A Pew for Elijah: What a Funeral Taught Me About Facilitation

by Sara Ness

“You don’t belong here.”

That’s the feeling I got upon walking into the room. I was twenty three years old, and one of my community members had just passed away – a devastating homicide while he was en route to Baton Rouge to facilitate that community’s first Authentic Relating Games Night. I led the Authentic Relating community in Austin. His mother, who I barely knew, had asked me to facilitate the memorial.

Of course I said yes, and I flew down a few days later. It wasn’t until we were in the car en route to the memorial service that worry started to percolate through my shock. After all, I had never facilitated a memorial before; I had never even been to one. I asked the mom, “How do you want me to facilitate this service?” “Just get up there. You’ll be fine,” she reassured me.

I walked into the room and within a second, I knew that I was in trouble. I am a facilitator of group emotional...

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