“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
James Baldwin In working groups where people are committed to the outcome, there is a potential for conflict. Some people are uneasy with conflict and try to avoid it, but the avoidance of conflict within a group is not necessarily a sound goal. It is important to remember that the absence of conflict in groups may not be a sign of peace, sometimes it is an indication of indifference. As the Parish Pastoral Council or other parish group undertakes some work, it may be beneficial to consider what potential conflicts are present. By recognizing these, the Parish Council or other parish group will be able to deal with the conflicts in constructive ways and be able use the group’s time to address the essential issues.
Sources of Tension within the Individual
Sometimes individuals are reluctant to critique things that involve their faith or parish. They have a sense that if they say that things are not perfect, then in some way they are being disloyal.
This worry about being or appearing to be disloyal may inhibit them from making an important observation about circumstances in the parish.
Sources of Tension within Groups
Differences within the Parish Council and other parish groups are always present, and may seem insignificant until the group is asked to evaluate a situation, make choices or determine a course of action. These tasks often raise the level of tension within the group. The information gathering, goal setting and assessing phases of planning are times that require members of a group to take a position and this is when differences may present a challenge to the workings of the group.
Groups charged with taking action have members with different experiences of working on similar projects. People draw on their experiences to decide what actions to take. In terms of the dynamics of groups, it is healthy to acknowledge these differences and work in constructive ways to resolve them. The members of the Parish Council and other parish groups should not be distressed by these differences. They are the result of people with a shared mission, but with different knowledge and experiences, working together. It is important to remember that the natural tension in groups often produces a more creative environment.
Creative Tension: Making Peace with Imperfection
As the Parish Council or other parish working groups consider the actions taken or that need to be taken, they may come to see that there is a gap between the present state of the parish and the desired state. It is important that everyone remember that all parish activities are imperfect processes and not to become discouraged.
3 Step Process for Parish Change!