Division and polarization are not new realities in the world, or in our communities. As we live our lives in families, workplaces, schools and neighborhoods – how can we live as Jesus followers in divisive times?

Jesus expressed in the Sermon On The Mount that those who are in God’s family are to be peacemakers. He commanded his followers to love even their enemies and bless those who persecute them. 

Jesus was surrounded by a culture full of conflict when he walked the earth as well. Yet he made it clear that he was inviting his followers to be distinct in a divided world. 

Pursuing the role of peacemaker isn’t the same as a peacekeeper – it is active, and intentional. To be peacemakers in our divided world, we choose to take action and pray for the Spirit’s empowerment, develop new skills and utilize effective tools.

This is why we are hosting inter-church dinners to be equipped with tools and training to be peacemakers where we live, work, learn, play and relate to others.

The content for each gathering will be identical – so choose the one that works best for you and your family. You do not need to be a member of Mill City Church or Mercy Vineyard Church to attend. The event is free, dinner and childcare is provided. However, registration is necessary 

 

Wednesday, June 26th 6:00-8:30 pm – hosted at Mill City Church (FULL)

Wednesday, July 17th 6:00-8:30 pm – hosted at Mercy Vineyard Church

Wednesday, August 28th 6:00-8:30 pm –  hosted at Mill City Church

When you join us you can expect:

  • Facilitated format with a structured approach to the evening
  • Perspectives on peacemaking – rooted in scripture
  • We will share ground rules for healthy discussions 
  • Practical skills that often de-escalate and depolarize interpersonal spaces
  • Tools for effective communication in ideologically diverse contexts
  • Non-partisan resources for engaging in our relationships as Jesus followers

 

The following may be fruitful in other settings, but these dinners will NOT include:

  • Advocacy for or against any political party
  • Advocacy for “both sidesing” or a “third-way” approach 
  • Debate on current events or cultural issues
  • A discussion on scripture as it relates to specific political views or policies
  • A discussion on the effectiveness of different forms of political activist

 

Our approach:

  • How to be more aware of our own “inner polarizer”
  • Listening to understand and respond with grace 
  • Standing firm on our convictions without making enemies of our neighbors or family members
  • How to disagree without dehumanizing, dismissing or stereotyping groups of people
  • Strategies for intervening constructively in social conversations when they veer into contempt and ridicule for people who hold differing  views.

 

The content and resources for the Peacemaking in Polarized Times Trainings have been curated by:

Stephanie O’Brien – Lead Pastor, Mill City Church

Gary Dawkins – Lead Pastor, Mercy Vineyard Church

Ramón Pastrano – Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution Consultant

 

The tools and resources will be informed primarily by these organizations:

Braver Angels

Redeeming Babel

The “& Campaign

 

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