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Building a Diverse and Transformative Movement for Change

Transformative movements are made by grassroots change-makers. Building on insights from community organising, this course will support you to make connections with people in your area, listen to their concerns, and turn those relationships into effective campaigns. Leading change is a collective effort. If you can we recommend you join the course in a pair – although you are also welcome on your own. However you come the course, you will leave in equipped to build the foundations of ‘the peaceable kingdom’ beginning in your locality.

Writing Brilliant Annual Reports

This three-week online course is an opportunity to learn and discuss the Charity Commission and Britain Yearly Meeting requirements for an Area Meeting Trustees’ Annual Report, consider the target audience, and share ideas about how to produce the most useful document(s) possible. The group will review good practice and suggest ways to make improvements, as you assemble your 2017 Report. Anyone involved in producing Trustees' reports is welcome on this course, including Area Meeting Trustees and clerks to Area Meetings. The course will be run as a series of three  online webinars run from 7.00pm to 8.30pm every Thursday evening from 22nd March to 5th April.

This course is being run in partnership with Britain Yearly Meeting and is being offered free to all Area Meetings. To book you will still need to complete the online form and go though the checkout process, however you will not be asked for any credit card or other payment details. 

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Exploring Oversight

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._

Worship, Spoken Ministry and Afterwords

What's going on when people speak during silent, waiting worship? What's the difference between things said in ministry and things said during afterwords – and what is this 'afterwords' business anyway? This course uses Rhiannon Grant's research into the many forms of 'afterwords' in Britain Yearly Meeting and around the world to explore what it is, how it used, and what effects – positive and negative – it can have. There will be space for discussion, disagreement, and experiment with worship and afterwords.

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

Writing Retreat

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

Jesus is Risen

The resurrection of Jesus was the central early Christianity claim. Unsurprisingly, many people both now and then have difficulty with that idea. What did it mean at the time? What were the relevant Jewish ideas? What did such a claim mean in other contemporary cultures? And, most importantly, what was its significance as a central element of the emerging Christian faith? This careful historical exploration will provide the material for an informed discussion on what it means for us today.

The Devotional Path – Spiritual Practices to Free the Heart

In the beautiful, countryside setting of Swarthmoor Hall, we will draw on the writings and spiritual experiences of Christian and other mystics, including Thomas Kelly, to lead us into practices that draw us closer to God/Spirit/Divine. Times of peace and solitude, alongside devotional practices and worship will give us time to explore and deepen our own spiritual connection to all that is. Open to all, this will be an opportunity to refresh and enliven our spiritual lives.

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

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 across our programmed and unprogrammed traditions who is interested in questions of leading and building a participatory community within a Quaker context.
This course can be completed in your own time, although we recommend setting aside 2-3 hours a week.
Each week there will be a range of audio visual and written materials for you to engage with, and forums for you to share reflections and ask questions.
This course is intended for Quakers and others who have an interest in Quaker leadership, across our programmed and unprogrammed traditions. You may or may not be in an appointed or employed leadership role.

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 realities that had limited it even before the writing of the New Testament documents.

The core component of this course is a live weekly webinar each Tuesday evening from 6.30 – 8.00pm. If you are unable to participate in the live webinar you will be able to access it to view at your convenience.

In addition there will be an online forum where questions can be raised and comments made.

Short recommended readings will be provided each week. The live weekly webinar will include time for questions and answers.

As well as the hour and half for the webinar, you will get most out of the course if you set aside an hour or so for further reading.

The course will be accessible to those with little knowledge of the Bible but some background Bible study will enhance the learning experience.

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?’
This course can be completed in your own time, although we recommend setting aside 2-3 hours a week.
Each week there will be video, audio and written materials for you to engage with, and forums for you to share reflections and ask questions.

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 can be completed in your own time, although we recommend setting aside 1.5-2.5 hours a week.
Each week there will be materials in a range of formats for you to engage with, and a forum for you to share your responses to the exercises and ask questions.
There will be three live meetings during the six weeks of the course which you are encouraged to take part in, dates and times to be confirmed.

Spirit Dance

Some say we are human beings having a spiritual experience, whilst others suggest that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. The truth is, we are embodied and alive with the spirit of life. Using the 5Rhythms™ moving meditation practice, we will explore how breath and body connect us more fully to life and all things. Join us and dance into a deeper relationship with yourself, others and the spirit of life itself. Suitable for all ages and abilities.

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.

Being Peace

Whether a beginner or experienced in eastern spiritual practice you will taste something of the deep peace that can be discovered through simple practices of being present. Guidance will be given on a variety of practices to encourage a sense of mindfulness. You will be invited to experiment with silence as part of this, including taking meals in silence. Run in partnership with the Community of Interbeing, who live by and share with others the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh.

Transformative Life Writing Alumni Retreat

This writing retreat is for alumni of the Introduction to Life Writing for TransformationTM course which is run annually at Woodbrooke. It is an opportunity to re-connect with other life writers and to re-visit the power of the transformative tools. The theme for this year is love, and its many hues. There will be time for private writing, a support group for writers of longer term projects, as well as the usual space to share our unique life experiences.

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.

Exploring the Early Quaker Vision

In our time together we will explore the founding experience and vision of the Quaker movement and consider how early Friends lived a prophetic, charismatic and apocalyptic faith that very nearly turned the world upside-down. How did this vision shape the Quaker understanding of the Bible and the possibility of personal transformation? Can we see the roots for our contemporary concerns for peace, equality and creation-care? How is this vision reflected in Quaker global diversity today?

Walking into Worship

In the lovely surroundings of Swarthmoor Hall – indoors and out – we’ll explore different approaches to walking, enjoying time to awaken our senses and deepen our awareness and appreciation of the beauty around us. We’ll create and walk a labyrinth; discover and share hidden riches through a team approach, ‘Dérive’ (drifting and noticing); walk mindfully, and take at least one walk through the local countryside. Through quietness, awareness and thankfulness – we’ll travel together, ‘walking into worship’.

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

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 times*: The course starts at 11:15am on the Tuesday with Basic Book-keeping (this runs to 5:45pm and will include lunch). Those without much experience need these sessions. If Tuesday 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 1:30pm to 3.00pm.

Discernment in Everyday Life

Discernment is the cornerstone of Quaker faith and practice but many of us find it challenging in everyday life.  Centred in worship, this retreat will give us time to reflect and experience types of individual and corporate discernment, and explore different ways of testing our concerns and personal leadings.

Seeking Sanctuary and Stillness

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.
We encourage people of all faiths and non to participate
These days will be ‘live’ for part of the day (Timings will be GMT+1) with time for you to create your own space for stillness and quiet during the rest of the day
There will be an opportunity for asking questions and sharing reflections during the day
You may join us for any combination of between one and four of the days.
Participants have the option to join in with all four day retreats running throughout 2018 at a total cost of £55.

