Exploring the Living Quaker Tradition

Showing 1–16 of 19 results

    Quakers and Decision-Making: exploring the issues

    A one-day seminar on recent research about Quaker decision-making. You can choose to offer a short presentation (email rhiannon.grant@woodbrooke.org.uk if interested). We will hear from academic researchers and from reflective practitioners of Quaker decision-making. Topics may include Quaker business method and non-Quaker organisations, theories of leadership, theology, the role of silence. We will also consider how this material might feed into the revision of the book of discipline. This is not a “how to” - we assume familiarity with Quaker decision-making.

    The fee for this day includes lunch and refreshments. Accommodation, if required, should be booked separately.


    Philosophy for Quakers

    This course introduces the P4C (Philosophy for Children or Communities www.sapere.org.uk) methodology which enables in-depth enquiry into matters of belief and ethics. This approach creates a positive environment for deep discussion and safe disagreement. Learning to use this form of philosophical enquiry will provide Quakers with the skills needed to facilitate dialogue about important issues in their own meeting community. During the weekend we will use Quaker Faith & Practice as a stimulus for our own community of enquiry.

    Stepping Out of Bounds: the early Christian breakthrough

    At the heart of early Christianity is a breakthrough, an experience of expansion into new possibilities. In the New Testament this experience is described as a manifestation of the Spirit, God’s creative power, operating in a new and unexpected way. People felt inspired, able to step out beyond the boundaries that had previously determined how they lived. This course explores both this breakthrough but also the conflict that had limited it even before the writing of the New Testament documents.

    ‘Faith of’ or ‘Faith in’ Jesus

    For generations, people have been urged to ‘have faith in Jesus’, a phrase drawn from Paul the apostle. But his words can be translated in another way. It brings a substantial change in meaning if Paul is actually encouraging people to have ‘the faith of Jesus’. This development of the past thirty years continues to attract scholarly interest. We shall primarily explore the scholarship but also address the consequences of looking at faith from this intriguingly different point of view.

    Exploring Quaker Spirituality

    What is Quaker spirituality all about and how does it speak to us today? What is distinctive about the Quaker way? Using short talks, times of personal reflection, and group sharing, we will explore the central elements of Quaker spirituality. This will include the foundational experiences and understandings of early Friends; worship, silence and vocal ministry; personal spiritual practice; the discipline of discernment; and the connection between our inward spiritual experiences and our active lives in the world.

    Explaining Quaker Theology

    This course is an opportunity to engage with three theologians well known to Friends who have all published work that explores Quaker understandings for a wider audience. In Rex Ambler's book The Quaker Way: a Rediscovery (Winchester, UK/Washington, USA: Christian Alternative, 2013), he described his aim as to ‘communicate as directly as I could what it means to be Quaker and to follow the Quaker way’. In Testimony: Quakerism and Theological Ethics (London: SCM Press, 2015), Rachel Muers attempts to show ‘how Quaker ways of living and acting relate to theology, to ways of thinking and reasoning about God and all things in relation to God’. In Boundless: the Early Christian Breakthrough (awaiting publication), Timothy Ashworth explores aspects of the lives of Jesus and the earliest Christians in ways that reveal the closeness of early Christian experience to Quaker understandings of worship and discernment.

    This course involves a series of six live webinars. All webinar sessions will be on Thursday between 6.30pm and 8pm except Week 4 which will be on Tuesday 22nd October between 6.30 and 8pm. With preparatory/follow-up reading we suggest a time commitment of approximately three hours per week (including webinars).

    Inhabited by Christ: the theology and spirituality of James Nayler: online

    In this series of four purely online webinars running from 7.00pm to 9.00pm every Tuesday evening from 22 October to 12 November, we will focus on James Nayler, one of the most important leaders in the early Quaker movement. We will explore key dimensions of Nayler’s theology and spirituality by paying close attention to his published works, written between 1653 and 1660. We will look at his understanding of salvation, his contribution to the shaping of the peace testimony and his emphasis on meekness and suffering as God’s way of overcoming evil. We will also consider his prophetic messages to the wealthy and powerful that demonstrate his compassionate concern for the poor and oppressed.

    The course will assume a basic level of prior knowledge of Quakerism and its history.

    This online course is based on four live two hour webinars. Each webinar is recorded so you can follow the course using the recordings if you wish.

