In Sydney, 16 Creators of Peace women met on 5 December for an end-of-year celebration. ‘Togetherness’, ‘soul food’, ‘rich and meaningful conversations’, ‘deep friendships and connections’, ‘sense of support and not being alone’, ‘being with women from different cultures,’ ‘the excitement of working together for the Raising Peace festival’ and ‘special sacred safe space’ were some of the words these women used to describe what Creators of Peace has meant to these women over the last year. Shoshana Faire writes:
CoPCoP end of year celebration on 5 December in Sydney. The five participants on zoom represented by the laptop on the chair!
A regular space for reflection, sharing and support
This was our 22nd gathering as CoPCoP, Creators of Peace Community of Practice. A community of practice is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. The Sydney CoPCoP was created in July 2018 with the intention of building on the Creators of Peace Circle experience by providing a regular space for reflection, sharing, support and collaboration regarding being a Creator of Peace. It is a place for growth, to be inspired and challenged to live, and spread and engage more deeply with what it is to be a peace creator. A Peace Circle happens for a specific time period while being a peace builder is an ongoing journey and being part of a community supports this journey.
CoPCoP has an email list of 46 women all of whom have participated in a Peace Circle. Most have been to a CoPCoP gethering and many come regularly. There is an organising team of three and gatherings are usually made up of around 12-16 women who meet in the home of one of them on a Sunday starting with a shared lunch. We then gather in a circle, starting with a go-around followed by time for meditation and time for reflection and ending with sharing and listening in pairs.
CoPCoP sydney gathering in May 2021.
Gatherings focus both on our own personal journeys, and on how we can make a contribution in our communities. We have had sessions on listening skills, deep listening and Dadirri, inner listening, resilience and non-violent communication – each facilitated by different community members. Some have shared inspiring poems, others have shared useful resource materials. Jean Brown (Creator of Peace Circles) and Omnia Marzouk (former President of IofC International) have been guest visitors when they were in Sydney.
Combating Isolation in Lockdown
During the lockdowns in Sydney in 2020 and 2021, CoPCoP continued to meet on Zoom and was deeply valued as a place for connection and sharing. In one very touching gathering there was a sharing of something each person had been able to do during lockdown and responses included reaching out to isolated contacts and developing inner peace.
Gatherings are an opportunity to update eachother on what’s been happenings in Creators of Peace both locally and internationally, and with Iinitiatives of Change Australia. It is also a space for participants to share ideas of what they would like to see happen. The ideas have led to us setting up a practice Peace Circle for facilitators which allows a group of new facilitators to run a Peace Circle together and give each other feedback on it, and a Peace Culture Cafe which is a regular gathering for women who are new to Creators of Peace.
A significant event in 2021 was the formation of an outreach team that worked hard together with Rosemary Kariuki, who was awarded the 2021 Australian Local Hero of the Year, to organise a Cultural Exchange Weekend in Sydney. In September another team worked together to create a two hour zoom presentation and taster on Creators of Peace as part of the Raising Peace Festival, an event organised by more than 30 other organisations devoted to the pursuit of peace. Some members have joined other action groups such as the Womens Reconciliation Network to support their work.
For many of us CoPCoP has enabled us to form deep friendships that let us be there for each other in times of need. We look forward to continuing our gatherings in 2022.
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