List of workshops

Throughout the weekend, there will be sixteen optional workshops on spirituality, community, creativity and social action including:

Friday

Pre-conference Workshop 13.30-16.00

 Cultivating a Beloved Community

“Principles and practices for encouraging a deep sense of community in your Unitarian congregation”

There are specific, understandable, and practical things you can do to foster a sense of loving community in your Unitarian congregation. This workshop will cover guidelines and skills you can use with small groups, one to one interactions, over all church management, and conflict resolution. Led by  Rev. Jim Robinson who will draw from his 40 years of experience as a Unitarian Minister in the UUA and the GA 

Saturday

Devotions

7.15-7.55

A time of prayer and quiet reflection in which to gently enter the day before the busyness. Led by Stephen Crowther

Early morning workshops

8 – 8.45

Meditation

Quietening/settling/calming the busy mind and beyond. How can we learn to work with the busy mind rather than ‘fight it’ or try to get rid of it. Led by Richard Bober

Do it yourself Yoga

Come and share the space with others while you practice your yoga. Bring a mat or blanket, wear loose clothing and enjoy moving.

Morning Workshops Saturday 9.30 – 10.45

Heart and Soul

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. Led by Jane Blackall and Jeannene Powell

Inequality in Education

Our education system is based on using schools as academic sieves and we discard  the potential talent of large parts of our  population, under estimate it and ignore it. This creates a dysfunctional society and reduces its wealth potential. To overcome this and reduce the dysfunction, we need to develop the potential of individuals in terms of knowledge and skills in the first quartile of their lives which essentially is the years of schooling. There are now ways that could improve classroom effectiveness by perhaps a third. If we can develop these we will promote the better development of the potential of a larger part of our population getting them on the path to the much greater accumulation of skills and knowledge so reducing the dysfunction of our society and increasing its wealth. Led by Tony Cann

Ada Lovelace

The Horsley Estate, home for FUSE for a second year, was built by The Earl of Lovelace a somewhat eccentric but gifted member of the aristocracy, His wife Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron was quite a force in her own right. The workshop explores her short life, her mathematical ability and her friendship and co-operation with Charles Babbage, who is generally recognised as a pioneer of computing. She was also a Unitarian. Come and learn about this capable Victorian woman, who lived in Horsley Towers.

Led by Rev Martin Whitell

Compassionate Communication

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. Led by Marta Pacini

Coffee 10.45 – 11.15

Morning Workshops Saturday 11.15 – 12.30

Cultivating a Beloved Community

A continuation of Rev Jim Robinson’s Friday workshop, but new people welcome.

Middle East

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? Led by Francis Clark-Lowe

Circle Dancing

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.” Led by Hester Casey

Wholehearted Listening
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. Led by Stephen Crowther

Lunch 12.30-13.30

Saturday Afternoon workshops 14.00-15.15

Sing for Joy!

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. Led by David Kent

‘The Spirit of the Land’ – 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. Led by Sarah Tinker

The work of Thomas Berry

An interactive workshop looking at the visionary work of Thomas Berry (1914-2009), Passionist priest, cultural historian and lover of the Earth.  He regarded the environment as the primary manifestation of the divine and was committed to changing our consciousness to prevent its destruction   We’ll discuss his ideas in small groups, sharing extracts from his work alongside poetry and prayer from other writers in the field of eco-spirituality.

Workshop will end at 3.30. Led by Maria Curtis

Sunday

Devotions 7.15-7.55

A time of prayer and quiet reflection in which to gently enter the day before the busyness. Led by Stephen Crowther

Early Morning workshop 8-8.45

Quietening/settling/calming the busy mind and beyond. How can we learn to work with the busy mind rather than ‘fight it’ or try to get rid of it. Led by Richard Bober

Do it yourself Yoga

Come and share the space with others while you practice your yoga. Bring a mat or blanket, wear loose clothing and enjoy moving.

Sunday Workshops 10-11.15

Gratitude as a Spiritual Practice

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. Led by Eleanor Chiari

On Being a Queer Child; Coming Out, Coming In and Theoxeny

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. Led by Jef Jones

Getting into Chaplaincy

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! Led by Jo O’Sullivan

‘Images as Mirrors to the Soul’

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. Led by Sheena Gabriel