Election Extremism: Lessons For Leading With Healing, Hope & Bravery

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In a year when political extremism is compounded by concurrent pandemics we spoke with faith leaders and experts about how they are uniquely positioned to help heal and convene healthy dialogue. Many faith leaders face difficult choices about how to provide leadership and care amidst severe political polarization, often within their own communities. Faith communities may be among the few public spaces where Americans of diverse political and cultural viewpoints can meaningfully dialogue and be in relationship. On October 15, 2020 the Rev. Dr. Katie Givens Kime, Director of Religion and Civic Engagement at Odyssey Impact led a panel of faith leaders and chaplains who shared their candid experiences and diverse perspectives on how to provide hope and healing amidst vitriol and even violence. The “Election Extremism” Healing the Healers Town Hall on October 15th was “Part One” of a two-part series. We will convene the second Town Hall later on in November.

Civility is not the absence of conviction.

Resources to help lead congregations, communities and classroom discussions on healing and convening healthy dialogue amidst severe political polarization.

To help you in your work, please review the video excerpts of the intimate conversation, curated by Rev. Dr. Jill Snodgrass, Loyola University, along with brief expert reflections, discussion questions and suggested additional resources.

Standing Against Violence
Curated Video Clip #1

Duration [5:30-8:48]

Living and Listening Together
Curated Video Clip #2

Duration [30:43-33:56]

Making Moral Judgments that
Respect the “Other”

Curated Video Clip #3

Duration [38:55-43:37]

Expert Reflection and Discussion Guide

We hope that the accompanying written resources will support you in your work while leading your congregations and in educational settings during this time. We have heard from our wider network that these “bite-sized” resources are ideal for clergy cohort groups, deacon/congregational care teams, seminary education modules, and general faith leader edification and support.

Rev. Dr. Jill Snodgrass

For these curated video clips and written resources, we are grateful to Rev. Dr. Jill Snodgrass of Loyola University, a pastoral counselor and ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.

We listen each other into existence.

Panel Moderator:

Rev. Dr. Katie Givens Kime

Director of Religion and Civic Engagement
Odyssey Impact

Panelists:

Rev. Dr. Jan Fuller

University Chaplain
Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life
Elon University
Elon, NC

Dr. Danjuma Gibson

Professor of Pastoral Care
Calvin Theological Seminary
Grand Rapids, MI

Rabbi Matthew Gewirtz

Senior Rabbi
Congregation B’nai Jeshurun
Short Hills, NJ

Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero

Pastor
Calvario City Church
President
NALEC
Orlando, FL

Special thanks to our Co-Presenting Partners on this Live Town Hall:

A lot of grief work will be needed at the end of this year - and the role of the clergy is to coach their communities to grieve and on the other side of grieving is a capacity to love in a deeper way.
Churches and Synagogues and Temples could be among the last available spaces for civil conversations. We have the opportunity to be relevant in ways we haven’t been for decades.