Friday Fellowship Design Collaborative with Dr. Georgette Ledgister
Thursday, August 27, 2020
Who and how do we want to be with one another?
What ends are critical to the beginnings we are embracing?
What kind of learning will we shape and share?
How much can two years hold?
These are some of the questions that now former
Fearless Dialogues executive director Dr. Georgette “Jojo” Ledgister and WLI deputy director and lead faculty Dr. Meredith Doster took up over a four-month design collaborative this summer. Colleagues
and friends situated on opposite sides of the color-line, Meredith and Georgette studied together in Emory University’s doctoral program in Religious Studies. Trained to explore the root and power of all we hold sacred without losing sight of one
another, Meredith and Jojo (as she is known by her colleagues and friends) share commitments to the practice of learning and leading across lines of difference.
To develop and innovate the 2020–2022 fellowship design together, Meredith and Jojo met monthly via Zoom. Each session opened with a centering practice that invited quiet reflection before moving
into the work of drafting and scaffolding program elements. As is true of any convening that leads with relationship, each session took on a life of its own. A journey in its own right, this design collaboration held crucial space for the kind of
relationship and reckoning at the heart of the Friday Fellowship. Now a Visiting Lecturer on Women’s Studies and African Religions at Harvard Divinity School, Dr. Ledgister reflected
recently on this collaboration:
“Howard W. Thurman famously asserted that hatred is seeded when there is repeated ‘contact without fellowship.’ If we are honest about the origins of the suspicions that bloom, flourish, and fester across the color-line, we must acknowledge that our diversity
often functions as a means to an end, and is not the end in itself. The ethos of the design collaborative, and of the Friday Fellowship itself, anchored Meredith and me in an unwavering commitment to ground our repeated contact and work in meaningful
and life-giving connection.”
With the official launch of the 11th class of William C. Friday Fellows only a few weeks away, lead faculty Meredith Doster looks forward
to sharing both the process and product of this design collaborative with the incoming class. “I cannot set this fellowship table on my own,” Meredith noted recently. “Nor should I. Part of what the fellowship requires is a commitment to the kind
of attention that notices who is in the room, at the table, or sharing in a Google document. It matters, deeply and materially, that the thoughtwork and framing of this fellowship is rooted in both dialogue and relationship. One of the gifts of this
collaboration is a deepening of the friendship that Jojo and I share. Together, we are able to see and hear more fully, and to engage in the work of repair and revolution, of love and liberation. And that’s what much of this fellowship is about.”
While the design collaborative has formally concluded, Dr. Ledgister will participate in the virtual InGathering ceremony for the incoming class on September 30, 2020. She will also serve as faculty for Seminar 5 in January 2022. Until then,
Meredith and Jojo will keep leaning into the fruits of this collaboration that continues to evolve at the pace the Friday Fellowship both practices and preaches – the pace of relationship.