9:15 a.m. Wednesday 17 May 2017 – Chemainus, BC

It is not that we have conflict that is significant, but how we have conflict.

Conflict stories can be dangerous if we get pulled into the stories in such a way that people get stuck. If ew can get to the real belly of the story, then real work can begin to happen.

We have heard you over these days naming your hopes, fears and some discomfort about the “Year of Reconciliation”. You need to identify and name your questions and concerns.

We as facilitators are trying to hear what is tacit in this conversation – what is the curriculum/agenda in this room as we share together? Sometimes we have to set aside our ageandas and curricula in order for the conversation to move ahead.

We are going to think now about what is the journey to reconciliation. What does it look like for you? Can we come up with the journey life of people who have been harmed and people who have done the harming?

What would it take for us to be a witness for reconciliation.

What is reconciliation?

John Paul Lederach– “A meeting ground where trust and mercy have met, and where justice and peace have kissed.” The challenge is to make this meeting ground a place where we can trust one another.

What happens in the early stages of conflict? But there is a fairly common pattern:

Formation – It is almost impossible to see a conflict at the earliest stages of formation. We tells the story of our conflict to anyone who will listen and who we think might take our side. There is an opportunity for prevention by intervening here.


Maintenance – we tell the story less here. We are in a period of face saving.

Reduction – the energy is coming down. It is possible for reconnection to take place at this point. But there are people who really enjoy conflict who will try to ratchet up the energy. This is a tentative time. The hurst is not down and the conflict is still there. Mediation can take place at this stage.

Reversals – there is a danger that reversals can take place at this point which may be strong enough to take you back

Resolution – this is a moment where there is agreement that leads towards a process of reconciliation


Reconciliation – requires genuine commitment

In any conflict there are:

Direct Actors – those who are obviously and visibly involved

Indirect Actors – have a vicarious relationship to the conflict. This experience is deep. We need to consider these people even though they may be hidden. The “Balkan Effect” happens here when people become anxious in a conversation about conflict because they are carrying a past story even though they were never directly involved.

Share a time when you were hurt or harmed by someone. When did it happen? Who did it? What was the impact? Describe the work you needed to do. How would you describe the work you had to do?

People who harm and hurt have their own journey and people who have been hurt or harmed have their own journey.

The work we are asking people to do often carries a sense of guilt, shame, and humiliation. But it is always sacred work.