QUG 2019 Annual Conference

FORGIVENESS – Why forgive?

We held a very rewarding and thought-provoking annual conference at Woodbrooke on the weekend of May 8th-10th 2019.

Some of the delegates to the 2019 QUG Conference

Our speakers were Hazel Nelson, Peter Varney, Tim Newell and Liz Gulliford. Between them, they covered a great deal of ground. We heard about forgiveness in Judaism, Christianity, the Yoruba of Nigeria and the Iban of Sarawak. We heard of two modern psychological approaches to forgiveness, the more cognitive ‘reframing’ approach and the more empathetic ‘REACH’ model. The relationship between forgiveness and justice was also covered, illustrated by examples like restorative justice and truth and reconciliation.

The talks have been published as a pamphlet, available for purchase. See here for more information about the pamphlet.

Audio version of the talks are available below for listen or download.

  • Forgiveness – some questions – Dr. Hazel Nelson
  • Forgiveness from a Jewish and Christian perspective –Rev. Dr. Peter Varney
  • Psychological approaches to forgiveness – Dr. Liz Gulliford
  • Forgiveness: the criminal justice dimension – Tim Newell
  • Forgiveness and reconciliation in the Yoruba of Nigeria and the Iban of Sarawak – Rev. Dr. Peter Varney

Speaker Notes:

Dr. Liz Gulliford is Senior Lecturer in Positive Psychology at
the University of Northampton, with special interest in human
strengths including forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, courage
and hope. It was whilst reading for her first degree in Theology
at Oxford that she became fascinated by why people believe
what they do, and the impact that has on them, so she went on
to read two further degrees in Psychology. Her research
encompasses psychology, philosophy and education and has
been widely published in academic journals and books.

Dr. Hazel Nelson is a retired clinical psychologist and
psychotherapist. She holds dual membership of Quakers and
Church of England.

Tim Newell is well known for his work to bring Quaker
principles into the justice system and he was the Swarthmore
lecturer in 2000 on the subject of restorative justice and
compassion. He was governor of Grendon Prison, a unique
prison providing a therapeutic community for some of the most
difficult prisoners, and after retirement he helped to establish
the Quaker initiative Circles of Support and Accountability for
high risk, high need sex offenders, now a national charity.

Rev. Dr. Peter Varney is a Quaker and a retired Anglican
priest. He has degrees in Geography and Anthropology and
studied Theology at Birmingham and Ibadan Universities. In
Nigeria he encountered Yoruba traditions and indigenous
Christianity, and in Borneo he studied the merging of Iban
traditional religion and Christianity. His most recent research
has focused on Iban burial rites and eschatological beliefs,
considering issues of religious accommodation, modernity and