Course search results

Costing not less than everything: sustainability and spirituality in challenging times

Author: Pam Lunn

Desc: The 2011 Swarthmore lecture, entitled ‘Costing not less than everything: sustainability and spirituality in challenging times’ was given by Good Lives project leader, Pam Lunn. The book on which the lecture was based, is now on sale from the Woodbrooke bookshop, the Quaker Centre bookshop and online. It was just one contribution towards the declaration of the Quaker commitment to a low carbon footprint at the gathering. An audio only version of the lecture is available here.

You can purchase the book of Pam’s lecture from the Quaker Centre Bookshop. Just visit http://quaker.org.uk/shop/swarthmore/2011 Price: £8.00 (print book); £3.50 (ebook)

Quakerism in 18th and 19th century American literature

This FREE online course explores the influence of Quakerism on 18th and 19th century American writers, as well as the representations of Quaker characters in fiction of the period – sometimes good, sometimes bad! You will encounter the good Quaker abolitionists of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Nathan Slaughter, the murderous Quaker in Nick of the Woods. The course will have 5 sessions, spread over 10 weeks to allow time for reading. No previous experience of literary study is necessary – just come prepared to explore and enjoy.

We will read five texts together – Nick of the Woods, selections from Uncle Tom’s Cabin, an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson, some poetry by Walt Whitman and “The Gentle Boy” by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

This course involves a time commitment of approximately 2-3 hours per week.

To join the course, click on the button below. You will be directed to our Moodle online learning site. If you do not have an existing Moodle account you will be asked to create one.

What to do about Money

We are involved with money every day – working for it, spending it, saving it, investing it, giving it away or just worrying about it. We feel guilty about having too much and worry about having too little. In this online course we'll explore our relationships with money so that participants are better able to make choices about their use of money, as individuals or as Meetings. Financial advice will not be given.

Exploring Oversight – January 2019

This course will help those with responsibility for oversight in Quaker meetings gain a better understanding of the role and the confidence to do it. What does the role involve? What is expected? What is the spiritual basis of oversight? How can overseers respond to and meet the pastoral needs of the meeting? We will look at the range of tasks, share good practice and explore ways of handling difficult issues as well as looking at practical ideas and useful resources.

This course focuses on oversight in Britain Yearly Meeting but may also be of interest to Friends from other yearly meetings.

Exploring Eldership – January 2019

This course will help those with responsibility for eldership in Quaker meetings gain a better understanding of the role and the confidence to do it. What does the role involve? What is the spiritual basis of eldership? How can elders respond to and nurture the spiritual life of the meeting? Participants will have the opportunity to explore the role and share experiences with others as well as looking at practical ideas and resources that will be of help. This course focuses on eldership in Britain Yearly Meeting but may also be of interest to Friends from other yearly meetings.

Being a Quaker Trustee – January 2019

Particularly suitable for new/less experienced Area Meeting trustees, or as a refresher. We will be factual and practical, but all we do will be underpinned by the spiritual question of what trusteeship means within Quakers?  What does God require of us? What does the law require? What is considered good practice for Quakers and for charities? How do trustees, area and local meetings relate to each other? We aim to provide easy-to-understand information and enjoyable learning, to make trusteeship approachable and rewarding.

A Friendly Introduction to the Quaker Way

Are you relatively new to Quakers and keen to find out more? This course sets out the Quaker ‘basics’. It will give you an understanding of the history and international reach of Quakerism, and the importance of spiritual experience to the Quaker Way. We will discuss what happens in a Meeting for Worship and how Quakers make decisions and organise themselves. We will explore what Quakers mean by ‘testimony’ and explain simple spiritual practices for you to experiment with. Each unit contains video, audio and written materials to engage with, and forums to share reflections and ask questions. There will be a live online Q&A on Thursday 21 February at 19.00 GMT. If you can’t join this discussion live, it will be recorded for you to watch at your convenience. This course is intended for those who have been attending a Quaker meeting for between six months and three years. This course focuses principally on Quakerism as practiced by Britain Yearly Meeting, what is known as the liberal unprogrammed tradition. Participants from other Yearly Meetings and traditions are very welcome.

This course involves a time commitment of approximately 2-3 hours per week.

Being a Quaker Clerk: an online course for clerks around the world

This new course is an opportunity for Quaker clerks around the world to learn together. We will consider the clerk’s role before, during and after a Meeting for Worship for Business and look at the differing styles of clerking around the Quaker world. The course is for all clerks whether you are clerking at a local, regional, national or international level or just want to learn more about the role. We hope that participants will learn from each other as well as the leaders.

This course involves a time commitment of approximately 2-3 hours per week.

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.

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

What are the roots of the Quaker way? How were early Friends influenced by their religious and political context? In this webinar series we will explore this issue and consider the connections between Quakers and other radical religious groups, such as the Anabaptists, the Family of Love, the Diggers and the Ranters. We will look back to the influence of the early Church and medieval movements, and forwards to the emergence of new religious movements in the eighteenth century. Only basic computer skills are needed for this course, together with access to e-mail and the internet. The course takes place in Woodbrooke's online learning website, for which easy registration details will be provided. Full guidance will be given on how to access the course's material, and help is available if you get stuck at any point.

This online retreat involves a time commitment of approximately 2-3 hours per week.

 

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 http://undoing.me

Katie Evans is a Quaker who loves making breathing space for the Spirit. Katie's website is https://katie.element42.org

 

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.

Being a Quaker Clerk – February 2019

This course is for new or prospective clerks with little or no experience of Quaker clerking. We will focus on clerking local meetings but clerks of other meetings or committees will also find they can learn much about their role. There will be practical sessions including planning agendas, drafting minutes and discipline in the meeting. We will also consider other responsibilities that come with being a clerk. Participants will learn from each other as well as from the leaders.

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.

Deepening the life of Spirit: an online retreat exploring prayer and spiritual practice

Would you like to explore new ways of opening to the Light? This online retreat, running over six weeks, offers spiritual nourishment and renewal in the midst of everyday life. Each week you will be invited to rest and reflect, explore spiritual practices, meet the Spirit at work in your life and share with your retreat group and guide through conversation in the online retreat forum. You’ll need a computer or digital device with internet and a quiet space to use during the retreat. Note re timings: You will choose the times and days that you engage with this online retreat each week, as we will not all be online at the same time. You can join in from any time zone.

This course involves a time commitment of approximately 4 hours per week.

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.

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.

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.

Being a Quaker Treasurer

Please note: There is an error in our latest brochure. The correct price for this course is £325 for resident and £250 for non-residents.

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 11:15 am 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 1:30 pm to 3.00 pm.

Nurturing Authentic Spirituality: a rule to live by

Please note: There is an error in our latest brochure. The correct non-resident price is £240.00.

How are we to live an authentic spirituality? What spiritual principles do we apply in our daily lives and how can we be accountable to our faith community in our quest for spiritual authenticity? This course will give us a chance to share our spiritual aspirations, histories and practices and to identify those areas where we feel we need help. Building community through worship and creative listening, we will define personal strategies for daily faithfulness and explore how we might challenge and support one another along the way.

Being an Inclusive Faith Community

Do you long for your faith community to be truly inclusive? This course will give you tools to put inclusion at the heart of your faith community life. We will ask how inclusion is rooted in our theology, how inclusion is different to diversity, and how we can include all people in our faith communities, regardless of economic power, gender, mental health, physical ability, race or sexuality.

