The art of creating spiritually healthy communities
A training retreat from the Unitarian movement
24-27th February, 2020
“How do we create communities that are spiritually healthy? What does spiritual health look like and how can it be developed in today’s secular culture? What is the unique role that Unitarianism can play in creating communities of human flourishing?”
The General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches is offering a three-day training retreat to those who feel these questions to be important or are exploring them already, hosted by a team of experienced trainers and facilitators.
What we’re offering
Over this residential training retreat we will be learning and practicing the art of hosting and harvesting conversations that matter - a practice of holding space for meaningful dialogue that’s being used by thousands of practitioners all over the world.
We will explore and practice tools and techniques that focus attention and encourage participation in a way that gives everyone the opportunity to offer their most valuable contribution.
Alongside a practical toolkit, we will learn about a practice of being in connection - with ourselves and others, so that we are able to hold spaces that enable trust and understanding.
We will all be invited to dive right in, trying out what we learn as we learn it, exploring questions of the things that matter to us in our communities now and in the future, with the help and support of our training team.
These are tools that can be used in our congregations and wider communities to encourage greater participation and connection.
Why are we doing this now?
Our society needs us more than ever.
The lack of participation in religion has led to a loss of connection and a longing for meaning that’s missing from a stressful, individualistic way of life.
Along with existential crises like climate change, ecological destruction and growing inequality, and it’s no wonder that many people are feeling uneasy about the state of the world and their place in it.
As a national faith organisation with a non-dogmatic ethos, we recognise our responsibility in creating spaces that offer the opportunity of meaning and belonging for all.
This training will equip us with the skills and confidence to create opportunities for our wider communities to engage in new ways and enable a different kind of being together.
By the end of our training, the intention is that everyone who attends will feel part of a wider network of support that in turn opens the door for new possibilities within the Unitarian movement and beyond, and invites further learning and development for everyone.
What you need to know
The training will place at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Center, Birmingham from the evening of Monday 24th February to the afternoon of Thursday 27th February, 2020.
This training is largely funded by the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, however we’re inviting differing levels of financial contribution based on your ability to contribute in order to support some of our accommodation and venue costs.
If you’d like to join please fill in this application form where you will also find more details about costs.
We have a limited number of places and the selection criteria will be based on ensuring we have the most diverse group possible.
About our team
We are being taught and supported by a team of international trainers and facilitators who have worked with faith groups, NGOs and both public and private organisations across the world.
Max St John
Max is a trainer, facilitator and writer working across the UK and Europe. He is driven by a belief that giving more space to listen for what matters will enable the personal and systemic shifts we need to take place. In the past he’s been an independent advisor to the UK Government and led a democratically-run business. He teaches Qi Gong, is a forest school practitioner and lives on a smallholding in North Cornwall.
Linda is a process design artist, crafting and hosting meetings, gatherings, trainings and spaces for personal, collective and whole system transformation. A steward of the Art of Hosting with over 40 years’ experience of working alongside people in the social justice and the ‘more than profit’ field, also within the European Institutions, training leaders in participatory process. She dances and sings and loves a good laugh.
Maaike is a host, trainer and poet working with organisations and communities who seek to create change in the world around them. Her work is rooted in new ways of learning, organising and working together around issues that matter. She believes in the power of community building and focuses on the intersection of environmental and social justice. She is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Jon is a visual facilitator, trainer, and participatory learning practitioner. He works with groups, organisations and communities to develop and communicate individual and collective understanding through creative means. Jon is passionate about connecting inner transformation with outer action and has been working to enable this ‘spiritual activism’ for over 20 years. Jon lives in Leeds with his young family, and loves to spend time out walking, cycling and running in the Yorkshire Dales.
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