#Day1 for Christian Faith Communities

A toolkit for churches, youth groups, and other Christian communities to prevent bullying and stand up against the misuse of faith to harm others.

Churches and faith communities should be a safe space for everyone, but unfortunately, bullying and harassment can happen anywhere people gather.

LGBTQ people are especially vulnerable to being bullied in the name of Christianity, whether it’s condemnation from the pulpit, exclusion during church activities, or hurtful words or actions by congregation members outside of church during the week.

#Day1 is made to help you create a space free from hostility and accepting of diversity, and to remind the members of your congregation or group that they have a responsibility as Christians to be Upstanders on behalf of hurting and bullied people everywhere.

So let today be #Day1 to create a safe inclusive faith community that is accepting of diversity, and free of hostility and bullying behavior. 

All you need to do to get started is…..

Review the below #Day1 Declaration.  

Then simply complete the form below to receive a pdf version of the #Day1 Declaration.   

Rehearse the #Day1 declaration before presenting at your church, Sunday school class, youth group or other group activity.

Read the Declaration on #Day1 of your group meeting together or on #Day1 of a new beginning when you want to put an end to bullying behavior and begin on a new journey of acceptance, compassion and respect. 

Be sure to personalize the declaration with the name of your group in the appropriate spaces.

Receive a verbal acknowledgment of agreement from your participants that they will adhere to the declaration. 

Once you have created a safe respectful community, encourage your participants to become Upstanders.  Pass out copies of the Upstander Pledge or visit tylerclementi.org/pledgeRead the pledge aloud together. Discuss what it means to them and answer any questions.  Then have each member sign the Upstander Pledge, either on the paper or directly on the website, whichever works best for you.

Reading the declaration is not a one-and-done situation.  But rather it is a baseline for a constant conversation that will be continued throughout the entire year and again the following year.  To assist in these conversations an optional component we suggest is to create artwork or illustrations to support Upstander behavior, it could be as simple as posting the Upstander Pledge or #Day1 Declaration, to act as a daily visual reminder that this is a safe respectful space for everyone, and bullying behavior will not be tolerated here. 

#Day1 Declaration

Today is the first day of (sunday school / youth group)  and I want to make it clear what our expectations are for your behavior, actions, and words here in this (community/space/place/classroom).

We all have had times when we’ve said or done hurtful things to others—whether out of frustration or thoughtlessness or because it seemed like just a joke.

Sometimes people even use God’s name or the language of Christianity to hurt people. They might quote the Bible or use words like “sinner” in a way that puts certain people down and makes them feel bad about themselves. But that’s still bullying, and just because people use Christian language doesn’t make it right.

So let me be clear: Any act of bullying, harassment, or humiliation against another person—child, youth, or adult, whether it happens here or anywhere else, online or offline—is against our values as Christians. That includes saying hurtful words to someone, saying bad things about them to others, leaving them out, physically hurting them, or doing anything else that could make them feel bad.

It also includes talking down to people, preaching at them, or telling them that who they are is a sin —because of their orientation or their gender identity or any other reason. When we do things like that, we’re not being faithful to God. Bullying behavior like this makes people feel alone, hurt, less than, and unloved. That’s not how Jesus treated people.

Following Jesus means treating all people with love and compassion—whatever their nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, age, ability, body shape, political beliefs, immigration status, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity; no matter how they dress, how much money they have, or how popular they are. No matter how different they are from you, God loves them, and they are our neighbors.

Even when someone doesn’t share your beliefs, remember, Jesus told us to worry about our own sins—the log in our own eye— instead of trying to tell other people what we think they’re doing wrong. Our job is to love other people, not to judge them.

In your lives, there will be times when you see someone being bullied, harassed, intimidated, or mistreated. Sometimes the bullies might be fellow Christians. It might even be here in this church/community. But no matter where it is or who’s doing the bullying, your calling as a Christian is to be an Upstander, someone who actively intervenes and stands up, speaking out and supporting those who are being bullied.

If you see someone doing harm to another person, try to stop it if you feel safe to do so. If that doesn’t change the behavior or if you do not feel safe, report it to a trusted adult. Joining in or doing nothing is not being respectful or kind. Reach out to the person targeted to make sure they know they’re not alone and encourage and support them with a kind word. You might just be saving someone’s life.

We all make mistakes, so if someone disrespects you, simply say, “That is disrespectful. Please stop.” Get help if the person doesn’t listen. And if someone tells you that something you said or did is hurtful or disrespectful, listen and make amends.

Does everyone understand what I have said and what we expect of you here?

Upstander Pledge

I pledge to not remain a passive bystander but rather be an active Upstander when I witness bullying behavior.

As an Upstander;

I will intervene whenever I see or hear anyone being targeted with bullying behavior; whether I’m at school, at home, at work, or in my faith community; whether I am speaking in digital spaces or out in the real world with friends, family, colleagues or teammates. 

  • I will interrupt the bullying behavior if it feels safe to do so.  I will intervene respectfully by saying: “please stop!”. 
  • I will report what I saw or heard to a trusted adult or person of authority. I will also encourage the person I saw being bullied to report it, too. 
  • I will reach out to the person who was targeted and let them know that bullying is never OK with me, and ask how I can help or assist them to get the help they need. 

I will choose words and actions that show my respect, kindness, and compassion for all people and always make everyone feel included and safe

I will not speak or act negatively about how another person is different from me; including their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, home language, body shape or size, skin color, ability level, or any other real or perceived difference.  Instead, I will choose to learn about and celebrate what makes them unique, special, and precious.  If I hear others speaking or acting negatively because of someone’s differences, I will choose to be an Upstander and speak up.

If I learn in person or online that someone is feeling seriously depressed or potentially suicidal, I will reach out and tell this person, “Your life has value and is important, no matter how you feel at the moment, and no matter what others say or think.”  I will strongly encourage this person to get professional help.

I pledge to be an Upstander!

Download #Day1 Toolkit for Christian Faith Communities

 

Can we count on you to implement #Day 1 in your Christian Faith Community? Please complete this form to receive your easy-to-use PDF copy of the #Day1 toolkit.

 

 

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