Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles ( Los Angeles, CA)

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The Challenge

The Bishop of the Los Angeles Diocese contacted Terrence Roberts Consulting to help address an issue that had, over the course of several months, boiled over and become distractingly contentious in one of the Episcopal area churches. The senior pastor at the area church had made a series of decisions that had a direct impact on both the church leadership, and the congregation as a whole. As a result, the church had become essentially divided into two factions; those who supported the senior pastor, and those who didn’t. The rift within the church was causing overwhelming distraction and was brewing conflict within the congregation.

The Solution

Approaching the engagement, Terrence Roberts Consulting employed both a conflict resolution strategy, and a human behavior and communications strategy to alleviate the contention and solve the problems that the church was having. Meeting with leaders of both groups, both individually and collectively, and attending Sunday services to observe the manifestations of the underlying conflict in real scenarios, Terrence Roberts Consulting developed a strategy to come to a mutually agreeable solution and resolve the conflict. Both parties were given comprehensive debriefs of the other’s motivations, instances of miscommunication turning into farce disagreement, and a reaffirming of the church’s overall mission statement and the goals of the congregation and the pastor as well.

The Outcome & Key Takeaways

With the newly discovered information, and corresponding coping and communication strategy, the church was able to reunite as one body, and remains conflict free to this day. The important takeaway from the engagement was that conflict resolution in houses of worship, where subjectivity and spiritual disposition can lead to disagreement and hyper-emotional reaction can help strengthen the congregation and church leadership. Conflict resolution as a precise science and practice in human behavior and communication can provide a set of tools for houses of worship to facilitate self-discovery, and give members insights about how to avoid future dilemmas where disagreement turns to conflict.