Today we are excited to share a guest blog post from a former Peace Corps volunteer and current NWEI discussion course organizer who now lives in Traverse City, Michigan. Cheryl, who wrote the post below, recently convened two of Northwest Earth Institute’s discussion courses in her community.
“Today, the leaders who influence our faith and action are those who convene (or moderate or enable) the conversations that change our life…”
– from “Theology After Google” by Philip Clayton
As a very new Peace Corps volunteer, I attended a community planning meeting in the town of 5,000 that I was assigned to. As people brainstormed community needs, one woman said, “What this town needs is more leaders.” Did she mean what I thought she meant? –That leaders were something to be imported, like books, computers or construction equipment?
Yes, she did. I wasn’t really one to speak up at that point in my life, especially in a room full of people I didn’t know, in a language I could barely manage. But I was so taken aback that I managed to splutter, “But YOU are the leaders!”
I feel the same way when I hear someone say, “I wish someone would lead a group on sustainability, or energy or voluntary simplicity.” YOU are the leaders! It’s really easy to lead a discussion group based on the NWEI discussion guides. Just gather a few people, order the books, do the readings and talk! If you need more guidance on how to publicize the meeting, or any other aspect of hosting a group, the NWEI staff will help you. Real people actually read and answer your emails!
I just hosted two groups in Northern Michigan based on the Global Warming: Changing Course discussion course book. One group filled with 11 people after only one email was sent out and the other group was over-subscribed with 17 people. Of course, my primary audience was Unitarian Universalists as they are very inclined to be socially aware and active. (If you’re convening a group in your community, be sure to let the UU churches know. You’ll likely find interested participants there.)
People were very engaged in the discussions and we shared fears about climate change, doubts about our own ability to make a difference, but also hope. The groups are coalescing around action.
Be the person who convenes a conversation that will change lives! The NWEI discussion guides are perfectly suited to help you make it happen.