QUG 2019 Annual Conference

FORGIVENESS – Why forgive?

The conference will take place on Friday May 10th (6 p.m.) – Sunday May 12th (2 p.m.) at the Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, 1046 Bristol Road, Birmingham, B29 6LJ

In this conference we will explore our understanding of forgiveness from a range of religious, moral and psychological perspectives and in a range of situations.

It is widely assumed, in religions and in societies more generally, that forgiveness is a ‘good thing’ and that we ‘ought’ to forgive (or at least try to forgive) those that offend against us. In this conference we will be examining this assumption in depth in order to deepen our understanding of forgiveness and how this may be reached.

Our four main speakers are:

Dr. Liz Gulliford will speak on forgiveness from a psychological perspective.
Liz obtained degrees in Theology and Religious Studies before moving into Psychology. She is currently Senior Lecturer in Positive Psychology at the University of Northampton, with a special interest in human strengths including forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, courage, and hope. Her research covers psychology, philosophy and education and has been widely published in journals and books.

Peter Varney will speak on forgiveness from the religious perspectives of Christianity and other religions.
Peter is a retired Anglican priest and anthropologist. He has also worked as a hospital chaplain and counsellor. One aspect of his research on traditional religions in Nigeria and Malaysian Borneo considered how communities gathered to mark events and seek forgiveness, and how Christian missions failed to fully appreciate these beliefs and practices. Peter is a member of Norwich Quaker Meeting.

The Rev Dr Jean Wadsworth.
Jean is a retired vicar living in Sidmouth, Devon.

Tim Newell will speak on forgiveness from a justice perspective.
Tim trained as a teacher and worked with young people and adults within the Prison Service, ending his career as Governor of Grendon prison, a unique prison that provides a therapeutic community for some of the most difficult prisoners, with remarkable results. Since retirement he has worked on several projects to establish the effectiveness of restorative justice for both victims and offenders, and he helped to establish the Quaker initiative Circles of Support and Accountability for high risk, high need sex offenders, now an independent, national charity. He has written about murderers and life sentenced prisoners and about restorative justice in prisons, and he was the Swarthmore lecturer in 2000 on the subject of forgiveness, restorative justice and compassion.

As in recent years, we hope many of you will attend our conference. As usual, the programme will include breakout group sessions, a special Saturday evening event, opportunities to question the speakers and plenary discussion. There will be the usual meetings for worship and epilogues; and plenty of time to socialise and enjoy the wonderful Woodbrooke buildings and garden.
We have kept the residential price down to £234, despite the fact that Woodbrooke has substantially put up the costs of our hiring the conference centre this year.

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