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Being a Quaker Community of Witness and Welcome

Quakers have a treasure to share with the world – the liberating power of following the promptings of love and truth in our hearts. How do we make this treasure known to those who have never heard of Friends? How do we welcome people who seek this treasure when they arrive at our meeting house doors?

This course aims to reframe talk of ‘outreach’. We will not ask how we can get more ‘bums on seats’, find more people for the flower rota, or how to host a once-a-year outreach event. Instead we will ask how our Quaker communities can confidently witness to the power of the Quaker discovery, and warmly welcome those who seek it, all year round. How can we make witness and welcome a communal way of life?

This course will offer thought-provoking discussion, practical suggestions and is a collaboration between Quaker Life and Woodbrooke.

Testimony: fruits of the spirit

We see Testimony as transformation resulting from our relationship with God, leading us into a spirit-led life which may be at odds with the surrounding culture. This course will look at our own lives, how we are transformed and in turn transform the world around us.

This course will explore Testimony; we will consider a biblical basis, our understanding of Testimony over the last 60 years and how we live as a Quaker in the world today.

This online course will look at what we are called to do and how we are called to do it. Can we find our authentic voice together?

'…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control._’ Galatians 5:22-23

Bayard Rustin: reflections on his life and witness

Bayard Rustin was one of the most important civil, human and labour rights activists. African American and gay, his life’s work was in standing up for marginalised people. He was an important influence on Martin Luther King, persuading him to adopt the principles of non-violent resistance in the struggle for civil rights. This online course will explore how he put his Quaker faith into action. A study of his writings and songs, as well as literature, film and art inspired by him, will allow us to approach his life from a variety of perspectives.

Living the Peace Testimony

How has the peace testimony been lived through history? How do Quakers in other countries live it? How can we work on peace globally?This is a series of 4 webinars which will cover early Quakers, the 1914-18 world war, peace activism in East Africa and quiet diplomacy. It is a chance to learn about historical and current Quaker peace work and think about how it might inform our own witness.

Webinar 1: Stuart Masters looks at the emergence of the peace testimony
Webinar 2: Different responses to the peace testimony in the 1914-18 world war
Webinar 3: Living the peace testimony in East Africa
Webinar 4: Quaker responses to international conflicts

Participants can register to join one or more or all the webinars or watch recordings. There will be a moderated forum for further discussions and links to relevant resources.

The Life Stirring Within: a week-long online retreat with Isaac Penington

Isaac Penington was one of the most creative spiritual writers among the early Friends, much of his writing being in the form of letters of encouragement and ‘spiritual counsel’ to fellow travellers in the Quaker community. Topics he focusses on include: the interior life; surrendering to the Divine presence within; understanding Christ and scripture; discernment and spiritual growth; suffering as a way to spiritual growth; witness and testimony. On each day of the retreat you will receive a section of his writing with specially written commentary, as well as other complementary spiritual writing. To help your own reflection you will receive a spiritual exercise and questions to focus on. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings between 6.30 and 7.30pm, you have the option of joining Timothy Ashworth and others on the retreat for a period of worship and listening and sharing together.

The Quaker Way

Are you relatively new to Quakers and keen to find out more? Have you been attending meeting for a while, but feel you could be better informed about Quaker beliefs and practices? Are you a life-long Friend who needs their Quaker knowledge refreshed? 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.

This course will give you a solid foundation in continuing your journey on the Quaker way.

The Meaning of the Cross: punishment, or healing and reconciliation?

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 traditions, theologies of liberation, and the work of Rene Girard. Can we move beyond violent punishment and embrace a faith based on healing and reconciliation?

This course involves a time commitment of approximately two to three hours per week. Each week there will be a range of audio-visual and written materials for you to engage with, and a discussion forum where you can share reflections and ask questions.

Expectant Waiting: reflections from the Bible and Quakers, from theology and poetry

The silence of Quaker meeting is not an end in itself. It carries a sense of waiting. At any time, this can give rise to a depth that is collectively felt by those present. Or be the occasion of inspired words, heard by one individual or shared with the whole gathering.

