Course search results

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.

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.

Being a Quaker Treasurer

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

*Please note times*: The course starts at 11:15am on the Friday with Basic Book-keeping (this runs to 5:45pm and will include lunch). Those without much experience need these sessions. If Friday attendance is difficult, the exercises will be available online to complete at home beforehand. On the Sunday there is an optional session on the Quaker spreadsheet programme which runs from 1:30pm to 3.00pm.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Bookings will be opened for individual Friends after 31 January 2018. If you are not representing your Area Meeting please ask to be put on the waiting list and you will be contacted when bookings are open.


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.