The Green Chapel

Serving God by serving all of God's creation.

About the Green Chapel

The Green Chapel is people, not a building.

The Green Chapel serves all people and has no secrets from its members or the community.

Individuals may wish to remain anonymous or be known only by their first names or nicknames.

There are no members-only events for the Green Chapel; there are no private events. (Exceptions: Weddings, funerals, and memorials. The people planning those events may request privacy. The other exceptions are the attempt at reconciling two people who have disagreements serious enough for one person to request that the other person not enter their home; the planning of a wedding or funeral; a Pastoral conversation between / among members and the Pastor.)

It is only common sense that any person or group of people who wish to have a meeting or event that is not held in the name of the Green Chapel are welcome to invite anyone they choose and to exclude the general public.

The Green Chapel owns no real estate.

As a general rule, we do not rent space for our services or other meetings. We believe that money for rental fees could be put to better use.

In good weather we meet in public places, such as parks. We understand that we must not exclude the general public from attending our services or other events that are held on public property. We do have the right to request that people refrain from interfering with us.

In cold or inclement weather we meet in members' homes. We have specific rules when we meet in people's homes.

We are not a communist organization. Each member's property and possessions belong to them alone.

As a group, we hold no political opinions.

Any opinions expressed must be understood to be the opinions of the speaker (or writer) and not the opinions of the Green Chapel as a whole.

Individual members are encouraged to think for themselves, listen to all sides of debates, and obey their consciences.

We encourage everyone who is eligible to vote to vote in every election.

We believe in the rule of civil authority, and support all government agencies.

It is the responsibility of each member to obey all local, state, and federal laws.

If a member has moral objection to a specific law, it is that member's right and responsibility to educate the lawmakers about the specific objections to the specific law and the ways in which the law could be improved.

Part of being a responsible citizen is supporting the public good through the payment of taxes.

Likewise, fines imposed from any civil authority, from an overdue library book to a speeding ticket to a court judgment, must be paid as soon as possible.

We think that personal financial responsibility is important.

The Green Chapel has no treasury and no budget. We, as an organization, neither lend nor borrow money. The Green Chapel will not act as a co-signer to a loan.

No collections are taken at services or other events.

There are no dues, tithes, voluntary contributions, or any form of financial support to become or remain a member of the Green Chapel, nor to attend any event.

Members are expected to put their own welfare and the welfare of their families first.

It is the responsibility of every member of the Green Chapel to help any person in need, as far as practical and within reason.

"I'm sorry; I can't help you." is a good response to any request for help that must be refused. You do not have to give any reasons. Repeated requests can be met with "I cannot help you."

A refusal to help is not an invitation for a debate.

Caution is especially advised when approached by anyone, member or non-member, with a request for financial assistance.

Every person has the right to express his or her opinion, without fear of retribution and without becoming embroiled in an argument.

The only two exceptions to this very important rule are hate speech, which will not be tolerated, and any threat against any living creature or institution.

Any person making strongly negative remarks about a person or group of people will be asked to stop. If the person refuses to moderate their speech, they will be asked to leave the group temporarily. The person will be welcome again when they admit to having broken the no-hate-speech rule and agreeing to abide by the rule in the future.

Any person who appears to any member to be making a serious threat against any institution (for example, a government agency or a business) or any sentient creature (human or animal) will be asked whether they are making a serious threat or are simply expressing themselves forcefully. (A statement such as "If it rains on Saturday I'm going to strangle the weatherman." is probably not a real threat against a specific person or class of people.) Any person who makes a serious threat will be warned that civil authorities will be contacted, and then the appropriate agency will be alerted.

We share the earth with many kinds of animals in addition to other humans.

Not all animals are benign. In the case of mosquitoes, for example, a bite might carry disease, as well as cause an itch. We expect everyone to use common sense when it comes to non-human pests.

Members are expected to train their pets, as far as is possible, to interact with humans and other creatures in socially-acceptable ways.

At our outdoor meetings, all well-behaved creatures are welcome as long as they would normally be permitted there. All members are expected to honor posted signs such as "All pets must be on a leash." or "No dogs allowed."

In the case of potluck events, everyone is welcome. No person will be turned away.

Each person who can afford to do so should bring enough food for themselves plus at least one serving for another person.

We are all encouraged to label the food that we bring to events with a list of the potential allergens (nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, milk, eggs, et cetera). If foods are prepared especially to avoid allergic reactions, they should also be labeled; for example "Gluten-free".

Likewise, if we prepare a vegetarian or vegan dish, we should label it as such.

People who have no dietary restrictions are encouraged to leave special foods to those who need them.

Members are encouraged to share recipes!

Due to health department regulations, we cannot take leftovers to homeless shelters, etc. People may take leftovers home at their own risk.

When we meet in people's homes.

No person may attend any event in a member's home who has not previously hosted an event in their own home.

Each member who hosts a Green Chapel service or other event has the right to determine what kinds of non-humans may enter their home. Likewise, hosts may establish rules such as "No smoking indoors.", "Please remove your shoes when you enter.", and so on. As in all things, communication is key.

Any person who hosts an event should not be automatically expected to provide food and / or beverages as well.

Any member who can afford to do so is encouraged to provide beverages and / or light snacks for an event. Advance coordination is important.

In the unusual case of two or more members being in an adversarial relationship, the member(s) hosting an event in their home has the right to request that the other member(s) not attend the event. Such a decision must not be made lightly. The member(s) asked not to attend must obey that request.

If at all possible, it would be highly desirable that all of the parties involved in disagreements would meet with the Pastor prior to the event for discussion of ways in which reconciliation might be brought about.

Any person, without exception, who is asked to leave by the host of an event held in a private residence must leave immediately.

Active discussions of ideas and opinions are strongly encouraged!

Respect for each other's beliefs and opinions are at the very core of the Green Chapel's existence.

It is through discussion and mutual learning that we can grow as individuals and as a group.

At times discussions may become heated when people express strongly-held beliefs. Discussions which become personal attacks will be brought back on topic or stopped.

Membership in the Green Chapel.

No membership roster of the Green Chapel is kept.

People who wish to remain anonymous are encouraged to remain so.

Everyone is welcome at outdoor events or in the very unlikely case that a meeting location is rented.

The Green Chapel is not a cult.

Anyone who is concerned about any behavior that even begins to look like cult behavior has the moral responsibility to bring it to the Pastor's attention. If the cult-like behavior continues, it should be openly discussed at the next event.