Your Right Relations team is expanding offerings to support us all in preparing for our ministerial search. Last month, we gave a demo and workshop in Restorative Practice, which began our exploration and practice of coming together to hear and be heard about issues important to us as members of this vital community. We demonstrated and practiced the use of reflective listening to share around the question: Should East Shore be called a church? Or something else – like a congregation or fellowship? We discovered that what we initially thought might be an “either/or” question had many dimensions!
We recognize the need to engage with the multiplicity of perspectives we have on important issues, especially those that shape who we see ourselves to be, and who we want to be in the future, as we engage in selecting a new minister. There are many topics, and we will likely discover that there are many differing views on these topics.
On July 17, we will use our “Third Saturday Community Circle” time to apply the practice of reflective listening to sharing of multiple perspectives on the commitment to anti-racism and anti-oppression embedded in the 8th Principle. How you voted does not matter. What matters is that we share the values, feelings and thoughts that we bring to this topic.
It can be difficult to trust that you will be heard in a way that honors your true perspectives. That is the practice we are developing – a practice of deep listening and hearing, and acknowledging, each of each other. This is a practice that respects each person’s experience, and that asks us each to listen with the possibility of being changed by what we hear – maybe only changed in our understanding of each other, or maybe changed in some larger understanding of our faith.
We invite you to join with us to create a space and a practice that welcomes everyone, and to which we turn when we feel confused, unheard, or even frustrated and angry. We can turn to sharing and exploring together, knowing we will not necessarily find agreement, but that we will find greater understanding, acceptance, caring and shared community that includes and embraces our disagreements.
And though we may not come to clear agreement about who we are and who we want to be in every area, we will know that we are a congregation committed to sharing our differences to create deeper and more vital understanding and community.
We hope you will join us at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, July 17 to share our perspectives on the 8th Principle!
Your Right Relations Team