Hosting a Respectful ConversationTM

Respectful ConversationsTM host organizations have reported multiple benefits from the experience.

  • A sense of achievement and increased morale

  • Establishing a brand of community engagement and peace building

  • Energized membership ready to move forward

  • A sense of calm in the community when addressing the conflict

  • More confidence to constructively manage future conflict

  • Relationships with new people

What does it look like?

Over a period of six weeks the host organization and Respectful ConversationsTM refine the topic and questions that best facilitate empathy-building around it. One week before the conversation volunteers from the host site are trained to be table facilitators. Then the conversation itself is held, beginning with a meal around small tables, casual interaction, agreement to ground rules and a mix of structured and unstructured interaction in small groups, supported by lead and table facilitators. During a time of open sharing evaluations are handed out and, some months afterward, another evaluation is sent to participants.

What is expected of the host?

Every conversation is a partnership between Minnesota Council of Churches, a host organization, and a lead facilitator. The host provides:

  • Space for the conversation

  • Volunteers to train as table facilitators

  • Heavy refreshments during the table facilitator training

  • A meal during the Conversation event itself

  • Audio/Video equipment to support the training and conversation

  • Engagement with MCC staff or a lead facilitator as the topic is refined

  • A fee based on the anticipated number of participants

What is expected of Minnesota Council of Churches?

  • Experienced guidance on crafting the topic and questions

  • A well-trained lead facilitator

  • Materials, curriculum and staffing for the table facilitator training

  • A training for volunteers in an evidence-based proven empathy building structure

  • Event registration

  • Event publicity in the form of press releases and invitations to congregations if desired

  • A facilitated conversation structure informed by thorough evaluation

  • Staffing for the conversation to hold the space and support table facilitators

  • Evaluation data and a summary report on the conversation for use as the host sees fit


To learn more about hosting a Respectful Conversation, contact Jerad Morey.


Table Facilitators


You can help create a culture of respect in Minnesota by volunteering to become a table facilitator in the Respectful Conversations Project. Receive three hours of free training in skills that will help your community talk across differences while strengthening relationships.


Table facilitators are needed at conversations around the state. Conversations are highly structured and facilitated. Each three-hour conversation is led by a team that includes a lead facilitator and one table facilitator for every 6 or 7 participants.


Table facilitators ensure a respectful process by:


  • Providing table hospitality.

  • Reviewing agreements with participants for how conversations will be conducted.

  • Assisting the group to follow the prescribed format.

  • Remaining neutral in the conversation by not sharing their own opinions.


Regional training sessions are provided to prepare table facilitators to fulfill this role. Those trained may be asked to facilitate at several events (as schedules permit), but no prior commitment is required.

Interested? Contact Senior Program Manager Jerad Morey, 612-230-3211.