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Creating one small plot of heaven: 49 ingredients for building trust in community

Acting in Faith  |  By Lucy Duncan, Jun 20, 2013
HROC Participants in Peace Village, Burundi

HROC Participants in Peace Village, Burundi

Photo: AFSC / Lucy Duncan

Note: Madeline Schaefer, Aarati Kasturirangan, and I attended a Healing and Rebuilding our Communities (HROC) workshop in Baltimore in May. This is the second of three posts about aspects of the workshop.

What is needed to build trust in community? After the HROC participants discussed healing from trauma and trust and mistrust, we set about to answer this question in small groups, and then reported back to each other.

As a whole group, we built a list of 49 qualities and practices needed to build trust in community.

I looked at this list and thought that these are the ingredients for creating one small plot of heaven—not one in which there is no conflict, but a community that is based on love.

Are there any qualities/practices that we didn’t include? What would you add? – Lucy

  • Don’t try to live ahead of your stage of evolution
  • Be consistent
  • Create commonly understood expectations
  • Foster good communication
  • Provide opportunities for input
  • Establish common goals
  • Work together
  • Share experiences
  • Share and discuss values
  • Provide opportunities for dialogue
  • Open spaces for telling stories
  • Listen, listen, listen
  • Promote self-reflection
  • Take time to know yourself
  • Teach techniques for conflict resolution
  • Create a climate of self-care
  • Validate people’s experiences
  • Be aware of your own weaknesses and limitations
  • Be aware of your strengths
  • Provide times to play with one another
  • Create small groups for intimacy and connection
  • Make spaces to gather together by identity to share perspectives
  • Provide elements of choice
  • Make opportunities for people to contribute their gifts
  • Recognize people’s gifts
  • Create porous, but clear, boundaries
  • Name the injustice we have perpetrated
  • Be who you say you want to be
  • Share responsibility for what needs to get done
  • Celebrate
  • Create ceremonies/rituals
  • Address the needs in the community
  • See the needs of others, address those needs
  • Practice the values you share
  • Practice faith
  • Practice patience
  • Be brave
  • Sing and dance
  • Take time for a personal spiritual practice
  • Be slow, careful, intentional
  • Share food
  • Understand a hurt person’s limitation to respond
  • Take responsibility for your actions
  • Practice courage
  • Trust yourself
  • Work to help conflicting parties find common ground
  • Practice healing before forgiveness
  • Understand the historical context
  • Be warriors of the heart

About the Author

Lucy serves as Director of Friends Relations for AFSC. She has been a storyteller for 20 years and has worked with Quaker meetings on telling stories for racial justice and of spiritual experience. Before working for AFSC, she was Director of Communications at FGC, managed QuakerBooks of FGC, and owned and managed her own children's bookstore in Omaha, The Story Monkey. She attends Green Street Friends Meeting (PhYM) and lives with her son and partner in a Quaker cemetery.

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About Friends Relations

Lucy Duncan and Greg Elliott work together and with other AFSC staff to foster strong relationships between AFSC and Quakers.

Lucy is AFSC’s Director of Friends Relations. She has been a storyteller for 20 years and has worked with Quaker meetings on telling stories for racial justice and of spiritual experience. She attends Green Street Friends Meeting (PhYM) and lives with her son and partner in a Quaker cemetery.

Greg is the Friends Relations Associate. He grew attending North Branch Monthly Meeting in the Poconos of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Greg currently lives in the Germantown section of Philadelphia.