Advoz Annual Event: Around the Table

Tables are natural gathering places that bring us face to face into dialogue.

Nearly every day, Advoz brings youth and adults around tables to make transformative dialogue happen in our community and to help youth and adults add their voice and build tomorrow’s peaceable world.

Join us for Advoz’s 2018 signature benefit event, Around the Table, an evening of learning, connecting and empowering our community’s restorative and reconciling potential. Treat yourself and your guests to a plated dinner at the Eden Resort, a fun live and silent auction and stories about Advoz’s work on the theme:

“Walking the Talk”

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This year’s “keynote conversation” features Janet Connors, a woman who has walked the talk and now encourages others in courageous dialogue. Her story of transforming dialogue started with a knock on the door. Her 19-year-old son had been stabbed to death. Her journey with that tragedy brought a change to Massachusetts policy—and her personal mission—to offer restorative dialogue to those surviving harm and violence. She later met with two of the young men who killed her son, the subject of a documentary film Circle Up, released in October 2017. Janet now leads restorative processes in schools, health care, correctional and community settings.

The event includes both live and silent auction, seated dinner and program featuring Janet Connors and local peacemakers ‘walking the talk.’

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Over 38 years, thousands in the greater Lancaster community have experienced the power of dialogue in conflict resolution and restorative justice through Advoz and its parent organizations. From youth crime to families torn in conflict to cultural divisions, facilitated dialogue has provided hope, resolution and healing for young and old. You can join Advoz as a leader and sponsor to continue and expand this community-building work through the Around the Table event and its preceding screening of Circle Up.

 

Made possible with this circle of support
and more to come:

 

Dialogue Dinner Sponsor

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Community Reception Sponsors

Gibbel Kraybill & Hess LLP

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Restorative Auction Sponsors

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Advocate Event Sponsors

Everence logo

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Patron Event Sponsors

Moravian Manor

 

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Circle Process: What Needs to Be Heard

By Circle Process facilitator Daryl Snider (names and details changed to protect privacy)

This was the first time everyone had come together since the conflict arose. I felt an odd mixture of stress and delight from the eight people as they arrived for the Circle Process. They had been close before it all exploded, and the strong feelings were evident, differently in each person. Some were quiet and stiff, while others were chatty and joking. Our gracious hosts served coffee and tea.

As the Circle started, even the jovial participants tensed up—a natural response in a situation that feels dangerous. As a Keeper of this Circle, however, I knew from listening to each of them that they feared hurting others as much as getting hurt themselves.

“Terry” was almost shaking. Some had warned my co-keeper and me that Terry might derail the whole process. At first, Terry had been reluctant to engage at all, but after we listened to their story and concerns, Terry was willing to give this Circle a try—to everyone’s surprise.

We started with a light warm-up activity, building a sculpture together out of random scraps of wood and construction materials. We took turns around the Circle placing an object in the sculpture or rearranging them until everyone was satisfied. I noticed that even here, different approaches stood out. Some had a clear vision of what they were building. Some were being polite and careful not to disturb what others wanted to do. Some seemed determined to undo what others did. And some took risks, placing objects in precarious positions. We shared laughter and enjoyed this diversion, with a focus on building something fun together. The ice was melting.

Janet Connors working through grief and anger with teens using a circle process.

The Circle shifted to talking about “values,” and together, we listed shared values that help us be at our best, committing ourselves to them: honesty, openness, listening, empathy, respect, grace.

Then we began rounds of the Circle with guiding questions, passing the Talking Piece from one person to another. At first folks were worried about offending others or saying the wrong thing. Eventually, it was Terry—the live wire—who pushed us forward saying, “Let’s just say what needs to be said.” Pretty quickly then, that’s what happened. There were many tears as people shared their pain and their love for each other. No, their friend hadn’t suddenly become an awful person; they were hurting or afraid. Apologies were offered and readily accepted. It was time for our Circle to close, and everyone was talking freely.

This Circle did not resolve everything, but it started something in motion. There was relational mending yet to do and a larger community to involve. But the Circle provided a space safe enough to say “what needed to be said” and hear what needed to be heard. The result was real and sacred connection, renewed trust, and confidence that we can indeed get through such things—and come out stronger and wiser.