by Brenda Nolan
How are we doing with social and racial justice? …as communities? …as churches? The UCC Restorative Justice Task Team is grappling with this question; we’re thinking about how restorative justice can help.
Restorative justice practices bring together people affected by conflict and harm to build community and address needs, in order to make healing possible. In the US, restorative justice has been associated with the criminal justice system— in churches, it can open up opportunities for healing, growth, and worshiping together in new ways.
Churches know better than most that conflict and harm is all around us, sapping us of the energy we need to build beloved communities. Our task team is committed to facilitating and supporting restorative practices in churches, hoping that our efforts will scale up to help our wider communities deal well with conflict. We’re talking about moving from conflict resolution to conflict transformation, and we’d love your help.
In March at Super Saturday we're hosting a workshop: Reframing/Transforming Justice: Using Talking Circles for Social Justice, Racial Justice and Social Change with Circle Keeper Strong Oak Lefebvre, LICSW, MSSA, Executive Director and Founder of Visioning B.E.A.R. Circle Intertribal Coalition, and a member of the Massachusetts Restorative Justice Advisory Committee. The morning session (part 1) will focus on when we have been harmed, what do we need, and what does forgiveness look like? The afternoon session (part 2) will focus on when we have caused harm, what do we need, and what does forgiveness look like? We’d love for you to join us. Download a flyer here.
We also have task team members who travel to congregations to facilitate circle process conversations with small groups, especially youth groups. Visit us online at macucc.org/restorativejustice, or feel free to reach out to me or other members of the task team to talk more about future restorative justice trainings and the work of the Restorative Justice Task Team.
Brenda Nolan, Chair, Restorative Justice Task Team
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