Your Right Relations Team has been working for several years to build trust and community and share skills around deep listening and authentic speaking. The goal is always to build Beloved Community. An important aspect of Beloved Community is embracing conflict as not only inevitable, but a positive source of creativity, learning, and trust and intimacy.
We feel we are ready to explore skills involved in understanding and managing conflict. We did hold a Restorative Justice session shortly after the Holly House vote and those who participated felt heard and gained understanding of those who thought differently. Some participants suggested that more such circles around differences could build further trust within our beloved community.
Restorative skills are being used increasingly in many settings – primarily in schools and justice systems. The basic principle is that when we are hurt, we have a tendency to both avoid conflict, and to punish others by withdrawing relationship. Restorative skills are designed to explore misunderstanding with openness and curiosity, to support sharing of real impacts, and to foster deep listening with a goal of understanding each other and restoring connection. It can be hard when we’re upset, and we can learn to do it anyway, discovering how it can change our relationships and our lives. These skills are useful in our families, our workplaces and our neighborhoods. We want to build the capacity in all of us to engage with conflict in ways that surface the real issues, create understanding, and reaffirm our covenant to prioritize our community.
The Right Relations Team would like to explore restorative practice with you if you are interested. We would like to create spaces where we can experiment with the skills using topics that people have opposing opinions about, such as “should we be called a church, or a congregation, or something else?”
If you are interested in learning more about restorative practices and would like to try out these skills, please email us about topics you would like to see explored and let us know if you are willing to play a role in this practice process. If you would like to observe a “practice” session to see how this works, we could hold a demonstration, role-playing a topic using the reflective listening methods of restorative practice. And we invite you also to share with us topics that you feel are festering. We will address those when we all feel ready!
Join us to help form a foundation for healing and thriving as a Beloved Community whatever challenges we face on the horizon!
The Right Relations Team