Sharing our Stories

A weekend combining quiet retreat and opportunities for sharing and celebrating diverse gender identity and sexual orientation. Focussed on Quaker worship and fellowship, with a choice of creative activity, personal sharing, and workshops on gender and sexual diversity and faith, we will reflect on how being Quaker supports our personal journeys and lets our lives speak. This weekend will provide a safe, welcoming space for LGBT+ Friends, including those beginning to understand their sexual or gender identity, and those who have been closeted for years.

To save From fear: spiritual disciplines for difficult times

The culture of fear in which we live, coupled with our own personal anxieties, is an impediment to deepening our spiritual life. Centred in worship, this retreat will offer individual and group reflection and exploration of ways of embracing hope and optimism. Together we will seek to open ourselves to 'that perfect love which casts out fear' and thus enable our growth in the Spirit.

A walk through the Midlands with George Fox

As George Fox stepped away from his family home in Fenny Drayton, praying, seeking answers and looking to the Bible, we too shall immerse ourselves in this area, setting off from Fenny Drayton, visiting the church where Fox worshipped as a young man and moving on to the ‘bloody city of Lichfield’. What shaped George Fox in his early days? How did these experiences affect the beginnings of Quakerism? There will be trips out, walking tours, times for reflection and content based sessions.

The Art of Natural Prayer

Prayer is the natural heritage of everyone, including  people of spirit with no fixed or Christian faith.  We will explore prayer through silence, song, walking in nature, meditation and mediation, working with the regenerative sacred source of the universe. By taking responsibility for our spiritual practice, we become fully human by our service to natural prayer, enabling us to be a blessing to others. Anyone with hospitality of soul, or who is seeking doorways to personal spiritual practice, is welcome.

Foundations of a True Social Order

The Foundations of a True Social Order are principles approved by London Yearly Meeting in 1918 which have influenced the shape of Quaker witness ever since.  How do the words of Quakers in 1918 relate to how Quakers understand their witness for peace and social justice in 2018? This course brings together historical research, current activist thought, and a broad view of Quaker testimony, to explore how the work of previous generations speaks to us now.

Time in a safe haven: a retreat for spiritual directors

This retreat is designed for all those who are actively involved in providing spiritual direction and/or accompaniment on a one to one basis. We aim to connect with the spirit as well as with each other through practices that engage head, heart and hands. There will be plentiful opportunity for networking, individual quiet time, and spiritual refreshment in Woodbrooke's beautiful grounds.

Quaker Mysticism: Exploring The Heart of Quaker Spirituality With Rufus Jones & Thomas Kelly

What is mysticism?  How do mystical experiences differ from other sorts of encounters with God?  What is the relationship between mysticism and Quaker faith and practice? Those are three of the questions that participants and tutors on this course will consider together.  As we reflect on those questions, we’ll pay special attention to the life and work of two authors—Rufus Jones (1863-1948) and Thomas Kelly (1893-1941)—who produced classic explorations of Quaker mysticism that can still speak to us today.

The Hero/Heroine’s Journey: Uncovering The Secrets of Story

Traditional stories provide a template for our lives. As the hero is called from comfort to a risky journey and as the heroine must be courageous in order to be transformed, so must we. At journey’s end we return different. In the sessions we will listen, dance, sing, play, write and draw in an engaged workshop process. This intense course requires physical and vocal engagement in order to deepen our collective presence and unveil the power and secrets within the story.

A Portable God: The Origins Of Judaism And Christianity

Would you like to know more about the origins of Christianity, and its complex relationship with Judaism? Come and explore the development of these sibling religions, as they took their parental heritage in different directions. We will look at competing interpretations of the Israelite scriptures, and see how each community drew on temple theology to express new understandings of the divine presence. We will also discuss the legacy of this separation process for Jewish-Christian relations today.

The course is open to anyone – no prior knowledge required.  The latest academic scholarship will be combined with an understanding of both religious traditions – all presented in a user-friendly way.  There will also be plenty of time for discussion.  The sessions will be as follows:

  1. Rhetoric and Reality
  2. Second Temple Judaism
  3. Radical New Perspectives on Paul
  4. The beginnings of Christianity
  5. The beginnings of rabbinic Judaism
  6. Boundaries – then and now
  7. Worship and final thoughts

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.

Hope in Troubled Times

Throughout the weekend we shall come together in fellowship and friendship with practices and prayer to strengthen our resolve and to nurture hope. How can we be hopeful amidst a daily intake of stories of suffering, division, conflict and terror? Are we as Friends called to be a hopeful people? And how can we live out the ‘change we want to see in the world.  Paul Rogers, a leading expert in global security will join us for a keynote on ‘reasons to be hopeful’.

Seeking Sanctuary and Stillness

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.
We encourage people of all faiths and non to participate
These days will be ‘live’ for part of the day (Timings will be GMT+1) with time for you to create your own space for stillness and quiet during the rest of the day
There will be an opportunity for asking questions and sharing reflections during the day
You may join us for any combination of between one and four of the days.
Participants have the option to join in with all four day retreats running throughout 2018 at a total cost of £55.

A Friendly Introduction to Membership

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 can be completed in your own time, although we recommend setting aside 2-3 hours a week.
There will be video, audio and written materials for you to engage with, and forums for you to share reflections and ask questions.
There will be a live online Q&A webinar on Thursday 21 June at 20.00 GMT+1. If you can’t join this discussion live, it will be recorded for you to watch at your convenience.
This course is intended both for those who are considering membership of the Religious Society of Friends, and those who have recently become members.

Quaker Chaplaincy Training

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

Exploring 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.

Spiritual Roots and Wisdom of the Quaker Way in Plainsong

Music has a way of opening us up to deeper levels of understanding. This is what people say occurs when they hear Paulette Meier’s Timeless Quaker Wisdom in Plainsong. Each song is a quotation from the writings of George Fox and other early Friends. We will sing the “chant-songs” together, exploring the rich insight into the Quaker way that each offers, becoming enlivened and enlightened to the radical, mystical understanding of Christianity that our 17th century founders discovered.

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

Self Care retreat

Self-care isn’t selfish; it enables us to become more aware and resourceful so that we can be more present and helpful to others.
Here you can reflect, discern and tune in to your heart and gut wisdom as well as what the head can offer. There will be self-care and reflection activities (not strenuous) from traditions such as Tai Chi, Yoga and the Enneagram. Days 1, 3 and 5 are facilitated and days 2 and 4 are quiet days.

