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Faith, Power and Peace was a series of three weekend workshops in Birmingham during autumn 2015.  The course was a collaboration between trainer, author and activist Diana Francis, Turning the Tide and Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre.

Diana has long and deep experience in peace and conflict issues. She has studied and worked with groups at home and across the world. Her lecture, Faith, power and peace to the Yearly Meeting of British Quakers in 2015, came with an accompanying book:

Many Quakers were struck powerfully by Diana’s lecture and book, and the purpose of the course was to work with some of those. The aim was to build a deeper understanding and confidence as peacemaking advocates and practitioners.

We divided the course into three weekends with the following themes:

1. Violence, nonviolence and the power to transform – the first weekend framed and opened up these huge issues.

2. From militarism to peace – explored militarism and how pervasive it is in our culture, and began looking at ways of addressing it.

3. Speaking up and speaking out – aimed to develop skills and confidence to resist and challenge militarism and the patriarchal power of domination, and assert collaborative models of peacebuilding.

It was a  journey which explored our various experiences and understandings. We used a number of Diana’s valuable models to help make sense of these concepts and Turning the Tide activities to explore how they relate to our own positions. We listened to a radio interview with a professional peacebuilder and gung-ho militarist and examined their respective approaches and frameworks. Much was learned about how we can talk with greater confidence about peace and justice. Feedback from participants was strongly positive. The group appreciated the warm and safe workshop environment, which enabled them to share things with each other at a deep level.

From the start, we wanted this course to be for people who would apply their learning in practical actions for peace and justice. We wanted to build confidence and courage to speak out publicly for peace. We wanted the group to support each other in their own development and growth for this work. Amazingly, I hear that some of them are planning a follow-up weekend in 2017, which they will plan and lead themselves. How wonderful is that?

Image: Front cover Faith power and peace. Credit: Michael Menefee, flikr

More information

Read this blog post about the course from a participant, Maud Grainger, tutor at the Woodbrooke Quaker study centre. Check out the Woodbrooke site also for more information about the follow-up session in 2017.