Course search results

Living Awake to the Spirit: Practices to Nurture the Soul

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

Voices of the Earth

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

Seeking Sanctuary and Stillness

A time set aside to enjoy spaciousness and quiet in your own home and join with others on-line to share a sense of connection. Different spiritual practices will be offered on each of the days, to help you to focus, and to settle into a place of deep peace and openness to all that is; the flowing vastness of presence. We will join together for silent worship and reflection during the day.
We encourage people of all faiths and non to participate
These days will be ‘live’ for part of the day (Timings will be GMT+1) with time for you to create your own space for stillness and quiet during the rest of the day
There will be an opportunity for asking questions and sharing reflections during the day
You may join us for any combination of between one and four of the days.
Participants have the option to join in with all four day retreats running throughout 2018 at a total cost of £55.

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

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

Listening and Gathering: Holding Space for Spirit

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

Speaking Truthfully and Peacefully

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

Equipping for Disability Equality

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

Exploring Simplicity

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

Ancient Paths: A retreat with the labyrinth

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

O Be Joyful: finding joy through singing and reflection

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

Early Friends and the Quaker Peace Testimony

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

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

Bayard Rustin: reflections on his life and witness

Bayard Rustin was one of the most important civil, human and labour rights activists. African American and gay, his life’s work was in standing up for marginalised people. He was an important influence on Martin Luther King, persuading him to adopt the principles of non-violence resistance in the struggle for civil rights. This online course will explore how he put his Quaker faith into action. A study of his writings and songs, as well as literature, film and art inspired by him, will allow us to approach his life from a variety of perspectives.
This course can be completed in your own time, although we recommend setting aside 2-3 hours a week.
Each week there will be video, audio and written materials for you to engage with, and forums for you to share reflections and ask questions.
This course is aimed at anyone with an interest in Quakers and/or issues of social justice, but no previous knowledge of Quakerism is required.

Honouring My Lineage

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

Jung and the Wounded Healer: Myth & Reality

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

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

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

Quakers and the ‘Votes for Women’ Campaign

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

A Taste of Life Writing for Transformation™

This self-paced course introduces a process of writing for authentic, creative self-expression and personal development. A “no red pens” approach results in greater awareness, mindfulness and self-acceptance through a gentle stream of guided tools you can use just five minutes at a time.
The course includes six multimedia modules and a workbook, based on the work of Joanne Klassen, creator of Life Writing for Transformation™. Each module introduces key concepts from the book followed by exercises, examples, a review and additional optional learning activities.
This course can be completed in your own time, although we recommend setting aside 2-3 hours a week.
Each week there will be video, audio and written materials for you to engage with.
This course is intended for anyone who has planned to write about their life, spiritual journey, or unique experiences. This course will provide the guidance to begin.
This is the first time that *Life Writing for Transformation* TM has been made available as an online course. It is an ideal introduction or refresher course.

24 hours for Stillness: an Experiment with Light retreat

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

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

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

Losing Sight of the Shore

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

Time Set Aside: An Individually Guided Retreat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Handling Conflict in our Meetings: A Course for Role Holders

While handling difficult situations is challenging and can be deeply painful, it can also be the means for growth and development. We will explore a variety of ways for managing conflicts and difficulties that arise in meetings, including processes for restoring harmony, using as an illustration a model, ‘cycle of harmony and discord’. We will practise skills to help address conflict, and the feelings these situations can provoke. We will explore what we might like to change in our meetings.

Exploring Quaker Chaplaincy

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

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

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

Threshing and Clearness

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

Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor

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

Eldership: our gifts in and to our community

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

Oversight: our gifts in and to our community

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

Early Christianity

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

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

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.

