The Ven Karen Hutchinson, Archdeacon of Norwich, explains:
Conflict is a normal and inevitable part of life, and so it’s not surprising that it arises in church life too. How we approach it can make all the difference to the health of the church family, both generally and when particular issues and tensions arise. Sometimes it is necessary to involve someone from outside the church family to create a calm and safe place for conversation, where feelings can be shared and relationships restored.
The Diocese of Norwich has entered a contract with Milee Brambleby of Commonsense Services Ltd, to lead a team of trained volunteers to act as informal mediators in church-based disagreements. It is hoped that mediation offered freely at an early stage of conflict will lead to a healthier approach to conflict resolution within church fellowships and improved morale within church leadership teams.
Milee comes with considerable experience of conflict resolution in workplace and community settings, and of training people in how they understand and handle tensions and conflict. A member of St Mary’s, Hellesdon since 2005, Milee is about to begin Reader training. She says,
“Every one of us will occasionally become part of tense situations or relationships and they can be uncomfortable, worrying and exhausting. I’m delighted to be working with the Diocese as we explore how best to understand and move through conflict well, in our churches and our lives.”
Potential volunteer mediators have already been identified and a recruitment and training process will take place over the coming months, hoping to launch the scheme early in 2021. Milee will begin work with the Diocese from November and hopes to meet people and churches next year as she offers training opportunities. Watch this space!