Our Consistory has asked the Council Executive to look into proposing a “policy”, or set of guidelines, that can be implemented in the event of a conflict arising within our community that requires some guidance from outside the conflict to resolve in a pastoral manner.
We are looking at several sources of information about conflict resolution and restorative practices, but much of it is in general terms that would require some formalization to make it helpful as a resource to provide some concrete steps that can be taken in the resolution process.
Not wanting to “re-invent the wheel”, we are asking if any of you may have such a document that we can use as a template, changing it as required to meet our local needs.
Our executive meets next on February 5, and we would like to be able to begin our work at that time. We would be most appreciative of any samples you can send our way.
Thank you for your consideration.
I don't know of such a policy and I don't know whether it could or should be drafted. But CRC pastoral practice can profit from good provisions put in place by the denomination over the years. At the front line, of course, are the elders. They will mediate and provide pastoral care. Next: every classis has Classical Visitors. They can be called in for advice and help. Each classis, also, has a Regional Pastor, ready to help. And, last but not least, there is the Pastor-Church Relations Services. You may contact: Rev. Norm Thomasma, 616-224-0764. For Canada: Rev.Cecil Van Niejenhuis, 780-451-3253.
Hello Hans. I work in Pastor-Church Relations. I was made aware of your question regarding a policy for how to handle church conflict. As far as I know, there is not a denominational policy; however, our office uses a couple of "process or guideline" type documents when working with churches. After looking over these documents and some other resources I am aware of, I will send you a sample template(s) by next week (seeing that your executive committee meets on Feb. 5). If you have any questions, please feel free to call me in the Pastor-Church Relations office at (616) 224-0762.
The models I have seen take the form of covenants. I have seen one called Agreeing and Disagreeing in Love with the name of the Regional Synod of the RCA attached to it. However, I do not know whether it is still available. Another with the same title is available on the Mennonite Church of Canada website. http://resources.mennonitechurch.ca/ResourceView/43/10496
Pastor-Church Relations has added a couple of documents to The Network in response to your question.
You can find them at http://network.crcna.org/forums/elders/conflict-resolution-guides.
If you have any questions, please let us know.
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