Resources & Documents from this event:
BIO: Jes Stoltzfus Buller is the Peace Education Coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee U.S. She has years of domestic and international experience facilitating group dialogue, managing collaborative peacebuilding projects, developing curriculum and training children, youth and adults in skills of conflict transformation, nonviolent action and trauma healing. She has undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Bible, Religion, Philosophy from Goshen College as well as a Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership and a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Transformation through the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. In her current role, Jes works with churches across the U.S. to teach peace theology, facilitate trainings and create resources for engagement in various aspects of peacebuilding. Jes loves being active – she coaches High School volleyball, enjoys biking, playing games, making music, creating things and adores her family. She lives in Goshen, IN, with her husband, Willian, and their children Belén (5) and Moses (2).
ABOUT THE EVENT:
The world around us models extremely unhealthy ways of talking to (or yelling at) one another when it comes to conflictive issues. There is actually very little healthy dialogue to be found. In this current, extremely polarized culture, words are used to accuse much more often than to welcome. Defenses are up when it comes to divisive issues and we are quick to categorize people into “us” and “them.” This is a wilderness we experience daily, in our families, broader communities, workplaces, and even (perhaps especially!) in our churches. We say we are peacemakers, but when it comes to extended family gatherings and conversations on social media, it doesn’t always look that way. When we don’t see eye to eye, our churches divide.
We need to practice. There is a holy energy that comes when we work at conflict in constructive ways. This model of engaging conflict rather than running from it is a reimagining of ministry – a completely different way to do church. Learning healthy practices of engaging with those who we disagree with is a fundamental skillset for pastors and leaders in today’s church. As varying voices from society call people further apart, the church has the opportunity to become a place where the ministry of reconciliation lives and demonstrates healthy ways of living together amid difference.
Peaceful Practices is a curriculum developed by MCC Peace Education Coordinator, Jes Stoltzfus Buller, that helps congregations practice dialogue in the context of divisive issues. This workshop will lean on Peaceful Practices material, along with stories and activities, to teach skills for how we can learn to engage in dialogue with one another on tough and divisive issues.