Eleven reconcilers-in-training at Princeton University grouped together for an Encounter programme facilitated by RCF staff on their campus this week.
Working in a carefully facilitated space, the group took on difficult and conflicted topics, including Israel/Palestine, pro-life/pro-choice, and transgender athletes. Participants were encouraged to bring their faiths and traditions into the space. This enriched the time with Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, agnostic and Christian perspectives on challenging issues.
Each day began with Scriptural Reasoning before a deep-dive into the skills and tools of conflict transformation. After lunch each day, participants deepened their personal connections on 1-on-1 walks. Phoebe Dill, RCF Programme Coordinator, commented: “this phenomenal group of leaders are all genuinely such natural reconcilers – and as well as their own individual capabilities, they have such great plans for campus and what Rose Castle Society could do!”
Every participant felt they had built deeper relationships as a result of the programme. Participants fed back that they had “become aware of the possibilities and practicability of reconciliation”. They also noted that the week gave them “hope, tools, and a deeper awareness of the reason and dignity of the other side”.
Participants also said they learned more about themselves and felt they could be strong reconcilers in their communities as a result. One participant shared their biggest takeaway: “reconciliation is possible. There is hope”.
The Encounter programme is a key part of the Rose Way. It is designed to bring together individuals across divides, to explore some of the skills and tools for effective and sustainable reconciliation, to equip those individuals and to inspire them for the long-term change that they can make in their communities and spheres of influence. Encounter is all about relationship building, hospitality and skill development – while encouraging each individual to reflect on the skills, habits, and strengths of their own characters that they can bring to the table.
Now, the group of reconcilers continues training on campus, testing innovative methods for negotiating deeply divisive issues through carefully coordinated spaces facilitated with the support of Princeton’s Chaplaincy and Office of Religious Life. The group has been onboarded to RCF’s online global reconciler network, Rose Reconcilers, and is preparing to welcome a new cohort of trainees in the autumn.