Meeting for worship for business: an online course

Meetings for worship for business are one facet of Quaker worship; but what is actually going on in a meeting for worship for business? Why do we do what we do? What is the spiritual underpinning? This course is for all Friends, to help you to understand our decision making process better. Friends ‘on the bench’ as well as clerks can benefit from the course which will help you to understand more about deepening our experience of worshipful discernment as a group.
This course can be completed in your own time, although we recommend setting aside 1.5-2.5 hours a week.
Each week there will be materials in a range of formats for you to engage with, and a forum for you to share your responses to the exercises and ask questions.
There will be 2-3 live meetings during the four weeks of the course which you are encouraged to take part in, dates and times to be confirmed.

A Fresh Approach to Nominations

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

Light in our Lives: Recasting Our Life’s Stories

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

Quaker Fellowship for Afterlife Studies Annual Conference

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

Getting to Know Made of Money

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

The Buddha and his Aunt: Real Women and Female Symbols

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

How to be a Conscientious Objector Today

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

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

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

Dancing with Words: Life Writing Inspired by Movement

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

Feminism, Quakers and Wonder Woman

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

Friends From the Start: exploring the early Quaker story

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

Eldership and Oversight

This six-week online course will help all those serving in eldership and oversight to gain better understanding and confidence in their role – whatever the system in their meeting. The six modules cover the full range of topics included in the separate and combined eldership and oversight onsite courses, with options to focus on areas of particular relevance. You should allow 2-3 hours a week for pursuing this course. There is no requirement to be online at a particular time.
This course is intended for Friends who are serving, about to serve or considering service in eldership and/or oversight. As well as those appointed to formal roles, we welcome those whose meetings use systems of shared oversight or eldership or who would like to learn more about Quaker ways of caring for one another.
You can work through the material on this course in your own time. We recommend setting aside two to three hours a week.
Each week there will be a range of audio, visual and written materials for you to engage with, and a forum for you to share reflections and ask questions.

Exploring Nominations

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

Forced Migration and Human Rights

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

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

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

Early Quaker History: The Everyday Lives of Seventeenth Century Friends

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

Walking with a Smile into the Dark

"_But there is a deeper, an internal simplification of the whole of one's personality, stilled, tranquil, in childlike trust listening ever to Eternity's whisper, walking with a smile into the dark._" Thomas Kelly
Accepting that there is much that we do not know and cannot control frees us to walk the path of faith. We will use this weekend to explore alone and together how we can let go of what blocks us and be more open to the guidance of the Spirit

Fire in the Bones: Encountering the Prophet Jeremiah

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

Outline

  1. Jeremiah’s call
  2. Trauma and the rhetoric of responsibility
  3. Jeremiah’s confessions
  4. Early Quaker use of Jeremiah
  5. Lamentations and its musical settings
  6. Rekindling hope
  7. Meeting for worship

The Quaker Jesus: the Life and Writings of James Nayler

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

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

Spiritual Practices for Every Day

How do you make space in your day to be spiritually present? What spiritual practices resonate with you? This course is an opportunity to explore what we mean by ‘spiritual practice’ and why it is important. You will be offered a variety of spiritual practices to work with, in your own time. We will all share our experiences together as an online community using forums. The course will include a live Quiet Day on Saturday 27th October 2018 (10:00 – 16:00 GMT), that you can take part in wherever you are.
This course can be completed in your own time. We encourage you to spend a short time each day engaging with a spiritual practice.
There will be video, audio and written materials for you to engage with, and forums for you to share reflections and ask questions.
The spiritual practices will be drawn mainly from the Christian tradition and offered in a way that makes the course open to all.

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

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

The Theology of Quaker Testimony

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exploring Islamophobia

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

Friends to the End: Accompanying Dying Friends

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

Answering that of God

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

Cinema and Spirituality: Finding the Sacred on the Silver Screen

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

The Early Christian Breakthrough

At the heart of early Christianity is a breakthrough, an experience of expansion into new possibilities. In the New Testament this experience is described as a manifestation of the Spirit, God’s creative power, operating in a new and unexpected way. People felt inspired, able to step out beyond the boundaries that had previously determined how they lived. This course explores both this breakthrough but also the realities that had limited it even before the writing of the New Testament documents.

