THE COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS CREDO
We need not walk alone. We are The Compassionate Friends. We reach out to each other with love, with understanding, and with hope.
The children we mourn have died at all ages and from many different causes, but our love for them unites us. Your pain becomes my pain, just as your hope becomes my hope.
We come together from all walks of life, from many different circumstances. We are a unique family because we represent many races, creeds, and relationships. We are young, and we are old. Some of us are far along in our grief, but others still feel a grief so fresh and so intensely painful that we feel helpless and see no hope.
Some of us have found our faith to be a source of strength, while some of us are struggling to find answers. Some of us are angry, filled with guilt or in deep depression, while others radiate an inner peace. But whatever pain we bring to this gathering of The Compassionate Friends, it is pain we will share, just as we share with each other our love for the children who have died.
We are all seeking and struggling to build a future for ourselves, but we are committed to building a future together. We reach out to each other in love to share the pain as well as the joy, share the anger as well as the peace, share the faith as well as the doubts, and help each other to grieve as well as to grow.
We need not walk alone. We are The Compassionate Friends.
THE PRINCIPLES OF THE COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS
1. TCF offers friendship, understanding, and hope to bereaved parents, adult siblings, and grandparents.
* We have learned through our own experiences that the death of a child, brother, sister, or grandchild has caused a pain that is best understood by others who have also experienced such a loss.
* We focus on supporting parents, adult siblings, and grandparents in their journeys though grief.
* We define the terms "parents" , "grandparents", "brother", and "sister" broadly, welcoming the bereaved from all family units.
2. TCF believes that bereaved parents, adult sibling, and grandparents can help each other towards a positive resolution of grief.
* We understand that each bereaved person will find a unique path though grief.
* We know that expressing our thoughts and feelings is integral to the healing process, and we focus our help to the bereaved by providing a safe, supportive environment for such expression.
* We are a self help group and thus do not offer professional psychotherapy or counseling.
* We respect the professional community and welcome its support. We do not rely on the professional community for supervision or formal guidance.
3. TCF reaches out across society's barriers to a bereaved parents, adult siblings, and grandparents.
* We respect everyone's beliefs and expose no specific religious or philosophical ideology.
* We welcome parents, adult siblings, and grandparents of all ages, grieving the death of a child, sibling, or grandchild of any age, and from any cause.
* We do not charge individual dues or fees for participation in local chapter meetings.
* We do not take sides on political issues or endorse political candidates.
* We treat each other with care and respect, showing consideration for those with whom we disagree.
4. TCF understands that every member has individual needs and rights.
* We never suggest that there is a "correct" way for a parent, adult sibling, or grandparent to grieve.
* Everyone joining a local meeting deserves the opportunity to share thought and feeling. However, no one is compelled to do so.
* All participants at a TCF gathering have the responsibility to listen.
5. TCF reaches out to the bereaved primarily through our community of local chapters.
* Local chapters are the bedrock of TCF, and regularly scheduled chapter meetings are the foundation of our service and support.
* Chapter meetings are, above all, safe places where thoughts and feelings can be freely expressed, and where all participants can find care and friendship.
* Chapters are self-managing, and operate within the principles, policies, and practices of TCF.
* We honor those who leads our chapters as integral to TCF's mission, and work to support them in their outreach.
6. TCF chapters belong to their members.
* We treat what is said in chapter meetings as confidential and privileged information.
* We reserve the most intimate segment of chapter meetings --- the sharing session--- for those who are bereaved parents, adult sibling, and grandparents.
* We believe that the regular scheduled chapter meeting shall focus on sharing, service, and support. We recommend that issues of chapter administration be addressed outside these meetings.
7. TCF chapters are coordinated nationally to extend help to each other, and to bereaved parents, adult siblings, and grandparents everywhere.
* TCF's national operations are guided through it's bylaws, policies, and procedures, and overseen by a board whose members are elected its chapters and regional coordinators.
* TCF's national organization exists, first and foremost, to serve chapters in ways that extend our collective ability to reach those who need our help.
* Our national organization also promotes compassionate response to grief from those outside TCF, manages our relationship with TCF affiliates in other nations, and ensure the integrity of our operations and adherence to our principles.
* As members of TCF, we acknowledge our responsibility to support our local and national goals by contributing, as best we can, our time, talent, and resources.