SERETA RICHARDSON on CIRCLE PROCESSES

Theology & Peace Board Member, Sereta Richardson, will present on Circle Processess, a dialog process that combines ancient wisdom about living in community with modern understandings about complex multi-cultural societies. Respectful dialog across significant differences in life experience and perspective is one of the most pressing needs of our time. The Peacemaking Circle process offers a highly accessible and flexible approach for discussion of the most fraught topics. In this time of highly polarized public conversations, people are coming together in Circles to talk about the most difficult issues in a way that maintains respect and nurtures understanding of one another.

“Our ancestors gathered around a fire in a circle, families gather around their kitchen tables in circles, and now we are gathering in circles as communities to solve problems. This practice draws on the ancient Native American tradition of a talking piece and combines that with concepts of democracy and inclusivity.

Peacemaking Circles are used in neighborhoods to provide support for those harmed by crime and to decide sentences for those who commit crime, in schools to create positive classroom climates and resolve
behavior problems, in the workplace to deal with conflict, and in social services to develop more organic support systems for people struggling to get their lives together.

“The circle process hinges on storytelling.

It is an effort bringing astonishing results around the country.” (The Little Book of Circle Processes, back cover)

Recommended Reading: Kay Pranis, The Little Book of Circle Processes: A New/Old Approach to Peacemaking ( New York: Good Books, 2005). A title in The Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding Series.

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