One of Susan Princehouse’s extra-pastoral assignments has been acting as moderator at community forums. In February she moderated at a discussion on civil liberties held at the church. Tonight, she will serve as moderator for “Palestine and Israel: Is Peace Possible? A Discussion and Debate.”
The forum features a debate on the current crisis in the Middle East by Rabbi Daniel Isaak and Palestinian Frank Afranji. Each speaker will present his point of view for up 30 minutes, then together will take questions from the audience for up to an hour.
Susan likes her role as moderator. “It’s all sort of familiar,” she said. “I’m used to being in situations where people have conflicting opinions but they have to remain respectful.”
That’s one reason members of Columbia River Fellowship for Peace, co-sponsor of this forum and sponsor of the February civil liberties event, approached Susan for the job.
“We figured that (her) experience in the courtroom as well as at the pulpit would serve her very well,” said organizer Mark Nykanen. “What I noticed most about her (at the last forum) was how she was able to sharpen the points of discussion and, when necessary, smooth the emotional rough edges.”
Susan has been impressed with both the speakers and the audience at past forums.
“While there were many people there with strongly-held opinions, they were also there to learn,” she said. She credits the small community with making the forums both thought-provoking and civil.
“People can disagree very passionately, but you’re aware that you’ll meet your opponent in the grocery store,” she says.
Tonight’s forum begins at 7 p.m. at Riverside Community Church. Doors open at 6:45. The event, co-sponsored by Columbia River Fellowship for Peace and Community Education, is free and childcare will be provided.