June 26, 2012 by Sarah M
// By Maggie Kane //
WINDOM — Richfield Lutheran Church will host a conversation on the evening of June 27 about the proposed state constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
The Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC), a 24-member group representing protestant and orthodox judiciaries, sponsors the event as part of their Respectful Conversations project. The initiative consists of a series of statewide gatherings where community members discuss the amendment.
“It’s not designed as a debate,” said Gail Anderson, director of unity and relationships for the MCC. “It’s not designed to change anybody’s mind.”
The MCC divides attendees into small groups. After sharing a meal together, a facilitator in each section poses questions about the amendment for each group member to answer in brief while the others listen.
After several rounds of questions, people have the opportunity to ask one another specific questions based on what has been said so far in the discussion. The whole process takes roughly 3 hours, Anderson said.
Anderson said past events have overwhelmingly attracted guests opposed to the amendment. The MCC has been doing intentional outreach to churches in an attempt to even out the balance. While past attendees appreciated learning about why others share their viewpoint, they wanted to hear from more people who favor the amendment, she said.
“The purpose of doing the conversation is to change how we go about making these kinds of decisions,” Anderson said. “It’s much more complex and nuanced and rich in conversation than a simple yes or no.”
Although the event takes place at a church, people from all faith traditions, as well as those who have no religious affiliations, may attend. Participants must register in advance through the MCC website or by phone. The meeting runs from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.