Our Chicago Local Network has been gathering this past year, centered on fostering deeper relationships through focused circle conversations. After planning the 2018 National Conference in our city, we felt the urge to get a quarterly network connection time started. We wanted to create deeper understanding around all of our CCD practitioner’s unique perspectives and work. We knew we lived in a very segregated city and realized that we also had much unshared history. For those reasons, we felt that a dedicated space for “story” and a time to be “with” each other, receiving each others stories would foster both deeper understanding and greater solidarity in our community development.
Our group has started small and is building depth through our story-telling focus. We have a conversation theme for each gathering and this past month’s theme was Orthopraxy. We met at Moody Bible Institute, hosted by CCDA member, professor Emanuel Padilla. Juanita Irizarry, former CCDA staffer and Executive Director of Friends of the Parks, was our guest facilitator for the evening. Conversation began centered around personal faith-based lifestyles and led into a deeper conversation around theology, dominant culture ways and the reality of October Pew Research Center numbers showing the growing number of “nones” within our U.S. Christian faith reality. It was a vibrant and honoring conversation, filled with passion and reality checks… the very purpose for our “lived experience” storytelling.
We plan to meet quarterly and keep the focus on “story” until the group discerns that it is time for a different focus. We are most grateful to those who have taken time to show up and share part of their life journey… their orthopraxy of living in beloved community!
PS – We always end our meetings by taking a group selfie, as our pictures document our time and are a good visual reminder of our evening stories. 🙂