Welcome to Restorative Circles at the FUUSB
In 2017 the Healthy Congregation Team (HCT) saw a need for the FUUSB to have Restorative Circles (RC) as one of its resources. RC is a community self-care process that can help us re-establish covenantal relationships between ourselves when we don’t seem able to do so on our own.
Since 2017 the HCT has funded several FUUSB members to receive the training necessary to facilitate the RC process. The RC team meets once a month to practice and hone our skills. We welcome your interest in the process and our team. Please feel free to contact us (contact info. is listed below) with any questions about the process, or need for a circle, or about joining the team. Please read further for more detailed information.
If we become involved (directly or as a witness) in a conflict that we and our friends are unable to ameliorate, then the restorative circle process may be turned to help us re-establish the covenantal relationships in our community that we desire. As the name implies, we will at times gather seated in a circle, but with trained facilitators who will guide what happens in our conversations. While the facilitators monitor to keep the group on task, each of us will have the opportunity to respond to the same question and to choose who in the circle we wish to listen deeply to us and reflect back to us the essential meaning of our answer. For example, the first
question asked is:
“What would you like known and by whom, about how you are right now in relation to the event and its consequences?”
Reflective listening occurs when, after listening to what somebody has said to us, we reflect back to them what we understand to be the essential meaning of what they said to us. We then listen again as the speaker confirms whether we have understood or not. Reflective listening is a kind of response among many others that naturally occurs from time to time in our everyday conversations. The difference in a restorative circle is that it is the only kind of response that may be used.
The goal of a restorative circle is not vindication, establishing guilt, or meting out justice. The goal is to establish mutual understanding and to enable us to live together harmoniously again. Often this will be through the establishment of a plan in response to the final question:
“What would you like to see happen next?”
Here is a diagram of the RC process that gives an over view of all the steps involved.
If you would like to understand the restorative circle process in depth, here is a power point presentation. It is best viewed in slide show mode, so that you may take advantage of the branching logic through which the slides will appear in the proper order. Elements of each slide appear one by one through clicking on the forward arrow in the bottom left or tapping the right arrow on your keyboard.
If you would like to explore initiating a restorative circle (anybody can) or explore joining the team please contact one of the following restorative circle team members: Sarah Forbes, Stuart Graves, or Nancy Hellen
That team member will contact you by telephone for a brief conversation to ensure that a circle meeting. At that meeting the team member will describe restorative circles, answer any questions you may have about the process, and explore in depth with you your experience of the conflict. At the end of that interview you may then decide whether or not to proceed. If yes, the circle will happen. If no, the circle won’t happen, and all information known by the team member will remain confidential.