Course search results

A sea change – images of transformation: an Appleseed course

Images of the sea are beautiful, inspiring, calming, and sometimes challenging.  We shall consider a wide range of sources, including the Psalms, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Quaker and other writings, including poetry, as well as visual images.  Working with the insights from these sources can help to enable a sea-change in our own lives.  This Appleseed course will have the usual structure of talks followed by kindergarten-simple arts-based response activities and worship-sharing.  The course will begin at 4.30pm.

A Rule to Live By : nurturing our spirituality

How are we to live an authentic spirituality and how can we be accountable within our faith community? This retreat offers the chance to explore what limits and what nurtures our spiritual growth. Building temporary community together through worship and deep listening, we will name our spiritual aspirations and explore, through the writing of a personal rule, how we might find support and be challenged to live more faithful lives.

Re-finding the Quality of Eternity: Jung and Shamanism

Jung said we have lost the quality of eternity so characteristic of indigenous societies,  barricading ourselves behind walls of rationality.  This course explores his interest in shamanism including the wounded healer, shamanic ways of working and his interest in indigenous societies in general. HIs work is also elaborated through contemporary shamanic perspectives. Through input, experiential work and enactment of a Celtic legendary tale, we dig up images from the unconscious that connect us again to the nature in us.

Dementia and the senses

We will explore our senses as a means to connecting with and supporting someone with dementia. Words tend to be thought of as the units of meaning, but we are sensory communicators too. Learn what sorts of sensory experiences are most likely to engage a person with dementia, and how to craft these into supportive resources. Find out how dementia affects the senses and communication. You’ll have time to explore your sensory selves, discovering what sensory experiences resonate with you

Looking, Seeing; Doing, Being

Mindfulness offers a way of taking time out for personal reflection. We will use yoga, meditation and silent reflection to explore our responses to the world through body, breath and mind. We will connect more deeply to our surroundings through mindful photography in the peaceful setting of Woodbrooke’s house and gardens.

Yoga sessions will be suitable for beginners and will include seated, standing and kneeling postures. Please check before booking if you are unsure. Mats are available if required. lease bring any digital camera that you are comfortable using.

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 and deepen 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.

Introduction to Peace Education

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

Voices of the Earth: exploring the spirit and the natural world creatively

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.

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.

A Sustainable Life : Quaker Faith and Practice in the Renewal of Creation

Sustainability cannot be 'one more thing' Friends are concerned and active about. A fresh look at Quaker faith and practice reveals that it’s all about sustainability. This course reframes the Quaker tradition within the global horizon that defines our lives in the 21st century. We will discover a concern for balance with the earth among the earliest Friends, and way of life that can sustain us together in the work for a peaceful, just, and sustainable world.

Quaker Nominations: exploring good practice

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

Being a Quaker Clerk

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.

A Friendly Introduction to Quaker Theology

This course will focus on how Quaker practices and our lives as Friends reveal the nature of our theology. In a tradition that gives priority to right action over right belief, what we do is who we are. Together we will explore what Quaker spirituality, community and testimony have to say about our understandings of God, human nature, the creation and what the future holds.

The Upside Down Bible : a look at what Jesus said about money, sex and violence

This course is based on Symon Hill’s recent book, The Upside-Down Bible (published by Darton, Longman and Todd in 2015). It arises out of many conversations Symon had with groups of people with no church background or awareness of traditional church interpretation. Expect new insights and fresh interpretation on what Jesus might actually have wanted to teach us on the subjects of money, sex and violence. Participants will need to read Symon’s book in preparation.

Handmaidens of the Lord : early Quaker women and their writings

The early Quaker movement was unusual in its time for the freedom it afforded women to be preachers, prophets and writers. Margaret Fell is well-known as an early Quaker leader, but there were many other women who also made a significant contribution. This course will enable you to explore the lives, ideas and writings of a number of 17th century Quaker women. We will do this using short talks, the reading of texts and group discussing within a safe and friendly atmosphere.

Anam Cara : exploring spiritual friendship

An ‘anam cara’ is a soul friend, offering companionship, support and spiritual nourishment. This weekend offers an opportunity to explore what spiritual friendship is and how we can initiate and sustain such relationships. We will spend time together as soul friends reflecting, sharing and listening, beginning to know one another better in the “things that are eternal” and deepening our spiritual lives. We will practise deep, attentive listening to one another and gather ideas for framing spiritual friendships.

