While Voices for An Open Spirit does not exist as an organization, there is still an active listserve where people discuss different issues and topics. It is actually a google group and can be joined by going here and signing up.

The group is open to all, however, there is a covenant that guides member participation. The covenant is below:

Covenant for VOS Google Group

Most people who participate on this listserve subscribe to the VOS mission.

  • To be a prophetic voice that proclaims the radically inclusive love of God for all, which we understand through Jesus Christ.
  • To call the Church of the Brethren to embody Christ’s love more fully.
  • To model this love as a group and live it out.

However, this listserve is public and anyone may join and participate fully. We welcome anyone who wants to respectfully join the conversation. VOS is a member of the Supportive Communities Network.

We encourage subscribers to carefully consider and follow these guidelines for “speaking the truth in love in order to build up the body” (Ephesians 4:15-16):

INTENT (What is your motive in writing?)

  1. Come to the list with an open mind to learn from others.
  2. Communicate honestly your own experience and understanding. Listen and speak with respect for others.
  3. Accept the challenges of personal accountability and disclosure.

CONTENT (What meaning do you want to communicate?)

  1. Initiate and respond to topics of interest, including but not limited to concerns and hopes for the Church of the Brethren.
  2. Write in “I” messages and refrain from judging others’ ideas, feelings and beliefs. Self-monitor your writing for messages/vocabulary that may be heard as demeaning, hurtful or rude.
  3. If you are offended or hurt by another’s post, state it. In addition to stating the offense on line, you may choose to write to the person off line.
  4. Expressions of violence, hatred or abuse will not be tolerated on this list.

PROCESS (How should you write?)

  1. Include your full name and location at the end of each post.
  2. Minimize the quantity of copying of former text that you include in your response. Line by line responses are discouraged. Do not copy multiple postings on a given subject with your response.
  3. If you press the reply button, your message goes to the entire Listserve. If you wish to reply only to an individual writer, you must create a new message addressed to that individual.
  4. Off-list citations of on-list contributions should be used only with the expressed permission of the author.

Process for Violations of Covenant

When a poster violates the VOS covenant or anti-harassment statement, the list will be given a reasonable amount of time to respond to the poster and ‘self-correct’. In the vast majority of cases, no action by the list moderator will be needed or only a generalized reminder of our covenant together will be made to the entire listserve. 

In those rare situations where a poster repeatedly violates the covenant or anti-harassment statement and is unwilling to modify his/her behavior in response to others, the moderator may initiate a three-step process of intervention.

1. First occurrence: The list moderator will contact the poster and explain how he/she has violated a portion of the covenant or anti- harassment statement. The poster will be given the opportunity to respond and receive input on how to more appropriately communicate his/her ideas on list.

2. Second occurrence by the same person: The list moderator will contact the poster with a warning stating the portion of the covenant/ anti-harassment statement that has been violated and stating that the next occurrence will result in termination of their subscription to the list. The warning e-mail and all ensuing communication will be copied to the listserve liaison on the VOS Coordinating Council, who may also have contact with the poster.

3. Third occurrence by the same person: Following discussion with the listserve liaison on the Coordinating Council, the list moderator will contact the poster, state the portion of the covenant/anti-harassment statement that has been repeatedly violated, and notify the poster that s/he is being removed from the list. The poster will be notified that s/he may reapply through the moderator for reinstatement to the list after a reasonable time provided s/he shows evidence of being willing to respect the covenant/anti-harassment statement affirmed by VOS. The decision to terminate a subscription will be shared with Coordinating Council.

Moderator decisions may be appealed to Coordinating Council through David Witkovsky, the listserve liaison on the Coordinating Council.

Anti-Harassment Statement:
Harassment of anyone on the bases of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, physical or mental disability, or marital or family status will not be tolerated on this List.