African Peace Teams Workcamp Opportunities

Dear Friends,

Kathy and I want to commend these AGLI workcamps for your consideration.

African Great Lakes Initiative of the Friends Peace Teams

WORKCAMPS 2015 — AGLI is sponsoring intergenerational workcamps in Rwanda & Kenya, Saturday, June 20 to Saturday, July 25. Workcampers will build an enlarged children’s peace library in Rwanda and expand a peace center on Mt Elgon in Kenya. No specific skills needed. All ages welcome – including families. Contact

Kathy and I are currently in Kenya near the end of a 4-country 6-week trip doing research for a book about AGLI. This past Monday we visited the site of the new Mt. Elgon peace center and saw the start of building efforts on a beautiful 5-acre plot near the top of Mt. Elgon, an ancient shield volcano. The peace center is a dream that was born among Mt. Elgon residents 2 years ago when Joe and I interviewed 90 people there to assess the impact of AGLI programs. It was thrilling to see how far they have come since then. Much of the fund raising to buy the plot was done locally with many people contributing 50 or 100 Kenyan shillings ($1 = about 90 shillings) apiece.

The center will be used to host AGLI workshops such as Alternatives to Violence (AVP) and Healing and Rebuilding our Communities (HROC) for trauma healing. Some of the other needs that may be addressed in the future are a medical clinic and vocational training for unemployed youth.

We also visited a Peace Library in Kigali, Rwanda earlier in the trip. These libraries encourage a reading habit among children in an environment where books are rare. The one we saw had colorful murals on the walls, a room for primary students and another for secondary students, and a librarian who also teaches peer mediation skills to students.

During our interviews we have heard about the significant positive impacts of workcamps as participants experience another culture and produce something of value for people in need. If we still had kids at home we’d seriously consider making a workcamp our family summer vacation.

In peace,
Joe Ossmann
Kalamazoo Meeting

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Institute for Creative Conflict Engagement and Transformation

Jul 15 – Aug 9, 2015

Pendle Hill Conference Center, Wallingford, PA

Learn to engage conflict creatively and confidently.

This 25-day institute will provide skills and tools needed by anyone interested in creating peace and justice – at home, in schools, in communities, and in the world. If dealing with conflict leaves you wanting something more effective and satisfying, this institute is for you.

The program will include:

  • Understanding the difference between conflict engagement and conflict avoidance
  • Conflict analysis and mapping; identifying interests, power dynamics, and leverage
  • Compassionate Listening and Compassionate Communication – getting at the “heart” of the matter through empathic listening and effective communication of needs and interests
  • Comprehensive training in the Alternative to Violence Project (basic, advanced, and training for facilitators), which will prepare participants to do their practicums as assistant facilitators in order to become fully certified as AVP facilitators; interested participants will connect with AVP programs in their home areas to encourage complete certification and engage actively with local programs
  • Basic mediation – a 40-hour weeklong intensive in basic mediation skills
  • Restorative circles and restorative practices
  • Clearness committees
  • Forgiveness and reconciliation
  • Love and nonviolence as “forces” more powerful – engaging the powers.

There will be lectures, films, and large and small group discussion – and a lot of experiential learning through doing and reflecting, role-playing, and practice sessions.

With the tools and skills offered in this intensive program, you will be better equipped and more confident to address conflicts in ways that help us move closer to the beloved community that Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King challenged us to live into. Quakers traditionally have been leaders in conflict transformation, and many of these methods have been introduced and honed by Friends in conflict situations, from families to prisons to post-genocide refugee resettlement abroad. Rise to the challenge and join them!

For information, go here, or contact John Meyer, Education Coordinator, at 610-566-4507, ext. 129.

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Young Adult Friends Conference on Equality

Jun 5-10, 2015

YAFCON Coordinators: Emily Higgs & Katrina McQuail

Continuing Revolution:
A Young Adult Friends Conference on Equality

Please contact Emily or Katrina for more information.

610-566-4507, ext. 123

Young Adult Friends (ages 18-35) are invited to Pendle Hill’s annual intensive six-day conference — YAFCON — designed to strengthen a networked generation of awakened and effective spiritually grounded change agents. This year, we will be focusing on equality in its most expansive sense as a way to explore the need for justice, the power of Truth and love, our own growing edges as individuals and as a community, and what it means to create the Beloved Kin-dom here and now. We will cultivate a brave learning space within which to unpack privilege and power, and to develop greater capacity to tackle and break down the many intersecting systems of oppression around us.