In the care of the Meeting: Our response as communities to the breakdown of committed relationships

How do meetings care for marriages and committed partnerships, including when they flounder or end? Of interest to eldership and oversight as well as Friends with relevant past experience, this course explores the connections and discords affecting individuals, partners and the meeting when relationships are under strain. Taking a broad perspective on QF&P 16.12-13, and drawing on approaches in other yearly meetings, we seek to discover how relationships at all stages can be held ‘in the care of the meeting’.

Clerking: Taking It To The Next Level

This course is aimed at Friends who have served as clerks for at least two years, whether of a local meeting, area meeting or another group. We will consider topics such as how to educate your meeting better about Quaker decision making processes, the use of elders in business meetings and handing over to the next clerk. Please come ready to share successes and things that haven’t gone so well in your clerking.

Seeds of Silence – the ground of our being: An Appleseed retreat

Julian of Norwich described God as the ground of our being, a place where our seeds of silence can grow and spread. This is a silent retreat with input on the theme at the beginning of each day, plus options of lectio divina, worship sharing and one-to-one sessions with a tutor. We shall hold silence at meals, when working, and overnight so participants will need to have enough experience of Appleseed to be able to work independently.

Early Quaker Writings: What they said and how they said it

This course offers a unique opportunity to find out about early Quakers through an engagement with their published words. We will explore their print culture, how they communicated in a distinctive way and what they were so eager to share with others. This will include consideration of a number of important texts, hands-on investigation of key Quaker phrases and metaphors and an opportunity to learn about minuting practices in past centuries. Sessions will be lively and interactive.

A Chanting Retreat for Women: A pathway to the silence within

From time immemorial, people have sung and chanted together to lift spirits, to heal suffering, to unify souls, and to come closer to God. In our time together, we will learn and sing chants, simple songs and rounds, including ones composed from the writings of early Friends, interspersed with times of silent meditation, reflective journaling and sharing. Participants are encouraged to bring a favourite quotation or scripture passage to set to song during our time together. *This course is for women only*

Making bread in an outdoor oven

We shall spend time making bread to cook in our outdoor wood fired bread oven. Come for collaboration, fun, kneading, cooking and eating. If there is a recipe you would like to try out, please bring it and we shall give it a try. Things you need to know - We shall be walking and working between the bread oven in the grounds and our indoor meeting space. Please come prepared to work outside (waterproofs, hats, boots etc.) We cannot guarantee a gluten free environment.

A Place Apart: Tabernacle and Temple in the Hebrew Bible

'Can God really dwell on earth?' asks King Solomon, at the dedication of the first Jerusalem temple. We will discuss various biblical answers to that question, as we explore ancient Israelite notions of divine presence (and divine absence). We will also consider the impact of the temple’s destruction in 586 BCE, and the consequences for the formation of the Hebrew Bible. No previous knowledge is required – just a willingness to engage with biblical texts from a fresh perspective.
This course can be completed in your own time, although we recommend setting aside 2-3 hours a week.
Each week will focus on some key biblical texts.  There will also be video, audio and written materials for you to engage with, and forums for you to share reflections and ask questions.
There will be two live online Q&As (dates to be confirmed). If you can’t join these discussions live, they will be recorded for you to watch at your convenience.
This course is intended for those who wish to explore the Bible in greater depth.  We will be looking at its original historical context, but also discussing our own responses to the material.

Seeking Sanctuary and Stillness

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.
We encourage people of all faiths and non to participate
These days will be ‘live’ for part of the day (Timings will be GMT+1) with time for you to create your own space for stillness and quiet during the rest of the day
There will be an opportunity for asking questions and sharing reflections during the day
You may join us for any combination of between one and four of the days.
Participants have the option to join in with all four day retreats running throughout 2018 at a total cost of £55.

Test Online Course

test course for questions

The Acts of the Apostles: Peter, Paul and the Early Christian Way

In addition to his Gospel, Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles, an account of the earliest days of Christianity featuring Peter and Paul. With these two books he establishes a purpose and direction for the early Church that still shapes Christianity today. In this course about Acts, we will consider Luke’s broad understanding but give attention to a number of short sections of Acts to see how they contribute to his vision of what he calls ‘the Way’.

Meeting Needs: Creating Well-Being

Any initiative that seeks to address social injustice, conflict or mental health needs to start with an appreciation of our human nature. Meeting human needs is central to the wellbeing of everyone. We will explore, through story, metaphor, relaxation and fun interactive exercises, how to help ourselves and others get their needs met in very practical ways. This course is for anyone who has a concern for the welfare of others as well as their own spiritual development.

Signposts for the Soul: Pathways Through Addiction

Being lost in addiction can be one of the darkest nights of the soul, but we know that however dark, the Light can shine and help us find pathways through. This conference will include contributions from Friends and provide an opportunity for you to share insights in the form of short talks, posters, or in other creative ways; to exchange freely on what helps. This is living adventurously for us! Can we inspire you to do the same?

Be Comforted – handknitted prayer shawls for consolation and courage

Hand knitted shawls are enjoying a huge resurgence in popularity. Worked with love and compassion, in luxurious yarns, using stitches of delicate lace or bold cables, shawls say 'be comforted' at a time when courage is most needed against life's pitfalls. The programme will cover basic shawl shapes, circular, triangular, and oblong. Techniques will include lace, Portuguese knitting, and demonstrate how knitting and meditation work together. Participants must be confident knitters. The course is fast paced and is not suitable for beginners.

John Woolman and the Apocalypse of the Heart

This course examines the life of colonial Quaker John Woolman, who is best known for his antislavery activities and simplicity, but his theology is lesser known. This course is informed by Woolman’s Journal but also includes texts from his other writings. Each session will focus on a theological theme that enlivened his theology and shaped his vision for colonial America. This examination of Woolman’s life raises questions for the impact of Quaker tradition on faithfulness today.
Please note, Jon Kershner will introduce each topic via a live linkup from US, whilst Martin Layton will facilitate discussion from Woodbrooke.

Making Mosiacs

During this course you will learn essential mosaic skills and have the opportunity to translate your ideas into something to take home. No previous mosaic experience is necessary. All equipment and a generous abundance of materials will be provided. Please bring with you any ideas or sketches that you would like to use, and tiles or crockery that may have some special meaning to you. You may wish to bring an object to mosaic...it's entirely up to you.

Living Awake to the Spirit: Practices to Nurture the Soul

What does it mean to live awake to the Spirit? To nurture this openness throughout the day? Join us as we explore these questions and discover practices for opening to the Spirit within our unique lives. All spiritual traditions offer such practices; they are prayer-full practices. We will consider what hinders our living more fully open to the Spirit, and we’ll look at spiritual awakening in dark times. We will include individual reflection time and group learning and sharing.

