Is it not possible for unresolved conflicts to linger and fester for a long time in our congregations? Does that not often result in destructive behavior, broken relationships and continuing bitterness among fellow members? That was the case in two recent church interventions: in one, a sharp decline in numbers and the ultimate split of the body, and in the other, the departure of more than one clergy under very difficult circumstances. It is possible to turn things around early on before it is too late, with the right approach and appropriate skills, as one interim pastor recalls after a serious conflict intervention, ?Our members have learned how to use their newly acquired skills when difficult situations arise . . . We are doing fine now with the transformation that occurred??
This interactive workshop will provide clergy and lay leaders with fresh perspectives on the dynamics of conflict and approaches to it, on mediation and problem-solving skills to intervene in conflicts as they arise, and the ability to develop a listening environment of understanding, and a shared vision of peace, collaboration and reconciliation.
Margaret Keyser is Principal at MSK Conflict Transformation International and executive director of the Greater Hartford Interfaith Coalition for Equity and Justice. She established the Center for Conflict Transformation in Hartford, and has served as president of the South African Association for Conflict Intervention, chairperson of the National Peace Education Forum in South Africa, and Director of Training for the Plowshares Institute in Sismbury, CT.
Keyser, who earned her Master?s Degree in Theology from the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, possesses unique skills in transforming entrenched conflicts, injustices, and racial and cultural differences in a variety of settings. Her work includes peace and bridge building work with more than 100 Palestinians and Israelis and leading mediation and transformation programs for work places, religious institutions, educational institutions and state agencies.