Theme: Life in the Light
Summer School YM 2015 will be held on Sunday 4 January, beginning after Meeting for Worship in the morning and ending at about 5.30. Our theme Life in the Light and has prompted a plethora of possibilities, the outlines of which appear below. Please consider them to decide which you would most like to attend. For your Yearly Meeting registration, you will need to indicate three Summer School groups in order of preference. Note the letter code (from A to L) beside each of your three chosen groups. Then use that code on the online registration form, to indicate your three choices in order. The registration form is available only online at the website: www.quakers.org.au
Please note any pre-requisites listed for the groups; these are for your groups to work well.
For further information about Summer School, please contact Wendy Salter or Maxwell Ketels at email@example.com
A. Day of Silence, to contemplate: Life in the light.
Facilitator: Wilma Davidson
This time together will not be a summer school as such rather a time of silence in community. The most important practice for me in my spiritual journey is my time alone and silent with the Spirit. At this time I am mindful of the depth of connection possible with the Spirit and it prepares me for each step of my life in the Light. We will meet and eat in a venue where we can be separate and silent. Reading and art materials will be provided and you are invited to share your own (I will bring some art materials, however will be limited as I am coming from Canberra). The day will begin with a short introduction and a sharing of goals for the day and end with worship sharing. Depending on the size of the venue, the maximum numbers may be 10– 15 participants. If the participants wish, a short time of silence together can occur in the evening.
Questions to reflect on and bring to the silence:
What does Life in the Light mean to me?
How have I travelled in the light?
What are the gifts of living in the light?
What will be my goal for this day of silence in community and with the Spirit?
B. Friends in Stitches
Facilitators: Tessa Spratt and Cathy Davies
There is no better way that we can think of than recording Life in the Light via the production of the wonderful “Tapestries” that are emerging in our attempt to create something similar to the Quaker Tapestries in the UK, basing our own panels on Australian Quakerism both today and historically. Cathy and Tessa have been Australian AYM coordinators of this project since its inception in 2007 and we are both passionate about our AYM creating this lasting memory of Quaker beliefs, values and history. What we did not anticipate was how moving we have found the collected panels, reflecting how our Light has illuminated our lives. We invite you to learn how to participate in this creative adventure. We especially encourage artists to come to this Summer School with the idea of creating a panel cartoon.
Participants will learn the six stitches that are used in creation of the panels including Quaker Stitch. The experience of stitching together can be very profound and create a worshipful space for deep sharing. Pre-requisites: None
C. Life in the Light: Viewing the non-traditional Quaker colours.
Facilitators: Geoffrey Ballard (CRM) and Peter Williams (CRM)
Almost at the same time as the experience of George Fox and the founding of the Religious Society of Friends, Isaac Newton, in 1665, discovered that light is made up of many colours. Like light, 21st century Quakerism is made up of a spectrum of beliefs (colours). In religion and science, views have changed since the 17th century. Since Fox and Newton’s views on religion, we have had the religious views of scientist Albert Einstein, and now Stephen Hawking; as well, religious thinkers like Selby Spong, Don Cupitt, Karen Armstrong and non-theistic Quaker David Boulton express various views on current religious thought. Their thinking has evolved. This Summer School will explore how it feels living in the light that is made up of many ‘colours’, and its possible implications for contemporary Quakerism, especially in our use of language. This will be done through four sessions, starting and finishing with the experience of silence/stillness and conversation about its meaning, small group discussion, hearing some Quaker non-traditional stories, sharing of survey results of Australian Quaker beliefs and practices, and a plenary discussion on “where now?”
Maximum: 25 participants, minimum: 5. Prerequisites: It would be useful, but not necessary, if participants have read, Godless for God’s Sake (Edited by David Boulton); and be aware of the following websites: nontheistfriends.org and nontheist-quakers.org.uk
D. Celebrating 70+
Facilitator: Anne Brown
A group for those who have already blown out 70 candles and want to share what Life in the Light means to them now. We will explore how our lives can continue to be rich and exciting with the possibility of new unexpected ways opening. Daily we are faced with challenges and dilemmas unimaginable 20 years ago. This will be a chance to share our experiences, an opportunity for us to mourn that which is gone and to offer each other our hopes and perhaps to explore our fears for the future. It will be a day for us to celebrate our status as Aged Friends. Number of participants: No restrictions. Requirements: Writing material (scrap paper would be fine), pens or pencils.
E. Life in the Light with Poetry
Facilitator: Barbara Rautman
I love poetry. I find it evocative and a good way of reflecting on God/Spirit. In this workshop there will be a diverse selection of poems. They will be about different aspects of Life in the Light – our own relationship with God/Spirit, with our Quaker Communities, with the communities of family and friends and with the natural world. There will be individual and group reflection and sharing in a group of up to 15 people. Let’s celebrate “Life in the Light with Poetry”.
F. Quakerly Inquiry Processes
Facilitator: Yoland Wadsworth (others may be confirmed)
This summer school session invites f/Friends to come and consider a range of methods and approaches (traditionally Quaker as well as social science, research, evaluation and “new paradigm” participatory methods and techniques used by Quaker Meetings) for seeking, finding out, reflecting, concluding, enacting and re-observing. It is taking up where discussions instigated by our late Friend Ian Hughes and the Friends’ Australian Research Network (FARNet) left off in August 2012. Ian had envisaged “a day of reflection and conversation on inquiry for living systems” and consideration of how such emerging ideas “might be applied in our lives as Quakers to seek to enrich and extend Australian Quaker process in ways which are holistic, unified and appropriate in the Twenty-first Century, perhaps leading towards a model for Quakerly inquiry”. A starting framework will be presented based on living systems inquiry and background readings that Ian made available in the Qi (Quakerly Inquiry) supplement of Australian Friend in 2012.
