To help people to learn to work through divisive issues, MCC U.S. has produced a new adult Sunday school curriculum, Peaceful Practices: A guide to healthy communication in conflict. It invites churchgoers to follow Jesus’ call to peacemaking through dialogue with each other.
“It takes practice and intention to communicate well in the midst of conflict,” says Jes Stoltzfus Buller, MCC U.S. peace education coordinator and author of the curriculum. “If we can learn to embody healthy dialogue habitually in interpersonal interaction, it will ripple out and affect our communities and society.”
“It takes practice and intention to communicate well in the midst of conflict."
The curriculum is divided into nine sessions:
Session 1: Making peace a practice
Session 2: Curiosity—Be curious, inviting diversity of ideas and opinions
Session 3: Discovery—Focus on what matters
Session 4: Engagement—Invite the best in yourself and others
Session 5: Dialogue—Listen together for insights and deeper questions
Session 6: Empathy—Seek to understand rather than persuade
Session 7: Authenticity—Speak from the heart
Session 8: Dignity—Consider power dynamics
Session 9: Transformation—Welcome creativity
Each session contains a peaceful practice, biblical reflection, conflict transformation tool, at-home reflection questions, group activity, closing blessing and resources to go deeper. The curriculum is designed for group study so that participants are able to practice dialogue skills with each other. Those guiding others through the curriculum will find tips for how to facilitate the lessons virtually or in-person. No additional training is needed for facilitators.
The curriculum is available in two ways:
- The PDF can be downloaded free of charge.
- Print copies can be ordered for a suggested donation of $5.00 per copy.
Groups that are going through a dedicated study of the curriculum will receive complimentary Peaceful Practices bookmarks for each participant and a Peaceful Practices thermos for the facilitator.
For more information, to request bookmarks/thermos or to invite Jessica Stoltzfus Buller to meet with your congregation, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 563-4676.
Banner photo: Participants in a healthy dialogue training talk about a given topic during a group activity to encourage careful listening. The training was led by Jes Stoltzfus Buller, MCC U.S. peace education coordinator and author of Peaceful Practices at a 2018 North Baltimore Mennonite Church retreat. MCC photo/Brenda Burkholder
Photo below banner: Cara August, Melissa Blair, James Long and Rebekah Stutzman of North Baltimore Mennonite Church participate in a small group discussion as part of a 2018 healthy dialogue training. It was led by Jes Stoltzfus Buller, MCC U.S. peace education coordinator and author of Peaceful Practices. MCC photo/Brenda Burkholder