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What does it mean to live awake to the Spirit? To nurture this openness throughout the day? Join us as we explore these questions and discover practices for opening to the Spirit within our unique lives. All spiritual traditions offer such practices; they are prayer-full practices. We will consider what hinders our living more fully open to the Spirit, and we’ll look at spiritual awakening in dark times. We will include individual reflection time and group learning and sharing.
Do you hold space for others? Or feel drawn to try? Perhaps you’re someone who listens and accompanies; gathers and grows community; or facilitates conflict resolution. This course invites you to explore the personal aspects and spiritual source of such practice. Join us to welcome a spaciousness that holds and nourishes connection with spirit, ourselves and each other. We will learn by being and doing - come prepared to practice, reflect and share.
A rich and exciting weekend, exploring the power of stories to change our world and gain some insights in how to tell them. We will share traditional heroic tales, historical stories from Quaker and Peace traditions and real life stories about those who build a better world, discovering what makes an inspirational story? All you need to bring is an open heart and a story that inspires and motivates you. No previous experience of storytelling is required
This popular course explores the intimate relationship between the natural world and spirituality through creative responses in writing and artwork. Prompted by poetry, the visual arts, music and Woodbrooke’s extensive gardens, with fresh starting points and stimuli offered each year, there will be abundant opportunity for working in a variety of media and forms. We will engage individually or collaboratively both with the places words can take us and where visual images and making art can lead to beyond words.
When hurt or irritated with family or friends, we convince ourselves that it’s ‘kinder’ to say nothing. However, these unexpressed feelings eventually disrupt our relationships. Although we assume we are treating others as equals and are being honest, there is often a large gap between theory and practice. This is an opportunity to reduce this gap. Come prepared to learn and practise new skills and your ability to communicate truthfully and equally with others will be transformed.
We’ll spend most of this weekend singing simple harmony songs from around the world, some sacred, some secular, some lively, some meditative. All songs will be taught by ear. You’ll also have opportunity for reflection, choosing between writing, art activities and time in the garden, so the singing can nourish your life. We’ll cultivate joy and gratitude. This course is for anyone who wants to sing, including those who aren’t confident. Different songs from last time I ran this course.
Time to be; time to rest; time to walk the labyrinth, to find ‘a different way of knowing.’ Unlike mazes, labyrinths have just one path to the centre and back again, a path that offers space for prayer, reflection, meditation, release. We’ll learn about labyrinths as a spiritual resource and explore their patterns through reading, music, images and silence. We’ll experience labyrinths indoors and outdoors, including a labyrinth we’ll create ourselves in the garden – a pattern to take home.
What does the Quaker testimony of simplicity mean to you, and how do you put it into practice? What are the barriers and benefits? In this course we will explore these issues through a mix of group-work and reflective/creative exercises. We will dip into the history of the testimony and consider our spiritual practice and how the inward and outward connect. We'll discuss how Local and Area Meetings can support us in living simply today.
Quaker meetings are ‘Service Providers’ under the Equality Act 2010, and committed to fulfilling an ‘equality testimony’ as faith in action. This course will equip meetings to understand and meet legal obligations and key disability rights ideas with joy, celebration and creativity, highlighting links to Quakerism. Tutors will share personal experience of using the Equality Act 2010, and its strengths and limitations as a tool for disability equality. Suitable for anyone, but we particularly encourage meetings to send representatives.
We invite participants into a gentle space of enquiry as to how we relate to our lineage – our mothers and fathers but perhaps also other lineages that shape who we are. The tone of the gathering will be contemplative. There will be the invitation to tap into the wisdom of the body and include creativity if you would like to. It is certainly not a requirement that you have a sense of connection to your ancestors!
This course will take a fresh look at the wounded healer in the light of Jung the person and his work. Relevant myths will be explored, e.g. Chiron; the Fisher King, so that the archetypal dimensions can be seen. The reality of the wounded healer in current healthcare practice will also be a focus. Through input, experiential work and an enactment of a relevant legendary tale the wounded healer will be considered both in theory and in lived experience.
For 12 years, Woodbrooke has hosted retreats drawing on the Zen Buddhist teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh. This year, we welcome back Sister Annabel Laity supported by members of the Order of Interbeing, people who have committed themselves to practice in this tradition. Join them to discover how mindfulness of the present moment can bring peace and happiness. Guidance in the practice will be given. You will enjoy times of silence, walking meditation in Woodbrooke’s beautiful grounds and specially prepared vegetarian food.
One hundred years ago women voted in British Parliamentary elections for the first time. The women’s franchise came after decades of campaigning, some of it destructive and violent. Drawing on case studies of individual Quaker women, we will explore Quaker responses to the campaign, looking at the historical context, the rise of militancy, and the impact of the First World War. We will also consider what lessons the campaign has for activists today, and what we as Quakers are doing towards gender equality.
The experiment with Light practice offers a structure for waiting in the Light to see ourselves and our lives. We will use this structure to be still, to reflect and to worship together. This can guide us into a deep listening and expectant waiting. There will also be unstructured quiet time alone. We will start at noon and end by noon the next day
We all tell stories. Storytelling is an essential tool in business, ministry, teaching, activism, and life. Learn how to integrate storytelling into your current work. Discover how to tell compelling stories about your own life, current issues, or in connection to your work. Master storyteller, Peterson Toscano, and community theater facilitator, Lauren Jansen-Parkes, will help you hone stories you already tell and develop techniques for telling new stories. Become a more effective presenter and speaker and learn how to captivate an audience with your stories.
An opportunity for sharing, supporting and developing your ministry. Whether you are considering or starting chaplaincy work or you have years of experience, at this weekend you will be able to reflect on your work, share your experiences, ideas and insights, and come away refreshed. Are you a Quaker chaplain in hospital, prison, school or university or in any other work or community setting? Come for renewal and to discover ways to develop your chaplaincy role.
Some parts of the weekend will be filmed as resources for a future online course