Course search results

Seeking Sanctuary and Stillness – four online retreats

A time set aside to enjoy spaciousness and quiet in your own home and join with others online to share a sense of connection. Different spiritual practices will be offered on each of the days, to help you to focus, and to settle into a place of deep peace and openness to all that is; the flowing vastness of presence. We will join together for silent worship and reflection during the day.

Use the form below to join in with all four day retreats running throughout 2019 at a total cost of £54.

Click on the relevant date below if you would just like to book for just one of these retreats:

Wednesday 29 May 2019
Wednesday 19 June 2019
Tuesday 22 October 2019
Tuesday 19 November 2019

Introduction to Peace Education: online

Woodbrooke, Quaker Peace and Social Witness, and Quakers in Britain working in partnership.

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.

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.

Seeking Sanctuary and Stillness – May

A time set aside to enjoy spaciousness and quiet in your own home and join with others on-line to share a sense of connection. Different spiritual practices will be offered on each of the days, to help you to focus, and to settle into a place of deep peace and openness to all that is; the flowing vastness of presence. We will join together for silent worship and reflection during the day.

Participants have the option to join in with all four day retreats running throughout 2019 at a total cost of £54.  Click here to book all four retreats.

 

 

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.

Young Friends offer: we are offering a limited number of free places for Young Friends. To take up one of these places, please contact learning@woodbrooke.org.uk or call 0121 415 6785. 

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.

Young Friends offer: we are offering a limited number of free places for Young Friends. To take up one of these places, please contact learning@woodbrooke.org.uk or call 0121 415 6785. 

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.

Inspiring non-violence

Woodbrooke working in partnership with Turning the Tide (Quaker Peace and Social Witness)

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.

 

Soul of Leadership 2017 Reunion

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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

 

Soul of Leadership 2015 Reunion

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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

Seeking Sanctuary and Stillness – June

A time set aside to enjoy spaciousness and quiet in your own home and join with others online to share a sense of connection. Different spiritual practices will be offered on each of the days, to help you to focus, and to settle into a place of deep peace and openness to all that is; the flowing vastness of presence. We will join together for silent worship and reflection during the day.

Participants have the option to join in with all four day retreats running throughout 2019 at a total cost of £54. Click here to book all four retreats.

 

 

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.

The discounted price for current postgraduate students is £165 for the full weekend. Please use Code QSPG19 when booking online.

If you cannot come for the whole weekend, why not just join us for one day? Day bookings are available as follows:

Friday 21 June 2019: 4.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. including supper - £35

Saturday 22 June 2019: 9.00 a.m to 9.30 p.m. including lunch and supper - £55

Sunday 23 June 2019: 9.30 a.m to 1.30 p.m. including lunch - £35

 

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.

Our reflections and responses to 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.

Please note that this course has been previously advertised as Confronting Mortality and Grief.

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.

*FULLY BOOKED* Being a Quaker Parent (adults) and Exploring Worship (5-11 year olds)

If you would like to be added to a waiting list for these events, please email learning@woodbrooke.org.uk.

Woodbrooke working in partnership with Quaker Life

Being a Quaker Parent

This is an opportunity for parents and carers to explore together some of the joys and challenges of being part of a Quaker meeting. We will share our experiences and reflect together on what being a Quaker and parent means to us and consider how we and our meetings can nourish and support each other.

Accompanying children aged 5 to 11 will attend 'Exploring Worship' which runs simultaneously. A crèche will be available for children under 5, and a light-touch programme for 12 to 15 year olds.

Tutors: Alistair Fuller and Kathy Chandler. The 0-5s and 12-15s programmes will be run by Quaker Life Children & Young People’s work volunteers.

Exploring Worship

This event is for children aged 5 to 11 years-old. This weekend will explore and think about some big questions: What is God? Where is God? What is worship? What is a Quaker?

We will spend time inside and outside, hearing stories and music, playing games, being still, getting creative with arts and crafts, and making worship places for ourselves.

Children must be accompanied by an adult who will be responsible for them outside of programme time. Accompanying adults may attend ‘Being a Quaker Parent’ which runs simultaneously.

Tutors: Mel Cook and Quaker Life Children & Young People’s work volunteers.

Important information about your accommodation

Woodbrooke has a limited number of double, twin and family rooms. The majority of our accommodation is in single ensuite bedrooms. We also have some additional single rooms with shared bathrooms.

  • Children under 5 years of age will always be allocated a room with their parent or carer. This may not be a in a bed of their own – in some cases this will mean using a travel cot, or a blow-up mattress that can be placed on the floor.
  • Unless specifically requested, children aged 5-11 years of age will be allocated a room with their parent or carer – this may be in a single room with a blow-up mattress on the floor.  If a separate room is requested, we will allocate rooms adjacent – or very close - to each other.
  • We will assume that all young people aged 12-15 will require their own private room unless specifically requested otherwise.

We will do our best to accommodate you in the most appropriate room. However, the nature of our accommodation does mean that we may need you to be flexible to ensure that as many Friends as possible can participate in this weekend. We will always agree your accommodation with you before finalising your booking.

