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RIH Cohort Gatherings

In between the large group learning events, the Riverside Innovation Hub learning community gathers in smaller cohorts. Both the large group events and the smaller cohort meetings are focused on the art forms of the Public Church Framework. Each the three cohorts are made up of four congregational teams, a mentor, and an RIH staff Facilitator.

zoom meeting and coffee
Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

All of the cohorts are meeting during the month of December to check-in and reflect on their experiences practicing Accompaniment. The RIH team gathers in advance of the meetings to brainstorm their meeting outline, align their plan with the larger learning outcomes, and share facilitation ideas. Each cohort meeting is uniquely designed by the facilitator to fit their facilitating style and the experiences and preferences of the cohort members.

The purposes of the December cohort meeting are to continue to build relational trust within the cohort and grow in confidence and clarity about next steps for accompaniment. Accompaniment is the first artform of the Public Church Framework, it’s the movement into the neighborhood to hear the neighbors’ story. Prior to the cohort meeting, everyone was invited to practice the artform of accompaniment, specifically through a a relational one-to-one meeting with someone in their church’s neighborhood.

The cohort space allows for people to share about their experiences with accompaniment, including what went well, what was hard, or what got in the way. One of the gifts of doing this work within a larger learning community is that there is built-in accountability and support. The rest of the learning cohort can hear and share strategies for overcoming or lessening the barriers to Accompaniment and remind each other why we have committed ourselves to this work.

word cloud
Photo of responses to Mentimeter question.

One of the cohorts that met already were asked what they though the the most life-giving parts of accompaniment were. Some of their answers included:

  • These are conversations that I don’t always have, and that is a gift!
  • Connection with other humans, especially those I don’t know well, is also such a gift.
  • Connection, Connecting with people
  • Hearing about life from other people that aren’t in your usual circles.
  • Connection for sure. Meeting people at a personal level.
  • Knowing we can better our world through relationship
  • Knowing more about the world outside your own
  • Hearing other stories

The cohort meeting also functions as a touchpoint for what comes next. Following the December cohort meeting, teams are encouraged to continue practicing accompaniment in their church’s neighborhoods and to reflect together as a congregational team. When we gather again for a large group learning event in February to begin the artform of interpretation, the stories we hear in accompaniment will shape our imaginations for how God’s promises are speaking to our particular contexts.

Our RIH team is grateful to be on this journey with our congregational partners!