Pew Research Reveals Partisan Divide is Deepening--Lansing Lee Conference Offers Solutions

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Recognizing the need to equip citizens and leaders alike with the tools necessary for thriving in this current climate, Kanuga Conference and Retreat Center offers a special conference at its North Carolina mountain site. The Lansing Lee Conference, March 16-18, delves into the role of civil discourse in America.

Kanuga Conferences spring photo

Kanuga Conferences in Hendersonville, NC

“The Lansing Lee conference is happening in the hopes that we can explore how to talk about divisive topics while remaining in relationship with each other because, as Christians, we are called to love,” says Kanuga’s Director of Formation Programs and Resident Chaplin Richmond Jones.

The sense of growing divide in America is more than just a feeling. Recent data from the Pew Research Center reveals Republicans and Democrats are now further apart ideologically than at any point in more than two decades. This gap has led to a lack of common ground, creating a difficult atmosphere for open and honest conversation.            

Recognizing the need to equip citizens and leaders alike with the tools necessary for thriving in this current climate, Kanuga Conference & Retreat Center offers a special conference at its North Carolina mountain site. The Lansing Lee Conference, March 16-18, delves into the role of civil discourse in America. The weekend event is hosted in collaboration with Washington National Cathedral, The Center for Speaking & Listening at Sewanee: The University of the South, and the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations.

Members of the United States House of Representatives—including Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA)—join nationally recognized voices from the Episcopal Church for this three-day event that focuses on creating an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration.

“At this time, it is extra important we reclaim the ability to discuss and engage on issues in a civil way. The Anglican practice of relying on tradition, scripture, and reason is a perfect way to do that. The natural beauty, serenity, and deep spirituality of Kanuga is the perfect place to have this discussion,” says Congressman Byrne.

Congresswoman DelBene reveals her excitement for the conference. “My faith has helped guide my commitment to community service, whether it was when I was a vestry member, a PTA mom, a Stephen Minister or serving in Congress,” says Congresswoman DelBene. “I’ve always fought for those who need a helping hand because our communities are stronger when no one is left behind. Those driving principles continue to serve me in my current role in Congress, and I look forward to joining fellow Episcopalians at the Lansing Lee Conference.”

Additional confirmed speakers include the Right Reverend Robert C. Wright, 10th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta; the Reverend Canon Jan Naylor Cope, Provost of Washington National Cathedral; the Right Reverend Carl Walter Wright, Bishop Suffragan for the Armed Forces and Federal Ministries; the Reverend Canon C. K. Robertson, Ph.D., Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Ministry Beyond The Episcopal Church; Alan Yarborough, the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations; Sean Patrick O’Rourk, Ph.D., J.D., Sewanee: The University of the South; and Kay Collier McLaughlin, Ph.D., Founder of Talking Together Seminars.

The event features plenary sessions with Congressman Byrne and Congresswoman DelBene and break-out workshops that dive into a variety of topics. The ultimate goal is to equip attendees to be agents of good in the world despite the current political divide.

“The Lansing Lee conference is happening in the hopes that we can explore how to talk about divisive topics while remaining in relationship with each other because, as Christians, we are called to love,” says Kanuga’s Director of Formation Programs and Resident Chaplin Richmond Jones. “We are called to engage in civil conversations and trust each other to be vulnerable, and commit to working through our differences to find that we are stronger when we embrace one another in them,” says Jones.

For more information, visit https://www.kanuga.org/lansinglee or contact Director of Formation Programs and Resident Chaplain Richmond Jones at rjones[at]kanuga[dot]org or 828-692-9136 ext. 2745.

The annual Lansing Lee Conference honors the memory of Lansing B. Lee Jr. of Augusta, GA. Lee participated in many aspects of Kanuga’s programs and governance for more than 50 years. The Lansing Lee Conference is made possible by an endowment established by Natalie Lee and with major support from the Buford L. Bowen Endowment.

Affiliated with the Episcopal Church since 1928, Kanuga is a 1,400-acre conference, retreat and camp center in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Hendersonville, North Carolina. For more information, visit https://www.kanuga.org or call 828-692-9136.

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Gary Giniat, Vice President of Advancement
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