How to book

This weekend includes your accommodation; all meals from supper on the Friday evening through to lunch on Sunday; and participation in one of the above programmes. The costs are as follows:

  • £135 for each adult
  • £35 for each child aged 5-11
  • £65for  each young person aged 12-15

To make a booking, please click here and then click 'How to Book'.

Once you have submitted the relevant booking forms. our team will check that we have appropriate accommodation available and confirm your bookings with you along with a request for payment.

Pure Motions: the spiritual journeys of John Woolman

This one day workshop is being held at Friargate Quaker 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. You can also join us on Sunday for an early-morning Prayer Walk before Meeting for Worship at 10.30am.

Information about Friargate Quaker Meeting House (YO1 9RL) can be found at www.yorkquakers.org.uk/friargatehome.html.

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 two to three 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.

Finding meaning in the margins

With a mix of nature, music, poetry, writings and our own experiences, we’ll explore the transformational role of margins in nature, in the lives of social and spiritual reformers and – crucially – in our own lives. Often, what we or society exclude from the centre contains the seeds of new life, potentially enabling us and our communities to become whole. We’ll look at ways of integrating the margins, helping to renew and heal ourselves and the world we live in. It promises to be a fascinating and rewarding weekend.

Protest Songs

 This one day workshop is being held at Watford Quaker Meeting House from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Singing can bring joy and lift up our hearts. This one day workshop is for anyone who wishes to learn songs that sing out against injustice and to sing 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.

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

Information about Watford Quaker Meeting House (WD17 4QB) can be found at: www.watfordquakers.org.uk.

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.”

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

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, www.sapere.org.uk) methodology which enables in-depth enquiry into matters of belief and ethics. This approach creates a positive environment for deep discussion and safe disagreement. 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 two to three hours per week.

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 recently 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 two to three 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’: retreat for mental health carers

Supporting someone can be life changing, revelatory, exhausting and isolating. Look after your needs to enhance your caring. ‘Take Time’ is a weekend for people who care for someone who needs care because of their mental health problems. Come and meet other carers, 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: 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.

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

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

Woodbrooke, QFAS and FFH working in partnership.

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.

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.

 

 

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 two to three hours per week.

Steps towards a Low Carbon Meeting House

This one day workshop is being held at Friends' Meeting House Manchester from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Woodbrooke and Quakers in Britain working in partnership Join Huw Davies, Property Support Manager for Quakers in Britain and Maud Grainger from Woodbrooke as we take you through the changes we can make to our buildings as we continue to take steps towards a low carbon future. The day will include practical tips from simple actions through to the more radical and longer term options. This day is open to all, you do not need to have any experience in the running of your Meeting House. Come and equip yourselves and play your part in the corporate commitment of Quakers to become a low carbon community.

This workship is being led by Huw Davies and Maud Grainger. Huw is project manager for the Quakers in Britain property support project; he has a life time interest in practical application of sustainability to everyday life. Maud is Woodbrooke's Faith in Action Tutor; she is interested in how we live our witness in the world and community activism.

Information about Friends' Meeting House Manchester (M2 5NS) can be found at: www.meetinghousemanchester.co.uk.

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.

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, led by Joanne Klassen and Eleanor Chornoboy, introduces a process of writing for authentic, creative self-expression and personal development. The course emphasizes mindfulness through an awareness-based approach to writing by turning attention within. It does not involve interactive sharing and this “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 six multimedia sessions and a workbook, based on the work of Joanne Klassen, creator of Life Writing for Transformation™.  The sessions are released weekly throughout the course and are yours to keep and work through at your own pace; each session introduces key concepts followed by exercises, examples, a review and additional optional learning activities.

There are limited places available for this course so book early to avoid disappointment. Unfortunately we are unable to accept late bookings, please make sure you have booked before 16 September.

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).

Jointly organised by Quaker Asylum Refugee Network, Quaker Peace and Social Witness, Quaker United Nations Office and Quaker Council for European Affairs and Woodbrooke

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.

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.

Quaker Botanists

Would you like to find out more about three key botanists from the Quaker tapestry? Are you interested in gardens, plants and their history? By looking at the life and times of Peter Collinson, John Bartram and John Fothergill we will explore their plant introductions and gardens in the 18th century. We'll assess their legacy in gardens, parks and medicine today. You'll go away with a greater appreciation of the importance of these botanists in history and how they continue to inspire us today.

Explaining Quaker Theology

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

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

Being a Quaker Trustee: online

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 2-3 hours per week.

Quaker Nominations: at Swarthmoor Hall

This event is 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.

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.

Exploring Eldership – October 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 – October 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.

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

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

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

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

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

Seeking Sanctuary and Stillness – October

A time set aside to enjoy spaciousness and quiet in your own home and join with others online to share a sense of connection. Different spiritual practices will be offered on each of the days, to help you to focus, and to settle into a place of deep peace and openness to all that is; the flowing vastness of presence. We will join together for silent worship and reflection during the day.

Participants have the option to join in with all four day retreats running throughout 2019 at a total cost of £54.  Click here to book all four retreats.

