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  • Writer's pictureOwen Bubbers-Jones

Top Tips for Asking Your Diocese to Support Mediation

Making the Case for Mediation in Your Community

Developing a well prepared case for diocesan support is essential if you are to get what you need to support your community.

If you have determined that external help is necessary, then the chances are you’ve been dealing with this conflict or issue for some time.

Perhaps it’s been on the edge of your radar but now has suddenly taken centre stage and needs urgent action. Or alternatively you are exhausted with the struggle of hours spent trying to bring to individuals together who just don’t want to!

Here are 5 top tips for building a compelling case for diocesan support:

Tip #1: Never Assume Everyone Knows What Mediation Is

Don’t assume that key stakeholders understand mediation in detail.

We may all recognise the word, and many of us would naturally consider ourselves mediators, but that does not necessarily mean we know when and how it should be used to nip conflict in the bud.

The goal is that by the end of your submission every reader will have a basic understanding of:

· The process of mediation

· How it can best be used i.e. as a proactive tool

Freely share resources that go into mediation in more detail so that you are not having to do all the heavy lifting.

For example, the Civil Mediation Council provides a useful introduction to what mediation is, and the role of the mediator, on their website.

Having prepared the ground, you can now turn to the specifics of your circumstances.

Tip #2: Demonstrate You’re Already Doing All You Can

Although it may sound obvious, set out the steps you’ve already taken to try and resolve the conflict or issue yourself. This demonstrates your commitment to doing everything you can before requesting additional support.

Also, it provides a useful opportunity to reflect on whether there is anything else you can be doing to support the parties in the meantime.

Tip #3: Map the Costs

Document the current costs of the conflict or issue. Your readers need to understand and feel that this situation is unacceptably undermining your community – spiritually, emotionally and materially.

· How is it affecting the key protagonists?

· What damage is being done to broader communal relationships?

· What impact has this had on the vicar and/or leadership team? For example, has anyone had to take time off due to mental or physical health issues as a result?

· Challenge yourself to put a monetary figure on the conflict to the extent that you can – this will focus the readers’ mind

Also, tentatively yet honestly set out what you believe will be the future costs if this issue is not resolved in a timely manner. Back up your assertions with evidence as much as you can.

Once you have done this, contrast these costs with the approximate cost of a mediation process. A typical mediation process will consist of the following:

· Pre-mediation one-on-one conversations between the mediator and participants as well as with diocesan staff (c.30-60 minute calls with each party)

· A one day or two half-day mediation process (either in person or online)

· Post-mediation aftercare (c. 15-30 minute calls with each party at 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months post-mediation)

· Whilst a mediator’s fees vary in workplace mediation depending on various factors, the average is between £400-£1000 for the whole process

Set against the current and future costs of most conflicts or disputes, a mediator’s fees usually look rather reasonable – a prudent investment.

Tip #4: Emphasise the Benefits of Taking Action Now

Take ownership for spelling out the benefits of proactive, timely and effective action now.

Never leave it to your overly-busy readers to ‘connect the dots’! This is one of the most common mistakes made.

Possible benefits to consider if the conflict or issue is resolved effectively:

· Achieving the community’s core objectives as set out in its Vision document

· Improved physical and mental wellbeing of clergy and their families

· Effective collaboration and decision making within the leadership team

· Improved wellbeing of individual members of the leadership team

· Deepening mutual trust, goodwill and communication between clergy, leadership team and broader congregation

· Smooth planning of worship

· Attracting new members

· Overall enriching of the social fabric

· Less of the budget spent dealing with conflict and disagreement!

Tip #5: Spotlight the Broader Context

Having articulated your community’s needs, now briefly zoom out to the broader landscape of conflict in church communities.

The human impact of disputes is increasingly well documented and recognised as a major piece of work for the church. Feel free to link to independent research to add greater ballast to your case.

Develop Your Skills Further

If you’d like to more effectively communicate the process and benefits of mediation, including making the case to mediate, then sign up to this upcoming course hosted by Khuba. The skills and ways of thinking are equally relevant whether you are a pastoral supervisor or not!

Equipping Supervisees for Mediation: Supporting Pastoral Supervisors to Empower Supervisees

· Thursday 4th March - 0930-1230

· Thursday 13th May – 0930-1230

Please click here to book.


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