During the National Black Catholic Convocation XV Conference,
which was held in St. Louis, Missouri from April 27-May 1, 2003,
175 participants had five wonderful days to explore how
Appreciative Inquiry, an organizational behavior intervention
strategy, can facilitate their work for building positive
change in their parishes, families and communities.
During the course of this conference, participants were
challenged to examine current paradigms that frame their
change strategies. We examined the concept of Appreciative
Inquiry as an alternative change strategy, which was first
developed by Dr. David Cooperrider in the mid 1980s at Case
Western Reserve University. While the theory and practice
of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is considered to originate
from the behavioral sciences, during the course of our conference,
we were easily able to correlate how the use of an
appreciative perspective and the fundamental principles of
AI, versus a deficit orientation not only brings forth rapid
change, but is grounded in Biblical text, supporting the
values of the Catholic Church and the National Black Catholic Congress.
To keep this wonderful momentum going, we would like to
periodically provide you with information on Appreciative
Inquiry, for those of you who did not have the opportunity
to attend the conference as well as for those of you who
want to refresh your learning. We believe that AI can be
a powerful change lever for implementing the actions
imperatives set forth by the National Black Catholic Congress.
We also are looking to open a dialogue through the
web site that examines the successes people are having
with the implementation of Appreciative Inquiry in
Dr. Christopher Anne Easley, RODC, who presented the
opening keynote, set the stage as to why a positive
orientation to implementing change is critical in
African American communities. With her permission,
we have provided you with excerpts of her opening address,
which sets the stage for the reasons we need to explore
options to implementing change.
We also invite you to contact us with perspectives on
future articles on Appreciative Inquiry
explore the specifics of Appreciative Inquiry as well as
success stories relative to the use of Appreciative
Inquiry within our communities, parishes and families.