Being a Quaker Clerk: a course at Swarthmoor Hall

*This course takes place at Swarthmoor Hall*
This course is for new or prospective clerks with little or no experience of Quaker clerking. It primarily focuses on clerking local meetings, but clerks of other meetings will also find they can learn much about their role. We will consider why we use our particular business style in meetings. Alongside this there will be practical sessions including planning agendas, making minutes, keeping records and the discipline of the meeting. Participants will learn from each other as well as from the leaders.

European Quaker voices

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 both individual and group spiritual development, as well as an opportunity to learn from the rich experience of European Friends.

Moses on Mount Sinai and the Life of Prayer

Moses’ experiences on Mount Sinai inspired early Christian mystics. They scrutinised the details of Exodus for clues about the practice of prayer and contemplation, focussing on such moments as Moses’ entry into the darkness; the elders’ vision of the divine blue; and Moses’ glorious transformation. Following their example, we will be reflecting creatively on such questions as: What treasures are to be found in darkness? Where for you is the place of God? What transformations have occurred in our lives?

Exploring Eldership & 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.

The Impact of Diversity of Belief on Quaker Practice : discernment, decision making, worship

This event will draw together a number of contributors to consider the current Quaker diversity among British Friends from a number of perspectives. The aim is to gain greater clarity about the way in which belief informs practice, specifically, discernment, decision making and worship. Many Friends are exploring this theme. This event will aim to bring a range of voices together. Come and be part of the discussion.

Friends’ Fellowship of Healing and Quaker Fellowship for Afterlife Studies Joint Conference

This conference will offer the opportunity to look more deeply at the interaction between the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical levels of our being.  Participants will have the time and space to explore and deepen their understanding, and share experiences. The conference will explore topics of interest to both FFH and QFAS through talks by invited speakers and discussion in large and small groups. All Friends are welcome, whether members of FFH/QFAS or not.  Previous conferences have been much valued by those who participated.

Welcoming the Soul : creating space for deep listening in our meetings – a course at Swarthmoor Hall

Many of us long for deeper conversations in our meetings: enabling us to be seen for whom we are; supporting us in finding meaning in our life; hearing more clearly what is being shared in business meetings. In this course, we will learn practices and principles to create a safe space for deep listening so we can be more authentic with our Friends. We will learn how to dialogue with our ‘inner teacher’ to find inspiration, growth and clarity.

Eldership & Oversight : an online course

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.

Paradise Lost : an introduction

Milton’s great epic is one of the most enduring and remarkable works of English literature. Over eight weeks, we’ll introduce you to both the poet and his work, exploring three core questions: Who was John Milton? What was his message? And how does the poem speak to us today? In the process, we’ll examine key passages, look at other source material, and interpret the poem in its historical and cultural context.

The Art of Grounding: a weekend retreat

In cultivating the art of grounding, in body and mind, we will follow a gentle programme of sitting and walking meditation and the graceful moving meditation of Qi Gong. To nourish our stability and nurture a peaceful, open heart, the retreat offers a slowing down, some companionable silence, deep relaxation and the practice of Touching The Earth. We will walk in the beautiful gardens. There is the invitation to take our meals in silence to experience eating as a meditation.

God With Us’: Matthew’s understanding of Jesus

From the birth stories through to the final grand commission to 'Go and make disciples of all nations' Matthew explores the significance of Jesus for his followers. We shall look at this and consider its relevance for Quakers today.

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 such Everyday Prophets and create a community that sustains them as well the radical prophets among us.

Shakespeare’s Coriolanus: “What is the city but the people?”

This play has never seemed more relevant than in our time of divided national loyalties, manipulated politics, social stresses, economic inequality and bitter local wars.   This course will explore the insights which the play contains, and ask if it offers any solutions.  The course includes a visit to the Royal Shakespeare production at Stratford.

Being and Silence : a contemplative retreat at Swarthmoor Hall

A chance to experience the simplicity and stillness of retreat in the beautiful setting of Swarthmoor Hall. We will have opportunities for spiritual practice, including meditation, music, mindful movement, sacred reading and extended Quaker worship, as well as time for just ‘being’ and a day spent in silence. There will be a gentle rhythm throughout the retreat of time for contemplative practice, time for spiritual friendship conversations and time alone.

Exploring the Early Quaker Vision : an online webinar series

In this series of six *purely online* webinars run from 7.00pm to 8.30pm every Thursday evening from 12th October to 16 November, we will explore the founding vision of the Quaker movement and consider how early Friends lived a contemplative, charismatic and prophetic faith that very nearly turned the world upside down. How did this vision shape Quaker understandings of spiritual transformation and the Bible and the commitment to peace and equality? How is this vision reflected in Quaker global diversity today?
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.

