Congregations Handle Serious Misconduct, Build Connected Communities Through Restorative Practices

A growing number of congregations are employing restorative practices to deal with anything from such serious incidents as sexual misconduct and embezzlement to feelings that might arise when a beloved pastor is leaving. Rev. Dr. Deborah van Deusen Hunsinger, Professor, Princeton Theological Seminary, says, “Restorative practices can turn a crisis into an opportunity for honest […]

A growing number of congregations are employing restorative practices to deal with anything from such serious incidents as sexual misconduct and embezzlement to feelings that might arise when a beloved pastor is leaving.

Rev. Dr. Deborah van Deusen Hunsinger, Professor, Princeton Theological Seminary, says, “Restorative practices can turn a crisis into an opportunity for honest conversation in your congregation about the things that are often difficult to talk about.”

But restorative practices aren’t just being used to handle problems. Congregations are also instituting them as an ongoing approach to making decisions and building a caring community. One congregation that has been implementing the practices for a few years was able to employ them to guide their selection process for a new pastor.

Faith leaders and seminarians 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
Overnight stay and daytime only options
$550 event discount for current seminary students

Read how congregations are employing restorative practices and learn about the retreat at: iirp.edu/retreat

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 that include the larger community outside their congregation.

Attendance may be applied to IIRP Graduate School credit by adding online coursework.

The International Institute for Restorative Practices Graduate School, based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 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: iirp.ed