Being a Quaker Clerk

This course is for new or prospective clerks with little or no experience of Quaker clerking. We will focus on clerking local meetings but clerks of other meetings or committees will also find they can learn much about their role. There will be practical sessions including planning agendas, drafting minutes and discipline in the meeting.  We will also consider other responsibilities that come with being a clerk. Participants will learn from each other as well as from the leaders.

Icon Painting as a spiritual practice

Please note: There is an error in our latest brochure. The correct non-resident price is £350.

Practicing icon painting helps us to look into ourselves, make time to be in the silence of our hearts and learn who we are. How can we then after knowing more about what we are develop a connection and relationship with the Divine. Learning technique will be a very important part of the course. Feeling confident in creating an image helps to forget about all distractions, things we can’t achieve, things that we don’t understand and simply let our hand be an extension of our souls. Participants will learn all stages of icon painting and principles of the technique but will focus on meditative aspect of the process. Each session will start with short guided meditation to help us reconnect with our bodies.

A Quaker Response to Animal Suffering

This course involves a time commitment of approximately 2-3 hours per week.Are you concerned with animal suffering? Do you question the moral justifications for their ill-treatment? Do you have an awareness of them as precious creatures of God? This six week online course will introduce key themes in the field of Animal Theology within the context of the Quaker faith. Also looking at biblical, Buddhist and scientific understanding, we will ask how our lives of active witness might realise the common bonds we share with other species, and extend our vision of the peaceable kingdom.

The Dance of Compassionate Communication: an introduction to Nonviolent Communication

At home or at work, the way we think about ourselves and communicate with others affects a fundamental aspect of our lives - human connection. Develop ways of expressing the heart of your messages with power, and learn to hear the essence of other’s communication, instead of hearing blame and criticism. This workshop introduces you to the concepts and tools of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) developed by Marshall Rosenberg. It will improve your best relationships and ease the conflicts and misunderstandings of your worst.

Inspiration and Practice: the spiritual grounding of our ecumenical and interfaith work (booking page for Area Meeting representatives)

Ecumenical and interfaith work can bring moments of real breakthrough as well as sticky challenges. Our speakers will help us explore the spiritual depth in such moments. What helps encourage moments of openness and insight? How do we honestly face and deal with the barriers of substantial difference?  We will bring such reflections together with examples of practical work on the ground, making use of the up-to-date snapshot of current Quaker interfaith and ecumenical activity produced through research undertaken for QCCIR by Woodbrooke.

Booking for this event is currently open only to representatives appointed by their Area Meeting. If you have been appointed by your Area meeting, please book below (if appropriate, you can request that an invoice is sent to your Meeting treasurer for payment). The priority booking period for AM representatives will close on 31 January 2019 - after that point, any remaining places will be available for general bookings.

If you are not appointed by an Area Meeting, and wish to register your interest in attending, please do so HERE

Inspiration and Practice: the spiritual grounding of our ecumenical and interfaith work

Ecumenical and interfaith work can bring moments of real breakthrough as well as sticky challenges. Our speakers will help us explore the spiritual depth in such moments. What helps encourage moments of openness and insight? How do we honestly face and deal with the barriers of substantial difference?  We will bring such reflections together with examples of practical work on the ground, making use of the up-to-date snapshot of current Quaker interfaith and ecumenical activity produced through research undertaken for QCCIR by Woodbrooke.

Booking for this event is currently open only to representatives appointed by their Area Meeting. If you have been appointed by your Area meeting, please book HERE

The priority booking period for AM representatives will close on 31 January 2019 - after that point, any remaining places will be available for general bookings.

If you are not appointed by an Area Meeting, and wish to register your interest in attending, please add yourself to the waiting list below. To join the waiting list, select one of the accommodation options (residential or non-residential), tick the box (below 'Notify me when course is available') and click to add to the waiting list. You will be asked for an email address. Everyone on the list will receive an email around 31 January once general bookings are open.

 

Exploring Eldership – March 2019

This course will help those with responsibility for Eldership in Quaker meetings gain a better understanding of the role and the confidence to do it. What does the role involve? What is the spiritual basis of eldership? How can elders respond to and nurture the spiritual life of the meeting? Participants will have the opportunity to explore the role and share experiences with others as well as looking at practical ideas and resources that will be of help. This course focuses on eldership in Britain Yearly Meeting but may also be of interest to Friends from other Yearly Meetings.

Exploring Oversight – March 2019

This course will help those with responsibility for Oversight in Quaker meetings gain a better understanding of the role and the confidence to do it. What does the role involve? What is expected? What is the spiritual basis of oversight? How can overseers respond to and meet the pastoral needs of the meeting? We will look at the range of tasks, share good practice and explore ways of handling difficult issues as well as looking at practical ideas and useful resources. This course focuses on oversight in Britain Yearly Meeting but may also be of interest to Friends from other Yearly Meetings.

Being a Quaker Trustee – March 2019

Particularly suitable for new/less experienced Area Meeting trustees; it may also be of interest to anyone wanting a refresher. We will be factual and practical. What does the law require? What is considered good practice for charities? How does this fit with Quaker good practice? How do trustees, area and local meetings relate to each other? How can trustees best serve our meetings? We aim to provide easy-to-understand information and enjoyable learning, to make trusteeship approachable and rewarding.

Writing Brilliant Annual Reports

This three-week online course is an interactive discussion space which will help participants to better understand the Charity Commission and Britain Yearly Meeting requirements for an Area Meeting Trustees’ Annual Report. You will consider the target audience and share ideas about how to produce the most useful document(s) possible. There will be exercises to try out as you prepare your 2018 report. The course will be run as three *purely online* webinars from 7.00pm to 8.30pm on Thursday evenings, starting March 14th. This course is intended for anyone involved in producing the annual report for an Area Meeting, including Area Meeting trustees, treasurers, and clerks. The course will be delivered through live seminars and although these will be recorded for later viewing you will get the most out of the course if you can attend them all, and if you have a webcam and microphone to join in the conversation. The online Adobe Connect 'room', accessed in your internet browser from a link in Moodle, will be opened 1 hour before the first session (and 30 minutes before the other sessions) to enable you to log in and test your equipment.

This course involves a time commitment of approximately 1.5-2.5 hours per week.

The search the Deep Self

The course will help people discover their deeper selves and what gives them meaning and purpose. It is based on stories of people finding insight into who they are and what their life is about. Stories are drawn from the well known and the not so well known eureka moments and slow dawnings. All, however, are liberating and life-giving. By exploring these often intimate and moving stories, participants reflect on themselves – and are empowered to take further steps in their own lives.

A Friendly Introduction to Gender Diversity

In recent years we may have become more aware of transgender people – in our meetings we may encounter a transgender newcomer seeking a spiritual home, a longstanding Friend may ‘come out’, or we might have a relative who is trans or non-binary. This weekend aims to demystify gender diversity by hearing personal stories. We will explore the distinctive role of our meetings in embracing the richness of gender diversity based on our testimonies to truth, equality and simplicity.

Transforming the World

How can we, as Quakers, bring about non-violent, peaceful transformation in our Meetings, in our families, in our workplaces, in our society, and in the world? In this course, we will explore together how transformation starts and unfolds – and how we can make it happen. We will learn from Quaker history and experience, as well as from current creative approaches, to better understand our roles in bringing about transformation in line with our testimonies.