Quaker Women and Social Justice: learning from their experience

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

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

Being a Quaker Clerk: an online course

This online course, for new or prospective clerks with little or no experience of Quaker clerking, is based on the on-site course with the same name. The five modules cover the clerk’s role before, during and after a Meeting for Worship for Business. We also consider why we use our particular business style in our meetings. We will focus on clerking local meetings, but clerks of other meetings, including area meetings, will also find they can learn much about their role.
This course can be completed in your own time, although we recommend setting aside 1.5-2.5 hours a week.
Each week there will be materials in a range of formats for you to engage with, and a forum for you to share your responses to the exercises and ask questions.
There will be three live meetings during the six weeks of the course which you are encouraged to take part in, dates and times to be confirmed.

Being a Area Meeting Treasurer

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

Restorative Justice

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

ALICE: A Light Hearted Introduction to Confidence

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

Exploring Quaker Spirituality

In this series of six *purely online* webinars running from 7.00pm to 8.30pm every Thursday evening from 8 November to 13 December, we will explore what Quaker spirituality is all about and how it speaks to us today.
This webinar series will introduce you to central elements of Quaker spirituality, including: silence, worship and vocal ministry; experiencing all of life as sacred; the inward teacher; the contemplative and the prophetic; queries and uncertainty; discipline, discernment and leadings. All the webinars will be recorded and can be viewed later.
Only basic computer skills are needed for this course, together with access to e-mail and the internet. The course takes place in Woodbrooke's online learning website, for which easy registration details will be provided. Full guidance will be given on how to access the course's material, and help is available if you get stuck at any point.
This online course is based on six live ninety-minute webinars.
Each webinar is recorded so you can follow the course using the recordings if you wish.
Downloadable resources and a discussion forum will be available to help you explore the webinar material further.
We recommend that you set aside about 2-3 hours per week to follow this course.
The course will not assume any prior knowledge, although some awareness of Quakerism and its history would be an advantage.

Children & Young People’s Work Advocates Conference

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

Shalom – The Peace that Changes Everything

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

Faith in Food

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

Bible Study for Quakers

Do you find the Bible intimidating but intriguing? Do you need some fellow Quakers to help you take the plunge? This course will help you to find your way around the Bible and understand the distinctive Quaker approach to scripture. You will closely study several Biblical texts in the company of Quakers from the past, and reflect with others on your experience of the Bible in the 21st Century. Expect to be challenged and inspired!

Silence in Circles: Meditating to Create Mandalas

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

Friends with a dual religious identity

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

Area Meeting Clerks Conference

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

How to Teach and Lead Meditation and Mindfulness

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

Thy Kingdom Come?: The Lords Prayer for Quakers

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

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

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

Be the Change

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

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

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

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.

Quakerism in 18th and 19th century American literature

This online course explores the influence of Quakerism on 18th and 19th century American writers, as well as the representations of Quaker characters in fiction of the period – sometimes good, sometimes bad! You will encounter the good Quaker abolitionists of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Nathan Slaughter, the murderous Quaker in Nick of the Woods. The course will have 5 sessions, spread over 10 weeks to allow time for reading. No previous experience of literary study is necessary – just come prepared to explore and enjoy.

We will read five texts together – Nick of the Woods, selections from Uncle Tom’s Cabin, an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson, some poetry by Walt Whitman and “The Gentle Boy” by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

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

What to do about Money

We are involved with money every day – working for it, spending it, saving it, investing it, giving it away or just worrying about it. We feel guilty about having too much and worry about having too little. In this online course we'll explore our relationships with money so that participants are better able to make choices about their use of money, as individuals or as Meetings. Financial advice will not be given.

Exploring Oversight – January 2019

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.

Exploring Eldership – January 2019

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.

