Mediation allows participants to talk with each other in a safe, constructive, respectful environment using a process that guides them through a conversation.
Here are a few reasons someone may request mediation:
- If one party is not comfortable meeting with the other party one-on-one without a facilitator
- If one party feels at a disadvantage in conversation with the other party
- If one party has greater power (real or perceived) than the other
- If emotions are intense
- If the conflict is complex
- If the conflict has a long history
Here are a few signs that intervention may be needed:
- Conflict is viewed as wrong or dangerous
- Parties blur issues and people
- Indirect communication flourishes (triangling)
- Long ledgers between the parties are never balanced
- People spiritualize conflict to avoid it and diminish others
- The atmosphere is reactive
- Leaders discourage disagreement and ignore problems
- There is low tolerance of uncertainty
- When other means have not worked to resolve the differences
At the beginning of the mediation all parties will be asked to create their own guidelines to provide a safe environment for them. Those guidelines often include no interrupting. During the conversation each person will have an opportunity to talk about his or her perspectives and what has brought him or her to this place. In this setting the participants will be able to hear and understand each other.
Two trained mediators facilitate the conversation. They will have at least 40 hours of mediation training, have at least one year of experience, and be certified through Community of Christ Peacebuilding Ministries. Their job is to facilitate the process that will give opportunity for participants to recognize their own resources for resolving the differences and to create a safe environment that allows participants to hear and understand each other’s perspectives. The mediators will make no judgments, decisions, suggestions for resolution, or give advice or counseling. The process is confidential.
Meetings usually last two to three hours and are held in a neutral place. Depending on the complexity of issues and the length of the conflict, more sessions may be scheduled.
The costs of travel, housing, and other expenses will be borne by the requesting congregation or mission center. We will do our best to make it possible for all to receive this ministry.
*Portions of this information from Two Paths of Conflict, Mennonite Conciliation Service.
The referring party contacts the Peacebuilding Ministries to give an overview of the situation. Together they will consider the best next steps to approach the situation. The parties will be contacted, a meeting arranged, and mediators assigned.
If one party declines the opportunity to be involved in a mediation meeting, the mediation will not take place. The referring party will simply be informed that the opportunity was declined.
If the mediation takes place, it is up to the parties to determine what (if anything) will be shared with the referring party.