On Thursday night, four congregations in Golden Valley, New Hope and Robbinsdale with gather with the Minnesota Council of Churches to engage residents in conversations about Minnesota's same-sex marriage amendment.
Through a program called Respectful Conversations, some church leaders hope to discuss the impacts of the amendment in a peaceful way. The is free and open to the public, and will start at 6 p.m.
"These are not advocacy conversations," said Jerad Morey, program coordinator for the Minnesota Council of Churches. "We are not focused on changing people's minds, but want to soften their hearts."
The Respectful Conversations Project was created by the Minnesota Council of Churches as a way to allow people to talk about Minnesota's same-sex marriage amendment without causing fights. Discussions will be held at churches throughout Minnesota every week until Oct. 21.
"The day after the elections in November, no matter what happens, we are still going to all be neighbors," Morey said. "We want churches to be a source of peace, not a source of anger."
At the discussion taking place at Valley of the Peace Lutheran Church, residents and pastors will begin the session with a meal.
"Sitting down and sharing a meal together, no matter your opinion, is very important," Morey said. "It's key to acknowledging common humanity."
After dinner, attendees will watch a video produced by the Minnesota Council of Churches and Twin Cities Public Television that outlines basics of amendment creation and how to have respectful conversations about a divisive topic. Trained mediators will lead small group discussions after the video. All conversations will be confidential to the group at the event.
"These are genuine empathy building conversations," Morey said. "We want people to ask questions."