At Unity Matters All Unity Matters
Jim and Kathy Harrell
In 2000, I began my journey that has culminated in the creation of Unity Matters. I completed the forty hour course in Professional Mediation Training and the Advanced Family Mediation Training from the Worklife Institute in Houston, Texas accredited by the State Bar of Texas Continuing Legal Education Department. I also attended the Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders - Lombard Mennonite Peace Center in Illinios.
Over the past decade, with the combination of my Doctorate of Ministry (DMin) studies at Perkins at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Leadership skills in Conflict Resolution and Transformation and my mediation certifications, I have developed a unique style of mediation that focuses not only on the law-court model, which directs the mediation process toward issue settlement, but also includes teaching skills that empower clients to work together toward the best possible outcome for their personal conflict situation. In 100 percent of these cases, both civil and family matters, our clients have taken ownership in a "Win--Win" settlement - all out of court. We have found this mediation process to equip both parties with life skills and understanding to help settle other matters of conflict that may arise in their lives and between each other in the future.
While this type of mediation works very well in civil mediation, the advantage of the unique technique is especially true in divorce mediation for the client's sake, the children's welfare, and to benefit the ongoing relationship of the parents with their children. Consequently, the mediation process I have developed has again led to the successful completion of 100 percent of all mediation cases appointed to me by our court system. We urge pastors who have parishioners caught up in legal battles as well as those seeking divorce to consider contacting Unity Matters to avoid lengthy and costly legal battles.
One added feature to our style of mediation is my husband Jim's assistance during the financial aspect of the mediation process. Jim holds a BBA from Texas Tech. in Banking and Finance as well as an MBA in Accounting from the University of Houston. Over the years we have found that typically one of the parties in the mediation process feels insecure and threatened when discussing the financial aspect of their settlement. Jim has a unique gift for calming fears and helping both parties arrive at a suitable financial settlement with a clear understanding of the financial decisions made by both parties.
Unity Matters is fully equipped with state of the art office amenities. We enjoy hosting clients at the Unity Matters Center and provide our clients a gourmet lunch served along with coffee, tea, and delicious pastries. We are also available to travel to other locations upon request.
"When a married couple is estranged beyond reconciliation, even after thoughtful consideration and counsel, divorce is a regrettable alternative in the midst of brokenness ... It is recommended that methods of mediation be used to minimized the adversarial nature and fault-finding that are often part of our current judicial process. ... Although divorce publicly declares that a marriage no longer exists, other covenantal relationships resulting from the marriage remain, such a the nurture and support of children and extended family ties. We urge respectful negotiations in deciding the custody of minor children and support the consideration of either or both parents for this responsibility in that custody not be reduced to financial support, control, or manipulation and retaliation. The welfare of each child is the most important consideration."
(Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, 2000).