Conflict and Respect
Week 5 in a series of digital sacred conversations about HUCC’s covenant. Guidance by Rev. Marijke Rossi.
Week five: Facing conflict
The purpose in reviewing the covenant as sacred conversation and in this way at this time is to continue the conversation we started before the pandemic; online because we can no longer meet in person. It is a way that can be helpful and move us along in this process before the new senior pastor arrives. We pray that it will be useful and healing for all of us.
We shall start each one of these sessions with an extension of grace and a request for grace, along with the guidelines used for all sacred conversations at HUCC:
- We will listen as we read to the content here and to others’ responses with respect, with discernment and without judgment.
- Let us respond in Love and caring for one another.
- As we respond let us do so with “I” language to promote each person’s voice including our own.
Here is the language of our covenant:
…to face conflicts openly and with respect
I will take my questions and concerns directly to the person or persons involved rather than allowing anger and frustration to build among a small group of people. I will not “let it slide” or “brush it under the rug” when a problem needs to be openly discussed. I will remind myself that each member of this congregation is a child of God, whether s/he agrees with me or not. I will allow myself a cooling-off period so that an issue can be discussed rationally and respectfully. I will respectfully decline participation in conversations that tear another down or assign blame to someone not present. I will speak only for myself in conflict situations. I will listen mindfully.
This is likely the piece of our covenant that is the most important at this moment in our history or maybe ever. Only our relationship with the Divine is more important!
If only: Conflict resolution is crucial to the health of our community. Every time we look back at our history, we find injuries that are still painful. Many times, we say and hear, “if only we…”, “if I had said something in the beginning…”,” I don’t understand what happened but I don’t like it.” Looking back at our issues is a good thing when we do it with healing and resolution in mind. Updating and changing how we resolve things is healthy.
Don’t wait: The front line is right when a conflict occurs. We need to confront the issue there. A cooling off period may be necessary but an agreement about the length of that time should be entered into from the start.
Sooner or later: Letting things go may feel like the Christian thing to do. We may feel that it is the good thing to do. I understand this sentiment. However, this kind of thinking does not honor ourselves or the person we have conflict with. Leaving these things generally means that we will have to resolve them later.
Keep it cool: Confronting an issue need not be heated. We can calmly discuss with each other in “I” language about what has happened. If this cannot happen because one or both parties doesn’t feel safe then others trained to help can be brought in to assist with a conversation. Please contact a pastor or moderator and a meeting can be set up to facilitate the dispute. This is a healthy way to resolve conflict issues and should be encouraged.
No gossip: We must not bring in others outside of the conflict to take sides or speak about the conflict in order to recruit support. We must not gossip about situations. We must have healthy conversations to help us to move forward with clear thinking and resolution that honors the souls involved.
Resolve it: Imagine what it would be like to look back at our history as one of great relationships not broken ones, great strides in justice not unfair practices, Love and welcome for all, not throwing away precious souls, without regrets not suffering past grief. Conflict resolution does that. It boils down to repentance and forgiveness which happens within conflict resolution.
Training: If you think you would like some training on healthy conflict resolution please let us know. We are planning some healthy boundary training that Pastor Chelsea is sourcing. Please ask whatever questions come up for you as you revisit the covenant you entered into as a member of HUCC.
I invite us to reply to: email@example.com. The replies will help to inform the next phase of exploring our move forward.