FAITH COMMUNITIES AND COVID-19: This is a time of transition for Faith Communities all across the world. How can we continue to connect with one another across distance? How can we invite people to share deeply and intimately, so we can maintain community and care for one another?
Living Room Conversations can serve your community during this time. This proven practice can support conversation among friends, neighbors and relatives who may feel isolated or fearful. Visit our Coronavirus Resources page. Find small group discussion guides, host training materials for folks who want additional guidance, and inspirational news and stories to keep heart during this moment. Watch Pastor Pedro Silva discuss how he keeps his faith community connected safely. Have questions? Please contact our Faith Communities Team using the form below.
Faith Communities Support Team
Reverend Linda Taylor
Pastor Chad Estes
Reverend Pedro Silva
Want to start a Living Room Conversations effort in your congregation or faith community? Write to our faith communities team at the form below.
I’m Rev. Linda, one of Living Room Conversations’ Faith Partners. As a priest, spiritual director and conflict coach, I’ve discovered that Living Room Conversations is an important resource that helps me support faith communities in our sacred work of increasing understanding and building peace, one conversation at a time. I have used Living Room Conversations in leadership retreats and in other situations of conflict, and I am working with faith leaders from all traditions throughout the country to implement Living Room Conversations in their own communities. We imagine a world where faith communities are able to listen and learn from one another, and I hope you’ll read on to discover what that might be like for your community.
Living Room Conversations are a bridge across issues that divide and separate us. They provide a powerful structure for engaging in friendly yet meaningful conversation with those with whom we may not agree. Unlike some conversations within our faith communities, Living Room Conversations increase understanding, reveal common ground, and sometimes even help us find a way forward when that seemed impossible!
All Living Room Conversations materials are a free, open-source resource. No fancy event or skilled facilitator is needed. I first experienced Living Room Conversations at a conference held by our Episcopal diocese in California in Spring 2016. Six of us from the church I served participated that day, and we immediately recognized a process that our church needed. We began hosting a Living Room Conversation gathering each month. Some people were regulars, moved by the connection, well-being and hope they received. Some invited friends—both from our church and the larger community. I found participants’ responses awe-inspiring and was moved to see word begin spreading to other communities.
That’s why I’m writing you—to welcome you to become one of the faith communities using Living Room Conversations. We’ve learned many things along the way, including a new way to multi-task: loving each other even when we disagree.
We’ve learned a lot about best practices, and I’d like to share with you what we’ve learned, as well as encourage you to share with us and others on this path. We would love to hear your stories—please send them to me so that we can inspire other communities.
This webpage you’ve come to–
https://livingroomconversations.org/faith-communities/–offers you a number of resources you’ll find below, including:
- Sample sermons to help you find words to describe this unique kind of peacemaking in your faith community
- Conversation Guides on topics of special interest to faith communities
- A guide for Planning a Community Living Room Conversation which will lead you through the process of gathering a large group for small group Conversations
- Suggestions for Unpacking the Conversation Agreements, which I’ve found helpful when I introduce this practice to new participants
We also have a customizable flyer we can send you—just ask!
As you consider trying Living Room Conversations in your community, I encourage you to keep four things in mind:
- Safe, honest and loving conversation has the power to change the dynamic in a community. The three-round format of all our Conversation Guides + our Conversation Agreements are what ensure the quality and safety of Living Room Conversations. We strongly encourage you to observe them!
- The Guides and Agreements also mean that Living Room Conversations are easy and even self-facilitating to do—whether 6 or 106 people are gathered. No matter how large the group is, breaking into small groups of no more than 4-6 people provides space for conversations that can help people grow in understanding and bridge the divide that may exist in our community.
- You already have the skills to do this! Living Room Conversations are designed to be self-facilitating, but call on me! I’m available to help with any questions or concerns you may encounter and to assist with creating Conversation guides to meet the particular interests of your community.
- We will keep building resources to support your work. You’ll find them on this page and throughout the website as you explore it. As you do Living Room Conversations in your faith community, I hope you’ll share what you learn with all of us.
Healthy communities have conversations. Living Room Conversations have been a blessing to me and to those with whom I’ve worked. I look forward to hearing from you about yours!
The Rev. Linda Taylor
P.S. – You’re welcome to contact me with questions! You can do so by filling out either the form underneath my picture or the one at the bottom of the page.
Watch how Vineyard Church in Boise, Idaho has implemented Living Room Conversations to help create a sacred place of care and listening.
Learn how Pastor Pedro Silva is using Living Room Conversations to stay connected despite physical distancing amidst this global pandemic.
Interested in starting a Living Room Conversations community in your congregation? Have other questions? Feel free to reach out to Rev. Linda Taylor through the contact form below.
Read more about how to have your own Living Room Conversation – including best practices and a step-by-step process – by clicking the button below.