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Creating Brave Spaces To Build Trust And Connection

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Jonathan Hayden

Jonathan Hayden

Director of Operations, Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center

In this week’s Town Hall, Rev. Jen Bailey joined in conversation with Dave Hillis and Cornelius Williams to talk about creating brave spaces for difficult conversations. Rev. Bailey shared the work of the Faith Matters Network where she and her team work to build trust and connection across differences. She spoke about how relationships move at the speed of trust and social change moves at the speed of relationships, and the importance of repairing the breach.  

Oliver Richmond, President of Kingdom Partners, the Local Leadership Foundation in Chattanooga, TN then joined to talk about the work he and his team are doing to engage churches, businesses, and other sectors to work together to serve Chattanooga. 

Town Hall Notes: 
Cornelius and Dave review some of the principles that help to guide Leadership Foundations, especially St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Way of Proceeding. This allowed for St. Ignatius to send people out on mission throughout the world and provided them the freedom they needed to respond to the work of the Holy Spirit in a particular context. Likewise, Leadership Foundations is exploring a Way Of Proceeding for its network.
Rev. Jen Bailey, Founder and Executive Director of Faith Matters Network (18:40) discusses the project she has been working on since 2016. The project is The People Suffer. The idea is to invite people who come from different backgrounds to share a meal and discuss how to create places of feeling welcome and places of welcoming others. The focus is to help diverse people build relationships and trust in order to work with each other and transform their communities.
Rev. Bailey answers questions from the audience (40:45) about the Daring Compassion Chaplaincy Program.
Oliver Richmond, Kingdom Partners, Leadership Foundations in Chatanooga, TN is introduced (47:13). Kingdom Partners began as a group of African American pastors coming together to strengthen their churches and increase community involvement. The work they were doing attracted the attention of a local foundation and wanted Kingdom Partners to find a way to get African American, Latino, and White pastors to start working together in the community. After training, this multi-cultural group embraced government, education, and business and went from being a church-focused group to an organization that started group initiatives within the community and later joined Leadership Foundations.

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Celia Vigil

Communications Fellow

What book, movie, quote, or tv show has most shaped your understanding of leadership or the city?   

A quote that has shaped my understanding of leadership and the city is, “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

While the amount of work there is to do to transform cities is great, this quote reminds me that we are freed from having to complete it all, though our obligation to continue remains. We may never see a huge transformation in our lifetime. The work stretches far beyond us. However, this does not make our acts of faithfulness in the day to day less significant, no matter how small they may seem.