The program includes inspirational speakers, workshops and trainings, worship and worship-sharing, fellowship, community-building activities, and discernment opportunities.

The annual Continuing Revolution conference is designed for all young adult Friends who feel a movement in our generation to create the world we believe is possible, and to live into Right Relationship with the Divine, one another and the earth.

The annual conference is open and welcoming to young adult Quakers of all backgrounds, experiences and Friends’ theologies. While we recognize that this gathering is firmly rooted in the unprogrammed Friends’ tradition, we also believe the thematic content to be urgently relevant to all branches of Quakerism and hope all interested young adults will feel that their voices belong at this table. Click here to apply online, or click the following link to get a better sense of what to expect.

Each year, interested individuals are asked to submit an application for this program so that we have a better understanding of each participant’s background and hopes. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and applicants are notified within 2-3 weeks of submitting their application. Apply early, as space is limited! Conference fees for 2015 haven’t been set; scholarship assistance will be available to those who need support (see questions at the bottom of the application (when it is available) for information on how to request assistance).

For more information on the conference, contact Emily Higgs, Conference Coordinator, or Katrina McQuail, Assistant Coordinator, or read Emily’s excellent YAFCON article. which recently appeared in Friends Journal.

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Ending Mass Incarceration and the New Jim Crow: A Pendle Hill Conference

Ending Mass Incarceration and the New Jim Crow

Apr 29 – May 3, 2015

Keynote Speaker: Author and Professor Michelle Alexander

The United States imprisons 2.4 million men, women, and children – one out of every 100 Americans. The U.S. has largest prison population in the world, both in total numbers and as a percentage of its population. With only five per cent of the world’s population, the United States accounts for nearly a quarter of all prisoners in the world.

These alarming incarceration rates disproportionately affect people of color. Representing only 30 per cent of our population, people of color comprise almost 60 per cent of those imprisoned. One in 15 African American men and one in 36 Hispanic men is incarcerated, and one out of every three African American men in this country can expect to go to prison at some point during his lifetime.

Why? Who benefits from this state of mass incarceration? Who suffers? What are the social costs of putting so many behind bars?

What alternatives exist? How are communities moving toward dismantling this wasteful and destructive machine and ameliorating the conditions of those caught in its gears? What are communities of color doing? Quakers? Other faith communities? Legislation, direct action, education, engagement?

How can each of us best use our gifts and resources to help turn our society from fear, revenge, and throwing people away, toward valuing and respecting every human being and seeking healing justice and restoration to community?

Register Online

Call Us For More Information!


Note: Accommodations on campus are limited, so we recommend early registration to secure those spaces.

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Weekend Retreat: Being Faithful in Spiritual Isolation April 24-26

A weekend retreat for Christian Friends at

Friends Center of Ohio Yearly Meeting

in Barnesville, Ohio


Being Faithful in Spiritual Isolation

A weekend facilitated by John Benson, Raye Hodgson, and Barbara Smith

April 24-26, 2015

Throughout history, Christians have found themselves in situations where they are alone – spiritually isolated from those who are their brothers and sisters in Christ and living among people who are either overtly hostile to their faith or, at best, indifferent. The earliest apostles, missionaries in all ages, early Friends traveling in the ministry as well as those they converted, all found it challenging to maintain their faith and sense of calling without the fellowship and support of people who shared their faith. Today Christian and Christ-centered Friends often find themselves in the same situation, living far from a sympathetic Friends meeting and struggling to grow in their faith in isolation. Following God’s leading without the spiritual support of a faith community can be lonely, frustrating, and discouraging. But God calls some of us to just that situation.

One of the biggest and most obvious challenges comes with being a Christian Friend among non-Christians, but there are many more subtle aspects of living in isolation from other Christian Friends. In this workshop we, the participants, will share our experiences and difficulties, learning from one another how to nurture our faith and keep it alive and growing; how to discern when we are being called to minister to others; strategies for overcoming feelings of loneliness; how to see isolation as a gift and to make use of that gift; how to stay in touch with our wider faith community; and the importance of looking to God for our support and nurture instead of to other people.

