First Unitarian Society in Newton

Semester: 2011 Spring

Students: Kate Van Akin & Rose Yan

This project will partner HNMCP students with a local Unitarian Universalist congregation to design a new conflict management system for the congregation.

The First Unitarian Society in Newton (FUSN) has a proud history of serving the spiritual needs of approximately 600 individuals in Newton, MA. Despite FUSN’s emphasis on creating a spiritually nurturing and socially responsive environment, leadership believes the congregation can cope more proactively with conflict. HNMCP will work with stakeholders in the congregation and leadership to develop a dispute resolution system and a conflict management training curriculum tailored to the congregation’s needs, values, and historical sensitivities.

Our Work

Step 1:  Background research on the “baseline” of how conflict has been handled historically in the congregation.

Step 2:  Convening several focus groups (“listening circles”) to generate and subsequently reality-test ideas on how disputes might be handled better.

Step 3:  Designing a dispute resolution system that is tailored to the congregation’s needs and values, complete with a training curriculum focused on equipping the congregation’s leadership to handle conflict more effectively.

Final Product

Final report, including recommendation for a dispute resolution process and curriculum for lay leaders on how to improve conflict management within the congregation.

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