From what fertile soil will the next Bridging Teams emerge?

Under the crust of winter’s snow, seeds continue to draw from the energy deep in the dark soil – responding to the sun’s slow return. While we can’t always see the results of our Bridges community’s growth, we trust in the magic that happens in people’s lives when belonging and purpose germinate. We imagine, we dream, we hope and pray, plan and prepare, and look forward to what new green shoots the next season will bring.     

While our current Bridging Team is enjoying the leadership of Facilitators trained by Lynn Smith-Reeve, Lynn has been busy creating a training program for new leaders inspired to start their own teams. 

The vision that started the first Bridging Team experiment in the fall of 2017 is alive and well as we imagine a world where Bridging Teams are as common as Girl Guides or LaLeche Leagues. 

For the past two years, Lynn (with the collaborations of many) has been green-housing… 

  • the essential roots of the experience, 
  • the lessons learned along the way that have pruned the process, 
  • and describing how the process slowly grows the trust and relationships that produce the fruit we hear about in the stories of participants. 

Starting the first Wednesday of March 2022, Lynn will invite a small cohort of leaders into the learning circle to emerge eight weeks later as Bridging Team co-Facilitators. 

The course is designed – like Bridging Teams – as co-learning experience where participants bring their own stories and experience into the training process. 

A guidebook will provide co-facilitators with a trusty manual to refer back to once the course ends. And monthly coaching sessions among new team facilitators will encourage and troubleshoot questions that arise. 

Watch for an opportunity to join this next new growth in the Bridging garden. (read about who’s hoping to be involved in the article on Bridging Poverty & Privilege training in October) 

Thanks to The Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough, East Central Region of the United Church, The Mission & Service Fund of the United Church, and the Ontario Trillium Seed & Resilient Communities Funding, for their support of this vision. 

News item: Bridging Poverty & Privilege: our new pilot a success! 

This past fall, in six weekly, two-hour, webinar sessions, Bridges Peterborough planted seeds across Canada.   

Lynn and Allan Smith-Reeve were joined by Storytellers from Bridging Teams to offer thirty participants a seat on this learning journey.

In the first hour we offered training from the Bridges Out Of Poverty educational framework. Many of you readers will have experienced the myth-busting concepts of “The Hidden Rules of Middle Class”, “The Eleven Essential Resources for a stable life”, and the “Four Causes of Poverty” among other important insights.

In the second hour, we shared our Bridging Team model and how we’ve used the practices of Hospitality, Dignity, and Curiosity to create safe spaces for relationships of trust to grow across class lines. 

Our hopes for the participants are that they’ll take what we’ve offered and apply them in their own contexts. We also hope that folks will be inspired to start their own Bridging Teams and become a part of our vision for a network of Bridging Teams learning together how to grow relationships and community.     

For example, a United Church in Trail B.C. sent a group of four to participate in the learning journey. Gail Potter from Trail tells us “At this point we:

  • Have looked at how this program would fit in with other poverty initiatives in our community (it is looking like a great adjunct to what is already going on with our Food Bank, Poverty Navigator Table, Supportive Housing initiative, etc.)
  • We are discussing which agency will be the lead agency for the program.  This will be a key factor for being able to progress in planning.
  • We are looking at several potential funding sources.

We’re excited to support Gail from Trail and her companions on their journey! 

Thanks to the Toronto United Church Council and the partnership of the United-in-Learning webinar platform for their support.  

Many thanks to the many Funders who have supported our mission and vision along the way…