Here is some of the text from the Bridge Builders current brochure. Yes I spelled "organisation" like the Brits do...something you'll probably see me do much more over the years. It's going to mess up my spelling so much when I return to the states. You can get a sense of their philosophy, services, and a bit of background from the text. Please be sure to ask me any questions you may have.
Text of the Brochure:
Facing conflict in the Church
Disagreement and conflict in the church are inevitable. However, it is our response to conflict that is critical. Most Christians want to find better ways to engage with one other in the midst of conflict, and to learn how to handle conflict constructively.
How Bridge Builders can help
We offer a variety of services, including:
• Training, especially in skills development
• Consultancy and coaching for leaders
• Group facilitation and process design
• Mediation when outside help is needed
Please contact us for details of current fees.
Training and teaching
We run practical workshops and courses, ranging from one-off sessions to weeklong courses and extended programmes. Our training concentrates on equipping Christians to understand conflict better and to function more effectively in the midst of it. We also train Christians to mediate and to offer consultancy in a church setting.
Consultancy and coaching
We offer church leaders a consultancy service, which ranges from a brief telephone conversation to more intensive coaching – for example, giving support in planning strategies and managing oneself in situations of conflict. We advise denominational leaders and officials on handling specific cases, and on wider issues, such as dialogue processes. Group facilitation and process design. We facilitate potentially difficult meetings, and design effective processes for making decisions or processing the past. We specialise in facilitating dialogue in congregational and other large-group settings.
We offer the services of trained mediators when disputes arise between fellow Christians, of whatever denomination. Our mediators work in a range of situations: with individuals, with leadership teams, with whole congregations or other large groups. In our experience, mediation often opens away forward for Christians who are struggling to work co-operatively together. The key is to help them address their grievances, build their own agreements for the future, and find an opening for God’s work of reconciliation.
We offer consultancy to congregations divided by conflict. A typical reconciliation process may be led over several months, and include information-gathering, healing work addressing past hurts, and problem-solving. We aim to help the congregation understand the range of factors contributing to heightened tension, to focus on key areas of the church’s life needing attention, and to develop a high level of consensus on the way forward.
The Bridge Builders’ Network
We co-ordinate an ecumenical network of people who have completed a mediation skills training course. The network has regular meetings around the country for further training and mutual support. Members of the network may co-mediate with Bridge Builders staff, or take on cases working with one another; and some, who have received additional training, offer one-day training workshops using Bridge Builders’ materials.
Our vision and mission
We have a vision of local churches and their leaders, throughout Great Britain and beyond, functioning in healthy ways with a Biblically-grounded culture of peacemaking, and reaching out to offer this life to the world.
Bridge Builders is a service of the London Mennonite Centre, and we aim to ground our work in the life and teaching of Jesus. We believe that peacemaking and seeking reconciliation are intrinsic aspects of following Jesus faithfully.
Alastair McKay, Director, who co-founded Bridge Builders in 1996. He has an MA in Conflict Transformation and is studying for a Doctorate of Ministry.
Colin Patterson, Assistant Director, an Anglican priest based in Durham, and author of the Grove booklet, How to Learn Through Conflict.
Sam Moyer (me), Bridge Builders Assistant, who graduated in 2007 from Goshen College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Conflict Studies.
As I saw from a crossword puzzle Alastair (my boss) was doing - Goodbye or Cherrio