A Gathering of Fools Workshop Retreat

The fool, wide awake and simple, lives in the vivid here and now. Yet a large part of us does not live like this and therein lies the challenge! Join others in this 'fool workshop'. It will liberate and make you uncomfortable, stretch and open you, delight and inspire you many ways, giving your emotional self some space and inviting new levels of expression, realization and connection. Expect to be engaged physically, vocally, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and playfully in all sessions.

Muslim Women: myths and truths

This course, as well as deepening one’s knowledge on Islam’s theoretical position and the status of women, offers the unique opportunity to immerse oneself in a journey of close engagement with the lives of Muslim women from diverse backgrounds talking and answering questions honestly about their experiences of being Muslim in today’s world. Past participant: “The Muslim women we met felt like ‘sisters’ – they greeted us with such a welcome and explained so much – with powerful inner convictions and spiritual strength.”

Being a Quaker Parent

An opportunity for parents, carers and children to explore together some of the blessings 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. There will be a full children’s programme with fun and creative activities to help them explore what being a Quaker and a child means to them.

The Inner Light : an exploration of eastern spiritual texts

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.

Peace Education in Schools: learning from existing Quaker programmes.

Peace education is needed more than ever in our schools. This course aims to encourage and enable groups to offer peace education modules to schools, (with a main focus on primary), looking at what’s happening already and how we can extend that. We will learn from the experience of existing programmes the skills and resources that we need and how we can build our confidence to deliver them. The course will include ‘classroom’ sessions and lots of circle time exchange.

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 a copy of Terry’s book _Consider The Rock_ which will serve as a starting point for our reflections.

Fabric from the Field

A practical and creative course based on traditional crafts with informal workshops to design gorgeous, unique textiles from recycled materials and using natural fibres to make woven fabric on a peg loom and handspun threads with a drop spindle. All materials and equipment are provided.

Philosophy for Quakers

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

Walking in the Presence : everyday pilgrimages

A regular discipline of spiritual practice can help ground our lives; it can enable us to sink into Meeting for Worship and to listen to our inner teacher. We will be embodying this spiritual practice and walking. It won’t be a stroll in the countryside, but a walk where we are in Birmingham. There will be time to share thoughts on spiritual practice, reflection and individual responses. Please join us for this pilgrimage and come prepared for walking in any weather.

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.

The Faith of’ or ‘Faith in’ Jesus : what are the issues?

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

Praying with our Lives: journalling as spiritual practice

We are already in relationship with God, for “God comes to us disguised as our lives.”(Richard Rohr). This course seeks to use journaling to explore all aspects of this relationship; drawing on the whole breadth of our lives, and recognising that on the pilgrim path “nothing is wasted”. All are welcome on the course: journaling requires no expertise, but a desire to be led towards a deeper stillness and simplicity, even as we are engaged in the busyness of the everyday.

Faith in Politics; a testimony to equality

This weekend will be an opportunity to explore the issues raised in the 2017 Swarthmore Lecture with Catherine West and Maud Grainger, Woodbrooke’s Faith in Action Tutor. It will be a chance to gain knowledge and skills for tackling inequality in our own communities

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.

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 deepen your understanding of processes of forgiveness, reconciliation and healing, and help you to become a source of strength within your community.  The course will not address individual therapeutic needs.

Deepening Discernment

Discernment is the heart of being spirit-led. How do we understand this today? Participants' own discernment experiences, both personal and group, will contribute material that, with tutor input, we use to test Quaker discernment and a secular model - Theory U. How do we recognise discernment? What is the source or authority at the heart of our discernment? How do we ‘communicate’ with and discern it’s ‘voice’? How do we test and act on it?

Managing Area Meeting Properties

Are you an AM trustee or on an AM property committee?  Would you like to think about your AM properties as a whole?  Perhaps by considering them as resources that can enhance the spiritual life of your meetings and be cost-effective? We hope during this course to look with fresh eyes at how we can make our properties work for us and to face the sometimes difficult decisions that may need to happen along the way.

Speaking Out About Peace

Quakers have a long history of being concerned about Peace, every generation faces new challenges but the consistency of our concern remains. How do we share this concern with others? How do we speak out for Peace to those who agree with us and to those who are challenged by our position? This online course will consider ways in which we can speak out and speak up. This course will encourage you to seek out opportunities to practice speaking out.