This online course is made of four weekly webinars in which we will explore this theme of waiting, bringing together the reflections of Quakers with words of scripture, theology and poetry. W. H. Vanstone’s The Stature of Waiting and T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets will help us identify the riches in this theme, both for Quakers and others who may well be preparing to mark Advent, the season characterized by hopeful expectation.

An Introduction to Mindful Self-Compassion

This Introduction to Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) teaches the core principles and practices that will enable participants to respond to difficulties in their lives with kindness, care and understanding. The course is based on the eight week training programme that was designed by Drs Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer and is designed to cultivate the skill of Self-Compassion.

Talking about God

God – mysterious, ineffable, spiritual, (for some) experienced, (for some) an absence, a short word and a big idea – is not an easy topic for discussion. Can we say anything? In this course we will explore the importance of both silence and speech as we engage with a wealth of possibilities: metaphors, paradoxes, creating new language, learning and borrowing, and reclaiming old words for our own purposes. Based on Rhiannon Grant's book, Telling the Truth about God (Christian Alternative, 2019).

This course takes place at Swarthmoor Hall near Ulveston in the Lake District. Originally the home of Judge Thomas Fell and Margaret Fell, today its historic building and beautiful gardens are a wonderful back drop for courses and retreats.

You can book this course online or email info@swarthmoorhall.co.uk or ring 01229 583204.

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.

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 relationships with others? This course is for anyone across our programmed and unprogrammed traditions who is interested in questions of leading and building a participatory community within a Quaker context.

Each week there will be a range of audio-visual and written materials for you to engage with, with forums where you can share reflections and ask questions. There will also be live discussion groups throughout the course. Dates and times will be available soon.

Mothers of Israel: exploring 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 online course, we will explore the lives, and writings of a number of important early Quaker women. This will include Margaret Fell, Martha Simmonds, Hannah Stranger, Sarah Blackborow, Rebecca Travers, Dorothy White, and Elizabeth Bathurst. What contribution did these women make to the development of the Quaker way?

This course involves a time commitment of approximately two to three hours per week. Each week there will be a range of audio-visual and written materials for you to engage with, and a discussion forum where you can share reflections and ask questions.

 

 

 

Radical Spirituality: the early history of Quakers

Learn about the beginnings of this radical religious group as it emerged in 17th century England, with this free three week online course. With films, discussions, and quizzes, the course covers the exciting and dramatic months of 1652. Follow the course at your own pace in your own time. Suitable for individuals or Meeting groups.

Find out more and sign up at: www.futurelearn.com/courses/quakers or click the button below.

Spiritual Practices for Every Day

How do you make space in your day to be spiritually present? What spiritual practices resonate with you? This course is an opportunity to explore what we mean by ‘spiritual practice’ and why it is important. You will be offered a variety of spiritual practices to work with, in your own time. We will all share our experiences together as an online community using forums. The course will include a live Quiet Day on Saturday 13 June 2020 (10:00 – 16:00 GMT+1), that you can take part in wherever you are.

An Introduction to Peace Education – Summer 2020

This introduction to the theory and practice of peace education draws upon the experience of Quaker Peace and Social Witness to explore how we can support the development of children’s inner peace, help children to understand conflict and their relationship with it, and engage children with wider peace issues, from the ethics of armed drones to conscientious objection and human rights. We will endeavour to establish a supportive learning community and encourage reflective practice and peer learning and assessment.

This course is aimed at educators interested in learning the principles and practice of peace education.  It  is a total of 12-15 hours of flexible learning with two webinars which are recorded for play back.

We are offering a 20% discount for student teachers. Simply use the coupon code pedst20.

Woodbrooke and Quakers in Britain working in partnership.

If this course is full, please join the waiting list so that we can let you know if we add more places or contact you with information about when the course will run again.

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 two to three hours per week.

Being a Quaker Trustee – June 2020

This six-week online course will provide easy-to-understand information and enjoyable learning, to make trusteeship approachable and rewarding. 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 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? This course is particularly suitable for new/less experienced Area Meeting trustees.

