You are hereAnnual Sessions / 2015 Annual Sessions / Workshops


Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Unless otherwise indicated, workshops are suitable for all interested Friends, and you are welcome to join in a workshop starting on any date.  “Continuing” workshops will not repeat from the previous day, while “repeat” workshops will start afresh.  Sign up for workshops on site at Annual Sessions.


Chanting from the Silence, Ted Ehnle. This experiential workshop leads participants to explore the depth of communal, meditative, and collaborative songmaking known as chanting.  In addition to deep spiritual healing, participants often feel a strong sense of connection to each other that sends ripples into other parts of their lives. Some participants also experience physical sensation of tension release and renewed physical energy.  Usually, 6-12 chants are explored in the course of an hour. (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, repeats)

Mandala Making, Ava Rockafiled. Creating mandalas are a richly spiritual experience which can bring about feeling of peace. Friends will create their own mandalas with their choice of my variety of art supplies, will be encouraged to turn inward, have fun, and let the Spirit guide them in this process of creating beauty. This activity of close relationship between the artist and the Spirit is nurturing. Mandalas help us express our voices not through words, but through art. (Thursday and Friday, repeats)

Lectio Divina—Holy Reading, Angie Thinnes. Lectio Divina is the centuries-old practice of slow, meditative reading of scripture. Friends will practice the technique, using readings from the bible and from a non-biblical source.  This can be an opportunity to learn a new or different spiritual practice. (Saturday)

Hand to Hand, Touching God through the Psalms, Wanda Coffin Baker. Some lecture, some small group discussion, and some short personal writing.  Friends will explore how God is portrayed in the Bible, and discern how they might relate to God and vice versa.  Bringing a Bible, notepad and pen would be good. (Thursday and Friday, continues though can attend only one).

Quaker Writers on Spiritual Experience and Activity in the World, Wil Brant,  Reading of one page passages about religious experience and activity in the world from Quaker writers, like Howard Brinton and Thomas Kelly, followed by a reflective discussion of those passages. (Thursday)

Spiritual Companionship, Marcelle Martin. The workshop begins with offering some ways to help one another notice more fully how the Spirit is present and active in our lives.  Then in pairs, Friends  will practice supporting each other into deeper awareness and understanding.  The workshop will end  with some sharing in the full group about the experience. (Thursday)

Holding One Another in the Light, Marcelle Martin.  The workshop beings with offering a way for briefly sharing with one another any issue or situation that a Friend would like to have held in the Light.  Then in small groups, Friends will share and hold each other in the Light together.  This is an opportunity both to be a channel of divine blessing for others and to open more deeply to the Light through the loving support of members of the community. (Friday)

The Quaker Spiritual Journey, Marcelle Martin. This workshop presents the ten elements of the Quaker spiritual journey.  Marcelle has been writing a book on this subject.  This way of looking at the journey underscores the transformative nature of the Quaker experience of a direct relationship with God, lived in community.  The workshop will provide an opportunity to discuss how people are moved in their lives from "the mystic voice" to "the active voice," and how these two voices can deepen each other.  There will be opportunity for sharing of experience, questions, and discussion.  (Saturday)

Retrieving the Kingdom of Heaven of Early Friends for our Time, Ann Riggs. In the 1650s early Friends such as Francis Howgill wrote seemingly in joyous astonishment, “the Kingdom of Heaven did gather us, and catch us all, as in a net.” From time to time now, U.S. Friends respond in seemingly negative astonishment to growing inequalities in wealth distribution, Ferguson, ISIS, climate change—How can all this bad stuff be? It was in a historical period in some ways very similar to our own that the Quaker movement emerged. We will make or renew acquaintance with some early Friends and discuss how their thought and lives might best provide a resource for us today. (Friday, Saturday, repeats)

Developing the Quaker Voice in Racial Equity, Vanessa Julye and Marijke van Roojen. This workshop will examine white supremacy and its impact on individuals, systems, and organizations. Attenders will spend time examining how to disrupt the gravitational pull that perpetuates the system. This work will be done in highly interactive small and large groups.  (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, continues but can start on any day)

Working to End Torture, Peace Resources Committee members. This workshop will present the history of torture and make use of video clips and study guides.  There will be group discussion about healing the problem of torture.  In the past year, increasing scrutiny has fallen upon the use of solitary confinement as a form of torture.  It is important for Friends to present society with a realistic understanding that torture does not “work”; it injures both torturer and victim, and impedes healing. (Thursday and Saturday, repeats)

Friends Committee on National Legislation’s Witness in Washington: Now is the Time to Lobby, Wil Rutt & FCNL staff.  In this workshop, Friends will gather for a mix of group discussion and worship sharing, learning about the issues Friends are lobbying on around the country, how to become engaged on these issues in your own communities, and what leads our hearts to faithful action. Friends will also learn tools for how to lobby their members of Congress, and what issues are of particular importance now. (Friday, Saturday, repeats)

Developing a Quaker Labor Voice, Brad Laird.  This workshop will begin with a few short readings about current Labor matters in general and specific to Quakers.  Then Friends will break out into small groups for discussion about some queries that are intended to stimulate thinking about what could be a distinctive Quaker voice on labor matters.  The workshop will end with coming back together and summarize the findings. (Friday)

Accompanying Prisoners, Alice Lynd.  There are many ways in which Friends can relate to prisoners, their families and communities, before, during and after incarceration. Alice and Staughton Lynd have related to prisoners in a variety of ways. The workshop will be a time to hear what issues and concerns are being addressed by Illinois Friends and not limited to discussing what the Lynds have have been trying to address.  (Saturday)