Listening Session Summary

Our Savior Lutheran Church & Campus Ministry invited the congregation to engage (via Zoom) in any one of three possible listening sessions over the course of a week in early March 2021. In total, 24 people participated in the listening sessions. Some group characteristics are below:

  • Ages ranged from 18 to 89 years old
  • 4 couples attended and two unmarried individuals participated
  • 7 men participated and 17 women participated
  • The smallest listening session included 5 participants and the largest included 9 participants (including facilitator and recorder)
  • The participants were evenly split between Vermont and New Hampshire residents

While there were some introductory exercises for each group to do together (including a short sharing in pairs about “the area of their life in which they are most passionate about creating change”), the main focus of the listening session asked participants to share about “What worries them during their days and nights.” There were several themes that arose more than once in our listening sessions. In no particular order, the most prevalent themes are listed below:

  • Retirement: how to live on fixed income, increased free time to invest, navigating new systems (social security, Medicare, etc.)
  • Climate change
  • Political divide & lack of civil conversation
  • Aging: forgetfulness, less stamina, how to stay active and engaged
  • Mental Health: isolation, resources available to community, especially for youth & young adults.
  • Economic concerns: stagnating wages, increased rent costs, cut hours, etc.

Aside from the common themes listed above, another common theme that arose from the participants was the realization of how many personal stories of hardship people are carrying around with them, and the importance of providing space to listen to one another and create sacred space together.

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