Chaplaincy Retreat

This weekend retreat will provide the opportunity for Quaker chaplains working in any setting (prison, education, hospital or others) to reflect, relax and reconnect with our spiritual foundation. We will use a mix of creative listening, the labyrinth, journalling and a range of spiritual practices to provide opportunities to recharge our batteries and remind ourselves why we do this important work. This weekend is not a training event and may not be suitable for people with no chaplaincy experience.

Appreciative Inquiry in Quaker settings

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a strengths-based approach to development and change that is particularly relevant to Quaker principles and practice. This course provides basic training in AI, which will equip Friends with the understanding and skills to facilitate AI processes in their meetings or committees. It will be especially useful to Friends serving in roles, employed staff and any Friends with experience in leadership or facilitation wishing to develop their skills and learn a new approach to real issues.

The Meaning of the Cross: victory, liberation, healing or punishment?

Many of us struggle with the Bible’s sacrificial imagery and are troubled by the idea that God punishes Jesus for our sins. In this course we will explore alternative understandings of the cross drawing on the early Church, peace church traditions, theologies of liberation, and the work of Rene Girard. Can we move beyond violent punishment and embrace a faith that in the words of James Nayler “outlives all wrath and contention and wearies out all exaltation and cruelty”?

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony

Please note: There is an error in our latest brochure. The correct prices for this course are £295 for residents and £220 for non-residents. The higher price is to cover the cost of performance tickets.

Beethoven’s final symphony expresses complex and intimate states of mind while embracing the universal aspirations of the Age of Revolution, in unprecedentedly dramatic and beautiful music.  In this course we shall look both at the historical context and the way that Beethoven has shaped the work. We shall hear Simon Rattle conducting the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in an eagerly awaited performance. This course is intended for all music lovers, and specialist knowledge is not needed.

Telling our (digital) Quaker stories

This course provides the opportunity to participate in a digital storytelling process to create a short film on the theme of ‘Our Quaker stories’. Through participating in a supportive story circle you will create a short script and additional visual material to make your own two minute digital story. At the end of the weekend we will share our stories together and consider future possibilities for sharing them more widely.

No specialised technical knowledge is required but we request that you use your own smart phone or tablet If you have one. If this is not possible please get in touch and we will make arrangements to have extra equipment available.

Planning a Purposeful Retirement

This workshop offers space to reflect on what a rich, fulfilling retirement would look like for you. The workshop is based on the first part of Richard and Heather’s book ‘Creating a Purposeful Life’. Together we will explore topics such as: my unique talents and strengths; my values; different attitudes to retirement and change; losses and gains on retirement and overcoming blockers to personal change. The workshop will be interactive, with time for personal work and small group discussions.

Registering Officers Training

A training event for new Quaker Registering Officers. Run in partnership with the Recording Clerk's Office of BYM. Details will be sent to Registering Officers directly.

You can find how to book for the Registering Officers Conference here

 

 

Registering Officers conference

A conference for Quaker Registering Officers. Details will be sent to Registering Officers directly.

You can find how to book for the Registering Officers Training here

Writing Retreat at Swarthmoor Hall

Set in the beautiful and quiet surroundings of Swarthmoor Hall, this retreat is open to anyone looking for space and time for writing, whether starting a new project, or to take forward or finish off a current piece. There will be the opportunity to hear from the tutors about their experience of writing and one to one time with them but the emphasis will be on creating a supportive environment to devote to the craft itself.

To book Woodbrooke courses at Swarthmoor Hall please email info@swarthmoorhall.co.uk or ring 01229 583204

Clerk to Trustees: training – online

A three week course which will help clerks to Area Meeting Trustee bodies develop their skills and confidence. We'll talk about what's involved in the role, being a trustee in a Quaker context, building good working relationships, and where to go for help. Possible topics include planning agendas, writing minutes, using subcommittees, contracts and employment, what needs doing when, and trusteeship and faith. There will be links to useful material and a forum to discuss your particular circumstances and questions.

Being a Quaker Treasurer – online

For new and prospective treasurers of local meetings. We will cover all the main tasks, from first entries to year-end preparation of accounts. You will find sympathetic companionship and explore the spiritual basis of the role. Full participation requires a webcam and microphone – you will be invited to test these with us the week before the course starts. You will also be sent a pack of spreadsheets, too large to print at home, required for the homework between sessions. The course will be run as a series of six *purely online* webinars run from 7.00pm to 9.00pm every Tuesday evening from 16 April to 21 May. This course involves a time commitment of approximately 2-3 hours per week and must be booked by Tuesday 9th April.

Living Water – an Appleseed Course

Water is essential for life and has been a feature of the natural world that has given rise to spiritual symbolism and religious ritual since earliest times. What does 'Living Water' mean to each of us today? The Appleseed process balances thinking and feeling and provides a safe space for personal exploration. Short talks and meditation will be followed by simple art-based activities (no skills required) and worship sharing. The course is suitable for those with and without Appleseed experience.

The drama of the passion

This course looks at the story of the Passion as told in the gospel texts and as interpreted through drama, music and other arts. We begin by looking at the Oberammergau passion play (due in 2020) to see the questions of interpretation raised. We shall try to analyse the theological viewpoints behind the interpretations and use them to look at how we view the Passion today. There will be time on Easter Sunday to attend church or meeting for worship.

A Drop of Stillness

A weekend retreat to nourish the deep peace stillness and silence can offer us, and the soft, graceful movements of Qi Gong to centre ourselves, replenish and harmonise our Qi (energy), to nurture a calm and relaxed body and mind.  To be centred.  Sitting and walking meditation, periods of noble silence, deep relaxation, informal walking meditation in the gardens,  and the invitation to take our meals in silence and enjoy eating meditation together.

A Place for the Scriptures: a course at Swarthmoor Hall

The approach of early Friends to Scripture was extremely controversial. Their experience of the living Spirit made them suspicious of placing authority in a fixed text – but they believed this insight was rooted in the Bible itself. How do we now articulate the Quaker approach? And how does it shape how the Bible is used among Friends? This course is part of a continuing exploration of how Friends today relate to the Bible without compromising Quaker insights.

To book Woodbrooke courses at Swarthmoor Hall please email info@swarthmoorhall.co.uk or ring 01229 583204

 

Eldership and Oversight: online

This six-week online course will help all those serving in eldership and oversight to gain better understanding and confidence in their role – whatever the system in their meeting. The six modules cover the full range of topics included in the separate and combined eldership and oversight onsite courses, with options to focus on areas of particular relevance. You should allow 2-3 hours a week for pursuing this course. There is no requirement to be online at a particular time.

Spiritual Blogging: Continuing the Story

How does writing help people to share their spiritual lives with their friends, family, and community? In this course we'll use historical and modern examples to explore how and why Quakers and others have chosen to record and publish spiritual autobiographies. There will be opportunities to try writing for yourself and space to consider whether blogging or another format might be a good way to share your work. Come as you are: no previous writing experience, technical knowledge, or saintly spirituality required.

Galatians

‘For freedom Christ has set us free’. This is the heart of Paul’s teaching in this letter. Here is Paul’s most radical expression of how the experience of the Spirit can transform how people think of themselves and treat each other. In this online course we will tackle the letter step by step, aiming to bring Paul’s words alive, find connections with Quaker understandings, and better understand Paul’s confidence that faith in the living word can bring a new creation. The course will be run as a series of six webinars run from 6.30pm to 8.00pm every Tuesday evening from 07 May to 28 May. This course involves a time commitment of approximately 2-3 hours per week.

