“What stories are we telling? Which stories are we listening to? May we offer dignity in our differences.” –Mark Nill, Shalem Restorative Practice team
2021 was an unusual year as Shalem’s Restorative Practice team has learned to offer services within the confines of a pandemic. Responding to the challenges of the times, the team has adapted to the COVID reality, offered many Restorative Practice services online and had many successes.
Shalem’s Restorative Practice team includes Anne Martin, Bill Bickle, Bruce Schenk, Mark Vander Vennen and the team’s newest member, Mark Nill. Mark, from Langley, BC, is an experienced educator who is, in his words, “passionate about Restorative Practices, facilitating meaningful dialogue, mentoring, coaching, and physical education.” Mark asks: “What stories are we telling? Which stories are we listening to? May we offer dignity in our differences.” Mark has a MSc in Restorative Practice from the International Institute of Restorative Practices.
Providing Restorative Services
Throughout the past year the team has offered services through FaithCARE (Faith Communities Affirming Restorative Experiences), CWE (Centre for Workplace Engagement), EduCARE (Educational Communities Affirming Restorative Experiences) and Restorative Practice with families.
The team has provided responsive services, for example, bringing those in conflict together to talk about what happened, exploring ways in which people have been affected by the situation and identifying what needs to happen to move forward. The team has also offered proactive services, including workshops and trainings to help build relationally healthy communities.
Providing services to faith communities through FaithCARE comprises most of the team’s work. The team has provided services for a number of denominations, including the Christian Reformed Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, the United Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada, and the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
Listening Circle training
The team has been working with the Pastor Church Resources ministry of CRCNA to offer Listening Circle training for Christian Reformed congregations to engage the Human Sexuality report. To date the team has trained more than 350 people across North America to lead small group Challenging Conversation sessions.
The team is now offering Listening Circle training adapted to the needs of any community requesting training. A community may have a particular focus or may wish to learn about facilitating listening circles in general.
In June and July of 2021, the team offered online training. The training included the framework (theory and principles) for building and developing a restorative church, applying the framework through community building circles processes, and facilitating processes for high end conflict.
Another FaithCARE training is happening right now from January 12 through March 23 2022.
The training is recommended for:
– Council and Board members
– Leadership teams
– Pastoral care teams
– Interim ministers
– Denominational staff
For more information go to our website.
Connecting to the wider Restorative Practice Community
Shalem stays connected to the wider Restorative Practice community through its relationship with IIRP Canada. IIFP Canada is an affiliate of the International Institute for Restorative Practices, an accredited graduate school based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA. Shalem’s former Executive Director, Mark Vander Vennen, is on the Board of Trustees for the International Institute for Restorative Practices.
The team is currently working on four books designed to support FaithCARE trainings and congregational life: The Restorative Framework (philosophy and principles) and how the framework applies to help develop relationally heathy faith communities; Circles: developing restorative communities through circle processes; Facilitating Restorative Conversations: support for facilitators developing processes for high end conflict, and a devotional based on restorative practices.