Sheldon

Clergy Shop Talk

Fri 12 June 2015

When guests make a booking for a programme event or private retreat, they are always asked to sign up to our House Rules. The key ones for the purpose of this article are 

  • No clergy shop talk
  • Respect the privacy and space of others

The rules were established on the very first 12,000-mile Service we ran back in November 1987 and over the years they have been one of the most appreciated parts of our ministry, frequently mentioned by guests on their feedback forms as being a crucial part of what made their time at Sheldon work well for them. However, implementing the rules with grace and balance is often one of the most challenging things we do. Some guests take to the rules like a duck to water, most find them a little uncomfortable to start with but settle in and enjoy them within a day or so, while a very few really struggle with them. The feedback is that occasionally the rules are policed a little over-zealously and sometimes they are under-policed by the hosting team. Occasionally someone's retreat is really compromised by an insensitive or intrusive fellow guest. Sometimes there is genuine confusion over what we mean by "clergy shop talk", sometimes one guest would be quite unaware of another guest's privacy needs, and some people just think rules are there to be broken anyway. 

In fact we do take them very seriously and obviously the whole thing only works if everybody is on board. As a Community we recently had a "back to basics" session and came up with a "Help with House Rules" sheet to put in guest rooms. You can see the full text next to this article. We've tried to set out the reasons for the rules very simply and clearly and give some practical guidance on what's good to talk about as well as what to avoid. Hope you like our new "no clergy shop talk" road sign logo too!

 

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