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 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.

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

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony **FULLY BOOKED**

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

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

Registering Officers Training

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

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

 

 

Registering Officers conference

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

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

Writing Retreat at Swarthmoor Hall

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

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

Clerk to Trustees: training – online

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

Being a Quaker Treasurer – online

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

Living Water – an Appleseed Course

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

The drama of the passion

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

A Drop of Stillness

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

A Place for the Scriptures: a course at Swarthmoor Hall

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

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

 

Eldership and Oversight: online

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

Spiritual Blogging: Continuing the Story

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

Galatians

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

Travelling in the ministry: strengthening our gifts

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

Anger Management with Art

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

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

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

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

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

 

Spiritual Principles:daily practices

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

Towards a Quaker response to Israel and Palestine

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

Please note that the correct dates for this course are: Monday 13 - Wednesday 15 May 2019.

Come Holy Spirit

Please note: There is an error in our latest brochure. The correct dates are 15-17 May 2019 (not 13-15 May as advertised in our brochure).

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

Introduction to Life Writing for Transformation

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

A Gathering of Fools

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

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

Let Your Life Preach

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

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.

Becoming a Band of Everyday Prophets

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

God in Jewish tradition

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

Exploring Quaker Chaplaincy

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

Look Not Out But Within: a Quaker retreat

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

Pattern of Seasons: a handicraft retreat

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

Practical skills in non-violence

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

The Beatitude Way – pathway of prophets

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

Spiritual Activism

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

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

Journaling: A Way to the Centre – at Swarthmoor Hall

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

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

 

Exploring the development of early Quaker theology

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

Leadership Amongst Friends

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

The history of Woodbrooke Gardens in 10 objects

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

Seeking Sanctuary and Stillness – June

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.

 

 

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.

Confronting mortality and grief

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

Speaking of Unspeakable Things: Giving Language to the Spiritual Landscape

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

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

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
  • Price to be confirmed for 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 day event takes place at Friargate Meeting House, York.

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

Bible Study for Quakers

Do you find the Bible intimidating but intriguing? Do you want to engage your meeting in Bible study? This course will help you to find your way around the Bible and understand the distinctive Quaker approach to scripture. You will closely study several Biblical texts and reflect with others on your experience of the Bible. Each of the six units will be accompanied by a group study plan, supporting you in sharing your learning with your local Quaker community. Each unit contains video, audio and written materials to engage with, and forums to share reflections and ask questions. There will be a live online Q&A on Tuesday 30th July at 19.00 GMT+1. If you can’t join this discussion live, it will be recorded for you to watch at your convenience. This course involves a time commitment of approximately 2-3 hours per week.

*Postponed* Quaker Nominations: online

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

An entirely online course for anyone involved in Quaker nominations. We will aim to root ourselves in good practices of discernment whilst responding to the particular issues that face us. Nominations are at the quiet heart of the way we live together as Friends, when we listen faithfully to the Spirit. By taking two to three hours a week over six weeks to reflect, we hope you will gain a renewed insight into the potential of nominations to strengthen meetings and enabling them to flourish. This course involves a time commitment of approximately 2-3 hours per week.

Awakening of the Sacred Feminine

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

Finding meaning in the margins.

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

Protest Songs

This day event takes place at Watford Quaker Meeting House

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

Workshop leaders:

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

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

Mosaics My Way! A Journey of creative self discovery

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

Exploring Faith and Practice together

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

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

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

Attention: the way in which we relate to the world

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

Drawing a labyrinth

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

Enquiring into Quaker diversity and inclusion

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

Paths to the Grail: Restoring the Courts of Joy

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

Dance for Joy

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

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

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

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

Multiple Religious Belonging

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

Framing your Life

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

Telling our Faith Stories

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

Exploring Sensory-being

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

Centering Prayer and Christian Meditation

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

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

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

The Wonder of Seed: the whole world in your hand

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

Mindfully Together

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

Experimental Worship

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

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

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

The Space between us

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

Exploring the Old Testament

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

Being a Quaker Clerk: online

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

Eldership and Oversight: online

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

Managing our Meeting Houses

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

Voices of the Earth

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

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

Experiment with Joy

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

‘Take time’: retreat for mental health carers

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

Gender and the Divine: learning from feminist religion

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

Being a Quaker Clerk: September 2019

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

Conference: Depicting religious characters in 19th century fiction

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

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

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

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

Developing a Practice of Christian Meditation: at Swarthmoor Hall

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

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

Creativity and Ministry

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

European Quaker Voices: online

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

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

Towards Forgiveness

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

A quiet day with Experiment with Light

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

Walking with a smile into the dark

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

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

A Taste of Life Writing for Transformation™

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quaker Nominations: at Swarthmoor Hall

How can we root ourselves in good practices of discernment whilst responding to the particular issues that face us? Nominations are at the quiet heart of the way we live together as Friends, when we listen faithfully to the Spirit. We will include the practical aspects of being 'on nominations'. Friends can expect a renewed insight into the potential of nominations to strengthen meetings and enabling them to flourish.

This event is for members of Quaker nominations committees.

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

 

Seeking Sanctuary and Stillness – October

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.

 

 

All are welcome

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Seeking Sanctuary and Stillness – November

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.

 

 

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.