Transforming conflict - SUZANNE DRAFT

What is conflict?


Nonetheless, experiences of conflict or unfair treatment at work are not uncommon: a third of workers have experienced some form of interpersonal conflict, either an isolated dispute or ongoing difficult relationship, over the past year and 15% report being bullied over the past three years.

How can conflict be dealt with?

Mediation is a tool to resolve workplace conflict or disputes.  It’s often described as a form of alternative or informal dispute resolution as it’s less formal than grievance and discipline procedures and employment tribunals. It nonetheless follows a structured approach. Mediation seeks to give a speedy solution to individual workplace conflict, and can be used at any stage of a disagreement or dispute. The process is flexible and voluntary, and any agreement is morally rather than legally binding. It also seeks to provide fuller solutions that address underlying causes and are more genuinely win-win than adversarial approaches. The process aims to create a safe, confidential space for those involved (the ‘parties’) to find solutions that are acceptable to each side. Specifically, mediation provides the potential to:

  • Help parties involved in conflict to hold open conversations that would normally be too difficult to have constructively.
  • Help parties to understand and empathise with each other’s emotions and situations.
  • Explore all parties' issues and concerns of all parties and use joint problem-solving to find a solution that each side feels is fair.
  • Encourage communication and establish workable relationships.
  • Help participants develop the skills to resolve workplace difficulties for themselves in future.

A trained mediator’s role is to act as an impartial third party who facilitates a meeting between two or more people in dispute to help them reach an agreement. Although the mediator is in charge of the process, any agreement comes from those in dispute. Mediation is preferable to more formal processes in various ways: It encourages people to be more open to compromise. It can maintain and improve relationships. It is less stressful for those involved. It avoids the costs involved in defending employment tribunal claims.


"Disagreement and conflict in the Church are inevitable. However, it is our response to conflict that is critical. Most Christians want to find better ways to engage with one another in the midst of conflict, and to learn how to handle conflict constructively."

Bridge Builders

How we can help

We offer practical help to individuals and groups along with guidance and advice to equip people to transform how they resolve their conflicts.

How is the service paid for?

Some costs will be incurred which, depending on the circumstances, may be borne by the individuals, the parish or the diocese.

Help for individuals and groups

Sometimes relationships in the parish become strained. There may be tension between the incumbent and curate, between a long-arrived clergy person or members of a leadership team. We can offer mediation or facilitated conversations in such circumstances. We are trained to help when disputes arise between Christians.

Guidance and advice

A guide to those in conflict - provides a number of questions 

We offer a listening ear and advice on:

  • some possible tools and techniques;
  • other mediation resources;
  • sources of training on conflict prevention and conflict resolution;
  • other ways to help you resolve conflict.

Mediation often opens a way forward for Christians who are struggling to work co­operatively together. The key is to help them address their grievances, build their own agreements for the future, and find an opening for God’s work of reconciliation.’

Bridge Builders


Training days are offered in conjunction with the Continuing Ministerial Development (CMD) team. For further details please contact your Area Parish Development Adviser directly. 

This may be of help to:

  • Leaders of diocesan training courses, area deans, incumbents and churchwardens;
  • Christian leaders faced with conflict;
  • Church members concerned about conflict in the local church.

Our mission:

  • To equip people to tackle and transform conflicts;
  • To help you to resolve conflict and transform relationships;
  • To accompany you in conflict on the journey towards resolution;
  • We believe bringing peace is intrinsic to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Diocesan Conflict Transformation Network

Bishop's staff liaison

Poli Shajko - Director of Human Resources and Safeguarding

Network Members

The Revd Dr Beren Hartless
Sue Haselhurst
The Revd Canon David Hodgson
The Revd Denis Smith
The Revd Jon Williams
The Revd Catharine Mabuza

Appointed by the Bishop of Oxford. Trained by Bridge Builders.

Find out more (blue rectangular box - takes you to the Bridge Builders website)

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." 

Matthew 5:9 TNIV

Page last updated: Monday 23rd May 2022 2:47 PM
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