Healthy Communication Workshops September 14, 21, 28

TO REGISTER: simply come to the church at 9:20 AM on the day of the workshop or if there is time, you can email or call 802-765-4585. Please give your name, phone number and the dates of the sessions you plan to attend (Sept. 14, 21, 28 or all three)You can see the agenda for each workshop below.  You do not have to attend one of the first two to gain the full benefit of the 28th.


Families, organizations, towns and nations can be torn apart by uncaring or unskilled communication in times of conflict or stress.  This does not have to happen.  We can learn how to communicate in difficult situations so that instead of being divided our community becomes closer and stronger.

American society is painfully divided today, and that polarization combined with increasing financial and environmental stresses threaten our families and local communities.  Strafford faces major decisions as our demographics and culture change in ways that challenge local organizations, the school and town.  Strafford’s health and resilience in hard situations in years to come will depend on our being skilled in healthy, community-building communication.

We are excited to announce a series of three Healthy Communication workshops on Saturdays in September, the 14th, 21st and 28th from 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM.  The workshops are open to anyone who is interested.  The $10 fee for each workshop can be paid when you arrive, and can be waived for Strafford residents upon request, no questions asked—we want everyone in town to be able to attend.  Lunch and printed materials will be provided at no additional cost.

The workshops will start with registration and refreshments at 9:15 AM, followed by presentations and interactive learning from 9:30 AM until 2:00 PM at the United Church of Strafford, Vermont, Parish Hall on the common in the upper village.

Please pre-register to guarantee we have enough food and hand-outs, although same-day registration will be accepted as well.

DONATIONS are more than welcome to keep registration fees low. Please make all checks out to the United Church of Strafford.

If you have any problems or questions, please email us at: or call our church office at 802-765-4585 and leave a message.

Workshop leader Nancy Permenter Brown, MSW has been conducting workshops in this field for twenty years for churches, schools, nonprofits and parents. She has been trained in a number of methods of conflict resolution and mediation. Her extensive experience in working with congregations, communities and families has helped her refine these tools to be effective in a variety of situations and settings.  She is based in the Concord, NH area and has worked in several Upper Valley towns.

The workshops will cover the following topics:

September 14:

The first session will provide a foundation for the following workshops, offering help with:

  • understanding human systems of relationships;
  • recognizing the importance of belonging;
  • acknowledging and handling mistakes;
  • understanding the nature of conflict;
  • recognizing and handling the emotions that conflict generates;
  • understanding and managing anger;
  • learning a Conflict Transformation Model.

September 21:

This second workshop will continue to explore the Conflict Transformation Model and build skills in:

  • reflecting on what is happening in challenging encounters;
  • taking perspective on the situation;
  • avoiding common potholes where conversations get in trouble and conflicts escalate;
  • practicing caring communication;
  • practicing deep, compassionate listening;
  • speaking to be understood;
  • addressing the problem;
  • using the all important phrase, “and next time…”
  • a brief introduction to the circle process that is the main topic of the next workshop

September 28:

The third workshop will begin with a review of conflict resolution and caring communication and then provide training in the Circle Process that has been developed by the Restorative Justice movement and other organizations working on conflict resolution and peace making.  It has been used successfully to address difficult issues, bridge differences, heal divisions and build closer communities by many towns and institutions in the Upper Valley and across the country.  Our hope is that Strafford can become one of those towns.

This third workshop will end by emphasizing the importance of forgiveness in accepting differences and resolving conflicts.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote a book about the South African process of reconciliation after apartheid entitled “No Future Without Forgiveness.”  He and others have written about how we can move toward forgiveness of others and ourselves, freeing us to experience greater peace and become stronger as individuals and a community.  We will look briefly at these models and skills.


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