Andrea Campanale shares details of The Transforming Shame Network’s February symposium where attendees will be invited to further explore the effect shame has on their relationship with God, themselves and others.
“Dismantling Shame and Empowering Reconciliation” is the focus of the Transforming Shame Network’s third online symposium. On Thursday 9th February 2023 from 9.30am-12.30pm, there will be a mix of speakers, break out discussions and creative interludes. Each will offer different perspectives on the effect shame has on our relationship with God, self and others.
The barrier that shame causes to reconciliation across all areas of our lives is an under-researched but vital aspect of individual and community transformation in and outside the Church. Key contributors will be Laura Wheatley Downs, currently vicar of St. John the Baptist church, Crowthorne, and Anglican priest, Lucie Lunn, who has spent most of her adult life in Cumbria and now lives with her family on the Furness Peninsula.
The barrier that shame causes to reconciliation across all areas of our lives is an under-researched but vital aspect of individual and community transformation.
Lucie’s talk is called “The Dis-regulating Other: identifying and reframing our personal stumbling blocks to reconciliation.” Called to ordained ministry more than ten years ago, Lucie took part in the first Journey of Hope Pilgrimage in 2019 with Reconcilers Together, an experience which brought into sharp focus her own story of “reconciliation with self”.
Referring to a quote from Lee Anderson MP during a speech in the House of Commons in May 2022, she said: “There is not this massive use for food banks in this country. We have generation after generation who cannot cook properly — they cannot cook a meal from scratch — and they cannot budget. Shaming language has become so prevalent in society that we often fail to notice its use. It is language that generalises and depersonalises, its effect being to throw blame back on to victims and the vulnerable. When we listen for it, we can hear it in politics, in commerce and in employment. Many thousands of workers are currently engaged in strike action. There is a fight for who controls the language that will cause society to support or condemn.
Shaming language has become so prevalent in society that we often fail to notice its use.
“Every generalisation, such as that used by the MP, shames groups or sections of our society. Yet these collectives are made up of individuals. Shame affects a person spiritually, emotionally and physically. Where individuals are shamed for their circumstances or identity it can lead to stress, withdrawal and ill health. It can act as a block to personal growth and healthy relationships.
“Exploring and recognising shaming language, whether addressed to a group or individual, can help us reevaluate our experiences, find strategies to respond differently, and reframe our conversation and communication to facilitate reconciliation in ourselves and our relationships. Listening to and understanding how we talk to each other is a first step on the journey of reconciliation and healing.”
Laura will concentrate on the biblical story of Tamar, identifying resources for reconciliation in faith based settings. Laura is in the second year of her PhD looking at the relationship between trauma, shame, and reconciliation, thinking particularly about interpersonal abuse.
The Transforming Shame Network has organised two successful symposiums previously. Tickets cost £15, or £10 for the unwaged, and can be purchased here.