QUG Newsletter January 2018


QUG Annual Conference

‘Quaker understandings of truth’

April 13th- 15th 2018 – Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, Birmingham

The QUG Committee met recently to plan the details of our next annual conference and we are looking forward to it greatly.

Places are filling up fast so you are advised to apply as soon as you can, if possible in the next few weeks.

Our three guest speakers are as follows:

Ben Wood will speak on truth in religion.

Ben is a lecturer in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Leeds Trinity University. He is a Quaker who blogs under the title of Armchair Theologian and he has contributed to many Quaker courses and publications.

Joycelin Dawes will speak on truth in a Quaker context.

Joycelin wrote QUG pamphlet 32, Choosing Life: Embracing Spirituality in the 21st Century. She has written on contemporary spirituality in The Quest, and, as clerk to Quaker Social Action trustees, compiled The Q-bit – at the heart of a Quaker-led organisation. Her recent book, Discernment and Inner Knowing explores our ways of knowing, probing truth through discernment.

Stephen Cox will speak on truth in the media.

A Quaker since 1994, Stephen has led the communications of four national organisations, including 13 years at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children covering issues as diverse as sexual misconduct, scientific breakthroughs and fundraising morality. Stephen’s novel Our Child of the Stars is due out in early 2019.

On the Friday there will be presentations by two members of the QUG Committee:

Tony Philpott will introduce the conference and will talk briefly on psychological issues relating to truth

Tony is Clerk of QUG and a member of the publications team. He wrote From Christian to Quaker in 2013.

Alan York will contrast inner truth through spiritual experience with objective truth through science

Alan is writing a pamphlet for QUG whose draft title is Language, Truth and Spirituality: he will introduce the idea of ‘spiritual qualia’. Alan’s background is in philosophy.

Alan and Tony will also organise a simple anonymous survey of participants on world views / religions that inform our spiritual awareness and on the media we use. A summary of the results will be reported to the conference on the Sunday morning.

There will be the usual meetings for worship, base groups, epilogues and panel/general discussion – plus Saturday evening entertainment, the excellent Woodbrooke food and plenty of time to socialise.

The cost of the conference is £220 (full-time residential cost). Full details of the conference including an application form are available here.

If you have any questions about the conference please contact Glen at gleng@qug.org.uk. She can advise you, for example, about being a non-resident participant at the conference.

Looking Forward

We have been delighted with the support for the Quaker Universalist Group over recent years. We have had well-attended and inspiring annual conferences, lots of interest at Britain Yearly Meeting, thought-proving Universalist articles, the recent publication of two books (in 2011 and 2013) and five pamphlets (since 2015), a steady membership of about 170 and a contact list of over 500 people for our newsletter.

We obviously, therefore, serve a useful purpose in the Society of Friends and beyond. However, it is a good time to look at what we are about and where we are going in the future. The QUG committee is revisiting our aims and how we carry them out and we are seeking your help. We would be delighted if you could write to us about QUG. What are we for? What do you expect us to do to fulfil our aims? What can we do to improve what we are doing? How do we fit into the Quaker movement as a whole? Should we just continue as a national body or is there scope for some regional activity as well? How well do we use the internet and social media in all of this? How should we contribute to a revised Quaker faith and practice? If you would like to send us answers to these questions please email the present clerk of QUG, Tony Philpott, at tonyp@qug.org.uk.

Courses at Woodbrooke

Here are a few 2018 Woodbrooke courses which might interest QUG members:

2nd-4th February – Sex and the Spirit

5th-7th February – A Friendly Introduction to Discernment

21st-23rd February – Stepping into the Parables – creative approaches to the teaching of Jesus

5th -9th March – Metaphysical Poets

16th-18th March – Building a Diverse and Transformative Movement for Change

16th-18th March – The Changing Face of Faith in Britain, How should Quakers respond?

4th – 7th June – Quaker Mysticism: Exploring the Heart of Quaker spirituality with Rufus Jones and Thomas Kelly

20th August – 30th September (online course) – Islam and the environment

26th – 28th October – Exploring Islamophobia

9th – 11th November – Shalom – the peace that changes everything

14th – 16th November – Friends with a dual religious identity

Full details of them all can be found on the Woodbrooke website: https://www.woodbrooke.org.uk/learn/learn-at-woodbrooke/

Membership unknowns

Our membership secretary, Glen Gates, is trying to find out who some mysterious members are. We have bank transfers from ‘Lovely’, ‘D A Evershed’ and ‘Catherine Smith’ but we do not know who these people are! All we have for each one is their bank details. So if anyone can help us solve these mysteries please email Glen at gleng@qug.org.uk.

Contacting us, questions and unsubscribing

If you have any questions or wish to unsubscribe from this newsletter please send an email to tonyp@qug.org.uk.