What does it mean when we say, “We’re calling a circle?” In the context of restorative practices I take it to mean that we are clearing a space where community can enter. It may or it may not choose to do so. But sitting in circle is the best we’ve got to silence the din and distraction of daily life and risk finding out that beneath whatever differences we may have on the surface we are connected deeply by what we have in common. Authentic community is rare and it is safe. It is the opposite of that place we mostly inhabit filled with masks, anxiety, invisibility, power and imbalance. Circles done well open a place for empathy, respect, empowerment, and direct communication for authentic ‘human being.’ Restorative circles are used for sentencing, for reconciliation, for healing, for celebration, for talking and for educating.
A small group of folks are visiting Sioux Falls from Brookings over their Spring Break. They have visited the prisons, the food ministries and shelters and many other ministries of social justice. Some of us from Restore talked with them at lunch today about restorative justice and restorative practices. “How can mere storytelling be so powerful?”
I believe we learn by doing. Thursday evening we’re going to hold a teaching/learning circle. What is justice? What is vengeance? What is reconciliation? How are we connected to them? How are we connected through them?
We are inviting all who are interested in learning how circles work, who want to honestly and fearlessly explore a difficult yet personal subject to join us. Although it is short notice, we decided that it is much better to learn by doing than learn by risking nothing.
Learn with us tomorrow evening from 6:30 pm to 8:30pm at East Side Lutheran Church (located at 1300 E. 10th St—near northeast corner of Cliff and 10th).
There is no charge; we just thought it was a good idea. And as the wise ones say, whoever comes are the right ones.
John Gehm, Director
1300 E. 10th St.
Sioux Falls, SD 57103