Go to website

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Called to faithful action for peace, social justice, and sustainability? Check out this Pendle Hill program

Called to faithful action for peace, social justice, and sustainability?
Tired of missing the mark and getting stuck?
Want to work more effectively with others for positive change?

If so, check out Pendle Hill’s new offering:

Answering the Call to Radical Faithfulness
An Intensive Online/On-Campus Certificate Program
in Prophetic Activism and Civic Engagement

April 1, 2015 — August 31, 2015
(includes four on-campus residencies)

Answering the Call to Radical Faithfulness will bring together an interfaith group of learners committed to deepening their capacity for effective community action to heal and repair the world. If you join this long-term education program you will:

  • Explore the spiritual call to social action with others;
  • Reach greater clarity on where your gifts and passions match the world’s needs;
  • Gain greater knowledge and skill in effective social action and organzing;
  • Learn to tap the power of diversity, justice, and inclusion within your organizations; and
  • Give and receive mutual support on applied fieldwork and writing projects.

You will benefit from a structured curriculum, a cutting-edge blend of face-to-face and online learning, and the ongoing support and guidance of an experienced core and adjunct faculty.

Apply Today! Several scholarships are available. For more information, go here, or contact Steve Chase, Director of Education, at 610-566-4507, ext. 123.

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Grow Meetings’ Vitality and Connection to Spirit: an FGC Workshop March 14

Friends in the Midwest are invited to Grow Our Meetings, a regional one-day workshop created to help grow meetings’ health, vitality, and connection to Spirit.

The inaugural workshop will be held Saturday, March 14th in Richmond, Indiana for meetings located throughout the Midwest.

FGC has a wealth of experience helping meetings work on deepening through the in-reach part of the QuakerQuest program. They are now bringing that experience to Friends who would like to learn how their meeting or worship group can grow in vitality.
Complete information

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Nonviolence Conference March 28 at Ashland University

The Ashland Center for Nonviolence Conference
Considering the Challenges to Nonviolence: Practical and Theoretical
March 28, 2015
Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio

Joyce Balderston of Wooster Meeting is planning to attend and invites others to join her. She can be reached by email or phone: 330 378-3053.

For more information and to register, go to

From the organizer:

Consider attending the inaugural Ashland Center for Nonviolence conference. This is going to be exciting. We have now finalized the day’s schedule and the schedule of papers, which you can see on the web site. There is also a link where you can view the paper abstracts.

So far, we have been very pleased with the level of interest. I hope you will continue to invite your friends and colleagues to come as well. It will be a terrific opportunity to make connections within our region as well as to take seriously some difficult tasks and questions. If you think of groups that may not know about the conference, please consider reaching out to them. We will continue accepting registrations through March 24.

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Weekend retreat for spiritual nurturers, social witnesses, and gospel ministers

A weekend retreat at

Friends Center of Ohio Yearly Meeting

in Barnesville, Ohio

A Weekend on Gospel Ministry – With Inspiration from William Dewsbury

Facilitated by Brian Drayton
March 20-22, 2015

You chosen jewels, you necessitated people, arise!

Friends who have a particular concern (whether for Gospel ministry, spiritual nurture, or a social witness) should gather sometimes for mutual refreshment and counsel, to renew our vision and encourage our faithfulness. This weekend is intended to be such a gathering.

There will be times of worship and conversation, and also some “topical sessions” exploring key spiritual challenges such as unity, inward poverty, risk-taking, and spiritual drowsiness. Topical sessions will draw from the writings of William Dewsbury, “perhaps the sweetest and wisest of early Friends.”

Go to website

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School of the Spirit – On Being a Spiritual Nurturer program

From the On Being a Spiritual Nurturer Core Teachers

Beckey Phipps, Evelyn Jadin, and Rita Willett:

In the upcoming months we are offering four Testing the Waters Retreats and two conference calls for those interested in learning more about the program.

Click here for an announcement about the upcoming video conference call with the Core Teachers on February 19 and a conventional conference call April 16 to learn more about the program.

Click here for more information about the Testing the Waters Retreats and a link to register (not required, but very helpful).

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