin with dialogue. That dialogue may be initiated by either students or coordinators. Depending on the nature of the situation, other community members may be drawn in. All disciplinary situations will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, and will be viewed as valuable learning opportunities, not only for the individual(s) involved, but also for the community. In all cases it is hoped that students will choose for themselves values and lifestyles that are consistent with Christian faith and practice.
We recognize that young adults come with a variety of perspectives on the use of alcohol. These varying perspectives can become a source of division and pain within the community when individuals claim for themselves the freedom to adopt drinking patterns that cause others concern. Alcohol has caused immense damage to many individuals and cultures and we also recognize that the consumption of alcohol in excess can be harmful and can undermine our Christian witness. We also acknowledge that in many social circumstances, alcoholic beverages are offered as a choice. Therefore, alcohol, in moderation, may be consumed. However, drunkenness, is not acceptable. Those who are known to use alcohol irresponsibly need to be held accountable.
Smoking is harmful to an individual’s health and creates an unpleasant and unhealthy environment for others, especially those with asthma, allergies and severe environmental/chemical sensitivities. For these reasons smoking is not permitted in the Vine & Table house or yard.
Illegal drugs are not allowed in the community. Besides being illegal, these drugs can create dependencies and invite unhealthy escapism. Community members who are known to use illegal drugs need to be held accountable.
We believe that pornography is demeaning to individuals and undermines God’s ideal for human sexuality. We recognizes the power of pornography’s appeal and its potential for harmful addiction. Viewing pornographic material, is unhealthy and detrimentally impacts personal relationships and life within the community.
Sexual harassment is a form of exploitation, and a violation of the respect that all persons deserve. The Community will not tolerate sexual harassment by any member of the Community, nor will it condone sexual harassment in the context of the community. Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to:
- Any degrading or unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendos, whistling or catcalls regarding a person’s body, attire or gender;
- Any unwelcome flirtations, advances or requests for sexual favours;
- Any unwelcome physical contact;
- Any demands for sexual favours accompanied by a promise of reward or a threat of reprisal.
What to do if you are harassed:
- Say “No”: Let the harasser know that his/her behaviour is offensive and unwelcome. Sometimes we offend each other unknowingly because our perceptions of what is offensive vary. Be specific about the behaviour that you find unacceptable. Ask the person to stop. If direct confrontation feels uncomfortable, put your concerns into writing. Keep a copy for yourself.
- Document the Occurrence(s): Write down dates, times, places and specific descriptions of each occurrence, including names of other people who might have observed the incident or your reaction.
- Report the incident(s): In any situation where harassment continues, talk to a coordinator. Your concerns will be taken seriously, and you will learn about the options available to you for addressing the issue further.
We acknowledge human sexuality as a gift and blessing from God, and encourage healthy relationships in both dating and marriage. Students in dating relationships are expected to act with Christian maturity, treating each other with honour and respect, and using discretion in public expressions of affection. The Community affirms marriage as the proper context for sexual intimacy. Sexual intimacy in any non-marital relationship is considered to be inappropriate within the Community.
Other Forms of Misconduct
We will seek to address any actions that are harmful to other persons, which undermine the health of the community. These actions include, but are not limited to: disturbing the peace; physically assaulting another person; fighting; vandalism; theft; fires in public places; emotional, physical or sexual abuse; hate literature; any other form of harassment. In extreme cases, misconduct may result in temporary or long-term suspension of the member from the Vine & Table.