Using the Restorative Questions: Let us Pray
Faith communities offer unique opportunities for introducing explicit and intentional restorative practices to build healthy communities.
Here’s one practice you can try using the restorative questions.
This practice could be used in a meeting, a workshop, a retreat or during a worship service.
The leader asks those present:
(The questions can be provided so people can jot down their thoughts.)
- Think of a situation in your life that needs healing. (Period of silence*)
- Who has been impacted and in what ways? (Period of silence)
- How have you been impacted? (Period of silence)
- What’s the hardest thing for you? (Period of silence)
- What needs to happen to address the situation and move forward? (Period of silence)
- What are you willing to do to address the situation and move forward? (Period of silence)
* The period of silence depends on the circumstances. For example, if you use this practice during a workshop or retreat, you may wish to have a the period of silence for 1-3 minutes. In a church service you may wish to limit the silence to 20-30 seconds
The leader prays, asking that all that has been named in silenced be infused with love and understanding as people find the courage to move forward in ways that bring healing creating bonds of understanding, dignity and respect.
If the church has a restorative team, the names of the members of the team can be made available if people need help to address the named concern.
The benefits of the practice:
- People will become familiar with the restorative questions and begin to incorporate them into their lives.
- There will be an explicit expectation that broken relationships should be addressed restoratively.
- The practice will provide the opportunity for the congregation to develop a restorative practice culture and an explicit way to provide support for restorative practice through the congregational restorative team.
Shalem’s Mark Vander Vennen was interviewed by Kirk Giles, Executive Director of Promise Keepers Canada, for a Promise Keepers podcast about “Men and Depression”. You can listen to the podcast here. The interview is a follow-up to Mark’s recent Shalem Digest article entitled “What’s Going On With Men Today?”, available here.
Shalem’s FaithCARE (Faith Communities Affirming Restorative Experiences) program has been extensively profiled in a major new book! The book, called The Little Book of Restorative Justice for Sexual Abuse: Hope Through Trauma, is the newest addition to the internationally regarded “Little Book” series on restorative practice and conflict transformation. Written by Shalem colleague Judah Oudshoorn, with support from another Shalem colleague, Michelle Jackett, FaithCARE’s work is used as a primary source for the book’s chapter entitled “Communities: A Case Study”. The book itself is an outstanding addition to the restorative justice literature and helps to fill a gap in that literature. We highly recommend it!
Shalem’s Executive Director Mark Vander Vennen has just had a chapter published in a new landmark book about restorative justice. The book is called Restorative Theory In Practice: Insights Into What Works And Why, edited by internationally renowned restorative justice practitioner Belinda Hopkins. Mark’s chapter, called “Towards a Relational Theory of Restorative Justice”, explores how “attachment theory”, which undergirds our attachment psychotherapy work at Shalem, can enhance the theoretical understanding of why restorative justice is effective. The chapter represents a milestone in both our attachment and restorative practice activities at Shalem—and especially at understanding the deep the links between them. It is also a reflection of the increasing hearing that Shalem is receiving in the mental health world.
REcreate Outreach Art Studio has been featured again in Urbanity. This article is titled “The Helping Hand of Art”. You can see the complete article here. In this article Vivian Khouw touches on why the youth love the studio space.
A milestone journal essay about Shalem’s WrapAround work has just been published. Called “Canadian WrapAround: A Case Study of A Volunteer-Driven, Community-Based Approach for Families, Children, and Youth with Complex Needs in Hamilton, Ontario”, the essay shows that a community-based volunteer WrapAround program can achieve research-validated outcomes with families that are as strong as professional staff-driven WrapAround initiatives. The article is published in the journal Relational Child and Youth Care Practice (Vol. 27, #4). Congratulations to our partner, WrapAround Hamilton, on these outstanding results. Congratulations also to lead author Lauren Wallace (volunteer chair of WrapAround Hamilton) and Shalem staff co-authors Andrew Debicki, Elske De Visch Eybergen and Mark Vander Vennen.
Shalem’s Congregational Assistance Plan (CAP) was recently featured in Christian Courier. An article by Krista Dam-VandeKuyt highlights how church communities can care for their members and share their burdens through CAP. To read the complete article, visit Christian Courier.