Voices of the Earth

This popular course explores the intimate relationship between the natural world and spirituality through creative responses in writing and artwork. Prompted by poetry, the visual arts, music and Woodbrooke’s extensive gardens, with fresh starting points and stimuli offered each year, there will be abundant opportunity for working in a variety of media and forms. We will engage individually or collaboratively both with the places words can take us and where visual images and making art can lead to beyond words.

Seeking Sanctuary and Stillness

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.
We encourage people of all faiths and non to participate
These days will be ‘live’ for part of the day (Timings will be GMT+1) with time for you to create your own space for stillness and quiet during the rest of the day
There will be an opportunity for asking questions and sharing reflections during the day
You may join us for any combination of between one and four of the days.
Participants have the option to join in with all four day retreats running throughout 2018 at a total cost of £55.

Well-being: Supporting Ourselves and Each Other in our Climate Change Work

Facing up to the enormity of climate change can take an emotional toll. During this weekend we will ask how as a Quaker community we can support each other to stay motivated by love and gratitude rather than fear or anger. We’ll share our experiences of the roles of relationships, spirituality and personal development practices in sustaining wellbeing, and explore how maintaining a strong sense of purpose and agency can assist us in our work.

Creating with Clay

This pottery workshop is suitable for both beginner and experienced learners. On Friday and Saturday, you will be guided to create objects with clay using hand-building techniques and a potters’ wheel. On Sunday, you will experience the decoration and firing of "Raku": an ancient firing method originating from Japan and inspired by Zen practices which celebrate unique acts of the ‘here and now’; of process over outcome; natural forms; and the ‘imperfect’. All materials are included. Please wear appropriate clothing.

Stories for our time: Storytelling as a Tool for Peace, a Tool for Change

A rich and exciting weekend, exploring the power of stories to change our world and gain some insights in how to tell them. We will share traditional heroic tales, historical stories from Quaker and Peace traditions and real life stories about those who build a better world, discovering what makes an inspirational story? All you need to bring is an open heart and a story that inspires and motivates you. No previous experience of storytelling is required

Listening and Gathering: Holding Space for Spirit

Do you hold space for others? Or feel drawn to try? Perhaps you’re someone who listens and accompanies; gathers and grows community; or facilitates conflict resolution. This course invites you to explore the personal aspects and spiritual source of such practice. Join us to welcome a spaciousness that holds and nourishes connection with spirit, ourselves and each other. We will learn by being and doing - come prepared to practice, reflect and share.

Speaking Truthfully and Peacefully

When hurt or irritated with family or friends, we convince ourselves that it’s ‘kinder’ to say nothing. However, these unexpressed feelings eventually disrupt our relationships. Although we assume we are treating others as equals and are being honest, there is often a large gap between theory and practice. This is an opportunity to reduce this gap. Come prepared to learn and practise new skills and your ability to communicate truthfully and equally with others will be transformed.

Sense and Perception: Bringing Together Yoga, Mindfulness & Photography

How can I use my senses to bring me into presence? We will be using Yoga, photography and silent reflection as a means for mindfully exploring our physical nature through our senses, and the perceptions we have of the world around us. We will focus on each of the five senses using the peaceful setting of Woodbrooke’s house and gardens to heighten our awareness of presence.
Yoga sessions will be suitable for beginners.Please bring a digital camera you are comfortable using.

Equipping for Disability Equality

Quaker meetings are ‘Service Providers’ under the Equality Act 2010, and committed to fulfilling an ‘equality testimony’ as faith in action. This course will equip meetings to understand and meet legal obligations and key disability rights ideas with joy, celebration and creativity, highlighting links to Quakerism. Tutors will share personal experience of using the Equality Act 2010, and its strengths and limitations as a tool for disability equality. Suitable for anyone, but we particularly encourage meetings to send representatives.

Exploring Simplicity

What does the Quaker testimony of simplicity mean to you, and how do you put it into practice? What are the barriers and benefits? In this course we will explore these issues through a mix of group-work and reflective/creative exercises. We will dip into the history of the testimony and consider our spiritual practice and how the inward and outward connect. We'll discuss how Local and Area Meetings can support us in living simply today.

Ancient Paths: A retreat with the labyrinth

Time to be; time to rest; time to walk the labyrinth, to find ‘a different way of knowing.’ Unlike mazes, labyrinths have just one path to the centre and back again, a path that offers space for prayer, reflection, meditation, release. We’ll learn about labyrinths as a spiritual resource and explore their patterns through reading, music, images and silence. We’ll experience labyrinths indoors and outdoors, including a labyrinth we’ll create ourselves in the garden – a pattern to take home.

O Be Joyful: finding joy through singing and reflection

We’ll spend most of this weekend singing simple harmony songs from around the world, some sacred, some secular, some lively, some meditative. All songs will be taught by ear. You’ll also have opportunity for reflection, choosing between writing, art activities and time in the garden, so the singing can nourish your life. We’ll cultivate joy and gratitude. This course is for anyone who wants to sing, including those who aren’t confident. Different songs from last time I ran this course.

Early Friends and the Quaker Peace Testimony

How did the Quaker peace testimony evolve amongst early Friends? The course will consider the roles played by George Fox, Margaret Fell, William Penn and others, the historical context of their witness, and the theological basis of the peace testimony. Did some Friends have significantly different understandings of the place of peace witness in their lives? To what extent was the peace testimony a key part of the Quaker message? What does all this mean for our peace witness today?

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

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-violence 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.
This course can be completed in your own time, although we recommend setting aside 2-3 hours a week.
Each week there will be video, audio and written materials for you to engage with, and forums for you to share reflections and ask questions.
This course is aimed at anyone with an interest in Quakers and/or issues of social justice, but no previous knowledge of Quakerism is required.

Islam and the Environment

Islam, like other Faiths call for stewardship of the Earth. What can we learn from Islam and its teachings on the environment and environmental justice?

"And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you. We have not neglected in the Register a thing. Then unto God they will be gathered" (Hold Quran 6:38)

Each week there will be video, audio and written materials for you to engage with, and forums for you to share reflections and ask questions.
There will be two live Q&A's. If you can't join these discussions live, they will be recorded for you to watch at your convenience.
This course is intended for anyone, of any faith or none.

Best of the Christian Buffet

Christianity can often be seen as unchanging and inflexible, but is actually a rich and varied buffet of ideas and practices. Do you find yourself standing in the metaphorical corner, wishing you could eat from this tasty selection but not sure what to have? We will sample approaches to Jesus, views of the human condition and the nature of the world, and diverse worship practices which show Christianity to be a vibrant and relevant tradition.

