Course search results


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


Woodbrooke and Quaker Life working in partnership.

If someone looks for your meeting online, what do they find? Would you like to improve your Quaker community's social media presence or website? During this course, we'll share examples of what is happening already, ideas about what you could try, and ways to learn how to put all this into practice. Over six weeks we will look at planning and messaging, different platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, email and websites, building online community, content gathering, data and policies with a range of different learning resources. Beginners and those with experience all welcome – you will be able to choose materials suitable to your needs. This course involves a time commitment of approximately two to three hours per week.

This course involves three live webinars:
1. 7pm Monday 4th November
2. 7pm Wednesday 27th November
3. 7pm Tuesday 10th December
Attendance of all three is not required and they will be recorded for all course participants to watch back later.

 

A Friendly Introduction to Membership: online


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

The course includes a live online Q&A webinar on Thursday 5th December at 8pm (GMT). If you can’t join this discussion live, it will be recorded for you to watch at your convenience.

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

A Friendly Introduction to the Quaker Way


Are you relatively new to Quakers and keen to find out more? This course sets out the Quaker ‘basics’. It will give you an understanding of the history and international reach of Quakerism, and the importance of spiritual experience to the Quaker Way. We will discuss what happens in a Meeting for Worship and how Quakers make decisions and organise themselves. We will explore what Quakers mean by ‘testimony’ and explain simple spiritual practices for you to experiment with.

Quaker Funerals


This course is for Friends appointed to have responsibility for offering advice on all matters relating to Quaker funerals and for coordinating arrangements. It will address practical, pastoral and spiritual aspects of this task and service. Our hope is that through developing understanding of these elements, participants will gain confidence in fulfilling the role effectively and with compassion.

‘Faith of’ or ‘Faith in’ Jesus


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

Exploring Quaker Spirituality


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

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.

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


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

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


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

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.

Exploring Eldership – January 2020


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

Exploring Oversight – January 2020


This course will help those with responsibility for oversight in Quaker meetings gain a better understanding of the role, and the confidence to do it. What does the role involve? What is expected? What is the spiritual basis of oversight? How can overseers respond to and meet the pastoral needs of the meeting? We will look at the range of tasks, share good practice and explore ways of handling difficult issues as well as looking at practical ideas and useful resources. This course focuses on oversight in Britain Yearly Meeting but may also be of interest to Friends from other yearly meetings.

An Introduction to Peace Education


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

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

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

 

Woodbrooke and Quakers in Britain working in partnership.

National Gathering on Diversity and Inclusion


This event is being run by Woodbrooke working in partnership with Quakers in Britain.

Are you open to new light, from whatever source?

In the last few years, momentum has been building amongst British Quakers around issues of diversity, inclusion, power and privilege. This conference aims to build on this important work, preparing Friends to further consider these issues, both in their meetings and at 2020’s Yearly Meeting Gathering in Bath. The weekend will include key note speeches, workshops, opportunities for informal discussion and worship. We will explore various forms of diversity in an intersectional way. Prepare to be challenged and inspired. We welcome your courageous participation.

If you require a crèche in order to attend this event, please contact Edwina Peart.

For this event we will be trialling ‘Pay as Led’.  After booking you will be sent details of how to make payment where you can pay as much or as little as you feel led to pay.

It costs us £317 per participant to cover the costs of this particular event. Woodbrooke subsidises all of our learning and our usual residential pricing is £245 per participant. We encourage you, or your meeting, to pay this if you can. However our priority is to ensure that cost isn’t a barrier so only pay what you can. Our bursaries are still there to support those who need them and the amount people pay will be confidential.

Click here for more information about 'Pay as Led' or please contact us if you have any questions.

 

Being a Quaker Treasurer – January 2020


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

Being a Quaker Clerk – January 2020


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

Time Set Aside: an individually guided retreat


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.

An Introduction to Mindful Self-Compassion


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

Populism and the Far Right


We are told populism is on the rise? What does this mean for us and our communities? What can we do to challenge messages of hate and division? Our three speakers will look at what populism is and how populism and the far right is affecting our politics and our communities. There will be opportunity to ask questions, learn from other participants and explore what we can do individually and together.

Speakers:

Al Barrett is Rector of Hodge Hill (a Local Ecumenical Partnership with the URC), and lives on the multicultural Firs & Bromford estate in east Birmingham. He is project manager of TogetherWeCan! – a 6-year intergenerational community-building project in his local neighbourhood. In 2017 he completed a PhD, developing a ‘radically receptive political theology in the urban margins’. He is coordinator of the Church of England’s national Estates Theology project, and is in the process of writing and editing 3 books, including Being Interrupted: Re-imagining the Church’s Mission from the Outside, In (SCM Press, forthcoming).

