9:00 a.m. Tuesday 16 May 2017 – Chemainus, BC

Courage comes from the heart
and we are always welcomed by God,
the Croí of all being.

We bear witness to our faith,
knowing that we are called
to live lives of courage,
love and reconciliation in the ordinary and extraordinary
of each day.

We bear witness, too, to our failures
and our complicity in the fractures of our world.

May we be courageous today.
May we learn today.
May we love today.


(Pádraig Ó Tuama, Leader, Corrymeela Community)

What are the other words you could use to describe conflict?

Responses: disagreement, dispute intransigence, difference of opinion, growth, transformation, “other”, us and them, anger, fear, withdrawal, disconnected, fractiousness

What did you notice about the conversation?

We have huge descriptors around conflict. Why? We need to know what we are dealing with. It tends to be a pretty negative storyline, so we tend to lean away from conflict. In transformational conflict work we ask people to lean in.

There is a continuum from genocide to growth. We need to be clear what we are talking about.

What about words for peace?

Responses: tranquility, harmony, serenity, concord, understanding, openness, compromise, accepting of differences, relaxation, social justice, complacency, God, healing, shalom, resolution.

What do you notice about these words? The energy is different. We are not that energized by the concept of peace. There is a passivity about these words. But peace building is such an active enterprise.

Do you want ultimate peace?

What is it you really want? Probably not flat line harmony.

Seeking a cessation of violence can become an obsession. But what happens beyond the cessation of violence?

It’s a continuum between genocide on one end and tranquility on the other. We live in between, wishing for a place that is safer and gentler. At the genocide end intervention is necessary. But we want something more dynamic than flat line tranquility.

What are the problems with the terminology of “conflict management”? So we moved to “conflict resolution.” But not every conflict can be either managed or controlled.

So, now we speak of “conflict transformation.”

Continuum – one end peace keepers – somewhere in middle there is peace making – at other end is peace building. Some may people may work better in one area than another.

Is since a necessary attribute of conflict?

No conflict is the same. But there are predictable things that will happen if we don’t get in and become invested. Conflict can be very positive.

Nikolai Popov Why?

Conflicts generally come from somewhere. As it escalates things will change and not for the better.

There are always parties involved in any conflict and they are different.

Generally at ground zero we have initial parties who then pull in others. We mobilize secondary parties as the conflict escalates. Then there are third parties who stay in the background but provide money, guns, weapons. They are stakeholders who play an influence and need to be paid attention to.

As the conflict escalates a secondary party becomes a primary party and their stake increases.

Cultures and people have different ways of fighting. We influence each other and violence escalates.

The scope and severity increases as the conflict grows. We don’t want conflicts to escalate beyond a certain point.

Why does it matter that we ask when a conflict began? What if the story began long before we actually see the conflict manifesting?

There re usually a variety of influences – duty, honour, vengeance, history, power, land, etc.

Negative peace is just the cessation of overt violence. This is not enough. It is just tolerance. I want something more than tolerance.

A Postive peace is more robust and complex.

What needs to move to help us get to a vibrant peace after the destruction?

What does it take for there to be reconciliation?

Reconcile – Lating: reconcilier – bring together again. Bring together what? Re-establish relationship. Settle or resolve. Accept? co-exist in harmony?

With whom? First Peoples? In your own congregations? In the wider community?

Why? Because the Bishop says so? Because it is just the right thing to do? Because I want to be reconciled? Because it is a biblical mandate? Because we can’t afford not to be?