    This course involves a time commitment of approximately two to three hours per week.

    The Birth of Liberal Quakerism in Britain: online

    In the 1880s, Quakers in Britain where a broadly evangelical movement. By the 1930s, they were firmly embedded within a liberal theology. How did this shift occur? This course will examine the key events, ideas, publications and personalities of this interesting period of Quaker history, helping us to better understand Quakerism today.

    There will be a live online Q&A webinar on Tuesday 26th November at 7pm GMT. If you can’t join this discussion live, it will be recorded for you to watch at your convenience.

    This course involves a time commitment of approximately two to three hours per week.

    Taught by the Spirit: Paul’s Quaker Gospel

    Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians contains the famous words ‘Love is patient; love is kind … love does not insist on its own way … it rejoices in the truth’. These words are part of a longer passage where Paul explores the nature of the new life that has opened up for the community. It includes the closest description of a Meeting for Worship in the Bible and an extended reflection on the gifts of the Spirit and the qualities needed to lead a Spirit-led life. We will consider the whole letter with the aim of seeing what it can offer Quakers today.

    This is a webinar based course which will take place on Thursdays at 6.30-8pm. Recordings of each webinar will be available to participants.

    Mothers of Israel: the writings of early Quaker women

    The early Quaker movement was unusual in its time for the freedom it afforded women to be preachers, prophets and writers. In this series of four *purely online* webinars running from 7.00pm to 8.30pm every Tuesday evening from 21 April to 12 May, we will explore the lives, and writings of a number of important early Quaker women. This will include Margaret Fell, Martha Simmonds, Sarah Blackborow, Katharine Evans, Sarah Chevers, Dorothy White, Rebecca Travers, Geertruyd Deriks Niesen, and Elizabeth Bathurst. What does this tell us about the status and contribution of Quaker women in the 17th century?

    This course involves a time commitment of approximately two to three hours per week.

    The Birth of Liberal Quakerism

    In the 1880s, Quakers in Britain where a broadly evangelical movement. By the 1930s, they were firmly embedded within a liberal theology. How did this shift occur? This course will examine the key events, ideas, publications and personalities of this fascinating period of Quaker history. Expect a combination of lively mini-lectures, group discussion and individual study, leading to a renewed understanding of Quakerism in Britain today.

    The Roots of the Quaker Way: early Friends in their political and religious context

    What are the roots of the Quaker way? How were early Friends influenced by their religious context? In this course we will explore this issue and consider the connections between Quakers and other radical religious groups, such as the Beguines, the Rhineland Mystics, the Anabaptists, the Family of Love, and the Radical Puritans. We will look at the impact of the early Church, late medieval movements, the Reformation and the English Revolution on the emergence of the Quaker movement.

    Poetry in the Hebrew Bible

    Much of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) is written in poetry. We will tour this ancient verse afresh, reading from the Psalms, Isaiah, Job, and Song of Songs (in English), to discover how its characteristic use of repetition enables nuance, ambiguity, and paradox, as well as emotional intensity. We will explore some of the ways in which biblical poetry has continued to inspire poets and musicians down the centuries, and consider how it might nourish our own spiritual journeys.

    The Writings of Luke: seeing beyond power and privilege

    ‘Do you see?’ Jesus asks this question in Luke’s Gospel as an invitation to look deeply, to see beyond normal conventions of success and power. The neat contour of Luke’s story-telling skilfully hides its disruptive intent, written with the awareness that only a change of heart in each reader will make sense of what he tells us. So we will approach these writings awake to the possibility that even today, through the power of the Spirit, eyes might be opened.

    Resurrection and Renewal: the teachings of Richard Rohr

    A weekend of encounter through video and reading around the book, The Universal Christ (2019). Here Franciscan Richard Rohr explains how Jesus’ life reaffirms God’s constant, unfolding love in the world, since the First Bible - Creation. We are invited to transform the way we ‘see’ everything in order to change how we live in the world.

    What Do We Mean by ‘Christian’?

    As Professor Joad used to say, "It all depends on what you mean by...!"

    Discussion of Christianity is made more difficult by the problem of defining what it is. Is it belief, ethics, practice, spirituality? We look at some of the wide variety of expressions of Christianity and how it is adapted in its cultural contexts. And we consider how early Friends interpreted it and what Quakers might mean by it today.