Let’s heal our division: Join the conversation at the Milford Community Dinner & Dialogue

| 30 Mar 2022 | 02:50

To the Editor:

Polarization and division, particularly on social media, has been a source of concern in Milford and many communities across the country. In December of 2021, a group of Milford residents, community and faith leaders began to discuss strategies for creating greater unity in our community.

We believe people of differing beliefs can interact respectfully and hold true to their personal values without demonizing those with whom they disagree. We believe many in our community, who hold a wide range of beliefs, are dismayed by incivility that has caused hurt and harm.

We also believe that better communication and seeing and knowing our neighbors as people, rather than labels, is the key to creating unity. It has been said that “change moves at the speed of trust”.

If we want to change the divisiveness we have seen in recent years, we need to build greater trust amongst ourselves. We need to realize how much we have in common rather than focus on where we differ.

Toward that end, we are organizing a potluck and prepared dinner and dialogue event for people in our community to come together to listen to and talk with each other

The tables at the dinner will be in groups of six to eight, ideally seating people with others they do not know or with whom they know they have differences. Each table will have a trained volunteer facilitator to help guide a productive conversation.

We would like to invite you to participate on, or your organization to designate a representative to serve on, the Coordinating Committee for the Milford Community Dinner & Dialogue.

Coordinating Committee members will help:

● Set the date and identify venue(s)

● Define the format of the dialogue

● Identify folks to bring potluck and/or kitchens for dinner prep

● Recruit and help train volunteer facilitators

● Publicity and promotion

● Invite people to participate

The first meeting of the Coordinating Committee, to address the tasks listed above, will be on Thursday, April 14, at 10 a.m. at the Milford Borough Hall, 109 West Catharine Street. Thank you and we hope you will be able to join us in this important endeavor.

If you are able to participate on the Coordinating Committee, please email MilfordDinners@gmail.com or contact any of the below-signed.

The Rev. Van A. Bankston, Rector, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church

The Rev. Darrell Berger (Unitarian Universalist)

Rabbi Johanan Bickhardt, Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms

Lisa Emery

The Rev. Dr. Herbert Jacobsen, Pastor, The Church at Hemlock Farms

The Rev. Jennifer Lovallo, United Milford Methodist Church

The Rev. Joseph Manarchuck, Pastor of the Churches of St. Patrick and St. Joseph

Linda and Ralph Pinto

Jim Snodgrass, Ecumenical Food Pantry of Pike County

Mayor Sean Strub and Javier Morales