Between the many ethnic, racial, and religious groups in our diverse community, there are many opportunities for conflict. There are, however, an equal number of opportunities to transform conflict into interactions that are positive and constructive.
On Wednesday, June 29th, the IFLC is sponsoring a day-long conflict transformation workshop to give community leaders a taste of the process that Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Buttry has been using around the world to help people of diverse faiths become more effective peacemakers. It is not reserved for professionals, but open to those who are dealing with conflict within the community.
It will be an experiential working session, in which participants will explore ways to address conflicts within faith communities, and between faith groups and the surrounding neighborhoods. And it will be a planning session to create a series of programs for more in-depth work.
Buttry will help participants through participatory group experiences designed to open up the dynamics of conflict in ways that can help teach positive engagement in those situations. It will be a multi-religious opportunity to share backgrounds, and explore various religious teachings that provide insight into how to interact in positive ways.
“The June 29th training is a “teaser” training in that we will have some substantive work on a small slice of conflict transformation work to give people a taste for what we do and how we do it,” said Buttry. “We will be exploring particular interfaith dimensions of conflict transformation, or maybe better–multi-religious exploration of the topic. We’re looking at applications from family and congregational conflict to community and neighborhood conflict.”
“The teaser isn’t going to be like a film teaser where you get little snippets – it’s going to be one big chunk. If people only attend that, they’ll walk away with some significant take-aways. But it’s just one piece of many pieces,” says Buttry.
“The long term goal of the program is equipping congregations to deal more constructively with internal conflict and to equip them to positively deal with conflicts that arise in our communities,” says Buttry, “But also some of the issues that come up in terms of how we relate to each other as religious communities – such as Israel and Palestine, issues in India – how what’s happening in other countries impact our relationships here – trying to find ways of relating to each other more constructively.”
Buttry says that one of the keys is being more mindful in a conflict setting.
“Usually in conflict we tend not to act mindfully, we respond sometimes in ways that can be negative and make things worse and not better. Partly because we don’t understand the dynamics and don’t see the choice points where we can act positively and constructively,” says Buttry. “Experiential tools can bring us more of the ‘aha’ moments. It’s going to be an opportunity for us all to learn and grow within an interreligious community, dealing with things that can bring wisdom, if not answers, in a way that doesn’t put people in a defensive mode.”
Buttry is the Global Consultant for Peace and Justice with International Ministries of the American Baptist Churches. He has conducted conflict transformation trainings in many countries, and in a few situations has been part of mediation teams between armed groups. He is also one of the founding members of the IFLC, and of Hamtramck’s Common Word Alliance. He has written a number of books, including Interfaith Heroes, and Interfaith Heroes 2, Blessed Are the Peacemakers, Peace Warrior: A Memoir from the Front, and his latest, We Are the Socks.
He will be joined by Monica Boomer, director of community engagement and volunteerism for Zaman International, a non-profit organization committed to addressing the basic needs and empowerment of marginalized women and children locally and internationally. Boomer holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame. She has traveled and lived extensively throughout the Middle East through undergraduate and graduate study abroad programs and a year-long Fulbright Fellowship. She came to Zaman International in 2011 with extensive academic and practical experience in local youth peacebuilding initiatives and international women’s rights campaigns.
For more information, contact Dan Buttry at firstname.lastname@example.org.