Honouring my lineage

We invite participants into a gentle space of enquiry as to how we relate to our lineage – our mothers and fathers but perhaps also other lineages that shape who we are. The tone of the gathering will be contemplative. There will be the invitation to tap into the wisdom of the body and include creativity if you would like to. It is certainly not a requirement that you have a sense of connection to your ancestors!

Jung and the Wounded Healer: Myth & Reality

This course will take a fresh look at the wounded healer in the light of Jung the person and his work. Relevant myths will be explored, e.g. Chiron; the Fisher King, so that the archetypal dimensions can be seen. The reality of the wounded healer in current healthcare practice will also be a focus. Through input, experiential work and an enactment of a relevant legendary tale the wounded healer will be considered both in theory and in lived experience.

Mindfully Together: A Retreat Guided by the Teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh

For 12 years, Woodbrooke has hosted retreats drawing on the Zen Buddhist teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh. This year, we welcome back Sister Annabel Laity supported by members of the Order of Interbeing, people who have committed themselves to practice in this tradition. Join them to discover how mindfulness of the present moment can bring peace and happiness. Guidance in the practice will be given. You will enjoy times of silence, walking meditation in Woodbrooke’s beautiful grounds and specially prepared vegetarian food.

Quakers and the ‘Votes for Women’ Campaign

One hundred years ago women voted in British Parliamentary elections for the first time. The women’s franchise came after decades of campaigning, some of it destructive and violent. Drawing on case studies of individual Quaker women, we will explore Quaker responses to the campaign, looking at the historical context, the rise of militancy, and the impact of the First World War. We will also consider what lessons the campaign has for activists today, and what we as Quakers are doing towards gender equality.

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.

Living the Heart of Christianity

This is a 6-week online retreat with inspiration from Marcus J. Borg's The Heart of Christianity. How can we live passionately today by practicing timeless elements of Christian faith? It is an opportunity to reflect on and incorporate into daily life themes of the heart: faith, practise, opening, rebirth and justice. It can speak to those who struggle to identify with the Christian tradition as well as to those approaching the tradition 'again for the first time'.
This course can be completed in your own time, although we recommend setting aside 2-3 hours a week.
Each week there will be written materials for you to engage with, and forums for you to share reflections.

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 can be completed in your own time, although we recommend setting aside 2-3 hours a week.
Each week there will be video, audio and written materials for you to engage with.
This course is intended for anyone who has planned to write about their life, spiritual journey, or unique experiences. This course will provide the guidance to begin.
This is the first time that *Life Writing for Transformation* TM has been made available as an online course. It is an ideal introduction or refresher course.

24 hours for Stillness: an Experiment with Light retreat

The experiment with Light practice offers a structure for waiting in the Light to see ourselves and our lives. We will use this structure to be still, to reflect and to worship together. This can guide us into a deep listening and expectant waiting. There will also be unstructured quiet time alone. We will start at noon and end by noon the next day

Let Me Tell You a Story…: Deepening Your Message Through Storytelling

We all tell stories. Storytelling is an essential tool in business, ministry, teaching, activism, and life. Learn how to integrate storytelling into your current work. Discover how to tell compelling stories about your own life, current issues, or in connection to your work. Master storyteller, Peterson Toscano, will help you hone stories you already tell and develop techniques for telling new stories. Become a more effective presenter and speaker and learn how to captivate an audience with your stories.

Losing Sight of the Shore

This course is for all those who wish to use the visual arts (drawing, mixed media and sculpture) as tools for exploration and self-discovery. We will provide a safe, nurturing space for you to reflect creatively upon where you are on your journey. Using the metaphor of small boats representing our fragile lives on wide open seas, we will dare to ‘lose sight of the shore’ and see where the flow takes us

Time Set Aside: An Individually Guided Retreat

This silent, individually guided retreat will be held in the peaceful setting of Swarthmoor Hall. Each day will include meeting for worship and epilogue, one short talk and one-to-one time with Ginny or Annique. Meals will be held in silence. This retreat offers participants the opportunity to spend an extended period of time in silence, prayer and reflection, with the support of a retreat guide

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

‘That your love may overflow’: Paul’s letter to the Philippians

This is a letter of encouragement. You know the gift of life you have received, says Paul, now live it to the full. ‘Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, pure, pleasing, commendable, if there is any excellence, anything worth of praise, think on these things. … Rejoice!’ Challenging theology and practical counsel intermingle in a rich expression of early Christian life. With four webinars and recommended reading we will open up the world of this remarkable short text.

The core component of this course is a live weekly webinar each Wednesday evening from 6.30 – 8.00pm. If you are unable to participate in the live webinar you will be able to access it to view at your convenience.

In addition there will be an online forum where questions can be raised and comments made.

Short recommended readings will be provided each week. The live weekly webinar will include time for questions and answers.

As well as the hour and half for the webinar, you will get most out of the course if you set aside an hour or so for further reading.

Some previous experience of Bible study – whether in your Meeting or at Woodbrooke - will enhance the learning experience.

Handling Conflict in our Meetings: A Course for Role Holders

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.

Exploring Quaker Chaplaincy

An opportunity for sharing, supporting and developing your ministry. Whether you are considering or starting chaplaincy work or you have years of experience, at this weekend you will be able to reflect on your work, share your experiences, ideas and insights, and come away refreshed. Are you a Quaker chaplain in hospital, prison, school or university or in any other work or community setting? Come for renewal and to discover ways to develop your chaplaincy role.
Some parts of the weekend will be filmed as resources for a future online course

Transgress & Transcend: An Exploration of Gender and Sex with Gay Bible Scholar Peter Toscano

Peterson Toscano will facilitate a workshop that explores gender and sexuality in Bible stories. While the Bible has been used by some to harm others, there are potential peaceful interpretations of the ancient texts, including those that support LGBTQ lives. Using a variety of methods, traditional and creative, participants will study, discuss, and explore Bible stories especially relevant to sexual and gender minorities.

Threshing and Clearness

The Quaker tradition includes a range of methods for exploring complex issues in a context of worship. This course will look at threshing meetings, Meetings for Clearness, and other discernment processes – all of these are well established but not always well known parts of the Quaker tradition. We will explore how the different processes work and how they relate to the decision making Meeting for Worship for Business. The course will include opportunities to experiment with some of the methods.

Strength in Weakness: 18th Century Quaker Women, Their Networks, Struggles and Successes

Was the 18th century really a time of stagnation for Quakerism - quiet, inward-looking and inactive? This course will seek to test this widely-held impression by looking, through a range of sources, at the lives of a wide variety of Quaker women. We will look at the networks that encouraged and supported them and at the elements, both in the world and in the Society of Friends, that impeded them. Are their concerns and experiences still relevant to Quakers today?

Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor

Shakespeare’s funniest comedy is a portrait of a community at all levels, with its locals and newcomers, its friendships, rivalries, and tensions.  Secrets abound, and everyone becomes a victim or agent of trickery;  but the play helps us to discover how tolerance, understanding and forgiveness work their healing power.  The course includes a visit to the current production at the Royal Shakespeare Theater.

Being a Quaker Trustee

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.

Eldership: our gifts in and to our community

This course will help those with responsibility for eldership in Quaker meetings explore the gifts they bring to this role. The value of the course lies in the opportunity to share, at a deep level, experiences, joys and challenges with others who have been involved in eldership and those just starting out. Time will be given to considering the spiritual basis of our work, how we can work together with Friends offering oversight in our meetings and how we can build community.,br>_This course focuses on eldership in Britain Yearly Meeting but may also be of interest to Friends from other Yearly Meetings._

Oversight: our gifts in and to our community

This course will help those with responsibility for oversight in Quaker meetings explore the gifts they bring to this role. The value of the course lies in the opportunity to share, at a deep level, experiences, joys and challenges with others who have been involved in oversight and those just starting out. Time will be given to considering the spiritual basis of our work, how we can work together with Friends offering eldership in our meetings and how we can build community.
_This course focuses on oversight in Britain Yearly Meeting but may also be of interest to Friends from other Yearly Meetings._

Early Christianity

Christianity spread rapidly throughout the first century. While communities were in contact with each other through letters and travelling teachers, they nevertheless each developed in distinctive ways. They preserved their own memories of Jesus but, more importantly, they came to different understandings about him. Scripture provides clear evidence of a significant level of conflict between these groups. It is a fascinating and lively picture which we will explore by focusing on particular examples that can reveal what was at stake.

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

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 can be completed in your own time, although we recommend setting aside 1.5-2.5 hours a week.
Each week there will be materials in a range of formats for you to engage with, and a forum for you to share your responses to the exercises and ask questions.
There will be 2-3 live meetings during the four weeks of the course which you are encouraged to take part in, dates and times to be confirmed.

A Fresh Approach to Nominations

Nominations is a struggle for many meetings, and it's not always clear why Quakers use the nominations process. This course will explore the underlying principles, share ideas about different ways in which nominations work can be done, and address the challenges of particular situations such as the circumstances of small meetings. Anyone with a role which involves or connects to nominations, or an interest in the general topic, is welcome. Together we can build a nominations process for the future.

Light in our Lives: Recasting Our Life’s Stories

The basic story of our life cannot be changed. Yet we can decide how our personal narrative should be read. In a series of writing and journaling exercises, imaginatively interrogating and recasting the light and dark of our lives, we hope to discover the depths of wonder and mystery which is ourselves. In recognising the continuing revelation of Light in our own lives, we can appreciate our place in an “incomprehensible Whole”.

Quaker Fellowship for Afterlife Studies Annual Conference

Quaker Fellowship for Afterlife Studies annual conference is open to all. Near death and pre-birth experiences, memories from former lives and many other phenomena are regularly reported. What is the true nature of a human being? We will explore spiritual/psychic experiences and focus on the urgent need for recognition in the present day western world that we are not merely physical beings living a finite life.

Getting to Know Made of Money

Where do our beliefs, attitudes and values about money come from? Would you like to learn about new ideas to support others with money management? Quaker Social Action have been running their award-winning Made of Money course for over 12 years. Our experienced tutors will guide you through this engaging and interactive two-day course. You will come away with the skills and practical resources to share with your family and support people in your community and at local meetings.

The Buddha and his Aunt: Real Women and Female Symbols

Our course will begin with a brief introduction to the fundamentals of Buddhist thought. We will look at the way women were accepted in the monastic community and read some of their testimonies to their Enlightenment. We will see how in later Buddhism, with the development of a rich mythology, female figures asserted the equal fruits of female spirituality and the ultimate unimportance of gender. Periods of meditation will accompany our time together.

How to be a Conscientious Objector Today

A century after World War One, we are no longer conscripted to fight. Instead, our taxes are conscripted to fund war and our minds are conscripted to support it. This is a chance to learn from our predecessors and resisters around the world now, to explore how we can resist warfare today. Looking at militarism in education, entertainment, media and elsewhere in civil society, we will identify ways to be “conscientious objectors” to militarism in our everyday lives.

The History of the Hedge: Quakers and ‘The World’

From the earliest days, Friends set themselves apart as distinctive , choosing how and in what ways to participate in wider society. This course looks at the idea of 'the hedge' the barrier between the faithful and impure, and how it has developed and changed over the years. The course will end up helping us reflect on the value of having a hedge and what the Quaker hedge consists of today.

Dancing with Words: Life Writing Inspired by Movement

The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word. Mata Hari
Using simple forms of movement, we will explore our stories and set off on our creative writing journeys. Nurturing and deepening our experience through awareness exercises and walking meditations through the beautiful gardens of Woodbrooke, we will begin to write our stories and poems. No previous experience necessary.
Feedback from previous courses: ‘Sustaining empathy and understanding’. ‘Steady, unhurried pace..’

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.

Feminism, Quakers and Wonder Woman

Where is feminism headed and where has it come from? Do we need it any more? What do we think of a system that named Wonder Woman as a girls empowerment ambassador for the UN? Could we have made it up?  This course investigates the connections between Quakerism and Feminism, taking examples from Quaker history. We shall then look at feminism today and how it affects our lives and is affected by the system we live in;

Friends From the Start: exploring the early Quaker story

Do you want to know more about early Friends? If your knowledge of Quaker history is a little hazy or you are relatively new to the Society of Friends, this four week online course is for you. We will trace the early Quaker story in its historical context, explore the development of the Quaker vision and look at the movement’s leading figures. This will all be done in a relaxed and friendly way using a mixture of video lectures, readings and discussion.
This course can be completed in your own time, although we recommend setting aside 2-3 hours a week.
Each week there will be video, audio and written materials for you to engage with, and forums for you to share reflections and ask questions.
This course does not assume any prior knowledge of Quaker history.

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 2-3 hours a week for pursuing this course. There is no requirement to be online at a particular time.
This course is intended for Friends who are serving, about to serve or considering service in eldership and/or oversight. As well as those appointed to formal roles, we welcome those whose meetings use systems of shared oversight or eldership or who would like to learn more about Quaker ways of caring for one another.
You can work through the material on this course in your own time. We recommend setting aside two to three hours a week.
Each week there will be a range of audio, visual and written materials for you to engage with, and a forum for you to share reflections and ask questions.

Exploring 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.

