January 25-27, 2019, at Woolman Hill Retreat Center in Deerfield, MA
Leaders: Heather Cook and Karen Reixach
When conflict reveals itself, it often feels like both an institutional and a personal crisis. Quaker meetings, like any other organism, can become paralyzed by fear and distrust when conflict occurs, whether openly or in the background. We may respond with worry, hyper-vigilance, handwringing, and confusion. Frequently, we try to ignore or smooth over the ruffled feelings, only to find the conflict resurfacing in unexpected ways. Caught up in our reactions, we often forget that conflict is a normal and integral part of all dynamic organizations and relationships. It can be an indication of people feeling safe to be authentic and to take risks. Addressed creatively and confidently, it can be transforming. The practice of skillfully addressing conflict is grounded in the experience of the divine: that we are meant to love and be loved in our entirety, to see and be seen with compassion, complete with the parts that ache for healing. The practice expresses the truth of the transforming power of God in our lives. This workshop is for people who are ready to help their meetings – and themselves – grow less fear-driven and more whole. One approach that has been helpful in a wide range of settings, including Quaker meetings, is the circle process. Circle processes have ancient roots in human history. They are used for many reasons—to celebrate, to grieve, to tell stories, to acknowledge harm, to address conflicts, and more. Circle processes are in harmony with Quaker faith and practice. Circles provide a structured way to follow our practices of deep listening and of seeking connection through that of God in ourselves and others. For more information and to register click here.