Re: Religious symbols and policies
From: Jessie Kome (
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2013 05:47:59 -0700 (PDT)

We almost had a fight over holiday decorations our first year at Eastern 
Village, then found an elegant way not to. Our policy is simple. Members can 
decorate their unit exteriors and common space for whatever holiday they 
observe, for the normal duration of that holiday. In practice, we tend to have 
a Christmas tree, a sukkot booth (on the roof), and Halloween decorations. Once 
in a while we've had some bunting for July 4 and like that. We also celebrate 
our EVC anniversary. If there is a party for any holiday, everyone is invited.

We also condensed on a common space aesthetic we call "folk art funky", so some 
people have Tibetan prayer flags outside their units, and I think there is a 
Buddha around here somewhere.

We did have one or two Christians who did not like the policy that allows 
decorations for all religions, but they expressed their concerns and stood 
aside. I don't think anyone remembers now (except me, and I had to look back in 
my emails for the time to refresh my memory). We have (or have had) ministers, 
a rabbi, an ethical culture speaker and other members very involved in a 
religious or similar community. For a year or two, several members went to each 
others places or worship or meditation or what have you. We have all, slowly, 

My two cents is, you can't make people celebrate a holiday they don't feel in 
their hearts. And telling people they cannot celebrate to the fullest a holiday 
that they do feel in their hearts is going to seem ungenerous. I am not 
religious, but I do like learning, eating festive food, and being glad for my 
neighbors celebrations.

Jessie Handforth Kome
Eastern Village Cohousing
Silver Spring, Maryland

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