Professor Anthony G. Reddie is an Extraordinary Professor of Theological Ethics and a Research Fellow at the University of South Africa, and a is Fellow of Wesley House, in Cambridge. He is the forthcoming Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture and a Fellow of Regent’s Park College, in the University of Oxford. He has a BA in History and a Ph.D. in Education (with theology) both degrees conferred by the University of Birmingham. He has written over 70 essays and articles on Christian Education and Black Theology. He is the author and editor of 18 books. His latest book is entitled Theologizing Brexit: A Liberationist and Postcolonial Critique (Routledge, 2019). This book is the first intercultural and postcolonial theological exploration of the Brexit phenomenon. His previous book was Journeying to Justice (Paternoster Press, 2017) (co-edited with Wale Hudson Roberts and Gale Richards). He is also a trustee of the ‘British and Irish Association for Practical

Molly Scott Cato is an economist and Green MEP for the South West of England and Gibraltar. She is Green Party spokesperson on Brexit and finance.  She studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University and later gained a doctorate in economics from Aberystwyth. Molly joined the Green Party in 1988 and has worked for the party at all levels, including a year spent as job-share campaigns director on the party’s national executive and several years spent as co-chair of its regional council. For the past 15 years Molly has spoken for the Green Party on economics and finance. Molly is a Quaker and gave the 2017 Salter Lecture at Britain Yearly Meeting Gathering on 'Conscience in the political life'.

 

Draft timetable (maybe subject to change):

10.00     Arrivals, tea & coffee
10.30     Welcome & introduction
10.45     Speakers
12.00     Lunch
13.00     Question & answer with speakers
14.00     Group work:
How do you experience populism and the extreme right in your own life?
What actions can we take to address populism and the extreme right?
14.45     Break
15.15     Speakers closing thoughts and plenary

 

Please note this is a day event but accommodation can be booked separately through Woodbrooke.

The Birth of Liberal Quakerism


In the 1880s, Quakers in Britain where a broadly evangelical movement. By the 1930s, they were firmly embedded within a liberal theology. How did this shift occur? This course will examine the key events, ideas, publications and personalities of this fascinating period of Quaker history. Expect a combination of lively mini-lectures, group discussion and individual study, leading to a renewed understanding of Quakerism in Britain today.

Introduction to Experiment with Light


William Penn said Quaker spiritual practice was an ‘experiment on the soul’. This course is an opportunity to experience a meditation practice drawn from the writings of early Friends. It can be searching, powerful and challenging but may lead to new growth and clarity. 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.

Eldership and Oversight


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

Being a Quaker Clerk: an online course for clerks around the world


This course is an opportunity for Quaker clerks around the world to learn together. We will consider the clerk’s role before, during and after a Meeting for Worship for Business and look at the differing styles of clerking around the Quaker world. The course is for all clerks whether you are clerking at a local, regional, national or international level or just want to learn more about the role. We hope that participants will learn from each other as well as the leaders.

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

‘Philosophy for Communities’ Family Weekend


This family weekend will use the P4C (Philosophy for Children or Communities www.sapere.org.uk) methodology to explore and think about some big questions about belief, values and ethics. Do we see the world in the same way? How important is art? Should we always tell the truth? This approach will create a positive and fun environment for deep discussion within inter-generational groups. An all age opportunity for children and adults to engage together about big questions. A crèche will be provided for under 5s during the programme sessions.

Prices

Adults - £135
12-17 year olds - £65
5-11 year olds - £35
0-4 year olds - free

Please complete a booking leader form for the first note that we require individual booking forms to be completed for each adult and child

Click here to complete a Booking Leader form for the first adult

Click here to complete a form for each additional adult

Click here to complete a form for each child

Inspiring Nonviolence


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 Roots of the Quaker Way: early Friends in their political and religious context


What are the roots of the Quaker way? How were early Friends influenced by their religious context? In this course we will explore this issue and consider the connections between Quakers and other radical religious groups, such as the Beguines, the Rhineland Mystics, the Anabaptists, the Family of Love, and the Radical Puritans. We will look at the impact of the early Church, late medieval movements, the Reformation and the English Revolution on the emergence of the Quaker movement.

Courageous Living in the Midst of Climate Crisis


To create a world where we all survive and flourish , changes will need to be made, and soon. Some will be straightforward, even easy, but many changes will challenge us out of the comfort we have grown attached to. Join with others as we create a community to explore what sacrifices might be called forth from us in order to make the world sacred. This weekend will include spiritual practice, time alone and together, reflection and solidarity.

