A student 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 community covenant and basic guidelines outlined below. These guidelines are informed by our identity as a Christian community, and by the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition that has shaped our understanding of the Christian life. We welcome students from diverse identities and traditions, trusting that all who choose to stay at Emmaus House will respect the convictions and values of this community.
The approach to accountability at Emmaus House is based on Matthew 18:15-18, commonly known as “The Rule of Christ.” This passage outlines a healthy way of approaching dialogue on issues that may negatively affect the Emmaus community. It is this foundation that serves as an example of how to approach each other with trust, love and concern.
As a community we do not have an institutional approach with a list of written "do's and don'ts". The expectation of conduct falls into three areas:
On certain points there are clear-cut basic guidelines, as noted below. It is important for you to know these guidelines 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 by the group once the community has formed and as part of our community covenant.
In other areas, our conduct in specific situations should be guided by more general criteriasuch as healthy choices for personal well-being, good taste, consideration of others, or welfare of the community. For example: When sharing life in close proximity with others, choices related to sexual intimacy in a dating relationship can have an impact on relationships with housemates. We acknowledge that sexual intimacy is sacred, requiring maturity, honour, and mutual respect that is best expressed within a covenant relationship.
In all three areas, our lives together are regulated through commitment, dialogue and mutual accountability. Situations that are not compatible with these three areas of conduct will be gently addressed 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. This approach, though sometimes time-consuming, is more conducive to fostering a sense of community and more effective in shaping Christian character in the long-term.
Alcohol We recognize that students come with a variety of perspectives on the use of alcohol and marijuana. These varying perspectives can become a source of division and pain within the community when individuals claim for themselves the freedom to adopt consumption 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. In many social circumstances, alcoholic beverages are offered or consumed as a beverage along side non-alcoholic beverages. In these social settings including Emmaus house, alcohol, in moderation, may be consumed. However, drunkenness, under any circumstance, is not acceptable. Those who are known to use alcohol irresponsibly will be held accountable.
Smoking 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 Emmaus House or garden. In addition, students are not allowed to smoke on the public sidewalks or roadways adjacent to the house.
Marijuana and Illegal Drugs Marijuana (other than medical marijuana) and illegal drug consumption is not allowed in the community. Consumption of these substances can create dependencies and invite unhealthy escapism. Students who are known to use illegal drugs will be held accountable.
Pornography 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, whether printed or graphic (including video and computer pornography), is unhealthy and detrimentally impacts life within the community.
Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment is a form of exploitation, and a violation of the respect that all persons deserve. The Community will not knowingly 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.
Other Forms of Addictions or Misconduct We will seek to address harmful behaviour patterns or actions that undermine the health of the individual or community. In extreme cases, misconduct may result in temporary or long-term suspension of the student from the residential community.