'Anatomy of Peace' speaker to address Annual Conference


In addition to the business of Annual Conference, members and guests will participate in a discussion on peace when they gather in Boise June 13-16.

Rev. Dr. Brian Brown will be a guest speaker during Annual Conference, leading large group discussions based off of the book “Anatomy of Peace” by the Arbinger Institute.

“Anatomy of Peace” is recommended reading from the Council of Bishops, Commission on a Way Forward and other groups as the United Methodist Church is poised to vote on the issue of human sexuality and the future of the church during a special General Conference in February 2019.

Brown, an ordained elder from the Virginia Conference originally, is trained through the International Coaching Federation and is a trained facilitator for the Arbinger Institute in “Anatomy of Peace.”

He said he’ll be offering an overview of the normally two-day-long training on having an outward mindset and a heart at peace when it comes to conflict resolution.

“The church can achieve breakthrough results by maximizing our ability to do ministry with an outward mindset by having a heart at peace,” Brown said. “And outward mindset and heart at peace take into account our impact with others and focuses on others needs and the church as a whole.”

The challenge is in taking a 16-hour presentation and putting it into 90 minutes worth of conversations.

“My hope is to wet the appetite so others might be compelled to take the training,” he said. “It’s not rocket science. This is so user-friendly and it fits in well with the gospel.”

After each one of his talks, members and guests at Annual Conference will be divided up into small groups, called "Table Talks 2.0" of about 8 to 10 people to focus on one question. The small group discussions are being coordinated by a team of individuals, including Jenny Willison, director of discipleship and connectional ministries at Boise First United Methodist Church.

Willison said the small groups will be created by organizers to ensure a diverse group of voices. Brown or Bishop Elaine Stanovsky will have one question for the group to focus on after each of his presentations, but before that happens the groups must covenant to listen and have a willingness to learn.

“It’s with the intent of listening more than speaking,” Willison said.

Brown is an ordained elder from the Virginia Conference who has served churches in both Virginia as well as Ohio from 2000 to 2016, where he last served as Superintendent for the Ohio Valley District in the West Ohio Conference. He was endorsed as an Episcopal candidate for Bishop in the United Methodist Church, but felt God was calling him in a new direction.

He became the pastor of Woodlawn-Faith United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Va., and has seen growth in both numbers of people worshiping, but also increases in financial giving. He has now facilitated training and coaching in conflict resolution for pastors, district superintendents, conference cabinets and delegates to Jurisdictional and General Conferences.

“I am very passionate about helping others to develop and implement an outward mindset,” Brown said. “It is the single most impactful strategy and training I have used in 14 years in the corporate world and 20 years in ministry.”