Authored by: Jill Showers Chow, member of the Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation
How do we bridge the gap of the racial differences that keep us separated? Racial differences are rarely overcome by argument or debate, but can be transformed with honest conversations, open hearts, and a willingness to accept one another as brother and sister in Christ. Sacred Conversations workshops help set the stage for that connection and understanding by teaching us how to hold sacred space for one another.
Holding sacred space for someone else’s story can start with a simple invitation for honest conversation over lunch or during a coffee break. From there, it can transition into a discussion that begins to close the division between us. During this time of talking and listening, it is helpful to keep an open heart and to reserve judgement - ensuring each other's story is being heard. By practicing holy listening, we can be present to the other and their reality. When asking questions, it is helpful to be aware of any phrasing that might cause tension and orient our words to promote racial reconciliation. All of these actions can pave the way for deeper and more productive conversation. Productive conversations will evolve into collaboration, and collaboration will bring positive change.
The Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation extends an invitation to anyone to attend one of their workshops, Becoming Beloved Community: Sacred Conversations to learn ways to hold space for listening to one another's stories. See the calendar of workshop dates here.
A Prayer for Reconciliation, from "Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community" by Pádraig Ó Tuama
Where there is separation,
there is pain.
And where there is pain,
there is story.
And where there is story,
there is understanding,
and not listening.
May we—separated peoples, estranged strangers,
unfriended families, divided communities—
turn toward each other,
and turn toward our stories,
with argument and acceptance,
with challenge, change
Because if God is to be found,
God will be found
in the space