Travelling in the ministry: strengthening our gifts

An early practice within the Quaker tradition was travelling in the ministry, Friends sharing their concerns and encouragement for members of the Religious Society of Friends. We will build on this rich tradition by exploring the behaviours and patterns Quaker women and men traveling in ministry found beneficial. This workshop is intended for those who are acting as “minister” or have a desire to do so or learn about Travelling. We will discuss practical approaches to traveling in Ministry.

Anger Management with Art

Please note: There is an error in our latest brochure. This course runs from Friday 10 May to Sunday 12 May (not Wednesday 8 to Friday 10 May as advertised).

This course is for anyone who wants to look at anger issues using art materials – those wanting to look at their own anger, those working with others who are angry, or both. No ability in art is needed, just a willingness to have a go. We will look at what anger is; whether it is good or bad; at the physical symptoms of anger; the influence of early family patterns; using relaxation and assertiveness to manage anger more constructively.

The Inner Light: an exploration of eastern spiritual poetry – at Swarthmoor Hall

The weekend will include a wide ranging survey of the ways in which Far and Middle Eastern scriptures and poetry have explored and expressed the nature and consequences of spiritual aspiration. We shall consider the thought and style of texts from pre-history to the Middle Ages, including Lao Tzu, Indian scriptures, Rumi and Hafiz, focussing on their evocation of the difficulties and rewards of spiritual work, and how their insights may assist our own understanding and development. All texts will be studied in translation

To book Woodbrooke courses at Swarthmoor Hall please email info@swarthmoorhall.co.uk or ring 01229 583204

 

Spiritual Principles:daily practices

The fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in the US in 1935 by two seemingly hopeless drunks - an Akron surgeon and a New York stockbroker. The fellowship is based on spiritual principles contained within its twelve steps and traditions. Visitors to meetings often remark that the spiritual principles contained within this framework would be good for anybody to live by. Up until now, little has been brought to the attention of non-alcoholics regarding the spiritual principles behind this success. Together we will explore the practical applications of these principles, in relation to the faith and practice of Friends. Those attending can look forward to worship, individual and corporate refection, and sharing. No previous twelve steps experience is required. All are welcome.

Desert as sacred space

For centuries the vastness and emptiness of the desert has called out to us. Within its shifting landscapes, we find a place for solitude and silence, a symbol of spiritual growth and maturity, for refuge and struggle, stillness and change, withdrawal and meeting. Together we’ll explore the significance of the desert experience in religious, literary and cultural texts; from Jesus of Nazareth to the Desert Fathers and Mothers, from T.S. Eliot to David Lean.

Towards a Quaker response to Israel and Palestine

Should Friends do more to promote reconciliation in Israel-Palestine?  In this course we will explore together the roots of the conflict. and the role of cross-border initiatives such as the Parents' Circle Families Forum.  We will ask what other steps might be acceptable to many Palestinians and Israelis.  Among Quaker peacemakers some see their chief role as "prophets", others as "reconcilers".  Both can contribute to this enquiry.

Come Holy Spirit

‘Come Holy Spirit!’ is an ancient cry of the Christian tradition. But what is the Holy Spirit? To help us answer this question we will study the Bible together. We will learn about the experience of Christian groups who have prioritised experience of the Holy Spirit, such as the Montanist, Quaker and Pentecostal movements. Throughout the course we will reflect on our own experience of the Holy Spirit, asking how God is present in our lives today.

Introduction to Life Writing for Transformation

‘Greet yourself in your thousand other forms. As you mount the hidden tide and travel back home’ Hafiz. Whether you are looking for practical tips to kick start your writing, or seek deeper personal transformation, this course provides a safe, inspiring retreat. Introducing key tools of Transformative Life Writing™ that minimise your inner critic, enabling you to re-connect with your authentic voice. On completion, writers join the wider community of Transformative Life Writers™. This includes newsletters, and an annual retreat at Woodbrooke

Becoming a quaker diversity ally: lessons from Bayard Rustin

: “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” Audre Lorde. All of us go through different stages of understanding our own and others’ racial identity. However, we are unconsciously influenced by society, peers, family composition, politics, media and much more. We also inhabit social political structures and organisational structures have been conceived with an unequal idea of assigned gender roles which reproduce and maintain these inequalities. Moreover, people are discriminated differently according to the context in which they find themselves; social class, ethnic or religious origin, age, sexual orientation or their functional capability. The purpose of this course is to help us as Friends sort out the many messages we get about race, racism, unconscious bias and white privilege and then to explore ways of becoming more effective allies in the fight for racial justice and racial healing in our lives and beyond. Guided by Advice and Queries 33 & 34 and using Bayard Rustin as a case study, we hope to - Goals: Develop a shared understanding of key terms and ideas, including social construction of race, gender and minority marginalisation; Identify the ways in which racism and white privilege impact our daily lives; Identify manifestations of white privilege and racism in our Meetings; Develop plan for network support and resources as diversity ally. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. -- Martin Luther King, Jr

A Gathering of Fools

*This is a retreat exclusively for those who have completed a previous ‘fool’ course with Angela*

The fool archetype is sometimes known as a systems changer. This means that by showing up as the fool we automatically change any environment we are a part of. As great change is happening everywhere in the world, we need a flood, a renaissance of fools, who can positively change systems and environments through their embodied, flexible, spontaneous, aware, courageous service. This year’s gathering will focus on how we can serve a group, system or ‘social body’.

Let Your Life Preach

Are we challenging the injustices in the world? In worship are we hearing the cries of the world and are we responding to the call to act? Together we will explore the roots of our tradition to see how this helps us today. ‘In our communities we can find ways to challenge, to test and to work together to build the kingdom of heaven on earth. This may be challenging, this may be uncomfortable but we can work together with love and tenderness. Friends, it’s time to ask ourselves, if we were accused of being Quakers, would there be enough evidence to convict us?’ Each week there will be video, audio and written materials. This course can be completed in your own time. You can share your thoughts and ask questions in the weekly forums.

Going Inside: Training for Quaker Prison Chaplains

This training is open to all Quaker prison chaplains. It will cover the Quaker basis for prison ministry, finding and developing your ministry, practical issues about working in prisons, building trusting relationships, and training and support for your ministry. It is suitable for both new and more experienced chaplains, regardless of how much time you spend on chaplaincy work

A changing world: Who am I? What can I do?

Drawing on the wisdom of the enneagram to deepen our understanding of ourselves as spiritual beings and to recognise what drives us, we will consider how we can act with integrity in our communities. By valuing our talents and gifts; by noticing our characteristic patterns of behaviour; and by considering our position within our family or community, we will think about how we might be effective agents of change.

Becoming a Band of Everyday Prophets

What does the prophetic voice sound like in our time? The everyday prophet listens for the Holy in the midst of the turmoil of ordinary life and lives out of the wisdom the spirit opens in our hearts. We will explore how our meetings might nurture us as we become everyday prophets creating a community that sustains all of us as we faithfully witness to God's way in actions large and small

God in Jewish tradition

What images of God can one find in Jewish tradition: in the Bible, in Jewish liturgy, in the prophetic literature, in Jewish poetry, in the mystical tradition? During this weekend participants will have an opportunity to explore how God is portrayed and ‘imagined’ within Jewish texts spanning more than 2500 years. And through discussion and personal reflection we will consider how such images of divinity resonate with participants’ own spiritual journeys.

