From Many, One: Conversations Across Difference

Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs
Posted Jan 11, 2021

Starting January 18 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), The Episcopal Church launches “From Many, One: Conversations Across Difference,” a campaign urging Episcopalians and our neighbors to engage in the spiritual practice of listening and honest conversation across the many differences that separate us, starting with four simple questions:

  1. What do you love?
  2. What have you lost?
  3. Where does it hurt?
  4. What do you dream?

Inspired by the Latin phrase on the U.S. seal – E Pluribus (“from many”) Unum (“one”) – the campaign is designed to offer a faithful perspective and time-tested practice for knitting deeply divided communities into a diverse, more perfect union. In a cultural moment shadowed by pandemic, fractious politics, and deep division within families, communities, and nations, Episcopalians can partner in simple ways to celebrate difference, listen with deep curiosity, and promote healing.

“I have never been more profoundly aware of the need for passionate and practical commitment to the way of unselfish, sacrificial love that Jesus taught,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said. “Conversations with others across difference is not just a nice thing to do. It is a spiritual practice of love in action. It’s how we reknit the fabric of our democracy and the human family of God.”

Listening, adapting, and leading in tense cultural times is deep in the Church’s DNA.

“From Many, One” is designed to be simple and transformative. It is geared toward individual people talking to other individuals, although congregations may join, too. Participants are encouraged to follow these steps:

  • Learn about The Four Questions and related wisdom at www.episcopalchurch.org/from-many-one
  • Watch videos of people modeling The Four Questions
  • Sign up and set a conversations goal
  • Have the conversation(s)
  • Pray for your partner
  • Contribute to the “From Many, One” story space with insights, video/audio highlights, a poem, prayer or image inspired by your conversation(s)
  • Check out partner efforts like Braver Angels: With Malice Toward None, Civil Discourse Course, Sacred Ground, and The People’s Inauguration
  • Join the Easter campaign celebration with a special online worship and sharing time

“We hope people understand this is only scratching the surface of the practice and learning that we’re called toward,” said Rev. Melanie Mullen, the church’s director of Reconciliation, Justice and Creation Care, one of the departments that collaborated to shape the campaign. “Our goal is to point people toward partner efforts that meet you where you are: for more simple conversation, further learning, deeper reckoning and/or action. More than that, we hope people see this as part of a life-long commitment to creating beloved community.”

For more information on the “From Many, One: Conversations Across Difference” campaign, contact the Rev. Canon Dr. Stephanie Spellers, canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation Care, sspellers@episcopalchurch.org or 212-716-6086, or Sarah Alphin, associate for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation Care, salphin@episcopalchurch.org or 212-716-6102.


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