Community building is a model developed by the late Dr. M. Scott Peck, author or The Road Less Traveled. His book The Different Drum explains the process in detail. The work is facilitated through The Foundation for Community Encouragement.
The process stems from the Quaker tradition and is incredibly simple: groups gather for two 8 hour days, sit in a circle, and speak when moved to speak. Participants commit to hanging in through the process, speaking in “I” statements, and experimenting with the concept of “moved to speak.” Silence is a major component of the process. Every workshop is quite different, but typically the group, at one point or another and certainly not in any order, goes through four stages:
Pseudo community: the initial stages of the workshop usually find participants looking for commonalities and being quite polite with each other.
Chaos: as more time and silence passes, differences may begin to emerge, and at times conflict may erupt.
Emptiness: as participants hang in there through chaos, many feel moved to empty themselves of past experiences and wounds.
Community: slowly, or suddenly, the group begins to soften, communication becomes more authentic and participants may begin to experience feelings of deep trust and peace. The group is then ready to mobilize.
This process has been used across the globe; workshops were held in South Africa during the reconciliation process, in Northern Ireland during the peace process and a variety of corporations, including Nation Builders, have used this model to facilitate community within their organizations.
Our workshop will be run by facilitators trained specifically in dealing with issues around race. John Schuller teaches high school in Wheaton and has been facilitating since the mid 1980’s. Latricia “Pat” Callair is a social worker and former college professor in African American Studies and has been facilitating workshops since the mid 1980’s.
The workshop will be held at Kidz Express in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago from 9-5 Saturday and Sunday April 29 and 30. At the end of the workshop, we will take an hour or so to outline next steps. This workshop is free of cost and lunch will be provided. Please contact Jodi Walker with questions or to register via email: Jojulia@aol.com.