At the Renewal Conference 2017, we will provide the option of Open Space Technology (OST), a participant-driven process of creating together the programming. OST "opens the space" for participants to organize ourselves around the issues and opportunities we see as essential as we come together. Alongside the option to attend a pre-planned workshop offered by experts in their field, participants are also able to engage in a discussion, activity, spiritual practice, or exploration to offer to the wider community. These OST “offerings” are not necessarily determined beforehand, but arise more organically in the moment and are inspired by the shared context. In this way, the conference is responsive to the gifts, questions, and needs of the particular group that is gathered together at a particular moment.
We are heading into a very unknown time in our country. As religious professionals and social change agents, we have a need to renew, prepare, discuss, and create as a community. We have many questions and many different possible answers. This style of gathering provides a space in which we can come together and respond to what is most alive in us and in the communities we serve.
How does OST work?
There will be several blocks of time throughout the schedule in which participants at the conference can make, in OST language, “offerings” — workshops, discussions, spiritual practices, etc. These offerings will be announced at a “marketplace” at the beginning of each block of time in which the people making offerings can describe to the rest of the group their offering and the location it will be happening within. Having heard what the offerings are, people have the freedom to choose where they feel drawn to participate. In the mornings, there will be Open Space Worship for offerings such as spiritual practices, rituals, etc. In the afternoons, there will be Open Space Technology for workshops, discussions, activities, etc.
Guiding Principles of Open Space Technology
Whoever comes are the right people.
Whenever it starts is the right time and when it is over, it is over.
Wherever it is, is the right place.
Whatever happens is the only thing that could have, be prepared to be surprised!
We follow the Law of Mobility (participants able to move between several offerings).
What might this look like?
Examples of Possible Offerings: workshops, discussions, brainstorming, story circles, spiritual practices, etc!
Holding Space for Political Discourse in Congregations when you have Political Difference
Want to know more about the New Sanctuary Movement?
Spiritual Practice of Presence during Hard Times
Parenting and Ministry
Brene Brown’s “Power of Vulnerability” Ted Talk and Spiritual Leadership
Rituals of Grief and Lament
…. Your imagination here!
Open Space Technology is the platform, you bring the content.
Click here to learn more about the OST concept.
If you have an idea for an offering and would like to discuss it in advance, please email Beth Chronister (MDiv, 2016) at firstname.lastname@example.org