Ian Hughes’s “Seed Question” was: Can we describe a way of seeking, inquiring or researching which fits Australian Quaker faith and practice, our processes and testimonies, and which suits our current Twenty-first Century situation? After a brief introduction and orientation, we will address this question together by firstly sharing examples and vignettes in which Australian Quakers have inquired with greater and lesser success (using a simple and accessible participatory small groups approach drawing on memory work and appreciative inquiry). Secondly we will draw out and map together onto a Quakerly inquiry framework the methods, processes or aspects we think contributed in ways we see as consistent with Quaker process, testimonies and practice, to “inquire for Life” – or not. Gradually over the day we will hope to form a more richly-detailed picture of an inspirited Quakerly inquiry framework – one which fills us with enthusiasm! Minimum of three participants, maximum of 15. Pre-requisites: It would be good if people can look at the background readings that Ian made available in the Quakerly Inquiry supplement of Australian Friend in June 2012.There will also be a program page to read beforehand which can be obtained from Yoland by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also good if each person could come with a short story of Quakers inquiring (e.g. in their LM) that went really well, and another where things went awry.
G. Celebrating the Centenary of WILPF (Womens International League for Peace and Freedom): and the contribution of Quaker women.
Facilitators: Margaret Bearlin and other Quaker WILPF women.
Quaker women have been members and leaders of WILPF since its beginning at the International Congress of Women at the Hague in April 1915, e.g. Elise Boulding and Bronwen Meredith. Their central objectives have been to stop war and build the institutions that make for just and sustainable peace. In this workshop we will reflect on the essential contribution, through wisdom and practice, of Quaker women and the support of Quakers as a whole to its work. We will share our own stories of peace building and reflect on why the contribution of women is now seen as so essential to sustainable world peace. Men are encouraged to attend. Participants will find background information about WILPF, its history, current activities and projects on www.wilpfinternational.org, www.wilpf.org.au, www.peacewomen.org, www.reachingcriticalwill.org.
H: The Evidence for Spiritual Reality
Facilitator: Heather Herbert
“Evidence-based” – the Enlightenment mantra. There’s evidence for the reality of the spiritual world and like all evidence, it invites us to continually expand our understanding.
We are talking here about mystery – not in the sense of a question whose answer we haven’t yet found, but in the sense of infinity, that expands and deepens as we approach, and out of which we cannot escape to view it whole or objectively. Some of us only trust what we can prove rationally; some only what resonates with the heart. Some find decision hard because there is always more information coming in! When I talk about spiritual reality, I’m not talking about the “supernatural”. I believe that experiences received through our sixth sense or intuition, and through our hearts, are quite as natural and real as experiences received through our other senses or our minds. Come and share your experience in this area and your current thinking. If you’d like the full article about mine, which was edited in the Australian Friend, email me at email@example.com to get a copy.
I. First Nations Peoples Sovereignty & Life in the Light
The summer school will cover the process and outcomes of The Native Title claim granted in June 2014 over the traditional Lands of the Kooma people by David Carline and a discussion of this in relation to the current Sovereignty debate. Discuss the outcomes of the workshop on sovereignty conducted at Silver Wattle in March 2014 and what is the role, if any, of Quakers within the Sovereignty movement. There will be small group discussions around activities. Minimum of 6 participants.
J. Quakers and Business in the Light/Quakers in business.
Facilitators: Mark Lockwood and Co-facilitator (to be confirmed)
Quaker involvement in business in all its forms will be considered both from a historical perspective and looking at Quaker businesses today (including the Silver Wattle Quaker Centre) in the light of the Testimonies. Consideration of various examples, case studies and other materials along with small group work. I have had considerable experience in these issues in the UK as co-clerk of the charity Quakers & Business and have had some discussions in Australia which have encouraged me to offer this topic at YM. Business and work is so much a part of life that it is fruitful to consider how we can involve ourselves in an ethical way; be that directly involved in a Quaker business (even a Meeting that employs a cleaner is a business and must consider its ethical stance) or our own attitudes to work.
Prerequisites: Participants are asked to consider: Their attitudes to Quakers in business. How would bringing Quaker ethics into the secular world benefit everybody? How Quakerly were Quaker businesses of the past? Look at qandb.org (especially the page on the book, ‘Good Business’) and qsa.org.uk (their QBit document is BYM’s recommendation for a Quaker business)
K. Lifelong learning in the light
Facilitator: David Evans
Life in the Light for this group equals “inspiration”. All good ideas in lifelong education welcome. It follows the idea that the “young” of our community are the new retirees with time and ability and resources to follow their real interests. Opportunities will be discussed. Participants are invited to discuss their own future plans, current involvements, or retirement achievements in their lifelong education, enjoying the relative freedom of retirement. 5–15 participants would be ideal. Suitable for those considering activities in retirement.
L. Life in the Light: Mandalas
Facilitator: Carol Holden
This course will be for those with no experience or knowledge of mandalas as well as those who wish to explore and discover more of their individual creativity. It is hoped that we can express our spirit through the making of these “Wheels of Life” using further expressions of patterns and colour. Some brief handouts will be made available. Participants are invited to bring along relevant books. We will be exploring and sharing our experiences. This will be a hands-on practical course as well. Participants will require simple equipment such as a pad of drawing paper, a set of good coloured pencils (minimum 12 colours), a reliable pencil sharpener, one HB pencil and an eraser. Maximum 10 participants. Will take place unless no one registers. Email interest in course to firstname.lastname@example.org . The first 10 will be listed others will be on a waiting list. I would notify everyone.