The Office of Government Relations has developed a Civil Discourse Curriculum designed for reflection, consideration, and discussion.
“The Civil Discourse Curriculum was created as a resource to help folks understand and practice civil discourse, particularly as it relates to discussion about politics, policy, and legislation, and why it is so important to living out our gospel call and solving the problems facing our communities, country, and the world,” said Alan Yarborough, communications coordinator of the office.
“We created the curriculum to be a five-week program so people can use it during Lent, but you can engage in it at any point throughout the year,” said the Rev. Shannon Kelly, officer for young adult and campus ministries. “Lent is a particularly good time to pause, read, reflect, and learn about the nature of civil discourse, how we can practice it, and why.”
The curriculum, written by the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations and the Formation Department and available for free, guides five weeks of discussions about politics, policy, and legislation, while strengthening our relationships with one another.
It encompasses five primary themes:
- Civil Discourse in Context: An Introduction
- Tenets for Civil Discourse
- Values-based Conversations
- Complexities of Policy
- Sacred Space for Debate
Each theme incudes instructions for group or forum leaders, and interactive components include opening and closing prayers, discussion questions, and various activities aimed at using group settings for entering into deeper reflection on the topics. Each week’s session also includes participant handouts and a leader’s guide. All material is available in a single document or in separate documents for leaders and participants by week.
A supplemental document, Voices from the Church, features leaders from around the Episcopal Church reflecting on the intersections of faith, politics, advocacy, and civil discourse. These short pieces are intended to serve as guiding words, inspiration, and examples of the many perspectives within the Episcopal Church.
The curriculum is designed for church groups, adult forums, campus ministries, and youth groups for ages 14 and older.
Adapted from the Office of Public Affairs