NEW ASD Program: Difficult Conversations. RSVPs Needed


The USG Adult Spiritual Development Program is initiating a series of conversations around topics that are often divisive and which many people are hesitant to broach.

ASD Difficult Conversations will be structured and moderated to allow all participants opportunity to express their positions or ideas as well as the chance to hear the positions or ideas of those with whom they may disagree, all in a setting that is non-confrontational, encourages candor and ensures mutual respect. The goal of the conversations will not be to convince or persuade anyone but simply to allow us all to understand what views others hold and why.

The first topic of our Difficult Conversations will be abortion. Abortion is an issue that has been dividing our society for decades and continues to be a highly contentious issue today. In addition, it has deep moral and ethical dimensions that bring it into the realm of our personal spiritual lives. Many people who have come to decisions about where they stand on abortion still have some misgivings or doubts.

You are invited to a structured conversation about abortion in which you will have a chance to state your position and beliefs in a setting where you will not be challenged, contradicted or questioned. You will also get to hear the positions and beliefs of other participants. All will then have a chance to respond to what they have heard, ask clarifying questions and enter into a conversation that is respectful and open. There is no intent to reach consensus or change minds but simply to earnestly listen to each other in order to understand and be understood.

The conversation will last about two hours and will be facilitated by Gerry Whelan who has previously led three such discussions with diverse groups. Group size will be limited to twelve people. The initial session of Difficult Conversations on Abortion has filled. Unfortunately, not all those expressing interest were able to be accommodated. However, if there are enough people who would still like to participate, another session could be scheduled. If you are interested or have questions, contact Gerry at