Exploring Quaker Chaplaincy

Are you a Quaker chaplain in hospital, prison, school or university or in any other work or community setting? Or considering starting chaplaincy? This online course will be an opportunity for sharing, supporting and developing your ministry. We will explore the connections between different settings. Over the six weeks of this course, we will encourage you to take a couple of hours a week to reflect on your work, share your experiences, ideas and insights, and come away refreshed. This course involves a time commitment of approximately 2-3 hours per week.

Look Not Out But Within: a Quaker retreat

For Friends seeking a refreshment of their Quaker spirituality and a deeper understanding of its roots. We will draw on the writings of early Friends and others to enrich our own experience. Short talks and whole group sessions will alternate with extended periods of silent time with the Spirit, reflecting on what we have heard. Meals will be silent. Individual spiritual accompaniment is not a formal part of this retreat but can be offered if required.

Pattern of Seasons: a handicraft retreat

Using informal worshop sessions, we will explore and develop the traditional handcrafts of rug-making, quilting, patchwork and applique to create fabrics reflecting and inspired by the colours of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. A group project is included and all materials and equipment will be provided.

Practical skills in non-violence

Dreaming of a more peaceful and just world? Join us as we share ideas, thinking, practice and real life examples about collective action through nonviolent means. Whether you are an experienced activist wanting some space to reflect or you’re wondering about how to make a difference (and everything in between!) – you are very welcome to participate.

The Beatitude Way – pathway of prophets

An opportunity to experience the ancient wisdom of The Beatitudes or blessing sayings of Jesus of Nazareth, recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, viewed through the lens of his native Middle Eastern culture and Aramaic language. The course aims to breathe fresh life into these key teachings which encapsulate Jesus’ healing ministry. Following a roadmap provided by the mystical Tree of Life, participants will be offered the chance to walk beside the Aramaic Jesus on a journey towards prophetic consciousness.

Spiritual Activism

Whether newly awakened to injustices or a seasoned activist, high profile or caring unnoticed for one person or place, spiritual activism offers ways of doing, being and understanding that can make you more alive to your deepest purpose. Balancing talk and experience, we’ll go “under the lintel” of power, leadership, movements and consciousness. Here, discernment and psychological honesty are key to a grounding that neither burns out nor sells out, but transforms the burden of awareness into a “precious burden”.

Please note that this course has also been advertised as 28-30 June 2019 - the dates have now been confirmed as 7-9 June 2019.

Journaling: A Way to the Centre – at Swarthmoor Hall

This course is for those who wish to use journaling as a tool to deepen spiritual life. In reflecting on our current condition, via a series of exercises designed to image our lives, possibilities are opened for becoming more deeply centred. We hope to take ourselves to the place where we are more composed, more still, and words become irrelevant because we are writing the Living Minutes of a faithful life: we will be engaged in prayer.

To book Woodbrooke courses at Swarthmoor Hall please email info@swarthmoorhall.co.uk or ring 01229 583204

 

Exploring the development of early Quaker theology

To what extent were early Quakers influenced by the religious ideas that surrounded them? Drawing on Madeleine Ward’s recent research, we will explore developments in Quaker theology during the seventeenth century. As well as considering the overall shape of the early Quaker vision, we will give particular attention to changing understandings of "the Light within". How much of this remains relevant in the modern world, and how might it inform our faith and practice today?

Leadership Amongst Friends

How does leadership work in our non-hierarchical Society of Friends, and what does it mean to take a lead when working in relationship with others? This course is for anyone interested in questions of leading and following in a Quaker context. We will explore through discussion, refection and experiential activity the 'leaderful behaviour' that enables our meetings and structures to fulfil their spiritual purpose, including the connections between leadership and service, issues of authority and power, and being a leader in our own lives.

The history of Woodbrooke Gardens in 10 objects

By exploring the history of Woodbrooke’s gardens through ‘objects’ we will glimpse the story of people, plants, design, water, sculptors and gardeners who have shaped this special space for over 100 years. Using maps, diaries, tools, photographs, books, plants and garden features we will examine the garden through time and assess why and how it matters today. Combining garden walks, interactive sessions examining ‘objects’, discussion and reflection, this is a chance to consider context, detail and management of this historic garden

Quaker Studies Conference

Postgraduate work at Woodbrooke is twenty years old this year and this is the 25th annual Quaker studies conference. Come and join us to present your work or listen to the latest in academic scholarship in every area of the field. Visit www.qsra.org to see the call for papers. A weekend of celebration and cutting edge thinking.

Discounted price for current Postgraduate Students = £165. Please use Code QSPG19 when booking online.

A Time to Speak Out: a guided bible study

The Quaker tradition deeply values silence. But Quakers have also been led to speak truth to power when that has been required. This tension between silence and speech has biblical roots. Drawing on recent work by the radical Biblical scholar, Walter Brueggemann, we will explore events in the Bible – from both Old and New Testaments – which expose times when maintaining silence allows oppression and coercion to continue and the powerful to keep control. When should silence be interrupted?

Eldership and Oversight Together

This is a weekend for Friends serving in joint or corporate systems of eldership or oversight, or with elements or combinations of these. This course aims to help participants identify how the responsibilities of eldership and oversight are met in their meetings, and to share good practice. We will explore pastoral care and spiritual nurture within worshipping communities and consider practical issues. We hope everyone will leave with new skills and insights, feeling more confident about their part in eldership and oversight in their meeting.

Truth is What Works

How do we know when our foundational religious beliefs are true? And how does this truth bind us together as a Quaker community? Drawing on the insights of Pragmatic philosophers like William James and Charles Pierce this course explores how Friends might find new ways of applying the Truth Testimony to thorny questions of shared Quaker belief and identity. At the heart of this exploration is the suggestion that the fruits of Quaker practice are the basis and illustration of its truth.

Praying as you can not as you can’t

A chance to reflect on if and how Quakers pray. This day offers opportunities to explore and deepen our understanding of how we engage with ‘the seed’ and to experience a variety of spiritual practices that might lead us to a place of prayer. We will spend time alone as well sharing our reflections and experiences with others.

Sing in the Spirit: A Chant-based Retreat

Song can break open the heart, take us to a place of prayer and refresh soul and body. This retreat is a time to sing simple chants together, allowing words and music to speak deeply to us. You are invited to bring along favourite chants, including well-loved words to turn into chants of your own. What new song will the Spirit put into our mouths? All voices are welcome, and everything will be taught by ear.

The Wisdom of the Psalms: spiritual guidance for everyday life

For centuries people have found solace, challenge, inspiration and companionship in praying with the Psalms. Those attending this retreat can look forward to entering into a living stream in which they may encounter the comforting presence of God through the lyrics of these songs. Meditative reading, worship, song, individual and corporate reflection, writing and sharing will enhance our experience of the Psalms as a part of our daily spiritual practice.This retreat is for those interested in contemplative, reflective practice.

Confronting mortality and grief

In accepting the fact of death, we are freed to live more fully. This retreat will give you space to reflect individually and with other Friends on the end of life – your own death, preparing for death, or the experience of grief. This event is hosted by Quaker Life’s end of life cluster. This event is grounded in Quaker worship and does not offer therapy.