Exploring Eldership – March 2020


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

Exploring Oversight – March 2020


This course will help those with responsibility for oversight in Quaker meetings gain a better understanding of the role, and the confidence to do it. What does the role involve? What is expected? What is the spiritual basis of oversight? How can overseers respond to and meet the pastoral needs of the meeting? We will look at the range of tasks, share good practice and explore ways of handling difficult issues as well as looking at practical ideas and useful resources. This course focuses on oversight in Britain Yearly Meeting but may also be of interest to Friends from other yearly meetings.

Challenge and Consolation: Brahms’ German Requiem


Brahms' German Requiem is not a requiem mass or a statement of conventional religious dogma; it is a meditation on our mortality—truthful, challenging and deeply consoling. The course will explore the music and its background, and hear a performance in Symphony Hall by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.

Making Difficult Decisions in Meetings


All communities sometimes have to make difficult decisions – about acceptable behaviour, structural changes, property and finances, or other issues. In this course we will explore Quaker approaches to these situations. How can Quaker communities be supported to make good decisions even when it is difficult? When is it right to use a threshing meeting, to ask for expert advice, or to defer a decision to a later date? Useful for all Quakers and especially relevant to clerks and elders.

Poetry in the Hebrew Bible


Much of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) is written in poetry. We will tour this ancient verse afresh, reading from the Psalms, Isaiah, Job, and Song of Songs (in English), to discover how its characteristic use of repetition enables nuance, ambiguity, and paradox, as well as emotional intensity. We will explore some of the ways in which biblical poetry has continued to inspire poets and musicians down the centuries, and consider how it might nourish our own spiritual journeys.

A Timely Retreat


Is time a scarce resource for you? Or an endurance test? A tyrant? A gift? We live in both clock-time and kairos - the unbound moment of opportunity. Which gets our attention? Which sets our pace? On this unhurried, interactive retreat we will feel into, explore and perhaps revitalise our relationship with time. Come to reflect, try different perspectives and share your experience, insights and questions. We will 'attend to what love requires of [us], which may not be great busyness.'

Religion is Interesting!


This day in York features two pieces of fascinating research conducted through the Centre for Research in Quaker Studies at Woodbrooke. Joanna Dales will share her findings about John William Graham, 'apostle of progress' and one of the leading Liberal Friends at the turn of the twentieth century. Fran Handrick will talk about her work amongst Old and New Order Amish women in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and how their lives are changing rapidly. Both talks will be illustrated with slides and the day will be hosted by Ben Pink Dandelion.

Being a Quaker Trustee – March 2020


Particularly suitable for new or less experienced Area Meeting trustees; it may also be of interest to anyone wanting a refresher. We will be factual and practical. What does the law require? What is considered good practice for charities? How does this fit with Quaker good practice? How do trustees, area and local meetings relate to each other? How can trustees best serve our meetings? We aim to provide easy-to-understand information and enjoyable learning, to make trusteeship approachable and rewarding.

Exploring Quaker Nominations


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.

Writing Retreat


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

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

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

The Writings of Luke: seeing beyond power and privilege


‘Do you see?’ Jesus asks this question in Luke’s Gospel as an invitation to look deeply, to see beyond normal conventions of success and power. The neat contour of Luke’s story-telling skilfully hides its disruptive intent, written with the awareness that only a change of heart in each reader will make sense of what he tells us. So we will approach these writings awake to the possibility that even today, through the power of the Spirit, eyes might be opened.

Kindful Eating: making peace with food and our bodies


Imagine a world where no-one wakes up hating their body and where health campaigns acknowledge that factors like privilege, racism, loneliness and trauma impact our overall wellbeing whatever our lifestyle.
Based on the innovative Well Now approach, this course offers real-life ways to make sense of self-care and social justice starting with how we talk about food. Find out how to join-the-dots between food, health and body respect to help build a world where no-one is starved of food, connection, dignity or security.

Circle Dance


If you enjoy moving to music, 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 spiritual wholeness and of harmony, drawing as it does on the diverse heritage of traditional cultures from around the world. You don’t need to be an experienced dancer to enjoy this course – all are welcome.

Navigating Life Transitions


Life changes can be like gentle waves, small and hardly noticed, or sudden and dramatic, like violent storms. Changing location or employment, retirement, conflict, bereavement, the onset of a long term illness or disabling condition, becoming a carer, ending a relationship are examples of major life changes which can challenge our sense of identity and direction in life. Working individually and together we will explore loss and continuity in change, seeking new perspectives, spiritual insights and growth.

