The Seven Pillars of BEC Culture
Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR
The BEC is not just an activity or program. It is a way of life. It has its own culture.
Community Culture is defined as the way of life of the community which includes patterns of interaction, behavior and the underlying values, beliefs and worldview. It is the kind of environment that prevails in a community.
It includes the rituals, symbols, creed, and code of ethical conduct.
It defines what behavior is right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate.
The community culture also defines patterns of relationship – whether personal/intimate or impersonal/functional. It also defines the boundaries.
It also defines how leadership is exercised, and how decisions are made.
A BEC without a clear culture cannot grow nor can it be sustained.
What are the elements of BEC culture? What follows are the 7 pillars of BEC culture.
- Awareness as Renewed Christians (metanoia)
- Communion (koinonia)
- Word of God (kerygma, catechesis)
- Prayer and the Eucharist (leitorgia)
- Social Action (diakonia)
- Option for the Poor (anawim)
- Participative Membership and Servant-Leadership
1. Awareness of self as Renewed Christian
We are renewed Christians-
We have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior.
We have turned away from sin and living a new life.
We have become aware of the presence of the Spirit in our life, the Spirit that renews us, unites us and empowers us for mission.
We have gone through a process of conversion and commit ourselves to live as true disciples of Jesus in community, and continue his priestly, prophetic and pastoral mission.
2. Communion. koinonia–
(pagkakaisa, pakiglambigit, pakikipag-unay, pakikisama, pakigsuod)
We are family/community, we are close to one another, we live as friends, we care for each other, we share with each other, we take care of each other.
We regularly spend time together to deepen our relationship.
As we strive to be close to one another we observe proper boundary and respect for each other. We will never exploit or take advantage of each other.
We are a community of equals and we recognize our diversity of temperaments and gifts.
When conflicts arise we will always strive together for dialogue and reconciliation.
We are connected to other BECs in the parish, we are part of the bigger community – the parish, diocese, universal church. We will never isolate ourselves from the wider Church to which we are connected. ln view of this we affirm our solidarity with our pastors – the priests, bishops and our Holy Father, the successor of St. Peter.
We are open to a dialogue of faith and life with people of other faiths and religious traditions – especially other Christians belonging to other denominations and with Muslims.
3. Word of God
The Word of God as recorded in the Bible and reflected in the tradition and teachings of the Church is the guide of our life.
We come together regularly to listen to the Word and share it. We allow the Word to challenge us and to continually transform our life.
We continue to study to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the Word and the teaching of the Church.
We proclaim the Word to others and to give witness to it with our life.
We uphold the teachings of the church in matters of faith and morals – including its social teachings that promote peace, justice, freedom, human rights and respect for life.
When necessary we will speak out against any manifestation of evil and culture of death in our midst – i.e., abortion, war, capital punishment, injustices, oppression, corruption, violation of human rights, ecological destruction, etc.
4. Prayer and Eucharist
Prayer expresses and deepens our relationship with God and with one another.
We come together at least once a week for community prayer or liturgical celebration (bible-service).
We gather regularly as a community to celebrate the Eucharist (depending on the availability of a priest).
We celebrate communally our fiesta and the liturgical seasons – Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter.
We fully and actively participate in the liturgical celebration in our community and the parish.
5. Social Action
We believe that faith without good works is dead.
As a community we are concerned about our brothers and sisters who are in need and we show our love and care for them concretely.
We meet regularly to assess our concrete situation – social, economic, political, ecological. We identify the problems, issues and needs that we have to respond to as a community.
We actively participate in the process of planning, implementing, and evaluating programs and projects that will address these problems and needs.
We are guided by the social teachings of the Church, especially the principle of the common good, total human development, human dignity, justice, peace and integrity of creation.
We affirm our commitment and option for the poor.
We live simply and share with our time, talents and resources.
We collaborate with other communities, groups and people of good will in the struggle for social transformation.
We do not allow ourselves to be used and controlled by ideologies, political parties and movements. We reject terrorism and violence as means in bringing about social transformation.
7. Option for the Poor
We embrace evangelical poverty. We totally depend on God.We affirm our commitment and option for the poor. We live simply and share with others our time, talents and resources. We make sure that the poor in our midst will fully participate in the life and mission of the Church and our local community. We strive to become truly the Church of the Poor
6. Servant Leadership and Participative Membership
We recognize the authority and leadership of our diocesan and parochial pastors (bishops and priests) over our community. Through them we affirm our communion with the universal church and our universal pastor – the pope.
We avail of the structures in the parish and the community that enables us to actively participate in the process of decision-making.
We recognize the authority of the local leaders of the community.
Leadership and authority is to be exercised in the spirit of humble service. Leadership should never be regarded in terms of power, privilege and prestige. There is no place for an autocratic or dictatorial style of leadership in the community. The leaders will function collegially – as a team or council- and will adopt a participative model.
The leaders are chosen or elected after a prayerful process of discernment on the basis of their integrity, commitment and competence.