Speaking of Unspeakable Things: Giving Language to the Spiritual Landscape

Amongst Friends there is a tradition of attempting to describe in writing what goes on in our spiritual lives, in our engagement with Spirit, and the consequences of these activities in our daily lives. Grounded in worship, we will savor Quakerly writings in this tradition through personal narratives, fiction, poetry, song and film. In addition to exploring these forms, participants can expect to spend time in solitary reflective writing, and sharing in pairs and small groups.

Bible Study for Quakers

Do you find the Bible intimidating but intriguing? Do you want to engage your meeting in Bible study? This course will help you to find your way around the Bible and understand the distinctive Quaker approach to scripture. You will closely study several Biblical texts and reflect with others on your experience of the Bible. Each of the six units will be accompanied by a group study plan, supporting you in sharing your learning with your local Quaker community. Each unit contains video, audio and written materials to engage with, and forums to share reflections and ask questions. There will be a live online Q&A on Tuesday 30th July at 19.00 GMT+1. 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 2-3 hours per week.

*Postponed* Quaker Nominations: online

Unfortunately we have had to postpone this course to November 2019. Bookings for the course will open later in the year.

An entirely online course for anyone involved in Quaker nominations. We will aim to 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. By taking two to three hours a week over six weeks to reflect, we hope you will gain a renewed insight into the potential of nominations to strengthen meetings and enabling them to flourish. This course involves a time commitment of approximately 2-3 hours per week.

Awakening of the Sacred Feminine

This experiential retreat will create space for the flowering and expression of your own Sacred Feminine. Join us for exploration and discovery through Thea-logy, the Divine Feminine in different spiritual traditions (including Christian), the four elements, ceremony, stories, art, songs, poetry and the Britannia Goddess Wheel. We will also explore Goddess as archetype and as lived reality and embodiment in the 21st century.

Finding meaning in the margins.

Most of us have felt on the margins at times. But how can we find comfort or solace – or even transformation – through such experiences? We will look at margins in nature, in the lives of social and spiritual reformers, artists and others, as well as in our own lives. We will look at the extent to which marginal experiences are universal, and how they can lead to renewal and healing of ourselves and the world in which we live. The weekend will be highly participatory, using music, poetry, nature and people's experiences, including our own.

Pure Motions: the spiritual journeys of John Woolman

This day event takes place at Friargate Meeting House, York.

The spiritual life of John Woolman was inseparable from his travelling ministry. As he went, he felt the movement of the spirit, challenged injustice, and shared his understanding of God’s love. During this day event held at York’s Friargate Meeting House, we’ll examine his life and works and consider how his travels gave him new opportunities to encounter God and proclaim the Kingdom. Together we’ll reflect on how our own journeys might become a spiritual discipline, both renewing and prophetic. Join us on Sunday for an early-morning Prayer Walk before Meeting for Worship at 10.30am. For more information see our website or visit the website of Friargate Meeting House. http://www.yorkquakers.org.uk/friargatequakerm.html

Protest Songs

This day event takes place at Watford Quaker Meeting House

Singing can bring joy and lift up our hearts. This one day workshop is for anyone who wishes to learn the songs that sing out against injustice and to sing the words of hope for a changed world. Come and spend a day learning songs of protest in the company of other singers, passionate for a just and compassionate society. This one day workshop is being held at Watford Quaker Meeting House from 11 – 4pm. Please bring a packed lunch, drinks will be provided.

Workshop leaders:

Maud Grainger is Woodbrooke's Faith in Action Tutor. She is interested in how we live our witness in the world and community activism.

Mark Russ is Woodbrooke’s Nurturing Friends and Meetings Tutor. His interests include Christian theology and the Bible, music and worship, intentional community and apocalyptic spirituality.

Mosaics My Way! A Journey of creative self discovery

There is beauty in the process of mosaic making. You jig-saw fragments to describe your story, which may include items of personal significance. Within the process of play, we discover a stillness in making. No previous mosaic experience necessary. All equipment and materials provided. During the course you will learn essential skills: cut shapes with tile nippers, score snappers, create with crockery, use a variety of adhesives, translate your ideas into mosaic and learn how to grout. www.mangomosaics.co.uk Comments from Woodbrooke 2018 Making Mosaics: “What a week! I have felt completely happy... really good to feel that. So good to laugh and create and to learn” “What an amazing week & how much we’ve all accomplished, much more than expected & no pressure. The seed has fallen on fertile ground & created.” “ Many thanks for your inspiration and expert tuition in your inimitable style! I feel encouraged...” “You’ve bounced us through a week of enthusiasm, joyous creativity & a wonder of mosaic world. Total enjoyment.”

Exploring Faith and Practice together

Whether experienced or new to Quakerism, this course will give you the opportunity to share with Friends from other Meetings your insights and responses to the first and the final five challenging chapters of Quaker Faith & Practice. Two optional sessions will be devoted to creative work in words or images that may be used to support our exploration of the text.

Quaker Feminism? Exploring contributions of early Quaker Feminists to Women´s Rights

This course will explore the disproportionate role that early Quaker feminists made to the advancement of women´s rights. Women such as Alice Paul, Lucretia Mott, Susan Anthony, Angelina Grimke, Abby Foster, and Elizabeth Stanton were key figures in the first wave of feminism and the suffragette movement. Unfortunately, today they are not household names and their contributions often forgotten or not even known about. We will discuss and celebrate their achievements, while also looking at what role spirituality played in their activism and ideas about gender equality. We will also debate how feminism developed within global Quakerism both historically and today.

Attention: the way in which we relate to the world

Our attention is a precious resource. It is essential in learning and love. Religious traditions appreciate its role in meditation and worship. At the same time, commercial and political interests get ever more skilled at attracting and holding it. This course will reflect on the nature and value of attention, its creative role and how we preserve and deepen it. Preparation will include an invitation to engage with carefully selected resources before our onsite dialogue enables us to sharpen our own thinking.

Drawing a labyrinth – patterns of wonder, spaces of reflection

Labyrinths are creative resources for spiritual practice, and offer space for prayer, play and discovery. Starting with paper and pencil, we'll create labyrinth patterns from around the world, from simple to more complex designs. We'll make labyrinths small enough for postcards - and big enough to walk, using natural and temporary materials. By the end of the course, everyone will know how to create a temporary labyrinth indoors or outdoors.

Enquiring into Quaker diversity and inclusion

This course will use the P4C (Philosophy for Communities) methodology which enables in-depth enquiry into matters of belief and ethics. This approach creates a positive environment for deep discussion and safe disagreement. Participants will be given the opportunity to have an in-depth discussion of the deeper meaning and implications of diversity and inclusion. The group will create their own questions to explore what diversity and inclusion mean in practice for Quakers.

Paths to the Grail: Restoring the Courts of Joy

The Grail is a quest for all living beings. This medieval myth has familiar resonances with our own times: a wasteland of rapine, wars, exploitation, and the urgency to restore peace and joy. Our study of the unique Elucidation text helps us experience the regenerative Grail as a gift in which all participate. Through discussion, meditation, prayer, and simple ceremony, we will walk its paths, discovering timeless ways to embody its wisdom, enabling its healing to irrigate our world.

