Community life

Restoring Relationships

What churches can learn from restorative justice.
Restoring Relationships

Bruce Schenk is a Lutheran pastor and the director of Canada's International Institute for Restorative Practices. The IIRP is an internationally affiliated organization dedicated to education and research in restorative justice—an approach to community conflict that emphasizes relationships. Bruce has worked in the area for the past 15 years, using his skills in contexts ranging from incarcerated juvenile offenders to church congregational decisions.

Now, he's bringing what he's learned to a wider audience. His trainings have been sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada to better equip clergy and laity to foster healthy relationships and manage conflict.

I asked Tom Albright of Ripple Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania how Schenk's philosophy has impacted his congregation. "Shalom and reconciliation are the heart of the gospel," Albright said. "Restorative practices give us the tools to enact peace, redemption, reconciliation, and healthy ...

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