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

Meeting Needs: creating well-being

This course speaks to Friends’ historic and current concern for mental health and well-being. We introduce the organising ideas of the first truly bio-psycho-social model to help human beings suffering emotional distress. The ‘human givens’ model, already being used successfully in various settings, is the basis of Meeting Needs: a fun and richly experiential course of interest to all with a concern for the welfare of others and their own personal development.

Drawing a Labyrinth

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.

Voices of the Earth

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.

Freeing the Imagination: creative and devotional writing

This weekend will offer chance to immerse ourselves in the creative process of writing. The focus is on creative and devotional writing so we will be led by the heart rather than head, as we explore how to use the imagination to help people feel and see the world in new ways. We will offer short guided exercises to inspire creative flow, plenty of writing time and the opportunity to share together if you choose.

This course takes place at Swarthmoor Hall near Ulveston in the Lake District. Originally the home of Judge Thomas Fell and Margaret Fell, today its historic building and beautiful gardens are a wonderful back drop for courses and retreats.

You can book this course online or email info@swarthmoorhall.co.uk or ring 01229 583204.

Eldership and Oversight

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 two to three hours a week for pursuing this course. There is no requirement to be online at a particular time.

Women in Early Christianity: liberation and suppression

In the very last texts of the New Testament to be written, women are ordered to keep silent when the community meets and their role as teachers and pastoral workers is mocked. Yet the earliest writings show women in substantial leadership roles, enjoying a new freedom from male authority. We will chart this change step by step, acknowledging its tragic consequences, but also gaining clarity about the nature of the liberation many women experienced in the earliest Christian communities.

This course takes place at Swarthmoor Hall near Ulveston in the Lake District. Originally the home of Judge Thomas Fell and Margaret Fell, today its historic building and beautiful gardens are a wonderful back drop for courses and retreats.

You can book this course online or email info@swarthmoorhall.co.uk or ring 01229 583204.

Being a Quaker Trustee – September 2020

Particularly suitable for new or 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.

Mental Health in Our Meetings

Meetings need good ways of responding to Friends experiencing mental illness or distress. This course explores the experience of mental ill health, situations which arise, and ways to respond. How can we maintain an open and supportive meeting environment? How do we handle our fears and balance the needs of the individual and the wider meeting? This course is helpful for those in eldership and oversight roles. We welcome people with direct experience of mental illness, but cannot help with current distress.

Being a Quaker Clerk – September 2020

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.

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.

This course takes place at Swarthmoor Hall near Ulveston in the Lake District. Originally the home of Judge Thomas Fell and Margaret Fell, today its historic building and beautiful gardens are a wonderful back drop for courses and retreats.

You can book this course online or email info@swarthmoorhall.co.uk or ring 01229 583204.

Being a Quaker Clerk

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 two to three hours per week.

Quaker Nominations

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 enable them to flourish.

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

Exploring Eldership – October 2020

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 – October 2020

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 Treasurer – October 2020

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

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.

This course takes place at Swarthmoor Hall near Ulveston in the Lake District. Originally the home of Judge Thomas Fell and Margaret Fell, today its historic building and beautiful gardens are a wonderful back drop for courses and retreats.

You can book this course online or email info@swarthmoorhall.co.uk or ring 01229 583204.

Managing our Meeting Houses

This training and support event is for anyone involved in the care of meeting houses of all sizes and functions. Areas covered include: witnessing to Quaker values; workshops on law and best practice in employment and in health and safety; building relationships and support networks; awareness of our own needs. Everyone will gain skills, confidence and knowledge to further enhance the life of their meeting house as well as renewed enthusiasm for their service.

Radical Listening – December 2020

What does it mean and what does it feel like to really listen, to listen with our whole selves? Have we lost this simple and yet transformative practice in the midst of our busy lives?

During this workshop we will embark on some activities to help us learn to listen, develop skills to help us stay focussed, and practice these skills.

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