FaithCARE was featured recently in the e-bulletin for the Church Council on Justice and Corrections (CCJC). In the SAGE e-bulletin, Anne Martin reflections on how conflict isn’t optional when it comes to human relationships, but we can decide on how we respond to that conflict. Anne describes how churches can respond to conflict and gives examples of how FaithCARE has worked in church settings. Read the full article here.
Dr. Rick Csiernik along with Mark Vander Vennen, Marg Smit-VandeZande and Ken Van Wyk were authors in Workplace Wellness: Issues and Responses. Their chapter was titled: The Congregational Assistance Program: Bringing Occupational Assistance to Faith Communities. (Csiernik, R. (2014). Workplace Wellness: Issues and Responses. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.) To read the chapter, visit this link.
Immanuel, God with us. Read some of Mark’s reflections on celebrating Advent with the new story of “God with us”, the old story of failures and despair no longer have the upper hand. Also included are some highlights from 2014, including stories of change and hope for those we work alongside. Blessings for this Advent season, and thank you for what you do in your communities to live out the hope we celebrate this Advent: Immanuel, God with us.
Congratulations to Dorothy Vaandering and Angie Dornai, two of our colleagues in restorative justice work, on their article “Hurt People Hurt People, Helped People Help People“, telling a story of restorative practice in a school, published in March/April 2013 issue of “Canadian Teacher Magazine”
Mark Vander Vennen was featured in the May/June issue of Faith Today in an interview by Karen Stiller. In this article Mark spoke about what mental health means for a Christian, when to go for therapy, and how Christians can stop saying inappropriate things to each other during rough times. Read the complete article here.
Mark Vander Vennen and Marg Smit-VandeZande together with Ken Van Wyk and Ric Csiernik recently had the following professional journal article published in the Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health. The article titled: “Bringing EAP to Faith Communities: Genesis of a Canadian Congregational Assistance Plan“ can be found here.
Shalem’s WrapAround program was featured in a report from World Vision Canada. The report entitled Poverty at Your Doorstep: Hamilton 2013 shared a story from a single mother who was involved with WrapAround. Take a moment to read this enlightening report.
Shalem’s CAP program has been featured in the Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health in the an article titled “A Tale of Two Churches: The Development of a Congregational Assistance Program”. Both Marg Smit-VandeZande and Mark Vander Vennen are two of the authors of this piece, along with Ken Van Wyk and Rick Csiernik. To read the full article, visit this link.
The National Post recently wrote an article on Restorative Practices in a Newfoundland School and how it has tranformed the culture at their school. Here is a link to the full article: Detention is over: Schools trying out discussion first before resorting to by-the-book discipline.
Listen to this interview on the use of Restorative Practices in Schools. Dorothy Vaandering, a professor at Memorial University in St. John’s, NL, was interviewed on CBC this past summer. Dorothy Vaandering edits the RJ Dialogue, co-published by Dorothy and Shalem, and was also a founding member of the FaithCARE group.
Elske de Visch Eybergen recently had an opinion piece published in the Hamilton Spectator, entitled: Don’t Judge: Walk with the Poor. This piece is clear, well-written and passionate, read the full article here.
Congratulations to our partner in restorative practice, the International Institute of Restorative Practice—Canada, on its work with the Toronto District School Board, featured in this front-page article in the Toronto Star.
Recently, FaithCARE was featured in an article from the IIRP on how Faith Communities are Adopting Restorative Practices. View this article here. Mark Vander Vennen was also recently featured on the Restorative Practices Blog.
Recently, the RJ in Education Dialogue was featured on the website of Restorative Justice in British Columbia. For information, please check out this website.
Read Mark Vander Vennen’s article about a restorative justice New Year’s resolution in Northumberland Today.
In the December 2011 issue, Dorothy Vaandering addresses the gifts that youth bring us, and how often we quickly diminish them. These are stories and reflections that we hope will inspire you to celebrate hope in the actions of young people who are leading the way in showing what restoration is really all about.
Our latest Digest is out, Michelle DeBoer wrote an article on parenting based on Dr. Michael Ungar’s work. Mark Vander Vennen’s Director’s Corner focuses on the Congregational Assistance Plan. Some new grants and partnerships are also highlighted with World Vision and the Centre for Excellence.