Dance for Joy

If you enjoy dancing and music from all around the world, then this is the weekend for you. We will dance to a wide variety of music and in different styles, some lively, some more meditative. Circle dance enhances our sense of community, of wholeness and of harmony, drawing as it does on the diverse heritage of traditional cultures and a range of musical genres. Experienced and less experienced dancers are all welcome.

Jung and Persona/Personae: The masks we wear to connect with the collective and the creativity in the shadow of these masks

Please note: There is an error in our latest brochure. This correct prices for this course are £315 for residents and £210 for non-residents.

This course takes a new look at the persona in the light of Jung the person and his work. The idea of the persona as a mask/masks is central. While for Jung, persona did not contain archetypal dimensions, a consideration of mask work in theatre can lead to a different perspective on the use of mask creatively. Through input, experiential work and a masque enactment, the persona will be considered both in theory and in lived experience.

Multiple Religious Belonging

Quaker-Pagan. Anglican and Buddhist. Jewish and Christian (and interested in shamanism). Multiple religious identities are becoming more visible in the Western world as globalisation makes us more aware of the possibilities and religion is increasingly seen as something private which can be chosen at will. This course will explore what it is like to belong to more than one religious tradition, ask how and why people might set out on that path, and give space to reflect on the implications. This course involves a time commitment of approximately 2-3 hours per week.

Framing your Life

We will aim to explore aspects of mindfulness through the practice of yoga and meditation for physical and mental self-awareness and combine this with photography as a self-guided meditative practice to deepen our experience of self and the environment in the context of woodbrooke’s house and garden.

Telling our Faith Stories

Stories help to shape how we understand and interpret ourselves, our communities and our world. Faith stories in particular have power to influence how we live. In this course each participant will have an opportunity to tell their own faith story, and together we will look at the impact of our faith tradition and how its stories shape our own. Come prepared to talk freely and listen deeply.

Exploring Sensory-being

Sensory-being is a form of mindfulness designed for people with cognitive disabilities but accessible to all, in which an engagement with the present moment is encouraged through a calming sensory activity. On this course you will learn about the theory behind sensory-being, exploring and creating sensory-being activities for people you care for and for yourself. The course is relevant to those interested in creating more inclusive communities, as sensory-being allows more able and less able people to take part in an activity as equals.

Centering Prayer and Christian Meditation

‘Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God's presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself.’ These words of Thomas Keating give a sense of our exploration this weekend. This introduction to centering prayer and Christian meditation will include meditation sessions, teaching on meditation and its effects and help with taking forward a discipline of meditation into the future.

Julian of Norwich: ‘There was a treasure in the earth which the Lord loved.’

Julian of Norwich: ‘There was a treasure in the earth which the Lord loved.’ Julian’s writings are complex and deep but their meanings are beautiful in their simplicity. We are the treasure. The course will aim to engage with Julian, the woman, her life and spirituality, offering the opportunity to explore her words through reflection, music and laughter. Discover how the message of her Revelations for the world is as relevant today as it was in the 14th Century. There will be times to be quiet, times to discuss and times to Simply Be.

The Wonder of Seed: the whole world in your hand

An oak tree inside an acorn, a conker on a string, the wheat grains that makes our bread – seeds will provide beauty, wonder and inspiration to stimulate creative ideas and writing. We will also draw on the rich meanings and resonances of seeds by dipping into myths, our imaginations and memories, finding how the seed offers a way of thinking and speaking about our deep selves and inner growth.

Mindfully Together

For 13 years, Woodbrooke has hosted retreats drawing on the Zen Buddhist teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh. We will welcome back Sister Annabel Laity supported by members of the Community of Interbeing. Discover how mindfulness of the present moment can bring peace and happiness. While the practice is accessible and guidance will be offered to those with little or no experience, it is not without demand.  You will enjoy times of silence, walking meditation in Woodbrooke’s beautiful grounds and specially prepared vegetarian food.

Experimental Worship

How many ways are there of doing Quaker worship? This course will ask how we can enrich and expand our worship in ways that are in keeping with the Quaker tradition. We will take risks with song, images and words, finding new ways to hear the voice of the Spirit in our midst. Participants will receive an electronic copy of Terry’s book Consider The Rock which will serve as a starting point for our reflections.

Beyond the Spirit of the Age: The 1996 Swarthmore Lecture Revisited – and Revised?

How much has changed in the two decades since Jonathan Dale gave his prophetic Swarthmore lecture challenging Friends to renew their social testimony? Does that challenge need updating for our time? During our time together we will reflect on how our faith asks us to engage with a society that remains both economically and politically polarised. To what extent do our lifestyles of comfort and convenience accommodate us to this world, and how might we become agents of change? Join us as we listen and learn from one another.

The Space between us

How can we evolve our co-creative capacities so that we make all groups we are a part of inclusive, dynamic and innovative? This course will give people who want direct experience of new models of co-creating practice that elevate presence, fun and collaboration in groups. We will practice methods that take us beyond the individual and use the whole self, body, mind and heart. These new ways of observation, sensing, sharing and creating, deepen awareness of the space between us, otherwise called the we-space or social body.

Exploring the Old Testament

Does the Old Testament puzzle, perplex or put you off?  Come and discover some of its riches and beauty, as well as its agonised responses to suffering and violence.  We will explore the contexts in which the Hebrew Bible was written, and then trace the different ways in which it has been interpreted in Jewish and Christian traditions.  The tutor was commended by a local Quaker meeting for “Profound insights with a lightness of touch”.  Anyone welcome – no prior knowledge required.

Being a Quaker Clerk: online

This online course, for new or prospective clerks with little or no experience of Quaker clerking, is based on the on-site course with the same name. The five modules cover the clerk’s role before, during and after a Meeting for Worship for Business. We also consider why we use our particular business style in our meetings. We will focus on clerking local meetings, but clerks of other meetings, including area meetings, will also find they can learn much about their role. This course involves a time commitment of approximately 2-3 hours per week.

Eldership and Oversight: online

This six-week online course will help all those serving in eldership and oversight to gain better understanding and confidence in their role – whatever the system in their meeting. The six modules cover the full range of topics included in the separate and combined eldership and oversight onsite courses, with options to focus on areas of particular relevance. You should allow 2-3 hours a week for pursuing this course. There is no requirement to be online at a particular time.

Managing our Meeting Houses

This training and support event for meeting houses of all sizes and functions includes: Witnessing to Quaker values; workshops for staff and employers on employment law and good practice and on health and safety legislation; as well as sessions on meeting house administration matters, and on building working relationships and support networks. The course aims to respond to the needs of participants so everyone will gain increased enthusiasm, skills, confidence and knowledge to enhance the life of their meeting house.

Voices of the Earth

Please note: There is an error in our latest brochure. This course runs from Monday 2 September to Friday 6 September (not Monday to Wednesday as advertised).

This popular course uses the rich resources of Woodbrooke's art room and extensive gardens to explore creatively our relationships with the world we inhabit. With new directions offered by the tutors each year, we will engage hands-on with poetry and a range of media and art forms, familiar and unfamiliar. Working both individually and collaboratively to recharge our ways of seeing and sensing, we will discover fresh perspectives on the world in its variety and of our place within it.

Experiment with Joy

Christianity exhorts us to rejoice and give thanks. It’s quite hard to do in the face of our many world challenges. We’ll come together in an experimental spirit to enquire together as to what might support us in the practice of joy. We’ll include singing/sounding, giving thanks, praying for each other.

