By Rev. Howard Ullery
Relationships are fundamental in life; all life is connected. At the same time, conflict is natural. We have different perspectives, experiences and interests. Resolving conflicts and maintaining healthy relationships are a challenge in living. Recognizing these realities and responding to the need, the people of the Lacey Community Church, a dually aligned congregation of the Northwest Regional Christian Church, partner with the Dispute Resolution Center of Thurston County to help provide mediation services for people of our larger community. Mediation in this context is an empowering process. Trained mediators facilitate conversations between people in conflict helping them to name critical issues, develop creative solutions and form effective agreements. Not all mediations are successful, but far more often, they provide mutually satisfying results that defuse tensions and enhance relationships.
The major contribution of the LCC congregation is providing use of our building for extensive mediator training and mediation sessions. Sharing our building is a way to encourage ministry that meets a need and makes life better for our neighbors. In the process, several members of the congregation have become mediators and all have gained insights about reconciling differences.
Unity and peace represent core values for the LCC congregation; in our understanding, these values are ingrained in our denominational identity and grounded in the gospel message. Reconciliation and restoration of relationship, then, are central to living in community and living in faith. Facilitating mediation is an expression of faithfulness and love which we are honored to share.