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General News · 4th August 2010
Noba Anderson
Healing the rift & finding solutions to support our essential community halls

(For formatted version that went into mailboxes see attachment)

The process around how to support our community halls has produced as much conflict as answers. There are reports of old friends that are not speaking because of it. We need to try another method of gathering and communicating that allows everyone to propose options and be respectfully heard saying whatever they need to say. We have an island of immensely creative and caring people. Let's take advantage of that. One method that is being used in conflicted situations is called ‘Open Space’ and the island is being asked to come together Saturday August 14th to see what options we can come up with in a respectful space. John Anderson, 7 year resident of Cortes, is an open space facilitator and will be facilitating this day.

A draft bylaw is now before the community for comment (see attached). However, there are many options including, but not limited to, taxation. Regardless of the outcome of this issue, we need to break this pattern of dysfunctional communication and move into one that is more constructive and kind. These are really important issues that need our thoughtful attention and resolution.

Mainly, Open Space consists of taking responsibility for bringing up whatever you think is important and listening respectfully to the responses of others. There is only one law in Open Space. It is counter to everything we have been taught. It is called the Law of Two Feet. In order to support the success of this process, you are asked to take responsibility for your presence in whatever conversation you choose. If you find at some point that you are not getting or giving anything further to a conversation, politely excuse yourself and move to another conversation. The law of two feet keeps anyone from dominating or abusing a conversation. (If someone won't let anyone else talk, everyone eventually gets up and leaves.) There are four principles in Open Space. Whoever comes are the right people, whatever happens is the only thing that could have, it starts when it starts and it’s over when it’s over. The goal of all these is simple, to let go of all distracting mental chatter such as “the wrong people are here, we're starting late, we're not talking about the right thing, etc.

When Open Space begins, you are invited to host a conversation, participate in a conversation, or move from one conversation to another without even sitting down. Whatever works for you works for Open Space as long as you are bringing your passion and your respect for this community. Someone will agree to take notes in each conversation. Afterwards, all those notes will be gathered into a document so that everyone can read about what everyone else felt was important and why they thought so. We'll have a week for everyone to read that and then a second gathering to see what we want to move forward on and set that in motion.

If you ask to host a conversation and no one attends, you may be seeing something that no one else does. You can spend the time writing notes about exactly why you feel that idea is important. Those notes go into the final document just like the rest. So, the bottom line is, it is completely up to you to have your idea included.

So please come. Bring a topic or more that you feel is important. It may have been addressed a hundred times before or not at all. If it has been addressed before, how does it get stuck? How could it be considered in a new way? Nobody said that change would be easy. You didn't get here by accident. You care deeply about this place and its way of life. Just come, and be prepared to be surprised by what can be accomplished in a short time when we work together.

10:00 am to 1:30 pm & 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
If you can’t stay all day please come for the morning session.

Some lunch provided – bring your own snack
On-site child care by donation

Signed: John Anderson, Noba Anderson, Paul Brewer, Daniel Fretts, Lovena Harvey, Jenny Hiebert, Bertha Jeffery, Rod Lee, Wendy Legare, Chris Napper, Ralph Nursall, Don Percy, Norberto Rodriguez de la Vega, David Rousseau, Kristen Scholfield-Sweet, Ester Strijbos, Bill Wheeler