Position Papers

In addition to the Convocation’s MISSION STATEMENT and its PURPOSES AND GOALS, these POSITION PAPERS have become a way of defining the Convocation.

At the same time, it should be noted that the Convocation is rather fluid. Each year, new people arrive at the Convocation and “old” people no longer come.

Each year, the Convocation has a chance to further define or to redefine itself. POSITION PAPERS can be your way of asking the Convocation to define itself as you would like.

This web page on POSITION PAPERS is adapted from the Second Leadership Conference Booklet, accepted 2001 and updated 2002. New members and new leaders are expected to follow these guidelines. You will notice that by following these directions for POSITION PAPERS, a reasonable degree of stability and continuity can be secured for the Convocation.

COMMENTS ON THE GUIDING SPIRIT IN WRITING POSITION PAPERS

1.) POSITION PAPERS should be in the Spirit of the Convocation

From around the world.
People who struggle.
In the Christian tradition.
Include victims and offenders.
Abolish the death penalty.
Sustain each other.
Integration of Direct Service, Advocacy and Education.
Advocating reconciliation in the Criminal Justice System.
Move from retributive to restorative justice.
Stop construction of penal institutions.
Develop alternatives to incarceration.

2.) POSITION PAPERS should be in the Spirit of Working Together

Call people to justice.
Encourage rather than criticize or tell them what to do.
Appeal to ideals and positive actions. Try to do more than just an angry reaction to negative policies.

Strength comes from working together as convocation and with other groups. Many people have actual experience. Many in this group are professionals, have written grants and proposals etc, have fought local and national battles. Others are new, with enthusiasm and creative ideas. A few are discouraged and may be negative. Others know what works and what doesn’t from experience and knowledge of the people being contacted.

Many of us hold strong opinions with focus on our own pet ideas. Working toward consensus and getting the opinion and input of all is important. We will make a difference because of this work.

3.) POSITION PAPERS should approach each Proposal with a Spirit of Reality

Keep the proposals brief. Avoid being wordy. Use professional terminology. If you need to give long rational examples and explanations, include them as addenda. You can back up proposals with statistics, sample letters, proposals, papers, documents, newspapers articles, etc.

Aim for solutions that are able to be implemented. Things that can be done. Avoid grandiose or too general proposals. Seek those that are not excessively expensive. Avoid those requiring a lot of work for someone to do unless you have a volunteer.

Realistic time frame. We are all busy people. Communications to all are expensive and time consuming.

Be specific, listing those who the proposal plans to impact. Power people are those responsible for change. Systematic change makes the greatest difference.

Focus the material on one or at most two proposals. This is all a group can probably do within the time frame. If two proposals are evident, perhaps the group can be split in two to do the writing. Other proposals can be accepted at another time if there is a group who wishes to write them.