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Respectful Conversations Project

Respectful Conversations are structured, facilitated conversations designed not to change minds, but soften hearts. Congregations, educational institutions and community groups throughout Minnesota have chosen to be sources of living water, cooling the heat of intense disagreements in their communities through the Respectful Conversations Project. Since 2012, more than 3,000 Minnesotans have participated in over 100 Respectful Conversations on a variety of divisive topics, including:

  • The amendment defining marriage
  • Community policing
  • "Race" relations
  • Being in community together after the divisive election
  • Local impact of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians
  • Guns in Minnesota
  • Differences between urban and rural politicians' concerns
  • Internal concerns like budget management
  • Muslims and Christians on drone warfare

Our results speak for themselves: On average, 70% of participants report:

"I have a stronger sense of empathy for those whose viewpoint is different from my own."

Over 95% agree that:

  • They felt listened to
  • We succeeded in providing a conversation different than a polarizing debate
  • The process would be useful in other settings.

These conversations also pay off in lasting dividends. Months after their conversation experiences, people report:

  • Greater awareness of their own listening attitudes,
  • More curiosity about those they would previously have considered opponents
  • Transformed family relationships.

Experience these benefits for yourself. Find out how people in your community can talk about their differences in a way that stitches us together rather than tearing us apart.

  • If you would like to participate in a Respectful Conversation or hold a conversation for your own community, register here.
  • If you're interested in becoming a table facilitator, find out more here.
  • If you're a congregation or another organization interested in hosting a conversation, contact Program Director Rev. Jerad Morey, 612- 230-3211.

We also are regularly in partnership with current or new host congregations in regard to designing custom conversations tailored for topics of local relevance. To have a discussion about this option, contact Program Director Rev. Jerad Morey, 612- 230-3211.

We hope to have a Respectful Conversation with you soon.

Minnesota Council of Churches' Respectful Conversations Project is not affiliated with or other organizations outside of Minnesota using the same name.

Respectful Conversations Project discussion

Read Testimonials from previous hosts and participants.

Download a recording of a Respectful Conversations webinar.

Watch an entertaining but informative Respectful Conversations training video, led by The Theater of Public Policy.

Learn more about Respectful Conversations and our 2012 inaugural year:

Contact MCC to explore whether a Respectful Conversation is right for your congregation or organization.

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