Posted: Apr 16, 2022 10:00 AM
The CH Booth Library is planning its next community conversations program, “A Discussion of Religion and Race”.
The second in an ongoing series is scheduled for Monday, April 25, at 6 p.m. in the Library Meeting Room, 25 Main Street.
This session will feature religious leaders from Newtown, including Reverend Andrea Wyatt, Trinity Episcopal Church; Reverend ME Kristen Provost Switzer, Newtown Congregational Church; Pastor Rob Morris, Christ the King Lutheran Church; and Deacon Michael P. Ronan, St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church; and John Woodall, Baha’i Faith and author, Racism as a disease in the cure of racism: the role of education. Additional guests may be added to the panel.
A community dialogue is a facilitated discussion that provides an opportunity for individuals to discuss community issues, challenges and aspirations. In thousands of communities across the country, these dialogues have helped people understand their own feelings and those of their neighbors about themselves, each other and various issues.
Community dialogues allow for meaningful feedback from residents. Conversations often revolve around improving community services for ethnically, economically and geographically underserved and underrepresented audiences.
Community dialogues help to better connect local organizations with potential future partners who have common interests.
Community dialogues are not about leaving the room with a to-do list and answers to all questions. It’s about discussing topics and issues in an inclusive and uninhibited environment with community representatives and stakeholders. The organizers offer some guiding principles below.
The focus is on bringing new partners and new voices together in conversations and connecting groups that are not usually in the same place. Representative panelists will vary and come from groups such as educators, local government, chamber of commerce members and professional organizations, representatives of traditionally underserved/underrepresented groups, engagement groups, clubs, the interfaith community, neighborhood associations, parent groups, social service groups, and local media.
The local series kicked off in February when community leaders participated in a panel discussion titled “Race: More Than A Conversation,” hosted by CH Booth Library and Newtown Public Schools.
Guiding principles and ground rules for CHB Community Conversations include:
*Everyone participates, no one dominates.
*There are no right answers. There are no wrong answers.
*Keep an open mind. Listen carefully and try to understand the points of view of those who disagree with you.
* Help keep the discussion on track. Stick to the questions, try not to ramble.
* It’s OK to disagree, but don’t be disagreeable.
*Have fun. It’s not a chore, it’s an opportunity.
Part of CH Booth Library’s mission is to raise the level of civil discourse in our community.
Registration is required for community conversations.
Although the April 25 program is currently scheduled in the library’s lower meeting room, organizers said it could be moved to a larger venue if capacity exceeds what the meeting room allows. Updated location information will be provided to those who register.
Local faith leaders planning to participate in “A Discussion of Religion and Race” include, clockwise from top left, Reverend Kristen Provost Switzer, Deacon Michael Ronan, Reverend Andrea Castner Wyatt, John Woodall and Pastor Rob Morris.