Friends From the Start : exploring the early Quaker story at Swarthmoor Hall

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 is the course 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 atmosphere using a mixture of lectures, discussions and group reading.
*Please note This course takes place at Swarthmoor Hall. *

Something to be treasured; something to be shared

How are we nourished and nurtured to live out our Quaker faith in the world? What keeps us grounded and feeds our inner lives? How do we tell our stories and share our experience with others: in our meetings and in our lives? Reflective, practical and experiential, this weekend will be an opportunity to explore and deepen our own spiritual practice. We will experience and experiment with ways of deepening our encounters and gain some ideas to help us share our life stories and Quaker journey with others.

Exploring Eldership

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

Exploring Oversight

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 eldership in Britain Yearly Meeting but may also be of interest to Friends from other Yearly Meetings.

The Early Christian Breakthrough: what it was and how it got stuck

The first Christians spoke confidently about an experience that was going to change the world. They felt empowered by the Spirit of God which led them to different forms of witness in the world. The New Testament gives us a sense of this breakthrough power but also does not hide the conflict that emerged among those new communities. We will look at a range of New Testament writings to clarify why this liberating experience was so difficult to live out in practice.

Costing not less than Everything: The Swarthmore Lecture Revisited

Six year ago Pam Lunn delivered us _Costing not Less than Everything_; a lecture that inspired and affirmed many feelings about how we live in the world and the footprint we leave behind. Six years on, what is story today? During our time together we will create a safe space to consider some of the difficult and challenging areas; international travel, the food we eat, the global population. Join us as we listen and learn from one another.

A Friendly Introduction to Membership

What is Quaker membership? How do I apply and what will happen? The weekend gives an opportunity to explore the meaning of membership and belonging, and to share with others at a similar stage in their journey with Quakers. We will look at the history of Quaker membership, the practical aspects of applying for membership, and at the rewards and responsibilities belonging to a faith community brings.

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.

Be the Change

In a spirited and life-affirming response to the consumerist excess going on around us, we will ask what it means to live a life of sufficiency? What might it mean for the day-to-day decisions that make up our way of life and create our footprint on Earth? How do we to involve our families, friends and meetings? Where do we start? Working together we embark upon a purposeful inquiry through video clips, story, conversation, reflection, movement and stillness.

Woodbrooke and the Community of Interbeing: a joint event

For many years, Woodbrooke has hosted retreats and weekends which have focused on the Zen teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh. On this weekend we will follow a programme where Zen and Quaker practice are deliberately brought together in a balanced way so that we can see what we can learn from each other. There will be time for silent meditation and worship together but also an opportunity to learn more about how we make decisions and act in the world.

Dances of Universal Peace: dancing into the New Year with faith & joy?

“Fall into your heart”, holding hands, honouring various religions / spiritual traditions, moving and chanting in a circle. Simple words, simple movements, 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.
www.rainbow-cambridge.org.uk/dances/

Clearing the Way

The New Year is a good time to reflect on who we are, what we feel called to do, and what gets in the way. We will explore the nature of the clutter that distracts from our life’s purpose and consider how to create space in our minds and hearts as well as in our living rooms.

Our Life is Love: the Quaker spiritual journey

The spiritual journey experienced by Friends transforms those who undertake it and the world around them. We’ll explore elements of that journey, as experienced by early Friends and Quakers in our time. We’ll also support one another in our next steps in faithfulness. Our time will include video presentations and live conversations with Marcelle, discussion of brief passages by early Friends, worship, storytelling, personal sharing, and listening for God's call to us now. The weekend will be co-facilitated by Alex Wildwood.

Exploring Eldership

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

Exploring Oversight

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.

Open to Wonder: our living response to ‘The Human One’

A contemporary translation of the gospel phrase ‘Son of Man’ is ‘The Human One’. Drawing on the stories told in the gospels and on the personal experience of those gathered, using creative and imaginative responses, we will seek to deepen spiritual life and inspire more faithful discipleship. This course presumes no previous knowledge, requiring only an open heart and mind and a willingness to engage at depth with the healing presence of that eternal Spirit which permeates the gospels.

Being a Safeguarding Coordinator

This event for Area Meeting safeguarding co-ordinators will provide opportunities for sharing, learning, reflection and mutual support on the task and responsibilities of the co-ordinator. The intention is to help participants share the essential safeguarding message and requirements to their Area Meeting, showing the importance of it within our Quaker community.

