“If a facilitator does the job well, the members of the group will indeed feel deeply, think deeply and, in some instances, be inspired to discover new ways of being and relating. Mark Davis is such a skilled facilitator…”
– Brian Thorne, Emeritus Professor of Counselling, University of East Anglia, Chairman, Bishop’s Council, Anglican Diocese of Norwich
The size of group and the complexity of the issue to be explored or resolved mean that different kinds of approach or levels of expertise may be required. For groups both large and small, we have a number of suitably trained and experienced facilitators at our disposal, with previous experience including facilitating large conferences of over a hundred delegates; longer-term strategic development initiatives, as well as countless examples of small group work.
Every religious order has regular Chapter Meetings (every three to five years) where they review their activities, elect new leaders and plan for the future. In recent times they have invited someone from outside to facilitate these meetings – which commonly last between seven to ten days. Mark Davis is one of few lay people invited to facilitate these gatherings. His conversational approach has proved very helpful, particularly in situations where there was a significant divergence of opinion between participants.
Recent research into the life of parishes and local churches highlights a number of issues, which make planning for the future difficult to sustain. While the scarcity of available ministerial personnel is often a problem, there may also be underlying cultural factors working against growth and development. For example, assumptions about authority and legitimacy cloud potential solutions and these are not helped by the ‘cycles of disappointment’ that reflect earlier attempts to move forward. Our creation of inclusive, open conversations has proved highly effective in promoting positive change.
In every Christian denomination there is increasing interest in developing small groups within local Churches – some for the sharing and nurturing of faith, others for planning and decision-making. Small groups gathered for all kinds of religious purposes can be ‘life-giving’ but this is not always the case. Experience suggests that their value is highly dependent on how they are facilitated. In a variety of settings we have been designing and delivering training processes appropriate to the needs and aspirations of different groups.