Radical Listening


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

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

Resurrection and Renewal: the teachings of Richard Rohr


A weekend of encounter through video and reading around the book, The Universal Christ (2019). Here Franciscan Richard Rohr explains how Jesus’ life reaffirms God’s constant, unfolding love in the world, since the First Bible - Creation. We are invited to transform the way we ‘see’ everything in order to change how we live in the world.

Signs of Life: an Appleseed course


Spring and Easter both bring messages of new life. Can the greening we see taking place in the outer world be mirrored with signs of potential growth in our inner lives? The Appleseed process balances thinking and feeling and provides a safe place for a personal exploration of our theme. 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.

Quaker Approaches to Mental Health


This weekend will explore Quaker ministry in mental health. We will share experiences and concerns, looking at spirituality, community support, and political ideas. We will build a community of connections, listening and acceptance. We may prepare a response to the coverage of mental health in ‘Faith & Practice’; develop ideas about a Quaker Recognised Body ‘Quaker Action on Mental Health’; think about a project of ‘Mental Health Friends’ – and more…

All are welcome – but we cannot help with current distress.

What Do We Mean by ‘Christian’?


As Professor Joad used to say, "It all depends on what you mean by...!"

Discussion of Christianity is made more difficult by the problem of defining what it is. Is it belief, ethics, practice, spirituality? We look at some of the wide variety of expressions of Christianity and how it is adapted in its cultural contexts. And we consider how early Friends interpreted it and what Quakers might mean by it today.

Talking about God


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

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

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

Taught by the Spirit: Paul’s Quaker Gospel


Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians contains the famous words ‘Love is patient; love is kind … love does not insist on its own way … it rejoices in the truth’. These words are part of a longer passage where Paul explores the nature of the new life that has opened up for the community. It includes the closest description of a Meeting for Worship in the Bible and an extended reflection on the gifts of the Spirit and the qualities needed to lead a Spirit-led life. We will consider the whole letter with the aim of seeing what it can offer Quakers today.

This is a webinar based course which will take place on Thursdays at 6.30-8pm. Recordings of each webinar will be available to participants.

Leadership Amongst Friends


How does leadership work in our non-hierarchical Society of Friends, and what does it mean to take a lead when working in relationships with others? This course is for anyone across our programmed and unprogrammed traditions who is interested in questions of leading and building a participatory community within a Quaker context.

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

Being a Quaker Clerk – April 2020


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

Mothers of Israel: the writings of early Quaker women


The early Quaker movement was unusual in its time for the freedom it afforded women to be preachers, prophets and writers. In this series of four *purely online* webinars running from 7.00pm to 8.30pm every Tuesday evening from 21 April to 12 May, we will explore the lives, and writings of a number of important early Quaker women. This will include Margaret Fell, Martha Simmonds, Sarah Blackborow, Katharine Evans, Sarah Chevers, Dorothy White, Rebecca Travers, Geertruyd Deriks Niesen, and Elizabeth Bathurst. What does this tell us about the status and contribution of Quaker women in the 17th century?

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

Radical Spirituality: the early history of Quakers


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

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

Singing as Prayer


They who sing pray twice! Please join us for a retreat of prayer expressed through song. Our sessions will be restful, contemplative, invigorating and renewing as we sing and share songs from different traditions. No experience necessary - if you can talk, you can sing! All songs will be taught by ear.

Drinking Deep at the Well: the writings of early Quaker women


The writings of early Quaker women are filled with imagery that engages our senses as well as our spirits. Their letters and journals reveal and embody how God was working in and through them. Grounded in worship and using a variety of methods, we will explore these lesser known gems of Friends' history and use them to reflect on and enhance our own spiritual experience. This retreat will speak to those who enjoy contemplative, reflective practices. We will engage in worship, individual and group reflection, writing and sharing. “Lecture” will be at a minimum – instead we will be deeply experiencing these texts.

Introduction to Life Writing for Transformation™


“There is no agony like bearing the untold story inside you.” ~Maya Angelou

Whether you are an aspiring or an experienced writer, this mini-writing retreat introduces you to a range of ideas that will help kick-start your writing and bypass your inner critic. The course also offers tools that can facilitate profound personal change or transformation.

Whereever you are in your life writing journey, this course provides a safe, inspiring and supportive space. Writers completing this course join the wider community of Transformative Life Writers™. This includes regular newsletters. Facilitated by Farrukh Akhtar and Alison Lock, both trained by Joanne Klassen, the founder of Transformative Writing™.

