Restorative Practices Helps Congregations Heal Conflict, Address Problems

A growing number of congregations are employing restorative practices to heal conflict, address problems, and build strong relationships. From choosing a new pastor to dealing with serious wrongdoing, faith leaders are finding the restorative approach to be an effective way to respond to difficult situations and facilitate honest communication within their communities.

Faith leaders of all denominations are invited to explore these practical strategies at an interactive retreat:

“Strengthening Faith Communities Through Restorative Practices”

  • September 23-26, 2013, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Kirkridge Retreat Center, 2495 Fox Gap Rd., Bangor, Pennsylvania 18013
  • Presented by: The International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School
  • Co-facilitators: Rev. Bruce Schenk, Director of IIRP Canada; Anne Martin, Director of Restorative Practice Services, Shalem Mental Health Network

Rev. Dr. Deborah van Deusen Hunsinger, Professor, Princeton Theological Seminary, says, “This event will equip you to turn crisis into an opportunity for honest conversation in your congregation about the things that are often difficult to talk about.”

At the retreat, participants will explore restorative practices; learn how to create safe spaces for difficult, honest conversations; and consider how the restorative approach can sustain a more connected faith community.

On day one, participants will explore the restorative framework; on day two, they will learn how to facilitate proactive and responsive circles; on day three, they will practice formal responses to working through conflict and wrongdoing; and on day four, they will discover how to engage families and host restorative events for the larger community.

Learn more, read how congregations are employing restorative practices, and register at: Or call 610-807-9221.

Says Rev. Schenk, when it comes to building a strong faith community, “Of course there’s a spiritual component, but there’s also a relational component. Peacemaking, relationship building, forgiveness and love—these are at the core of what the community is supposed to be about.”

Attendance at the retreat may applied to IIRP Graduate School credit by adding online coursework.

The International Institute for Restorative Practices Graduate School, based in Bethlehem, PA, is accredited to grant graduate certificates and master’s degrees. It is also a worldwide training organization with 300-plus affiliates and licensees in 16 countries. Website: