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Courageous Spaces: Congregations that Listen, Lament & Repair: Facilitating Safe(r) Discussions

Intergenerational, church-wide resources to inspire listening to one another's stories, lamenting injustices, and graciously moving into greater trust and a deeper sense of belonging in God's Beloved Community.

Group Norms

The Four Agreements video created by Courageous Conversations focuses on anti-racism conversations.

However, the principles apply to any difficult or potentially divisive discussion. The video might be a helpful step in establishing group norms for dialogue on any topic.

Brushy Fork Leadership Institute of Berea College | Berea KYBerea College's Brushy Fork Institute's On Setting Group Norms - a quick tip sheet on creating a safe(r) container for difficult conversations.

Two factors not mentioned in any of the above include these related norms or intentions:

  1. The only 'truth' or 'idea' that cannot be tolerated is one based in hate. There is no room for hate-speech in respectful conversations.
  2. Since we agree to avoid all hate-speech, we are able to assume best intent from one another. As each person speaks their truth, it is helpful to recognize that not everyone is a practiced, fully prepared, or comfortable public speaker. Words may be spoken that are meant with a good intent, but experienced as painful. Let each participant own their own feelings, acknowledge them, identify them appropriately, and be gracious and forgiving in both speaking and hearing.

Creating Space/Hearing Diverse Perspectives

The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters: Parker, Priya:  9781594634925: Books     Our Hidden Conversations | Book by Michele Norris | Official Publisher Page  | Simon & Schuster     Staying Awake: The Gospel for Changemakers

group of five people sit outside and talkHow Hearts and Attitudes Changed During Disagreement

“We had a big decision to make,” writes Don Poest, “and it was not unanimous. But there was respect. Why? Because we took the time to allow the Holy Spirit to soften our hearts."

A simple way to deepen spiritual relationships. The intent is to develop respect, vulnerability, and openness to one another so that while minds may not be changed, attitudes toward one another are.

Developing a Trauma-Informed Culture