Guidelines for organizing interfaith meetings

  • Provide appropriate and comfortable meeting space for the group.
  • Arrange space to allow for democratic participation; be aware of the access needs and dietary restrictions of faith group members.
  • Arrive in advance of participants so hospitality is ready and available when participants begin to arrive.
  • Have sufficient supplies and copies of materials available for participants in advance.
  • Allow adequate time for introductions and use nametags until members are known to the leaders and each other.
  • Commit to beginning and ending sessions on time.
  • Build the community. Include opening and closing exercises that help participants to get to know the other members of the group.
  • Create a climate that supports prayer and reflection. Use the prayers and rituals of various traditions to support learning. Allow time and space for silence as well as for speaking.
  • Remind participants that dialogue is as much (perhaps more) about listening as it is about speaking. Practice listening skills with the group if necessary. Insist that put-downs of people or their feelings are unacceptable.
  • Plan for a diversity of learning styles using a variety of media, print, visuals, discussion, etc.
  • Seek a balance in participation. Watch for individuals or groups who dominate, as well as those who are silent. Encourage everyone, but also give everyone the right to pass in any discussion.
  • Make it clear that no member of the group will be forced to share more than he/she feels comfortable to reveal.
  • Enlist the whole group in taking responsibility for making the experience work.

Excerpted from Interfaith Peacemaking Curriculum

Published by Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative

Reprinted with permission.

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