Throughout the weekend, there will be sixteen optional workshops on spirituality, community, creativity and social action including:
‘Heart and Soul’ – Jane Blackall /Jeannene Powell
An alternative spiritual gathering, with music and silence, words and prayers, and a chance to explore our chosen theme, ‘The Art of Encouragement’, in relation to your own life. We have developed a set format for ‘Heart and Soul’ sessions, which is easy for people to run and adapt, and which has started to be taken up by other congregations. At the start of the session we will say a few words about the thinking behind this and will provide useful handout which will enable you to run a similar group for your own community.
Compassionate Communication – Marta Pacini
The aim of the workshop is to help participants adopt the perspective of perceived ‘enemies’ and develop tools to respond to conflicts and challenges with empathy.
Middle East – Francis Clark-Lowes
A talk reflecting on my walk across the part of the Middle East in 1976-77 and what has happened to those countries since. This would be followed by discussion, probably in groups, of questions raised such as: (a) Was the moral and material support the West (including NGOs ) gave to the so-called Arab Spring helpful to the countries concerned? (b) Did political interests play a significant part in that support? (c) Could it have been done otherwise? (d) Do we need to rethink the idea of universal standards and the concept of global progress?
Circle Dancing – Hester Casey
Join in some easy but beautiful dances to world music. This is a chance to stretch our legs and use dance to celebrate a feeling of community, connect with nature and explore our spiritual selves. The mystic Rumi said ” There are many paths which lead to God . I have chosen the one of dance and music.”
Wholehearted Listening – Stephen Crowther
Listening is an art that calls for practice. In this workshop we will explore the gift of listening to each other in deeper ways that we may not normally experience. Using a specific practice, there will be shared moments of silence and there will be opportunities to experience and reflect upon listening and being listened to.
Sing for Joy! – David Kent
It doesn’t matter whether you think you can sing or not… come and help us make a joyful noise! The session will feature David’s compositions as well as some old Unitarian favorites. As always, we’ll begin with healthy vocal warm up and hints and tips on voice production will be given throughout the session.
‘The Spirit of the Land’– Sarah Tinker
Spending time in Horsley’s beautiful landscaped grounds, in this workshop we’ll explore how spiritual awareness can emerge in quiet times, spent amongst trees and by a lake. By stilling our external chatter, new messages may arise from within. Outdoors shoes and a waterproof jacket helpful.
Gratitude as a Spiritual Practice – Eleanor Chiari
Fostering feelings of gratitude helps combat anxiety and depression but it is also good for the spirit. This workshop will provide a practical space to focus on gratitude in a nurturing and compassionate environment. Beginning with small things and moving onto the bigger picture, participants will come together to reflect on their own lives and express gratitude as a starting point for spiritual growth, self-care and even social action.
On Being a Queer Child; Coming Out, Coming In and Theoxeny – Jef Jones
I am grateful to Fuse for giving me this opportunity to repeat my theme talk from Summer School in 2016. We were invited to address the theme This Changes Everything and this is my personal riff on differentness. I explore the spiritual violence done in the name of sameness and extol the beauty and power of welcoming the stranger. The talk includes an element of healing ritual and the story of two dear people who were turned into trees.
Getting into Chaplaincy – Jo O’Sullivan
What is chaplaincy? Who can be a chaplain? Why be a chaplain? Could Unitarians be best placed to be chaplains?
This workshop will look at the work of chaplains in every conceivable (and surprising) place and institution as they meet the spiritual needs of people, often in crisis. Could the idea of ‘travelling’ alongside people of every faith and none when they are most in need complete your search for community, spirituality and social action? Come along and find out!
‘Images as Mirrors to the Soul’ – Sheena Gabriel
They say “a picture is worth a 1000 words”. In this session you will be invited to choose from a selection of images, and through a process of meditation and sharing in small groups, use them as spring-boards to reflect more deeply on yourself, your relation to others, the world, and the Divine. We will also consider how images can be used in worship and small groups.