Politics: finding your way

This course is being held by Maud Grainger working alongside Friends active in political engagement. How do we engage with those in positions of political power, do we work alongside them in dialogue or do we campaign and resist? This course will bring together those active in political engagement to share their experiences with you. We will also look at case studies and ways of political action and reflect upon these so that you might find your path.

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.

Navigating Life’s Changes

We may encounter challenging experiences such as: the death of someone close; a long term illness or disabling condition; becoming a carer; ending of a close relationship; changes in our or others gender or sexuality; conflict. These are only examples of experiences that may happen in a course of a life time. This course is an opportunity to share these experiences with others, explore  new perspectives and seek spiritual insights and growth.

Engaging with Richard Rohr on Contemplation and Action

We will work, often in worship sharing, with text and video from “Everything Belongs-the Gift of Contemplative Prayer”, “The Divine Dance-the Trinity and your Transformation” and other teachings from Richard. A Franciscan with a commitment to mysticism, simplicity, the environment and social justice, Richard Rohr reads widely and presents latest thinking so that it begins to be accessible to less brilliant minds. His international teaching ministry reaches out over the internet from his Center in the borderlands of New Mexico.

Sex and the Spirit

A chance to explore views, theories and feelings about sex and sexual ethics. We will look at the teachings of Jesus and early Quakers along with headline issues such as same-sex marriage and internet pornography. We will ask if Quaker thinking can provide an alternative to choosing between over-strict rules and pleasure seeking. The course will help you to clarify your own views as we learn from each other. There will be no pressure to share personal feelings beyond your comfort level.

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.

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. The course will be run as a series of six *purely online* webinars run from 7.00pm to 9.00pm every Monday evening from 5 February to 12 March.

A Quaker Response to Animal Suffering

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

A Friendly Introduction to Discernment

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

Mark: good news for dark times

Persecution, political instability, rebellion, siege, destruction and death. As the world of the first Christians fell apart, the first generation of apostles died, and the expected Kingdom did not materialise, Mark retold the stories of Jesus to show how hope came only through the cross. Beginning with the often-neglected chapter 13, we shall look at how Mark brings good news into his own times for those who have eyes to see, and we shall consider how it is good news for our own dark times.

Anger Management with Art

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.

Quakers and European Politics

For almost 40 years European Friends have been worked alongside the institutions developed following the devastation of the Second World War. Following the referendum decision in 2016, we would like to invite you to explore the future of peace and human rights in Europe. What can be done now to build a Europe that will give hope to its citizens and to the world. How can we support the mechanisms of European dialogue, initially proposed by William Penn in 1693?

Mental Health in our Meetings

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

Time Set Aside

For this retreat, twelve people will join Timothy Ashworth and Frances Henley Lock in a silent retreat which will utilise spaces set apart from the busyness of the main Woodbrooke building. Meals will be shared in silence in our own quiet space. Participants will be able to use the Art Room and join Meeting for Worship and Epilogue. Each day will include one short talk and one-to-one time with Tim or Frances.

Reality and Radiance: a retreat with inspiration from Swedish Quaker Emilia Fogelklou

Emilia Fogelklou (1878-1972) was a Swedish Quaker, mystic, author, teacher of religion, peace builder during two world wars, and the first woman in Sweden to receive a degree in theology (1909). Her message remains fresh, inspirational and challenging. This 6-week retreat will be an opportunity to reflect on brief passages of her writing and their meaning for your faith and life. It is a personal retreat that offers reflective interaction with other participants and the retreat leader.

Stepping into the Parables: creative approaches to the teaching of Jesus

This course offers opportunities to explore the Parables that Jesus used to get people thinking and stepping further along in their personal and corporate spiritual and religious journeys. The facilitators will use a mixture of the Godly Play and conventional storytelling approaches to open out the parables. The course will offer a variety of ways to engage the senses, the imagination, reflection, wondering and thought. In a changing and threatened world how can Parables help us?

Resilient Communities

Amid the current political upheavals, governments are neglecting responses to climate change, water depletion and other ecological crises. We need stronger local communities to cope and thrive in an unpredictable future. This course will include creative exploration of possible scenarios, practical skill sharing, and practices to build the healthy spiritual lives and relationships that underpin a resilient community. We hope people will return home energised and empowered to take practical action in their own communities and/or Quaker meeting.

Introduction to Experiment with Light

Quaker faith and practice are based on the authority of experience. “This I knew experimentally” said George Fox. The course is an opportunity to experience a meditation practice drawn from the writings of early Friends. It can be searching and powerful. We will reflect on the significance of the Light for our lives today, and how we might be helped to access it, including in supportive Light groups. This course aims to deepen the spiritual lives of participants.