Being a Quaker Trustee – January 2019

Particularly suitable for new/less experienced Area Meeting trustees, or as a refresher. 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 Quakers and for charities? How do trustees, area and local meetings relate to each other? We aim to provide easy-to-understand information and enjoyable learning, to make trusteeship approachable and rewarding.

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. Each unit contains video, audio and written materials to engage with, and forums to share reflections and ask questions. There will be a live online Q&A on Thursday 21 February at 19.00 GMT. If you can’t join this discussion live, it will be recorded for you to watch at your convenience. This course is intended for those who have been attending a Quaker meeting for between six months and three years. This course focuses principally on Quakerism as practiced by Britain Yearly Meeting, what is known as the liberal unprogrammed tradition. Participants from other Yearly Meetings and traditions are very welcome.

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

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

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

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

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.

Changing Shape of Eldership and Oversight: present experience and underlying tradition

Eldership and oversight – or to put it more clearly, Quaker ways of providing pastoral and spiritual care – are changing. Meetings are sharing out the work differently and more widely, trying not to burden individuals while also including attenders. This course will explore the history of this work and the different patterns now being used to support the spiritual and social lives of meetings. Everyone welcome: you do not need to have been appointed to any specific role in order to participate.

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

What are the roots of the Quaker way? How were early Friends influenced by their religious and political context? In this webinar series we will explore this issue and consider the connections between Quakers and other radical religious groups, such as the Anabaptists, the Family of Love, the Diggers and the Ranters. We will look back to the influence of the early Church and medieval movements, and forwards to the emergence of new religious movements in the eighteenth century. Only basic computer skills are needed for this course, together with access to e-mail and the internet. The course takes place in Woodbrooke's online learning website, for which easy registration details will be provided. Full guidance will be given on how to access the course's material, and help is available if you get stuck at any point.

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

 

Standing in the light and sitting in the dark

Are you looking to live a spirit led life? Join us to make space for unhurried, open hearted attention to your inner life and the depths that call us. Together we will explore and create models for navigating from these depths to tangible ways of being and acting; to lives that realise the spirit's yearning for love and justice.

Quaker 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.

Being a Quaker Clerk – February 2019

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

Being a Quaker Clerk – September 2018

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.

Deepening the life of Spirit: an online retreat exploring prayer and spiritual practice

Would you like to explore new ways of opening to the Light? This online retreat, running over six weeks, offers spiritual nourishment and renewal in the midst of everyday life. Each week you will be invited to rest and reflect, explore spiritual practices, meet the Spirit at work in your life and share with your retreat group and guide through conversation in the online retreat forum. You’ll need a computer or digital device with internet and a quiet space to use during the retreat. Note re timings: You will choose the times and days that you engage with this online retreat each week, as we will not all be online at the same time. You can join in from any time zone.

This course involves a time commitment of approximately 4 hours per week.

Nurturing our Meetings

How can we make our Quaker meetings vibrant and inclusive communities in which each person is accepted and nurtured, and strangers are welcome? In this course you will discover ways to deepen and strengthen the life of your meeting. Together we will explore a variety of spiritual practices, including the ‘ministry of welcome’. We will share our spiritual journeys, look at how we bear the burden of one another’s failings, and help one another up with a tender hand.

Richard Rohr on Ego, 12 Steps, Mysticism and Growth

We will share video teaching from Franciscan Richard Rohr whose daily reflections circulate 250,000 radical contemplative Christians around the world. We’ll look at excerpts from two of his books “Breathing Under Water” - Spirituality and the Twelve Steps and “The Naked Now” - Learning to See as the Mystics See, often through worship sharing. How do you ‘wake-up’ into a fuller life? This new course welcomes you whether or not you attended the Rohr Woodbrooke weekend Feb 2018.

