Special Projects

JUST Listening Second Tuesdays

“Woman and The World” by Ellen Browning-Lafferty
On the Second Tuesday of every month, an open gathering takes place in the Philadelphia, PA area. Good hearts and listening ears come together for intentional listening to each other. Those present come to give voice to their struggles and hopes, to be listened to without judgment, agenda, or ego. All Listen through the filter of the heart for the new world being born through each and everyone of us.Those in attendance share a simple potluck supper and good conversation, and then gather to speak and listen to each other, share their hearts dreams and longings, and explore a common hunger for a world of justice and peace. At the beginning of each gathering, the following Statement of Intention is read:


Statement of Intention
Tonight we gather as a community intent on midwifing the birth this new world.

We leave behind the stressors of the day, so that we are better able to listen to each other with open hearts.

We listen without responding.

We listen without judging.

We listen without fixing or engaging in conversation.

We hold our stillness, as a gift to ourselves and each other, allowing the space for Grace and Spirit to do its work.

We acknowledge that all that we share will be held in loving confidence.

Let us be still.

At 8:15 all pause, collectively remember, and write down what we have heard. That’s all.

Questions?  Interest? Contact Us.


JUST Listening in Israel and Palestine: March 2008

In March 2008, a multi-cultural, interfaith group of 18 American Mediators from the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution traveled to Israel and Palestine as JUST Listeners. Their purpose was to meet with and intensely listen to Jews (orthodox, religious, secular, and settlers), Muslims, Christians, Druze, and B’hai speak about the Arab-Israeli conflict; how it impacts their lives, their hopes, dreams and prayers for peace; their thoughts and beliefs about justice, systemic equality/inequality, fairness, and the common good.


The mediators were moved, challenged, and changed by the experience; many have made presentations to organizations in the Philadelphia and New Jersey areas. In an atmosphere of ongoing tension and eruptions of violence. The group was privileged to hear not only raw accounts of suffering, but also stories of hope and courage.


Everywhere along the route,  people spoke of family, community, their passion for this beautiful  land, the need for both security and healing, the devastating effects of trauma and fear, hopes for their children and grandchildren, a hunger for justice, and a longing for peace.  Most believe that peace will come eventually, but are uncertain how it will be achieved. Many cited the need for healing on both sides before peace can take root, and the mediators were heartened by the numerous efforts being made on all sides to prepare the soil for the flowering of a real and lasting peace.


Members developed a list of common themes heard on all sides of the conflict, as well as a summary of shared values, perspectives, and culture, and have given multiple presentations about the experience. A video of the trip, Stories From The Green Line, was made by filmmaker Ellen Knechel. Forty hours of footage has been edited to 50 of the most powerful minutes of the journey. Watch it here

JUST Listening in New Orleans: January 2007nola-1

The first JUST Listening trip was to New Orleans, 17 months after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Residents spoke of their struggles, frustrations, and anger, but were overwhelmingly hopeful and courageously optimistic about their own futures and that of their beloved city. Despite stunning vistas of destruction, many of the flooded areas of New Orleans were sprouting  industrious and productive resident-volunteer rebuilding collaborations, pockets of new construction, gutsy protests of official incompetence, and as always, music, music, music.

the-mercadelsSome residents were still deciding to return, others were already moving  into rebuilt homes, and others, among them some of the poorest, , were still simply absent, unable to participate because they had no means of returning to NOLA following their relocation immediately following the storm. new-orleans-jan-2007-021

Despite the scandal of official incompetence, nightmarish bureaucracy, and  stalled recovery efforts, New Orleans was, and is, being rebuilt slowly by a combination of the gritty determination, resolve, and labor of its amazing citizens, and the unprecedented influx of volunteer workers into the city.  Far from bitter, the prevailing attitude of those interviewed is best expressed by Father Doug Doussan, one of the religious leaders coordinating this collaborative rebuilding effort. “We’re building a New World Order,” he said.

If your school or organization would like to utilize JUST Listening training and perspectives for  service travel or other trips, please contact:Sharon Browning: sbrowning@justlistening.net