Great story in the Atlantic about Adam Hamilton’s efforts to bridge partisan divides in his congregation.
“But finding ways to respect divergent views doesn’t mean that people will agree. “We’ve had members of both parties running against each other,” he said, stressing that congregants could share goals even as they disagree over the means of achieving them.”
The Knoxville News Senitel highlighted Rev. Rennie Salata and the work he’s doing to foster reconciliation in his church, Acton United Methodist Church, and the surrounding community in Enka, NC. Following the 2016 election, Rev. Salata’s congregation is engaging in dialogue across political differences and learning to “come together to support and love one another and continue to have a relationship despite those differences.”
A group of clergy, youth pastors, young adults, and staff from the Division on Ministries with Young People (DMYP) from all five United Methodist jurisdictions came together over the last weekend of July to discuss race and racial justice within the United Methodist Church in Lake Dallas, Texas. Kendra Dunbar, a member of the JustPeace staff collective, was a co-facilitator of the conversation.
In other words, when I enter a courageous conversation and find my anxiety rising, I remind myself that I have or will be given what I need to meet whatever or whoever emerges in the encounter. My primary task is to show up, to be present, and to pay attention; then, to offer what I can honestly and respectfully
David Anderson Hooker recently participated in a General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) video series called Vital Conversations. The video of his talk is supplemented by GCORR produced resources including a Discussion Guide and a quiz.
This process of conversational leadership is a way of growing, deepening and broadening the container, so the deeper, more important, courageous conversations can happen. The container has to do with its quality, paying attention to the group field; the clarity and interaction of intention and attentiveness, each of which help establish context; to monitor if it is too palpable? As the leader, influencing the quality of the container is our first job and very closely, it is inviting others to share that responsibility with us.
As ministers and leaders, knowing how to engage conflict and difficult conversations well is both a skill to learn and an art to cultivate. No longer is it optional. To be a minister and/or leader moving toward excellence, working with conflict and walking with others through difficult conversations is part of the terrain. It will help participants formulate both a theoretical understanding and practical steps for working with individuals and congregations caught in anxiety and conflict and/or facing difficult conversations.
In this seminar, we will explore questions such as: What is at the heart of conflict? Why do so many conflict and change efforts fail? What is the best way to impact or influence conflict situations or change efforts so that communities are invited to grow and bring sustainable healthy change and peace? How do we engage in a way that increases the opportunity for response and minimizes resistance? What are some components we can put in place to help have difficult conversations?