 

 

Philosophy for Quakers

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

Stepping Out of Bounds: the early Christian breakthrough

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

Celebrating Samhain – exploring the Wheel of the Year

A gentle introduction to the Wheel of the Year, the annual cycle of eight solar festivals marking the earth’s journey around the Sun.  The names of its festivals, rooted in pagan tradition and adopted by Christianity, are familiar to us all - Imbolc became Candlemas, Ostara became Easter.  We meet at Samhain, the moment of death in the Wheel. After death comes rebirth… Awareness of the Wheel can enrich and deepen our Quaker practice.

Spiritual surrender: the ego strikes back

Isaac Penington wisely counsels us to 'give over thine own willing.' But old hurts and false beliefs - about ourselves or ‘how things are’ - may stop us experiencing spiritual surrender and connection. ‘Notions’ about God/Spirit, strong emotions (what Thích Nhất Hạnh calls 'afflictions') and personal attachments (which George Fox termed 'addictions') may block our spiritual growth. Creating safe containment for our explorations together, this is an opportunity to question old habits and set ways as we open ourselves to mystery.

All are welcome

Woodbrooke and Quaker Life working in partnership.

This engaging and interactive weekend is an opportunity to explore how Friends and meetings can reach out to families, connect with each other and enrich our all-age worshipping community. It is ideal for anyone wanting to make change happen and help build inclusive and welcoming communities, especially for Friends with responsibility for eldership and oversight.

This weekend is open to all ages and we will practice building an all-age community. There will not be a separate children's programme. Children and young people will be the responsibility of their accompanying adult(s) throughout the event.

Quaker Nominations: online

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.

Speaking to That of God – building a Quaker web presence: online

Woodbrooke and Quaker Life working in partnership.

If someone looks for your meeting online, what do they find? Would you like to improve your Quaker community's social media presence or website? During this course, we'll share examples of what is happening already, ideas about what you could try, and ways to learn how to put all this into practice. Topics will include websites, Facebook, creating content, and privacy issues. Beginners and those with experience all welcome – you will be able to choose materials suitable to your needs. This course involves a time commitment of approximately two to three hours per week.

The Birth of Liberal Quakerism in Britain: online

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

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

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

A Friendly Introduction to Discernment

When Friends say they are ‘led’ to do things, or they are ‘seeking God’s guidance’ in a decision, what do they mean? How do Friends make well-grounded personal and group decisions? This course will introduce you to different tools used for personal and corporate discernment, and will explore the interplay between individual and community in the Quaker process of testing leadings. We will apply some practices to real issues in order to gain familiarity with them.

Handling Conflict in our Meetings

While handling difficult situations is challenging and can be deeply painful, it can also be the means for growth and development. We will explore a variety of ways for managing conflicts and difficulties that arise in meetings, including processes for restoring harmony, using as an illustration a model, ‘cycle of harmony and discord’. We will practise skills to help address conflict, and the feelings these situations can provoke. We will explore what we might like to change in our meetings.

Being a Quaker Treasurer

For new and prospective treasurers, and those who still feel uncertain. We will cover all the main tasks, from first entries to year-end preparation of accounts, principles, responsibilities, and legal requirements.  You will find sympathetic companionship with other treasurers, and explore the spiritual basis of the role.

Please note: the course starts at 11:15am on the Friday with Basic Book-keeping (this runs to 5:45pm and will include lunch). Those without much experience 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.

A Friendly Introduction to Membership: online

What is Quaker membership? How do I apply and what will happen? The course 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. This course is intended for those who are considering membership of the Religious Society of Friends.

The course includes a live online Q&A webinar (date to be confirmed ). If you can’t join this discussion live, it will be recorded for you to watch at your convenience.

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

Seeking Sanctuary and Stillness – November

A time set aside to enjoy spaciousness and quiet in your own home and join with others online to share a sense of connection. Different spiritual practices will be offered on each of the days, to help you to focus, and to settle into a place of deep peace and openness to all that is; the flowing vastness of presence. We will join together for silent worship and reflection during the day.

Participants have the option to join in with all four day retreats running throughout 2019 at a total cost of £54.  Click here to book all four retreats.

 

 

Quaker Funerals

Are you an elder, overseer or funeral advisor with responsibility for advising or assisting Friends and their families who request a Quaker funeral? This course will explore practical, pastoral and spiritual aspects of Quaker funerals. Focussing on roles and responsibilities, we will keep in mind the themes of grief and loss as they affect individuals and Meetings who have been bereaved.

‘Faith of’ or ‘Faith in’ Jesus

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

Exploring Quaker Spirituality

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

No Sects Please, We’re British: understanding diversity amongst British Muslims

This course will go beyond a generic understanding of Islam to look at the internal diversity in the religion as well as issues of debate between denominations and groupings. It will focus on Shia and Sunni Muslim identities, but also touch on a wider set of different interpretations of Islam and sub-groups, bearing in mind the demographics of British Muslim communities. As well as traditional sects and movements, the course will also cover controversies that are emerging in modern British Muslim life.

Dances of Universal Peace: Dancing Into the New Year with Hope and Joy: 2019

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