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Restorative Congregations

Safe Church Ministry offers the following tangible services and resources for congregations:

  1. Providing resources, training, and coaching for congregations to take steps to becoming restorative. At times we host multi-day trainings in restorative practices facilitated by Faithcare (part of Shalem Mental Health).
  2. Connecting congregations to restorative facilitators and consulting in regards to facilitating a restorative process amidst conflict.
  3. Supporting and catalyzing networks to further use restorative practices in congregations throughout the CRCNA.
  4. Future Goal/Resource: Creating communities of praxis, or Restorative Congregations cohorts of churches that are committed to being restorative.

If you are interested in any of the above for your congregation, please contact Rev. Eric Kas at [email protected]

What are “Restorative Congregations? What are restorative practices or restorative justice practices? What is restorative justice?

In short, restorative practices are a set of principles and tools for people to use in order to be restorative with one another. In other words, they help us be with one another rather than simply doing things to each other or for one another. They are rooted in the values of respect, responsibility and relationships. They help us to live into God’s story of the renewal of all things and give us the tools to restore or make right where harm and wrong has occurred.

Some key restorative questions are:

What happened?
Who has been affected?
How have you been affected?
What were you thinking at the time?
What have you thought about since?
What has been the hardest thing for you?
What can you do to make it right?
What do you need to move forward?
What are you willing to do to move forward?

These questions can be used in a variety of contexts from using them in conversation, informally, to a more formal circle process using a talking piece being passed from one person to another, ending in an agreement between all of those involved in the circle. In the justice system there is a specific way to use these restorative questions to set up a conference between those who were victimized, and those who caused harm, and they give direct voice for a victim to speak into the justice system and share what they need to move forward.

What would it look like for our congregations to become more restorative within our life together - and be able to connect with the communities we are a part of in more restorative ways?

This Network article further provides an overview of definitions, links to helpful organizations and the history of restorative practices in the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

The following links point to other resources related to restorative practices across the Christian Reformed Church: