Compassionate Communication: how to turn crippling conflict into caring community

Monday, Aug. 8-Friday, Aug. 12, 2011
8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Co-sponsored by Luther Seminary and Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church

Format | Leaders | Preparation | Registration | Housing and Meals | Travel


In this intensive workshop, participants will learn the skills of compassionate communication (also called nonviolent communication) as a means of connecting to God, self and others in the midst of interpersonal conflict. Through a five-day immersion in a community of Christian leaders, you will learn how to:

  • Express yourself so that you will be heard more fully
  • Transform criticism into opportunities for mutual understanding
  • Stay in dialogue in the midst of difference and disagreement
  • Experience deeper self-connection, inner peace and self-care
  • Heal pain from unresolved conflict, guilt and shame
  • Build authentic community based on honest expression and empathic listening


This is not an academic conference but rather a hands-on workshop. Presentations will be interactive, including didactic material, time for questions and discussion, personal sharing and practice of skills. There will be guided exercises, opportunities for journaling and daily small-group practice. Time also will be set aside for worship, prayer, meditation and walking the labyrinth with the consciousness of compassionate communication.

Workshop Leaders

Deborah Hunsinger has taught nonviolent communication in the context of her work as a professor of pastoral care and counseling at Princeton Theological Seminary since 1994. Prior to that, she worked as a certified pastoral counselor and has used NVC since 1987 in her work, especially with couples.

Since 2004, she has pursued more than 100 days of intensive training in NVC, including the completion of the year-long Bay Area Leadership Program in 2005.

Deborah is an ordained Presbyterian minister and a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.

Theresa LatiniTheresa F. Latini has taught NVC in the context of her work as an assistant professor of congregational care at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.; and Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Mich. Before teaching, she worked as an associate pastor of a Presbyterian church and a spiritual care coordinator for a social service agency.

Theresa has completed more than 800 hours of intensive training in NVC, including the completion of a two-year LIFE program through the NVC Training Institute in Prescott, Ariz.

Assistant Leaders

Hilliard Dogbe has received training in NVC in his home country of Ghana and in his graduate studies at both Princeton Seminary and Luther Seminary. He participates in NVC practice groups and is incorporating NVC into his work as a pastor and adjunct professor.

Ann McKnight has received extensive training in NVC, most notably through the LIFE program of the NVC Training Institute in Prescott, Ariz. She incorporates NVC into her work as a clinical social worker/psychotherapist. She leads an NVC practice group for students at Western Seminary in Holland, Mich., and offers NVC training for leaders within the Reformed Church of America.

Chuck Willoughby was first introduced to NVC during his seminary education. Since then, he has pursued further training in NVC, seeking to incorporate its practices of compassion into pastoral ministry. He writes, "The decision to attend an NVC intensive training course six years ago was the best continuing education decision I have made. It has dramatically influenced my preaching, counseling and teaching as well as my personal world view."


This workshop is designed to accommodate the learning needs of persons at both beginning and more advanced levels of understanding compassionate communication. We strongly encourage beginners to read "Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life" by Marshall Rosenberg before attending the workshop. We will offer a Fundamentals Track during the first two days of training for those new to compassionate communication. More advanced sessions will be offered every day in each session. 

Since this workshop emphasizes a Christian appropriation of compassionate communication for use in the church, all participants are encouraged to read the following articles before attending the training:


  • $650 Tuition (Limited scholarships available)
  • $550 Early Bird tuition (before May 1, 2011)
  • $500 Tuition cost for each person who registers with at least two others from the same church or organization before May 1.

Register Online

** Registration limited to 45 people.  

Housing and Meals

Dorm rooms available at Stub Hall, Luther Seminary. (Approximate cost, $30-40/night). E-mail Stub Hall to book your room now:

A wide assortment of meals can be purchased at the Luther Seminary cafeteria. A list of local restaurants will be provided at the time of registration.

Recommended nearby hotels:

Travel from Airport

Taxi cabs and Super Shuttle service run regularly from the airport to the Luther Seminary campus (2481 Como Ave., St. Paul, Minn.)