‘Take time’: a weekend for people caring for someone who has problems with their mental health.

'Take Time’ is a weekend for people who care for someone who needs care because of their mental health problems. Supporting someone can be life changing, revelatory – and exhausting and isolating. Look after your needs to enhance your caring. Come and meet Friends, enjoy quiet, share in optional activities, hear about rights and resources. The Retreat Benevolent Fund could give grants to those who cannot afford whatever respite care is needed by the person they support. Apply at: http://www.retreatyorkbfund.com/

Gender and the Divine: learning from feminist religion

Judaism and Christianity both have strong traditions of using gendered language to describe God. This has often been masculine but, both historically and recently, there are also feminine examples. In this course we will explore ways in which feminist Christians and Jews have re-read Biblical texts, re-worked their traditions, and found resources to describe a Divine who is masculine, feminine, both, and neither.  We will also take time to consider how this affects our own relationships with God.

Being a Quaker Clerk: September 2019

This course is for new or prospective clerks with little or no experience of Quaker clerking. We will focus on clerking local meetings but clerks of other meetings or committees will also find they can learn much about their role. There will be practical sessions including planning agendas, drafting minutes and discipline in the meeting.  We will also consider other responsibilities that come with being a clerk. Participants will learn from each other as well as from the leaders.

Conference: Depicting religious characters in 19th century fiction

A day conference organised jointly by the Centre for Research in Quaker Studies and Keele University on all aspects of religious characters in nineteenth-century fiction. The conference is open to all with an interest in the subject, including postgraduate students.  If you would like to present a twenty minute paper, please contact Betty Hagglund, betty.hagglund@woodbrooke.org.uk before the end of April.

The conference fee of £50 includes lunch and refreshments. Accommodation, if required, should be booked separately.

Faith, Food and Earth Justice *Cancelled*

Quaker Fellowship for Afterlife Studies (QFAS) and the Friends Fellowship of Healing (FFH) Conference

This joint conference of the Quaker Fellowship for Afterlife Studies (QFAS) and the Friends Fellowship of Healing (FFH) is open to all. For nearly twenty years QFAS has gathered and shared evidence of experiences beyond the body, which goes to the very heart of what it means to be human. FFH was founded in 1935 and is one of the largest interest groups within the Religious Society of Friends in Britain. The conference will explore spiritual and psychic experiences and evidence of healing of the mind and body. We will discuss how we can integrate these experiences into our daily lives, helping us to grow stronger in faith and love.

Developing a Practice of Christian Meditation: at Swarthmoor Hall

An introduction to an ancient Christian way of prayer beyond words, as taught in our time by Benedictine monks John Main (1926 – 82) and Laurence Freeman (1951-). The emphasis will be on practising meditation together and beginning to understand its rationale, its effect on our daily lives, our understanding of ourselves, of each other and of God.

To book Woodbrooke courses at Swarthmoor Hall please email info@swarthmoorhall.co.uk or ring 01229 583204

Creativity and Ministry

Our creativity meets the world in many different ways, but often we are too shy to use it fully. We will use the playful creation of simple physical objects to help us free our natural urge to create and consider how our ministry can be enriched. We will be using a variety of craft and natural materials, individually and as a group. As we will be spending time in the garden, participants will need a moderate degree of mobility.

European Quaker Voices: online

Please note: There is an error in our latest brochure. The correct price for this course is £25.

This is a 6-week online retreat for European Quakers, using devotional and inspirational material by European Quakers. In addition to readings, there will be suggestions for activities and exercises appropriate to a retreat. Participants will share reflections and experiences with each other along the way. The retreat is thus an opportunity for individual and group spiritual development, as well as an opportunity to learn from the rich experience of European Friends. This course involves a time commitment of approximately 2-3 hours per week.

Towards Forgiveness

Our lives as individuals and communities are often damaged by unresolved conflicts, injury and hurts. How can we deal with painful events and move towards understanding, forgiveness and reconciliation? How do we help ourselves and others heal and move on? Drawing on their experience, the tutors will help you deepen your understanding of the process of forgiveness, reconciliation and healing and help you to become a source of strength within your community. This course will not address individual therapeutic needs.

A quiet day with Experiment with Light

This will run for 24 hours from lunch on day one to lunch on day two. This day is suitable for those who are familiar with the Experiment with Light practice and those who are new to it. It will allow people to use the Experiment with Light practice in a retreat like atmosphere. Participants will be given an introduction to the practice if needed. Experiment with Light will be practiced on the afternoon of the first day and the morning of the second day.

Meeting for worship for business: an online course

Meetings for worship for business are one facet of Quaker worship; but what is actually going on in a meeting for worship for business? Why do we do what we do? What is the spiritual underpinning? This course is for all Friends, to help you to understand our decision making process better.  Friends ‘on the bench’ as well as clerks can benefit from the course which will help you to understand more about deepening our experience of worshipful discernment as a group. This course involves a time commitment of approximately 2-3 hours per week.

Walking with a smile into the dark

"But there is a deeper, an internal simplification of the whole of one's personality, stilled, tranquil, in childlike trust listening ever to Eternity's whisper, walking with a smile into the dark."  Thomas Kelly

Accepting that there is much that we do not know and cannot control frees us to walk the path of faith. We will use this weekend to explore alone and together how we can let go of what blocks us and be more open to the guidance of the Spirit.

A Taste of Life Writing for Transformation™

This self-paced course introduces a process of writing for authentic, creative self-expression and personal development. A “no red pens” approach results in greater awareness, mindfulness and self-acceptance through a gentle stream of guided tools you can use just five minutes at a time. The course includes three multimedia modules and a workbook, based on the work of Joanne Klassen, creator of Life Writing for Transformation™. Each module introduces key concepts from the book followed by exercises, examples, a review and additional optional learning activities.

This course involves a time commitment of approximately 2-3 hours per week.

Please note the change of course dates: This course now runs from 23 September to 3 November, one week later than the dates originally published in our brochure.

 

Envisioning a world that is open to all: let us see what love can do

Please note: There is an error in our latest brochure. This course starts on Friday 27 September (not Wednesday 25 September as advertised).

A weekend conference learning about asylum and migration, hearing from those who have felt its impact, and working together to create the change that we need. Speakers, workshops, performances and panel discussions will explore the interplay between race, privilege and migration - how does it work, what can we do? Language and the media: challenging and changing the language of migration - Migration and the arts: how migration enriches our communities and how the arts can bring about change - The UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

Mothers of Israel: exploring the writing of early Quaker women: at Swarthmoor Hall

The early Quaker movement was unusual in its time for the freedom it afforded women to be preachers, prophets and writers. This course will enable you to explore the lives, and writings of a number of important seventeenth century Quaker women. This will include Margaret Fell, Martha Simmonds, Sarah Blackborow, Dorothy White and Elizabeth Bathurst. In our sessions we will get to know these women using short talks, the reading of texts and group discussion within a safe and friendly atmosphere.

To book Woodbrooke courses at Swarthmoor Hall please email info@swarthmoorhall.co.uk or ring 01229 583204

Quaker Nominations: at Swarthmoor Hall

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.

This event is for members of Quaker nominations committees.

To book Woodbrooke courses at Swarthmoor Hall please email info@swarthmoorhall.co.uk or ring 01229 583204