By Anonymous (Sue, pseudonym)
Dear Renee and Pat,
I just wanted to thank my guardian angels for helping me yesterday when the discussion might have become difficult: Like when “E” started talking about "born again" Christians, and “A” was ready to be insulted, Renee intervened and redirected so that no one (but me--who was trying to figure out what in Sam Hill to say) noticed! And when “B” started going on about the government, Pat nicely moved the discussion forward. Although these might seem like little things to outsiders, you know that there is a definite skill in keeping a group like ours with such divergent views lively, without moving into that area of disrespect.
As a group member, I have wondered to myself how this group, with its progressives and conservatives, republicans and democrats and independents and libertarians, young and old, affluent and not so-much, has managed to not only co-exist but to thrive. I now understand in looking at it from a facilitator's viewpoint, that it is your quiet, watchful guidance that has created an environment where disagreement can occur in a respectful way. This is not a small feat, my friends, and you are my heroes.