“Where Two or Three Are Gathered: Foundations for
Facilitating Harms, Conflicts and Divisive Issues in Church Communities”
A 10-Hour Introductory training for
Central Plains Mennonite Conference members who are called to
facilitate guided communication processes for people in their own churches.
When: November 17, 18, 2023
Where: Des Moines Mennonite Church,
4001 56th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50310
Trainer: Ted Lewis, Agape Peace Center (Duluth, MN) and founder of theRestorative Church project. See bio below.
Cost and Registration: $100. Includes two meals. Register through the CPMC office.
Lodging and Hospitality: Attenders can seek their own lodging / hotels OR they can contact Pastor John for arranging one or two nights of hospitality with members from either Des Moines Mennonite Church or Christ Community Church.
Attendee Limit: This event will cap at 22, so please register sooner than later.
A Note to CPMC Church Leaders:
If every church had at least of pair of congregants trained in the art of facilitating hard but healing conversations, it would serve well to normalize a church culture of healthy communications where listening, apologizing and forgiving can happen frequently. By supporting people with the gift of facilitation, the rest of the church can more freely seek out supports to address harms and conflicts in earliest stages (as Matthew 18 is intended to encourage) in order to prevent the escalation of emotions that keep people separated from each other. Please consider prayerfully how your church can help identify people who can strengthen their natural gifts to guide restorative conversations within your church community.
Church communities are increasingly being challenged by polarizing issues. Meanwhile, new stresses and strains are causing micro-harms and conflicts between church members, resulting in atmospheres of avoidance and mistrust. Can the Matthew 18 framework of bringing two or perhaps three (or more) together apply to such tensions that are found in our churches? Through the lens of restorative practices and biblical narratives, this introductory training provides practical skills and frameworks for addressing basic conflicts and harms between two people or two parties in church settings. The power of people telling their own stories and being heard well by others is vital, but this can often require others who serve as facilitators. If you find yourself prompted to hold facilitated spaces in your church for hard but healing conversations, this training will provide a good foundation with experiential learning in both conference and circle dialogue models. Ultimately, good facilitation is all about helping people move from a defensive Head-zone to an open Heart-zone where they can connect with each other more empathetically and rebuild some trust.
Participants will receive a manual in both digital and hard copy formats. The hope is to have periodic trainings, at least once a year, to help new facilitators
strengthen their skills and gain confidence to hold space for others.
For more information: Email Ted at email@example.com
This event is sponsored by the
Conflict Management Support Team
Friday 4:00 to 5:00 Arrival time
Friday 5:00 to 6:00 Group supper
Friday 6:00 to 9:00 Opening session
Sat 8:00 to 8:30 Settling in / morning snacks/fruit
Sat 8:30 to 12:00 Morning session
Sat 12:00 to 1:00 Lunch time
Sat 1:00 to 4:30 Afternoon session
Sunday (optional for folks to stay for worship service)
Fuller outline of schedule to come
Ted Lewis Bio:
Ted Lewis is a restorative justice trainer and consultant with the Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking, University of Minnesota (Duluth). Since the mid-1990s, Ted has worked in the fields of restorative justice and conflict resolution as a practitioner, trainer, program manager, director, writer and teacher. He serves on the board for the National Association for Community and Restorative Justice. He currently lives in Duluth, MN.
Ted has also had primary Christian affiliation with Mennonite USA churches since the mid-1980s, and is thankful that his vocation as a peacemaker came from this connection. In 2005 Ted began providing restorative mediation services to churches in the Pacific Northwest Mennonite Conference; more recently he has partnered with Central Plains Mennonite Conference by serving on the Conflict Management Support Team. In 2016 Ted founded the Restorative Church project which provides resources to church communities that aspire to balance their peace and justice commitments both outwardly and inwardly, that is, missionally and communally.