Courses at Woodbrooke

Showing 1–16 of 109 results

    A Pre-Christmas Retreat: Woodbrooke and the Community of Interbeing

    As Christmas draws very near, this joint retreat provides a wonderful opportunity to open the senses and purify the heart and mind. For many years, Woodbrooke has hosted retreats and weekends which have focused on the Zen teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh. On this weekend we bring Zen and Quaker traditions together. Come and enjoy mindfulness practice and Quaker silent worship, vegetarian food from Woodbrooke’s kitchen and Buddhist and Quaker teaching on joy and peace.

    Dances of Universal Peace: Dancing Into the New Year with Hope and Joy

    “Come into your heart”, holding hands, honouring various religions / spiritual traditions, moving and chanting in a circle. Simple words and simple movements are taught, attuning to love, harmony and beauty: dancing inter-faith. A joyful and powerful experience of oneness, freeing the voice. We move, breathe and sing together, holding hands - like one organism, like a cell in the body, remembering being part of something much bigger than the small self. No singing or dancing experience is required.

    A Friendly Introduction to Membership

    What is Quaker membership? How do I apply and what will happen? The weekend gives an opportunity to explore the meaning of membership and belonging, and to share with others at a similar stage in their journey with Quakers. We will look at the history of Quaker membership, the practical aspects of applying for membership, and at the rewards and responsibilities belonging to a faith community brings.

    Changing Shape of Eldership and Oversight: present experience and underlying tradition

    Eldership and oversight – or to put it more clearly, Quaker ways of providing pastoral and spiritual care – are changing. Meetings are sharing out the work differently and more widely, trying not to burden individuals while also including attenders. This course will explore the history of this work and the different patterns now being used to support the spiritual and social lives of meetings. Everyone welcome: you do not need to have been appointed to any specific role in order to participate.

    Clearing the Way

    The New Year is a good time to reflect on who we are, what we feel called to do, and what gets in the way. We will explore the nature of the clutter that distracts from our life’s purpose and consider how to create space in our minds and hearts as well as in our living rooms.

    Standing in the light and sitting in the dark

    Are you looking to live a spirit led life? Join us to make space for unhurried, open hearted attention to your inner life and the depths that call us. Together we will explore and create models for navigating from these depths to tangible ways of being and acting; to lives that realise the spirit's yearning for love and justice.

    Meredith Freeman ventures, hosts, holds, maps and prays. She is currently practicing allowing action to flow from answers. Meredith's website is

    Katie Evans is a Quaker who loves making breathing space for the Spirit. Katie's website is


    Quaker Nominations

    An event for members of Quaker nominations committees. How can we root ourselves in good practices of discernment whilst responding to the particular issues that face us? Nominations are at the quiet heart of the way we live together as Friends, when we listen faithfully to the Spirit. We will include the practical aspects of being 'on nominations'. Friends can expect a renewed insight into the potential of nominations to strengthen meetings and enabling them to flourish.

    Time set aside: an individually guided retreat

    For this retreat, twelve people will join Timothy Ashworth and Frances Henley Lock in a silent retreat which will utilise spaces set apart from the busyness of the main Woodbrooke building. Meals will be shared in silence in our own quiet space. Participants will be able to use the Art Room and join Meeting for Worship and Epilogue. Each day will include one short talk and one-to-one time with Tim or Frances.

    Nurturing our Meetings

    How can we make our Quaker meetings vibrant and inclusive communities in which each person is accepted and nurtured, and strangers are welcome? In this course you will discover ways to deepen and strengthen the life of your meeting. Together we will explore a variety of spiritual practices, including the ‘ministry of welcome’. We will share our spiritual journeys, look at how we bear the burden of one another’s failings, and help one another up with a tender hand.

    Richard Rohr on Ego, 12 Steps, Mysticism and Growth

    We will share video teaching from Franciscan Richard Rohr whose daily reflections circulate 250,000 radical contemplative Christians around the world. We’ll look at excerpts from two of his books “Breathing Under Water” - Spirituality and the Twelve Steps and “The Naked Now” - Learning to See as the Mystics See, often through worship sharing. How do you ‘wake-up’ into a fuller life? This new course welcomes you whether or not you attended the Rohr Woodbrooke weekend Feb 2018.

    Exploring the Quaker practice of waiting in the Light

    William Penn said Quaker Spiritual practice was an ‘experiment on the soul’. We will look at the writings of early Friends and put their words to the test to see if the practice of waiting in the Light they describe can be a reality for us. The experience can be searching and powerful. We will do the meditation twice during the weekend. This course is suitable for those who are familiar with, or new to, the Experiment with Light practice.

    Being a Quaker Treasurer

    For new and prospective treasurers, and those who still feel uncertain. We will cover all the main tasks, from first entries to year-end preparation of accounts, principles, responsibilities, and legal requirements. You will find sympathetic companionship with other treasurers, and explore the spiritual basis of the role. Please note times: The course starts at 11:15am on the Monday with Basic Book-keeping (this runs to 5:45pm and will include lunch). Those without much experience need these sessions. If Monday attendance is difficult, the exercises will be available online to complete at home beforehand. On the Wednesday there is an optional session on the Quaker spreadsheet programme which runs from 1:30pm to 3.00pm.

    Present Moment, Wonderful Moment

    For many years Woodbrooke has hosted retreats and weekends which have focused on the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.  Whether a beginner or experienced, on this weekend retreat you will taste something of the deep peace that can be discovered through simple practices of being present. The practice is very accessible and will involve sitting and walking meditation, deep relaxation and silence as well as the invitation to take our meals in silence. The food will be vegetarian.

    Critical Whiteness

    What is white privilege? Who has unearned power, and why? How does the often unnamed racial position of white people affect families, careers, and interactions? This course speaks from the personal experience of the white tutors who are in an ongoing process of understanding their place in the world's racial systems, with the aim of ending racism and white supremacy. All are welcome to join us for this exploration, which may be challenging, moving, and uplifting.

    T.S. Eliot: The heavy burden of the growing soul

    This course will track the remarkable evolution of Eliot’s poetry – from his early modernist forays, culminating in The Waste Land, via the intensifying spiritual preoccupations of subsequent years, leading to his crowning contemplative masterpiece, Four Quartets. We shall focus especially on the poet’s intensifying quest for meaning against the often hostile background of the modern world, and consider how these challenging – but intensely human, subtle and honest – works stimulate insights into our own quandaries and aspirations.

    In Humility of Heart

    One of the foundations of the spirit-led life, humility is at the heart of our witness. However, in this age of individualism, status and celebrity to turn oneself over to a life of faithful service is a radical act. Together we’ll explore how we can let go of the need to judge and be judged, and learn to accept, forgive and be content. It will be a space in which to be encouraged by those who have faced the troubles of life with grace-filled hope.