Caring for one another

"Loving care is not something that those sound in mind and body ‘do’ for others but a process that binds us together." (Qf&p 12.01). Our meeting communities are built on the many ways in which we care for one another – traditionally expressed through the structures of eldership and oversight, but present in many ways. This course will explore what works well in how we care for one another spiritually, emotionally, socially and practically, and how the whole meeting can be involved.

Forced Migration and Human Rights

20 people worldwide are forced to migrate every minute due to war, violence and persecution. Deprived of their dignity and rights at home, these forced migrants face discrimination in recipient countries being denied access to work, vital services and subjected to detention. Our shared testimonies have led Quakers to challenge these injustices and to lead the fight for the protection of human rights. This course explores the emergence of international human rights and reflects on the current worldwide migration crisis.

‘Into the Actual Presence of God’: The Letter to the Hebrews

In Hebrews, ideas from Greek and Jewish thought get dramatically reshaped in the light of the experiences of the first Christians. Guest speaker Stuart Masters will show how early Friends drew on Hebrews, finding their own encounters with the divine confirmed in its affirmation of faith beyond religious forms. The unusual approach of its unknown writer enables us to look afresh at some central Christian themes, in particular, the way Jesus was understood in the time before doctrine became fixed.

Early Quaker History: The Everyday Lives of Seventeenth Century Friends

The early Quakers were seen as both radical and revolutionary, but what were the social consequences of their beliefs? Were they really as excluded and isolated from their neighbours as historians often suggest? We will explore how their faith and practice informed both their daily lives and those of the wider community. Using primary source material we will paint a fascinating picture of the ordinary lives of Friends who were living during a period of massive social and cultural change.

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

Fire in the Bones: Encountering the Prophet Jeremiah

Come and explore the tragic life and incisive prophecy of Jeremiah, who lived in turbulent times. We will discover the urgency of his call – the fire in his bones – and his relentless quest to find words with which to speak to a traumatised people. We will examine his imagery, both brutal and tender, as a struggle for meaning in the wake of disaster – a work of resilience and healing. And we will discuss the continuing relevance of this challenging poetry.

The Quaker Jesus: the Life and Writings of James Nayler

During this course we will get to know James Nayler who was a significant early Quaker leader, seen by many as an equal to George Fox. This will include an overview of his life and writings, detailed consideration of a number of his tracts, an assessment of his contribution to the development of the peace testimony, and an examination of what was going on in Bristol in October 1656, when he re-enacted Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.

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

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 27th October 2018 (10:00 – 16:00 GMT), that you can take part in wherever you are.
This course can be completed in your own time. We encourage you to spend a short time each day engaging with a spiritual practice.
There will be video, audio and written materials for you to engage with, and forums for you to share reflections and ask questions.
The spiritual practices will be drawn mainly from the Christian tradition and offered in a way that makes the course open to all.

A Spiritual Anthology: A Toolkit for Silence from Quakers and Others

Is Quaker experience of the Divine unique, or have similar insights bubbled up in other contexts? This retreat blends silent time alone with tutor-led offerings on the experience of silence. We will use writings and practices from a range of spiritual and secular sources, offering an “anthology” of wisdom to draw upon. Meals will be silent. Individual spiritual accompaniment is not a formal part of this retreat but can be offered if required.

The Theology of Quaker Testimony

Friends say confidently that ‘Christianity is a not a notion but a way’. Behind the radical Quaker tradition of practical witness there is a distinctive understanding - a ‘theology of Quaker testimony’ – that may well have value beyond the world of Friends. We will give careful attention to the individual and collective patterns of action that make up testimony for Quakers, the way it is shared and sustained, its rootedness in everyday life, and its challenging relationship to the wider world.

The core component of this course is a live weekly webinar each Wednesday evening from 6.30 – 8.00pm. If you are unable to participate in the live webinar you will be able to access it to view at your convenience.

In addition there will be an online forum where questions can be raised and comments made.

Selected extracts from Rachel Muers’s book ‘Testimony’ will be sent out each week. The live weekly webinar will include time for questions and answers.

As well as the hour and half for the webinar, you will get most out of the course if you set aside an hour or so for further reading.

The course is for those who are interested in exploring the theological basis for Quaker testimony. While attention will be given to particular case studies of Quaker testimony in practice, this is not an introduction to the specific ‘testimonies’ of Friends.

Exploring Islamophobia

How can we respond to the rise of Islamophobia in the UK? To learn more about Islam, to be aware of bias and the various ways it manifests itself, to seek to understand the perspective of the ‘other’? This content based course will be run in partnership with the Reflection Network and speakers will be invited to share their perspectives and personal experiences

Friends to the End: Accompanying Dying Friends

When a life is being completed, what can we offer? There are books, organizations and training in bewildering numbers. How can we in a meeting offer support, in partnership with family and friends, medical and other professionals? Quaker pastoral care, Testimonies and clearness are a framework for sharing insights from experience and observation. We will discuss preparation for death, and then bereavement. Above all, we will consider the role of a 'Bedside Friend' and the end of life vigil.

Answering that of God

What do we mean when, as Quakers, we speak of ‘that of God’? What would be the implications if we held an awareness of the Divine in everyone all of the time? How can we live out this belief in our relationships and encounters with other people?
This retreat will provide an opportunity to explore these questions through a combination of facilitator input, small-group activities and time for sharing and listening. There will be space for individual reflection.

Cinema and Spirituality: Finding the Sacred on the Silver Screen

We will explore how cinema can offer us a unique spiritual experience. We will look at how biblical stories have been interpreted by film makers and examine how Christianity has influenced other cultural narratives; asking how its theology and symbolism have been incorporated into popular culture. Finally, we will consider cinema as a uniquely spiritual experience in its own right. We will reflect on how film language can guide us in our encounters with the divine via experiences of both transcendence and immanence.

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 realities that had limited it even before the writing of the New Testament documents.

Quaker Women and Social Justice: learning from their experience

What might we learn about social justice from Quaker history? This online course will look at social and economic concerns of some Quaker women activists, both British and American, in the 1800's and early 1900's. We will consider their strategies, motivation, and the faith basis of their work in the context of society at the time. Through readings and friendly discussion, participants will come to share our enthusiasm for these pioneering leaders and will gain insight into modern manifestations of social injustice.

This course can be completed in your own time, although we recommend setting aside 2-3 hours a week.
Each week there will be video, audio and written materials for you to engage with, and forums for you to share reflections and ask questions.
This course is intended for anyone with an interest in Quakers and social justice. No prior knowledge of either is necessary.

Being a Quaker Clerk: an online course

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 can be completed in your own time, although we recommend setting aside 1.5-2.5 hours a week.
Each week there will be materials in a range of formats for you to engage with, and a forum for you to share your responses to the exercises and ask questions.
There will be three live meetings during the six weeks of the course which you are encouraged to take part in, dates and times to be confirmed.

