FaithCARE

What Is FaithCARE?

FaithCARE (Faith Communities Affirming Restorative Experiences) is a non-denominational service offered to churches to: build community, nurture healthy relationships, address conflict, tensions and harm through open and honest conversations, develop respect for differences and foster accountability. Faith-CARE is committed to assisting congregations in respecting differences in a way whereby healthy relationships can be built and conflict is experienced as a creative and transformative force.

FaithCARE offers Restorative Practice to meet each congregation’s particular needs:   

  1. When there is conflict, the focus is on changing the conversation from a confrontational,   adversarial, blaming situation to one which enables everyone’s voice to be heard with the focus on talking about what is happening, who is affected and how, and how to move forward and make things right as needed.
  • As an ongoing practice to become more restorative as a congregation, by offering workshops and other educational opportunities about the fundamentals of restorative practice and its application to congregational life. 
  • For discernment and direction-setting, through integrating circles and other restorative pro-cesses. These give church members voice in ways that are heard and respected regarding key decisions about congregational life, programs and future direction.

FaithCARE is a non-profit consortium of facilitators who are highly experienced restorative practice professionals from a variety of Christian denominations and include therapists, congregational change specialists, pastors and educators. Bill Bickle and Bruce Schenk are the licensed FaithCARE facilitators working with Chalmers United Church in Kingston.  

The Process

Reference Team: FaithCARE’s work with a congregation starts with the establishment of a Reference Team, a group of 5-6 people that provides input and direction for the restorative work through collaboration to:

  • Accompany the FaithCARE facilitators in designing, implementing, and modeling a restora-tive response to conflict and other needs for healing, restoration and moving forward
  • Assist facilitators in gathering data, assessing the level of conflict, and developing appropriate recommendations as a response to the conflict or harm that has occurred
  • Communicate with the governing body/decision makers of the congregation with regard to budget and timelines for the restorative responses, and further restorative processes that might be appropriate for the congregation
  • Make strong connections with those who are part of the process so that they realize it is congregationally driven although facilitated by outside professionals

If you have any questions about the sessions, about FaithCARE, or about Restorative Practice more broadly, Bruce & Bill have agreed to field your questions directly. They can be reached at bruceaschenk@gmail.com or bill@fordelm.com.