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.


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 special interest in human strengths including forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, courage, and hope.

Rev. Dr. Jean Wadsworth will speak on the Christian understanding of forgiveness from the early church to present day.

Jean spent most of her 35 year in the ministry in the Southwark Diocese. During this time she found that the question of forgiveness was the one that exercised people the most.

Peter Varney will compare forgiveness as it is understood in the religions of the Hebrews, Eastern Christianity, the Yoruba of Nigeria and the Iban of Sarawak.

Peter is a retired Anglican priest and anthropologist who has lived and worked in Nigeria and Malaysian Borneo and studied the impact of the introduction of Christianity on the existing religions. Peter is a member of Norwich Quaker Meeting.

Tim Newell will speak on forgiveness from a justice perspective.

Before retirement, Tim was the Governor of Grendon prison, a unique prison that provides a therapeutic community for some of the most difficult prisoners. Since retirement he has worked on projects to establish how effective restorative justice is in meeting the needs of 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 was the Swarthmore lecturer in 2000, speaking 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. 


Woodbrooke charges for accommodation in 2019 are substantially higher than they were in 2018, so for our conference next year QUG will have to pay £234 to Woodbrooke for each residential delegate.

Because this is such a large increase in the basic cost of putting on the conference we have sought to find a way to avoid having to pass on all the increase to everyone who wants to attend as we are concerned that this might mean that some people could not afford to come.

Therefore, we have decided to offer the £234 charged by Woodbrooke as the basic cost for attending the conference, without including the additional sum that we usually add on to cover our administration costs and the costs for our speakers.

The large majority of our speakers give very generously of their time and request no fee for taking part in our conferences but QUG does have to pay for their accommodation at Woodbrooke and their travel expenses so if you are able to help towards these costs then we would be very grateful. We are suggesting an additional donation of £20 (or however much you wish to give) for those who feel able to afford it as this would help greatly towards covering our conference costs.

Thank you.

Application form download

Booking Form QUG Conference 2019 (pdf)

Booking Form QUG Conference 2019 (.doc)

Payments can be made by cheque or bank transfer see here for bank details