Below are some links to articles, videos and stories that JustPeace staff have enjoyed this week. We hope you enjoy them too!
December 18th, 2015
- Faith & Leadership – Transforming conflict from the inside out – Theresa F. Latini, Associate dean at Wesley Theological Seminary, writes about how Nonviolent Communication and it’s practice of self-empathy and compassionate listening can help leaders in the church navigate conflict in their congregations and communities.
Nonviolent Communication facilitates connection, understanding and respect between groups and individuals at odds with each other. It is a model of conflict transformation, yet it is more than that. NVC is a life-giving set of practices that connect people at the level of their common humanity, whether they are bickering spouses, competitive colleagues or members of warring nation-states.
- HuffingtonPost – Interrupting the School to Prison Pipeline through Restorative Justice – Fania Davis tells the story of Cameron Simmons, a student in Oakland whose life was turned around by restorative justice processes. Davis shows how her organization, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, is changing the culture of schools and the lives of youth and advocates for an expansion of RJ on state and national levels.
Within an hour of his arrival, the vice principal led him to the restorative justice room where a Circle was under way. He was shocked to hear young men like himself talking about their lives with such deep feeling–even at times tearing up. Instead of fighting through their differences, Bunche students were learning how to talk through them. Even the school police seemed to care and to want him to succeed. He barely remembers any fighting then and the school hardly ever suspended anyone. Instead, they used circles to make things right.
- New York Times – The Art of Getting Opponents to “We” – David Bernstein writes about the work of Convergence, a young organization that convenes people and groups with conflicting views to work together on important national issues.
“Our country is not floundering and going under. We have a lot of extraordinarily talented people who are willing to come together, despite strong differences, and work out good solutions to public issues. To do that, however, they do sometimes need help in structuring the conversation.”
- William J. Everett – Reflections on the Lake Junaluska Peace Conference – William Everett writes about this year’s Luke Junaluska Peace Conference and experiencing interfaith dialogue on peace-building.
Sam Wells pointed out how a Trinitarian sense of God means that God is intrinsically in relationship. The making and healing of broken relationship is the divine work. Peace-building is not some “expression” or “consequence” of a God-experience but its very essence. Going into the heart of God is to go into the journey toward peace. In taking this journey we need to avoid the temptation to the drug of violence as well as the oblivion of despair.
- United Methodist Videos – #CTTalks – The Connectional Table has been uploading a series of videos to YouTube to help inform the United Methodist church leaders and General Conference delegates leading up to the 2016 General Conference next May. The #CTTalks 2 focuses on Christian Conferencing.
- Congregational Consulting Group – Three Marks of Healthy Congregations – David Brubaker shares three characteristics that over time produce effective internal community and external ministry.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of an outward focus for a local congregation. The most effective antidote to a destructive (high-level) conflict is to adopt an outward focus. Much like an individual, a congregation that is only internally-focused will inevitably identify multiple flaws that sometimes appear impossible to overcome. There are times to adopt an inward focus (such as during a culture review process), these times must be balanced by a healthy dose of outward focus as well.
- GPPAC – Creating Spaces for Dialogue – a Role for Civil Society – The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict has released a new publication dedicated to dialogue and mediation.
The authors describe how the dialogue processes unfolded, and share resulting lessons and observations. They also present their views on the questions that need to be addressed in designing a meaningful process. Is there such a thing as the most opportune moment to initiate a dialogue? Who should introduce the process? How is the process of participant selection approached, and what are the patterns of relationship transformation? Lastly, what follows once confidence and trust have been established?
Upcoming Events & Opportunities
- Mediation Skills Training for Church Leaders – Lombard Mennonite Peace Center, March 7-11, 2016 in Dallas, TX; May 9-13, 2016 in Toledo, Ohio; August 1-5, 2016 near Chicago, IL. Click here for more information.
- June 14 – 17, 2016 – Restorative Justice in Motion: Building a Movement – Eastern Mennonite University’s Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice in Harrisonburg, VA. Convening a space to discuss our collective roles in the restorative justice movement’s gathering momentum.
- April 19-21, 2016 – FaithCARE training: Learning How to Grow Restorative Congregations; Ajax, Ontario.
- June 6-11, 2016 – Duke Summer Institute for Reconciliation – Seeking Justice Through Reconciliation, Durham, NC