An Experiment in Civil Dialogue in a Clinical Pastoral Education Group at Caromont Regional Medical Center, Gastonia, North Carolina
Stephen Allen Lemons
An Experiment in Civil Dialogue... was designed to create a setting for civil dialogue concerning homosexuality and Christian faith. The seven-week process involved eight daylong sessions with eight Clinical Pastoral Education students. Sessions focused on a study of biblical passages regarding homosexuality. Passages were examined from a traditional and progressive viewpoint. Six guests presented from a traditional or progressive viewpoint. Participants wrote verbatims and theological integration papers focusing on pastoral care to LGBT persons/families. Research methods included focus and control group and quantitative-qualitative research. Interviews, surveys and written reflections attest that the group maintained civil dialogue throughout the process. The group came to better understand and appreciate those who held views on homosexuality that were different from their own. The participants recommended using a similar form of group process in churches.