LGBT Conflict Series: Mediating with True Believers

  "This is a previously recorded show. This show highlights the conflict in a church community where the religious beliefs of the elder population of the church and the growing LGBT population of the church began to divide the church into two factions. Community mediators worked closely with this community to open the dialogues for a deeper understanding."

Church congregations are not immune to conflict. Beth Padgett and Alexandria Skinner would argue that conflict is a sign of an active, engaged, and vital congregation. The question is not whether religious communities will have conflict, but how they will respond to it when it happens. Beth and Alexandria will discuss patterns of church conflict, as well as how mediators can invite clergy, staff and members into trans-formative conversations where firmly held beliefs are part of the conflict and its transformation.

Beth Padgett works as a civil and family mediator. She is the Executive Director of the Community Mediation Center in Columbia. Beth earned two degrees from the University of South Carolina, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Masters of Education. She also earned a Master of Arts in Human Behavior and Conflict Management from Columbia College. Beth has a background in education, mental health and addiction treatment services, domestic violence counseling, as well as curriculum and program development in these disciplines. Beth can be contacted at

Alexandria Skinner, a mediator in Columbia, South Carolina, focuses her practice on helping parties resolve conflict where future relationships are important, such as divorce and parenting, elder mediation, family businesses, and church congregational mediation. Alexandria, also an IACP certified collaborative divorce attorney, has completed graduate studies in ethics, which she also applies in helping parties understand and make decisions about how to respond to conflict. Alexandria views the most fundamental, basic ideals of mediation as being rooted in the same type of compassion and love that religious communities aspire to emulate in their relationships with one another. She volunteers at the Community Mediation Center (where Bethis Executive Director), serves as Co-Chair of the Program Committee of the Elder Section of the Association for Conflict Resolution, and also serves as Chair of the Peacemaking Committee for Trinity Presbytery (an affiliation of 86 Presbyterian churches in central South Carolina).

Click for more information Alexandria Skinner

Listener Assignment: Think of 3 people that you have a very differing opinion from or strong conflict tensions because of the clash in beliefs or values. Pick someone from work, family and church. Then, on a piece of paper, write their name and 10 things you have in common with them.

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