Exploring the Quaker practice of waiting in the Light

William Penn said Quaker Spiritual practice was an ‘experiment on the soul’. We will look at the writings of early Friends and put their words to the test to see if the practice of waiting in the Light they describe can be a reality for us. The experience can be searching and powerful. We will do the meditation twice during the weekend. This course is suitable for those who are familiar with, or new to, the Experiment with Light practice.

Present Moment, Wonderful Moment

For many years Woodbrooke has hosted retreats and weekends which have focused on the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.  Whether a beginner or experienced, on this weekend retreat you will taste something of the deep peace that can be discovered through simple practices of being present. The practice is very accessible and will involve sitting and walking meditation, deep relaxation and silence as well as the invitation to take our meals in silence. The food will be vegetarian.

Critical Whiteness

What is white privilege? Who has unearned power, and why? How does the often unnamed racial position of white people affect families, careers, and interactions? This course speaks from the personal experience of the white tutors who are in an ongoing process of understanding their place in the world's racial systems, with the aim of ending racism and white supremacy. All are welcome to join us for this exploration, which may be challenging, moving, and uplifting.

T.S. Eliot: The heavy burden of the growing soul

This course will track the remarkable evolution of Eliot’s poetry – from his early modernist forays, culminating in The Waste Land, via the intensifying spiritual preoccupations of subsequent years, leading to his crowning contemplative masterpiece, Four Quartets. We shall focus especially on the poet’s intensifying quest for meaning against the often hostile background of the modern world, and consider how these challenging – but intensely human, subtle and honest – works stimulate insights into our own quandaries and aspirations.

In Humility of Heart

One of the foundations of the spirit-led life, humility is at the heart of our witness. However, in this age of individualism, status and celebrity to turn oneself over to a life of faithful service is a radical act. Together we’ll explore how we can let go of the need to judge and be judged, and learn to accept, forgive and be content. It will be a space in which to be encouraged by those who have faced the troubles of life with grace-filled hope.

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 Monday with Basic Book-keeping (this runs to 5:45pm and will include lunch). Those without much experience need these sessions. If Monday attendance is difficult, the exercises will be available online to complete at home beforehand. On the Wednesday there is an optional session on the Quaker spreadsheet programme which runs from 1:30pm to 3.00pm.

Nurturing Authentic Spirituality: a rule to live by

How are we to live an authentic spirituality? What spiritual principles do we apply in our daily lives and how can we be accountable to our faith community in our quest for spiritual authenticity? This course will give us a chance to share our spiritual aspirations, histories and practices and to identify those areas where we feel we need help. Building community through worship and creative listening, we will define personal strategies for daily faithfulness and explore how we might challenge and support one another along the way.

Being an Inclusive Faith Community

Do you long for your faith community to be truly inclusive? This course will give you tools to put inclusion at the heart of your faith community life. We will ask how inclusion is rooted in our theology, how inclusion is different to diversity, and how we can include all people in our faith communities, regardless of economic power, gender, mental health, physical ability, race or sexuality.

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.

Icon Painting as a spiritual practice

Practicing icon painting helps us to look into ourselves, make time to be in the silence of our hearts and learn who we are. How can we then after knowing more about what we are develop a connection and relationship with the Divine. Learning technique will be a very important part of the course. Feeling confident in creating an image helps to forget about all distractions, things we can’t achieve, things that we don’t understand and simply let our hand be an extension of our souls. Participants will learn all stages of icon painting and principles of the technique but will focus on meditative aspect of the process. Each session will start with short guided meditation to help us reconnect with our bodies.

A Quaker Response to Animal Suffering

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

The Dance of Compassionate Communication: an introduction to Nonviolent Communication

At home or at work, the way we think about ourselves and communicate with others affects a fundamental aspect of our lives - human connection. Develop ways of expressing the heart of your messages with power, and learn to hear the essence of other’s communication, instead of hearing blame and criticism. This workshop introduces you to the concepts and tools of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) developed by Marshall Rosenberg. It will improve your best relationships and ease the conflicts and misunderstandings of your worst.

