Training Sessions

Esther Ewing eewing at
Tue Oct 5 17:09:48 PDT 1999

I would like to share a story of Open Space that I facilitated last weekend at
a Lutheran church in Toronto. This is a church that actually is doing very well
financially and spiritually and in terms of membership. They had the laudable
ambition of renewal while things were still going well. They have a small
mortgage from their building expansion which they undertook in 1960. (Reduced
to $280,000 from 1.5 million, mostly in loans from members). Lest they sound
like "moneybags" you should know that most of the money was loaned and then
forgiven by widowed members of the church. 

The organizing committee had the best organizers on it - amazing people who
wrote to the congregation, phoned them, made announcements in church and "sold"
their members on coming - each member who attended understood that one of the
givens was that only people who attended on the first evening could come to the
all day Saturday and only those who had participated on the open space Friday
evening and Saturday during the day, could be part of the prioritization on
Sunday afternoon. 

The whole open space was brilliant. The enthusiasm and mutual caring built and
built until they had identified their top issues on Sunday. I had them voting
with dots ("dotmocracy") for their issues, having eliminated all those issues
and recommendations which either were duplications or things that individuals
had already started to execute!!

A wonderful loving group with a big heart. I am very grateful and feel very
privileged to be a part of that.


 At 12:23 PM 10/5/99 -0400, you wrote:
>In a message dated 9/29/99 6:56:01 PM, cadams at wrote:
><<We expect 100-150 participants and I am a little nervous with such a large
>group.  My groups at the College were under 50.  Any suggestions for handling
>larger groups?>>
>Hi: Congratulations!  As you know, the more the merrier, in Open Space!
>As you know, all the facilitator actions are the same for large groups and
>for small groups.  You just have to hold more space!
>To best deal with nervousness, my advice is to ask for help:
>• Be sure you have a good logistics team that will manage ALL the set up
>• Plan for more - more space, more breakouts, more materials, etc.
>• Be sure the room is set up the day before so you can familiarize yourself
>with the space and the sound system, etc., without being under any pressure.
>• Ask a partner (preferably opposite gender) to hold the space with you, even
>if that person doesn't appear before the group.  Ask one or two others to do
>the same in support of you two.  Doing both of these things has helped me a
>• Transform your nervousness into fuel for your Intention.  What is it that
>you dream this group will create through Open Space?  Form a clear intention
>about this, and focus your attention on it whenever you are aware of your
>• And of course, pray for guidance!  There is lots of help from Spirit that
>is waiting to use us to do our work in Open Space.
>Remember: Fear is just a sign that you are stretching and learning beyond
>your comfort zone!
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