The Diocese of Ohio is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion represented in the United States by The Episcopal Church.
The Episcopal Church of Ohio ministers in our Church and in our communities in many inspiring ways.
“Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live, a place where saints and children tell how hearts learn to forgive; built of hopes and dreams and visions, rock of faith and vault of grace; here the love of Christ shall end divisions: All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.” (From the hymn “All Are Welcome” by Marty Haugen)
The Diocesan Council of the Diocese of Ohio has been intentionally engaging in hard conversations about issues that separate us from each other and prevent us from being the body of Christ into which we are all called in Baptism. The Council has developed materials for our congregations and Mission Areas to help all communicants have these conversations with one another.
To be one body, we need for all members of our community to be seen and heard. The first step is to establish a framework in which people are comfortable sharing their personal views, especially when they may not align with those of others. Civil discourse, by definition, is a vehicle for building relationships with those who have different views than our own. It helps us avoid demonizing and dehumanizing one another.
The Civil Discourse program that we have formatted for use across the diocese has been designed to facilitate conversations among people who may not be of the same opinion and whose subject matter may be difficult to discuss openly. Through these conversations, we can challenge our own understanding of what is and is not just, what is and is not right. The goal is not to change each other’s views, but to build a context in which we better understand one another and are constructively informed by our respective perspectives. It is our conviction that, if we do this within our congregations, we will be equipped to encourage more civil discourse in our wider communities.
This 4-part series includes our Touchstones--guidelines used to create a “brave space” for having challenging conversations--and provides videos and curricula to bring us all to the same table. Members of the Diocesan Council are available to help introduce this to your congregation or Mission Area.
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