Quaker Committee for Christian and Interfaith Relations & Woodbrooke Joint Conference

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Exploring Eldership – March 2019

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 2019

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 Trustee – March 2019

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.

Writing Brilliant Annual Reports

This three-week online course is an interactive discussion space which will help participants to better understand the Charity Commission and Britain Yearly Meeting requirements for an Area Meeting Trustees’ Annual Report. You will consider the target audience and share ideas about how to produce the most useful document(s) possible. There will be exercises to try out as you prepare your 2018 report. The course will be run as three *purely online* webinars from 7.00pm to 8.30pm on Thursday evenings, starting March 14th. This course is intended for anyone involved in producing the annual report for an Area Meeting, including Area Meeting trustees, treasurers, and clerks. The course will be delivered through live seminars and although these will be recorded for later viewing you will get the most out of the course if you can attend them all, and if you have a webcam and microphone to join in the conversation. The online Adobe Connect 'room', accessed in your internet browser from a link in Moodle, will be opened 1 hour before the first session (and 30 minutes before the other sessions) to enable you to log in and test your equipment.

This course involves a time commitment of approximately 1.5-2.5 hours per week.

The search the Deep Self

The course will help people discover their deeper selves and what gives them meaning and purpose. It is based on stories of people finding insight into who they are and what their life is about. Stories are drawn from the well known and the not so well known eureka moments and slow dawnings. All, however, are liberating and life-giving. By exploring these often intimate and moving stories, participants reflect on themselves – and are empowered to take further steps in their own lives.

A Friendly Introduction to Gender Diversity

In recent years we may have become more aware of transgender people – in our meetings we may encounter a transgender newcomer seeking a spiritual home, a longstanding Friend may ‘come out’, or we might have a relative who is trans or non-binary. This weekend aims to demystify gender diversity by hearing personal stories. We will explore the distinctive role of our meetings in embracing the richness of gender diversity based on our testimonies to truth, equality and simplicity.

Transforming the World

How can we, as Quakers, bring about non-violent, peaceful transformation in our Meetings, in our families, in our workplaces, in our society, and in the world? In this course, we will explore together how transformation starts and unfolds – and how we can make it happen. We will learn from Quaker history and experience, as well as from current creative approaches, to better understand our roles in bringing about transformation in line with our testimonies.

Chaplaincy Retreat

This weekend retreat will provide the opportunity for Quaker chaplains working in any setting (prison, education, hospital or others) to reflect, relax and reconnect with our spiritual foundation. We will use a mix of creative listening, the labyrinth, journalling and a range of spiritual practices to provide opportunities to recharge our batteries and remind ourselves why we do this important work. This weekend is not a training event and may not be suitable for people with no chaplaincy experience.

Appreciative Inquiry in Quaker settings

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a strengths-based approach to development and change that is particularly relevant to Quaker principles and practice. This course provides basic training in AI, which will equip Friends with the understanding and skills to facilitate AI processes in their meetings or committees. It will be especially useful to Friends serving in roles, employed staff and any Friends with experience in leadership or facilitation wishing to develop their skills and learn a new approach to real issues.

The Meaning of the Cross: victory, liberation, healing or punishment?

Many of us struggle with the Bible’s sacrificial imagery and are troubled by the idea that God punishes Jesus for our sins. In this course we will explore alternative understandings of the cross drawing on the early Church, peace church traditions, theologies of liberation, and the work of Rene Girard. Can we move beyond violent punishment and embrace a faith that in the words of James Nayler “outlives all wrath and contention and wearies out all exaltation and cruelty”?

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony

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

Telling our (digital) Quaker stories

This course provides the opportunity to participate in a digital storytelling process to create a short film on the theme of ‘Our Quaker stories’. Through participating in a supportive story circle you will a short script and additional visual material to make your own two minute film. At the end of the weekend we will share our stories together and consider future possibilities for sharing them more widely. No specialised technical knowledge is required.