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Common Ground: a little history

Common GroundThis past February, 78 people signed up for a year-long cross-cultural relationship-building program called Common Ground. We started the program with a Common Ground Kick-off that all participants were invited to. That meeting was informational but also energizing, a good way to start what can be a difficult commitment.

We are now in Month 4 of the program, and we’re ready for another injection of inspiration. This Saturday, Common Ground participants have been invited to a Common Ground Caucus. We’ll share with each other how things are going—celebrating successes and discussing difficulties. I’ve noticed differences in the program this year from the last time we offered it (five years ago). It will be interesting to talk about those differences.

Many of this year’s participants are new to Common Ground, so I thought it might be helpful to look back and see where we’ve come from. Below is a rerun of a post from five years ago, when we changed the name of the program….


A new name for “Breakfast Club”

originally published April 18, 2010

The Building Bridges ministry at Living Springs has a lot of good materials, programs, and events. But I think “Breakfast Club” is my favorite.

Getting personal

It’s a program that pairs two people of different cultures and equips them to meet monthly for at least one year to share a meal and meaningful conversation. What I like about it is the fact that it recognizes that true bridge-building happens on a personal level, when people are willing to share with each other, learn from each other, forgive each other, and grow. The conversations are guided by a monthly list of discussion questions that focus on matters of faith, race, family traditions, and personal life journeys.

We first learned about the program from Earl James, the Coordinator of Multiracial Initiatives and Social Justice for the Reformed Church in America. He put us in touch with CURE (Chicago Urban Reconciliation Enterprise). “Breakfast Club” is their program, and they helped us get it started at Living Springs.

Growth and change

But over the past two years that we’ve been using the program, we’ve made some changes and enhancements. So now we think it’s time to give our version of the program its own name.

We had some fun discussing a few ideas at the Breakfast Club gathering we had this past Saturday. Here are some of the possible names we came up with:

  • Living Bridges
  • Connection Club
  • Culture Club
  • Living Rainbows
  • Living Connections
  • Grow Group
  • Koinonia Club

The important thing to remember about choosing a new name is this: Nothing will sound “right” the first time you hear it. “Breakfast Club” sounded a little confusing at first, but we got used to it, and now it sounds normal. The same thing will happen with whatever new name we choose.

I hope you’ll leave a comment explaining which name you prefer, and why. Even if you’ve never been involved in Breakfast Club, you are welcome to express an opinion. We’re looking for as many perspectives as possible!

Update: We did narrow things down to two options—neither of which was in the list above! Visit “We’re Getting Close!” to find out more! 

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