From Militarisation to Peace

We will be examining militarism and the culture of domination. We will deconstruct the case for militarism and look at how it is changing our culture. What is the radical alternative in our lives and in global relationships? How can this transition to a more peaceful culture be brought about? This course can be taken on its own or with all or one of the other Faith, Peace, Power courses.

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.

Icon Painting as a Spiritual Practice: from traditional to contemporary icon

As an icon painter I never stop looking for a language that expresses the experience of the soul. For me, this is the most honest way of communicating my spiritual experience. This time at Woodbrooke I would like to invite participants to explore Icon painting as a form of spiritual journey to enable them to find quietness and stillness, and forget about what they left at home.

Metaphysical Poets

By turns passionate and playful, earthy and intelligent. The metaphysical poets used the imagery of the everyday to explore ideas of love, death and faith. Writing in the age of empire and exploration, they offered their readers a new way of seeing the world, breaking the conventions of Elizabethan poetry with a freshness and immediacy rarely equalled in English literature. This course will explore the work of John Donne, Andrew Marvell and George Herbert.

The Mother of Quakerism: The Life and Writings of Margaret Fell

In this series of six *purely online* webinars run from 7.00pm to 8.30pm every Tuesday evening from 6 March to 10 April we will explore the life and writings of the Mother of Quakerism, Margaret Fell. Particular attention will be given to her contribution to the development of the early Quaker movement as a theologian, practical organiser, spiritual counsellor, political lobbyist, and advocate for women. In addition we will consider her letters to the Jewish communities in Amsterdam as an early example of Quaker interfaith engagement. 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.

The Apocalyptic Tradition

The apocalyptic: revelatory and mysterious, fantastical and political, countercultural and confusing, sensual and disturbing, future and now. This is a tradition that fascinates, encourages and terrifies. Together we will engage with Jewish and Christian apocalyptic texts, including the books of Daniel and Revelation. We will also examine the apocalyptic writings of the first Quakers, and consider what an apocalyptic spirituality might look like today.

The Art of Grounding Oneself

In cultivating the art of grounding, in body and mind, we will follow a gentle programme of sitting and walking meditation and the graceful moving meditation of Qi Gong. To nourish our stability and nurture a peaceful, open heart, the retreat offers a slowing down, some companionable silence, deep relaxation and the practice of Touching The Earth. We will walk in the beautiful gardens. There is the invitation to take our meals in silence to experience eating as a meditation.

The Changing Face of Faith in Britain, how should Quakers Respond?

The Changing Face of Faith in Britain, how should Quakers Respond?
A challenge for Friends is the growth of 'secular society' and changes to traditional religious expression.  Becoming aware of this and sensing possible opportunities, the Quaker Committee for Christian and Interfaith Relations commissioned research into the impact the changing face of faith expression is having on Quakers and if there are new groups and individuals that Quakers could work with. This conference will provide an opportunity to consider the results of this project and where this might lead us.

This conference is open to individual Friends and attenders, although priority will be given to those nominated by their Area Meetings.

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.

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.

An online retreat for Young Adult Friends

This online retreat for those aged 18-35 will offer space for spiritual connection, exploration and deepening. With opportunities to explore spiritual practice, including through creativity, contemplation, music and words, it will nourish and encourage us in our journeys. You are invited to join us open to discovery, transformation and leadings of the spirit. We encourage YAFs from all around the world to come on this course and help us to create an international worshipping community for six weeks.

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 *purely online* webinars run from 7.00pm to 8.30pm every Thursday evening from 22nd March to 5th April.

Wise Hands: an Appleseed course

We use hands for so much - practical tasks, writing to friends, holding those we care for, creative work.  Sometimes they do what our minds tell them; sometimes they have a wisdom of their own, hidden from us unless we pay attention. The Appleseed approach, of short talks followed by very simple creative activities (which need no artistic skills) and worship sharing, provides a safe environment for exploring this theme.  The course is suitable for those with and without previous Appleseed experience.

Young Adult Friends Retreat

This retreat for those aged 18 – 30 will offer space for spiritual connection, exploration and deepening. With opportunities to explore spiritual practice, including through creativity, contemplation, music, movement and words, it will nourish and encourage us on our journeys. There will be options for extended worship, time alone and time sharing with others. You are invited to come along open to discovery, transformation and the leadings of the Spirit.