Congregational Resources for Civil Discourse

Respectful Discourse image from Reddit

This summer at the Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren, we received a request from a congregation that wanted to do a Sunday School series on developing health communication among people with various points of view. One term that has emerged for this is "civil discourse." In these polarizing times, we're happy to help uncover some of the great resources that are out there! Here are some resources, including curricula, some blog posts, books, and other resources.  

Let us know what on this list resonates with you, and especially if you decide to use one in your congregation! Several items on this list came already collated by the Maine Council of Churches. I found others through wandering around on the internet. 
Please let us know your other ideas and resources in the Comments to this blog. 
-Matt Guynn 
On Earth Peace Director of Church and Community Organizing
  • From Mudslinging To Mutual Respect:The Faithful Call For Civility In Politics: Resources for Clergy, Churches & Small Groups - Maine Council of Churches.
  • Covenant of Civil Discourse - Maine Council of Churches
  • The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations has developed a five-week Civil Discourse Curriculum, focusing on civil discourse and designed for reflection, consideration and discussion. “The Civil Discourse Curriculum was created as a resource to help folks understand and practice civil discourse, particularly as it relates to discussion about politics, policy and legislation, and why it is so important to living out our Gospel call and solving the problems facing our communities, country and the world,” explained Alan Yarborough, Office of Government Relations Communications Coordinator and Office Manager. 
  • 2018 blog post referring to the Episcopal curriculum
  • The organization Reclaiming Jesus (http://reclaimingjesus.org/) appears to have created an adapted version of the Episcopal curriculum, found here
  • Blog post from V3 Church Planting Movement, "5 Practices for Rediscovering Civil Discourse." 
  • 2016 Blog post from Sharon Ely Pearson, "Faith and Civil Discourse." 
  • American Public Media distributes the weekly radio broadcast “On Being” hosted by Krista Tippett. The show often deals with issues related to faith, civility and civil discourse, and their website holds a treasure trove of resources. Go to www.onbeing.org and type “civility” or “civil discourse” into the search engine in the top right-hand corner of the page. You will be taken to a list of episodes and other materials related to the topic.
  • Cokesbury Publishing House offers a five-episode curriculum entitled “Civil Discourse: From Separation to Engagement” for $19.95. Session 5 focuses specifically on politics. Go to www.cokesbury.com for more information and to place an order.
    Healing The Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create A Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit by Quaker author Parker Palmer would make a good choice for a book group or for an adult class where participants are comfortable doing “homework” by reading a chapter before each meeting. Amazon.com sells this title in a variety of formats (hardcover, paperback, Kindle, audiobook) ranging in price from $7 to $12, and offers a “Look Inside” preview option. A six-session discussion guide is available from The Center for Courage and Renewal, and can be downloaded for free from this web page.
  • The Thoughtful Christian is an ecumenical website dedicated to helping Christians and seekers understand, share, practice and be challenged in their faith. They offer a three-session curriculum entitled “Civility” by James Calvin Davis. Cost to download leader guides and participant handouts is $15. 
  • Curated page of Civil Discourse resources from Reach and Teach, including some specifically for faith communities - older resources, less contemporary.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.