PCI Conciliation Service

24.10.2017 | Conciliation Service, Congregational Life, Leadership,

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland Conciliation Service exists to assist Presbyterians in dispute to find resolution.

It is assumed in scripture that disputes and conflicts are part of our life in the church. (Matthew 18:15-17, Acts 15:1-34). It is also assumed that believers have resources for handling conflict when it arises.

Most disagreements are resolved by people speaking directly to each other. However, sometimes this simply does not work, and it is necessary to use conciliation to help deal people work through their conflict.

Conciliation is...

  • Assisting people in dispute to finding resolution.
  • Facilitating difficult conversations as people work through their issues.
  • Helping people find creative ways to deal with conflict.

The Conciliation Panel

PCI has a panel of trained conciliators to assist in mediating disputes which arise in congregations or presbyteries.

How the service works...

  • Any Presbyterian (member or elder or minister) struggling with disagreement involving another member(s) of the church can contact their Clerk of Presbytery as a first step in finding resolution.
  • Alternatively contact the conciliation co-ordinator at Assembly Buildings on +44 (0)28 9041 7205.
  • If the matter appears appropriate for the Conciliation Service, an assessment will be made by meeting the parties separately.
  • The conciliators will then decide whether both parties are ready to meet together and work towards a resolution.
  • The conciliation process normally involves one or more confidential meetings with the parties together where they will be facilitated in working through their conflict.

Could Conciliation be useful for you?

Yes, if...

  • You want to deal with the issue
  • You are willing to be reasonable
  • You wish to work at restoring the broken relationship

No, if...

  • You are not ready to work through the issues because you are too hurt or angry
  • You do not wish to build a better relationship

Note: Conciliation should be sought as early as possible. Far too often conflict is allowed to fester, making attempts at conciliation less likely to succeed. Seeking help early is a sign of strength rather than weakness.

The following video forms part of a Bible study series called Christ's Heart of Compassion. In it two Presbyterian elders talk about some of the principles they learned from a specific situation and the involvement of the Conciliation Service.

Policy on Confidentiality

  1. Information gained during the conciliation process will be confidential to the conciliators and will not be divulged without the consent of those concerned, except where the evidence proves or suggests that an individual may be at risk physically or mentally or where information is compelled by a civil court.
  2. Conciliators will not be required to act as witnesses or to divulge information to any Church court.

Training available

Workshops/courses are available on the following subjects:

  • Understanding conflict and its causes
  • Healthy decision-making
  • Living with difference
  • Managing change effectively
  • Skills for handling conflict

These training courses can be adapted for any congregation, group or presbytery. They can be delivered as a workshop session (2/3 hours) or a longer course (a full day or more).

Short courses offered by the PCI Conciliation Panel

A number of resources have been produced for the Conciliation service. To read and download these resources visit the resources section: Congregational Life

Conciliation blogs

You can find out more about the Conciliation Service and some examples of the types of conflict that can arise in a series of blogs written by memberss of the service. You can read them here:

For more information, please contact the Council for Training in Ministry info@presbyterianireland.org