The Ground at Our Feet: a mindful retreat


A gentle programme of mindful practices to enable us to arrive at the ground at our feet and learn to be at home. Includes sitting meditation, walking meditation, Qi Gong exercises, deep relaxation, walks in nature, some silence, some spaciousness and some spiritual companionship. There is the invitation to take our meals in silence and to experience the deep practice of mindful eating. We will come home to be fully present in heart, in mind and in body.

Experiments with Light in Nature


The workshop will conduct various experiments with the Light that connects inner and outer Nature. It is inspired by Experiment with Light, but we are not simply taking this experiment outside. We will seek to explore how the Light of Nature, manifested in all beings, can guide us in meetings for worship, clearness meetings and various other experiments; how it reconnects us to the depths of our interbeing with Nature, through our heart, mind and body, using the wonderful Woobrooke garden.

Exploring Eldership – May 2020


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

Exploring Oversight – May 2020


This course will help those with responsibility for oversight in Quaker meetings gain a better understanding of the role, and the confidence to do it. What does the role involve? What is expected? What is the spiritual basis of oversight? How can overseers respond to and meet the pastoral needs of the meeting? We will look at the range of tasks, share good practice and explore ways of handling difficult issues as well as looking at practical ideas and useful resources. This course focuses on oversight in Britain Yearly Meeting but may also be of interest to Friends from other yearly meetings.

Spiritual Practices for Every Day


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

Exploring Quaker Chaplaincy


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

Quaker Studies Conference


Postgraduate work at Woodbrooke is now twenty one years old this year and this is the 26th annual Quaker studies conference. The theme for 2020 is 'Reunion, Renewal and Schism.' 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 day for all those interested in the latest thinking in Quaker studies.

Being a Quaker Trustee – June 2020


This six-week online course will provide easy-to-understand information and enjoyable learning, to make trusteeship approachable and rewarding. We will be factual and practical, but all we do will be underpinned by the spiritual question of what trusteeship means within Quakers? What does God require of us? What does the law require? What is considered good practice for charities? How does this fit with Quaker good practice? How do trustees, area and local meetings relate to each other? How can trustees best serve our meetings? This course is particularly suitable for new/less experienced Area Meeting trustees.

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

Exploring Eldership and Oversight Together


This is a weekend for Friends serving in joint or corporate systems of eldership or oversight, or with elements or combinations of these. This course aims to help participants identify how the responsibilities of eldership and oversight are met in their meetings, and to share good practice. We will explore pastoral care and spiritual nurture within worshipping communities and consider practical issues. We hope everyone will leave with new skills and insights, feeling more confident about their part in eldership and oversight in their meeting.

Jews and Quakers: prejudice and privilege (hosted by CRQS)


Religious prejudice and privilege manifest in multiple ways in our society and our lives. Antisemitism is still common, and Quakers are not immune from it. Historically, some Quakers experienced brief periods of persecution, but most now experience the privileges of the majority Christian culture. Both Jewish and Quaker identities are intersectional, only one aspect of a person's complete identity. We are inviting proposals for short papers (20 minutes + Q&A) or panels (two to four papers). See https://jewsandquakers.wordpress.com/ for details.

Meeting Needs: creating well-being


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

Eldership and Oversight


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

Being a Quaker Trustee – September 2020


Particularly suitable for new or less experienced Area Meeting trustees; it may also be of interest to anyone wanting a refresher. We will be factual and practical. What does the law require? What is considered good practice for charities? How does this fit with Quaker good practice? How do trustees, area and local meetings relate to each other? How can trustees best serve our meetings? We aim to provide easy-to-understand information and enjoyable learning, to make trusteeship approachable and rewarding.

Mental Health in Our Meetings


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

Being a Quaker Clerk – September 2020


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

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


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

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

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

Being a Quaker Clerk


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

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

Quaker Nominations


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

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

Exploring Eldership – October 2020


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

Exploring Oversight – October 2020


This course will help those with responsibility for oversight in Quaker meetings gain a better understanding of the role, and the confidence to do it. What does the role involve? What is expected? What is the spiritual basis of oversight? How can overseers respond to and meet the pastoral needs of the meeting? We will look at the range of tasks, share good practice and explore ways of handling difficult issues as well as looking at practical ideas and useful resources. This course focuses on oversight in Britain Yearly Meeting but may also be of interest to Friends from other yearly meetings.

Being a Quaker Treasurer – October 2020


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

Managing our Meeting Houses


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