Thursday, March 1, 2012

Upcoming workshop: Building companionship is first step towards solidarity

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The Rt. Rev. Sarah Morrigan from the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains (IGC), an affinity group in solidarity with the Occupy movement in the Greater Metropolitan Portland-Vancouver region, will offer a free community training on how to engage people through companionship. Based on the "congregational companionship ministry of presence" developed by the Rev. Craig Rennebohm, this training was originally designed for local churches and in mental health chaplaincy setting, but since then has been successfully used with little or no modification even in non-religious settings such as social service agencies and even by a few police departments in helping connect people with services and resources — and even in preventing escalation of aggressive/disturbing behaviors.

In particular, this training benefits those who are introverted or unaccustomed to interacting with people who are from very different background from who they are.  The training focuses on building first an authentic human-to-human connection, instead of approaching a person through "frames" and roles one plays.  Through a non-confrontational approach, the companionship also facilitates a person to address unwelcome behaviors by others without becoming confrontational and aggressive, and thereby proactively preventing any escalation that may lead to violence.

While this workshop is strongly recommended for current and prospective chaplains of the IGC, those who are from any other committee, caucus, affinity groups and those without affiliation are also welcome, since the same skills can be used for many community-building and civic engagement activities at any Occupation and actions, marches, rallies, or teach-ins.

Saturday, March 10, noon-2 p.m. at the Occupy Portland Headquarters, Che Room, 1131 S.E. Oak St., Portland, Oregon 97214.

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