Bridging the Divide

GLIDE’s Community Healing Project


GLIDE's Bridging the Divide project confronts the epidemic of division in the U.S. by facilitating meaningful connections between communities that are divided by politics, religion, race and class. Through the practice of listening with empathy, curiosity and love, we aim to heal the wounds that keep us divided from our neighbors, friends and family. We are inspired by the idea that meaningful connections across the boundaries of division can build a society that works together to solve problems in an inclusive and respectful way.

Implementing our Mission

We host a mix of events that encourage dialogue between divided communities. We explore ideas and methodologies from various authors and scholars to enhance our skills to help us have more productive, meaningful conversations. We also focus on our values and the stories of our lives that inform our opinions. Our goal is to open ourselves to compassion, empathy and humility toward people with whom we might normally avoid. Through this process, we open the pathway to healing ourselves and our community.

Connect with us: Join our mailing list or send us an email at btd@glide.org.

What We're Reading

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
by Jonathan Haidt
Why can't political leaders work together as threats loom and problems mount? Why do people so readily assume the worst about the motives of their fellow citizens? This book explores these questions from a social science perspective as a way forward in mutual understanding.

Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice
by Brenda Salter McNeil
WWe can see the injustice and inequality in our lives and in the world. We are ready to rise up. But how, exactly, do we do this? How does one reconcile? What we need is a clear sense of direction.

Breaking Through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World
by Jason Jay and Gabriel Grant
Think about the last time you tried to talk with someone who didn't already agree with you about issues that matter most. How well did it go? These conversations are vital, but too often get stuck. They become contentious or we avoid them because we fear they might. What if, in these difficult conversations, we could stay true to ourselves while enriching relationships and creating powerful pathways forward?

Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together
By Van Jones
Jones offers a blueprint for transforming our collective anxiety into meaningful change. "The entire national conversation today can be reduced to a simple statement - 'I'm right, and you're wrong,'" Jones has said. But the truth is messier; both sides have flaws. Both parties have strayed from their highest principles and let down their core constituencies. Rejecting today's political tribalism, Jones issues a stirring call for a new "bipartisanship from below".

Bridging the Divide in the News

GLIDE’s ‘Bridging the Divide’ Confronts Political Division Head On - Forum with Michael Krasney, KQED

Healing at the Community Level - SF Examiner

Frequently Asked Questions

How often are meetings held and where are they?
Bridging the Divide hosts meetings at GLIDE Memorial Church and at various locations in the Bay Area. A new Calendar of Events is coming soon, please stay tuned.

What do you talk about?
Our goal is to talk about divisive issues in a non-divisive way. Therefore, we often talk about the most important issues facing our country and community. Topics in past meetings include the 2016 presidential election, healthcare and freedom of speech.

How do you promote conversation while making it welcoming for everyone?
We acknowledge that these conversations can be uncomfortable. Yet, we encourage participants to lean into the challenge with a spirit of curiosity and respect. We provide a facilitator to assist this process and ask all participants each week to agree to a set of group agreements, available to review here.

What if I only want to observe? Or what if someone is monopolizing the conversation?
The facilitator will encourage participation but will not require that everyone speaks. The facilitator is also responsible for managing the group’s time and making sure that the conversation is shared among those who wish to share.

How do you handle disagreements?
We expect disagreements. Our goal is to create an environment where disagreement is healthy. When we experience breakdowns in conversation, which is also expected, we pause and make time to work through the issue. Importantly, we do not expect to change anyone. Rather, we hope to increase our understanding of each other.

Do I need to prepare or study any issue before I attend?
You are welcome to come as you are. Everyone has an important experience and story to share. We ask that you bring a willingness to share and to listen.

Since these meetings occur in a church, is there a religious orientation?
No. We welcome everyone regardless of your faith tradition or whether you have any faith experience at all. Our goal is to be create an environment where everyone is valued and respected.

How can I learn about the next opportunity to join a meeting?
Join our mailing list or send us an email at btd@glide.org.

Upcoming Meetings

Check back here soon to find out when the next Bridging the Divide Meeting is happening. Or join our email list and we'll reach out to you.