Being a Area Meeting Treasurer

This course for Area Meeting treasurers will show how to produce collated area meeting accounts that meet the requirements of the Charity Commission and OSCR. Participants will be guided through practical exercises to illustrate the stages of the work. We will look at ways of presenting information that will engage Friends' interest and promote their understanding of Quaker finances at the area and local level.

Restorative Justice

Restorative justice has received attention as an alternative to the destructive effects of punishment. What does it mean and how does it work? Through a combination of input and participation, this event considers the different elements of restorative justice and the ways in which it can contribute to building a just and peaceful society.

ALICE: A Light Hearted Introduction to Confidence

There are times, particularly at change of career or retirement, when we lose our self-confidence and even begin to feel invisible. This course is an opportunity to restore and enhance your self-confidence – both in engaging with small groups and in speaking in public. We will explore the factors affecting communication and develop an awareness of our personal strengths through a mixture of tasks and group work. Participants will have the chance to practice presentation in a safe-setting.

Exploring Quaker Spirituality

In this series of six *purely online* webinars running from 7.00pm to 8.30pm every Thursday evening from 8 November to 13 December, we will explore what Quaker spirituality is all about and how it speaks to us today.
This webinar series will introduce you to central elements of Quaker spirituality, including: silence, worship and vocal ministry; experiencing all of life as sacred; the inward teacher; the contemplative and the prophetic; queries and uncertainty; discipline, discernment and leadings. All the webinars will be recorded and can be viewed later.
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 course is based on six live ninety-minute webinars.
Each webinar is recorded so you can follow the course using the recordings if you wish.
Downloadable resources and a discussion forum will be available to help you explore the webinar material further.
We recommend that you set aside about 2-3 hours per week to follow this course.
The course will not assume any prior knowledge, although some awareness of Quakerism and its history would be an advantage.

Children & Young People’s Work Advocates Conference

An opportunity for Area Meeting Children and Young People’s Work Advocates and those who support them to meet, share and learn together. Details about this role can be found at www.quaker.org.uk/our-organisation/quaker-roles/cyp-work-advocates.  Over the weekend we will explore common issues affecting the advocacy of Quaker children and young people’s work. On the Saturday we will link up with the Quaker Youth Work conference that takes place at Woodbrooke, to help build relationships and networks.

Shalom – The Peace that Changes Everything

The Hebrew word 'shalom', understood from a Jesus perspective, distils into a single word the totality of his message, mission and hope.  First and foremost 'shalom' is about relationships. Here is both the spirituality that contemplatives seek, plus the inspiration for assertive activism. During the weekend we shall explore both the biblical foundations and practical implications of 'shalom'. Discovering it as the peace that transforms everything. There is nothing vague about 'shalom', it is as practical as it is profound

Faith in Food

Food is political, controversial, companionable, joyful, anxiety-inducing, nourishing, depleting, and more. It says something about who we are and what is important to us. Sensitive to talk about, fearful to examine – we stay silent even when we know our food choices carry the ‘seeds of war’ causing harm to us, other creatures and our planet. What makes this so difficult for us? A compassionate and uplifting exploration of how we move towards a life-affirming food story for ourselves and our communities.

Bible Study for Quakers

Do you find the Bible intimidating but intriguing? Do you need some fellow Quakers to help you take the plunge? 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 in the company of Quakers from the past, and reflect with others on your experience of the Bible in the 21st Century. Expect to be challenged and inspired!

Silence in Circles: Meditating to Create Mandalas

Across cultures and ages, the ‘sacred circle’ can open a window into our human dreams and aspirations. Jung adopted the term ‘mandalas’ from his work on the collective unconscious. In exploring our own circles, no art skills or meditation experience are required. Various examples, different templates and open-ended options for mandalas will enable all to participate. We will all explore the colours, shapes and silence of the circles we choose or create.

Friends with a dual religious identity

Many Friends today maintain some level of dual religious identity – they may have come to Quakerism from another church or faith, or reached out from Quaker beginnings to explore other traditions. This course provides a supportive space for Friends to share experiences of what it’s like to hold more than one religious identity. The course also explores how these diverse religious backgrounds affect our Quaker identity and the wider Quaker community.

Area Meeting Clerks Conference

This conference is being jointly organised by Woodbrooke and Quaker Life and will be an opportunity for all serving area meeting clerks to come together for learning and to share experience of current practices.  There will be speaker sessions, group discussions and workshops covering a wide range of relevant topics. All area meetings will receive a formal invitation to the conference in early 2018.

How to Teach and Lead Meditation and Mindfulness

Enjoy a practical and reflective oasis in which you deepen your own meditation practice and learn the core concepts and strategies for teaching and leading meditation. Includes: • Contemplative preparation • Physical and mental health benefits • Different traditions - Vippasana, Zen, Christian, TM, Raja and Agni Yoga, guided visualizations, mantras, inner dialogue, healing and prayer. • Core skills of embodiment and compassionate witnessing. • Appropriate language and closure. There will also be time for the practical preparation of sessions you might lead.

Thy Kingdom Come?: The Lords Prayer for Quakers

How might Quakers understand the Lord's Prayer today? We shall look at the prayer in its different forms and contexts in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, to see what we can learn for our praying and our living.

A Pre-Christmas Retreat: Woodbrooke and the Community of Interbeing

As Christmas draws very near, this joint retreat provides a wonderful opportunity to open the senses and purify the heart and mind. For many years, Woodbrooke has hosted retreats and weekends which have focused on the Zen teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh. On this weekend we bring Zen and Quaker traditions together. Come and enjoy mindfulness practice and Quaker silent worship, vegetarian food from Woodbrooke’s kitchen and Buddhist and Quaker teaching on joy and peace.

Be the Change

In a spirited and hopeful response to the consumerist frenzy and growing chaos that surrounds us, we gather to explore a more life-affirming way of being in this world. What is it to ‘be the change’ ? What might it mean for the day to day decisions that make up our way of life, and for how we are as global citizens? Starting here and now, we embark on a purposeful spiritual inquiry through video clips, story, conversation, reflection, journaling, movement and stillness

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

“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.

CPQS / QSRA Conference and George Richardson Lecture

The annual Quaker studies conference is jointly organised by the Centre for Research in Quaker Studies at Woodbrooke and the Quaker Studies Research Association. For the 2018 meeting we welcome proposals for papers on any aspect of Quaker involvement in business, enterprise, technology and innovation.  Full details on www.qsra.org. The conference is followed in the evening by the free public annual George Richardson Lecture, to be given by Andrew Murphy of Temple University, Philadelphia on William Penn.