Session Plans for Inviting Lombard Mennonite Peace Center to Provide Mediation Services
Session voted, at a special meeting on Thursday, February 25, to call for a congregational meeting on April 17th, at 10:15. At that time, we will hear a presentation from the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center(LMPC) about leading First Presbyterian Church through a process of reconciliation.
Rev. Bill Blank of the LMPC shared, with the Session, a process in which we will begin with workshops for the whole congregation. The workshops will focus on developing an understanding of the systems that create conflict and ways in which we can be faithful together, in the midst of differences, working through conflict.
Besides these workshops the LMPC would begin information gathering through questionnaires, interviews, small groups, and examination of the church’s history, to develop an assessment of the challenges which have been experienced in the church. This would result in an “Interim Assessment Report.” This report would become the foundation for a “Healing Phase” that would include structured dialogue and mediation.
Following the Healing Phase, we will begin a “Problem Solving Phase” that will develop plans and work to develop ways for First Presbyterian Church to move forward and build agreements for the future.
This entire process requires congregational commitment. This is the purpose of the congregational meeting on April 17th after worship. The Lombard Mennonite Peace Center will provide a presentation that will last about an hour. The LMPC will survey the congregation regarding its willingness to participate in the program, as well as the congregation’s view regarding the need for participation.
The cost of this process is significant, running between $40,000 to $50,000, over the course of a year. Session has been wrestling with this cost and has begun working on developing resources to manage the expenses. Session voted unanimously to go forward with this process. They believe that, with the investment, we will see a much greater return in growth in the church and support for the ministries of the church. Every time a cycle of conflict has taken place in our church, we have experienced greater loss than what we are anticipating in expenses for these services. Our goal is that,through this process, we will experience renewal that will open the way to new ministry and stability for healthy growth in the future.
Please mark your calendar for April 17th, 2016 when we will have one worship service at 9:00 AM and our congregational meeting. At that time, we will receive the presentation from the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center.
Pastor Jack, Moderator of Session
For more information:
The Lombard Mennonite Peace Center: http://www.lmpeacecenter.org/
Healthy Congregations: http://www.lmpeacecenter.org/events/hc/
Conflict in the Church: http://www.lmpeacecenter.org/events/cts/