Mar 212014

QLA – Creating, nurturing and holding an Australian Quaker learning space.

QLA carries forward the strong historical commitment of Friends to seeking.

It’s a lily-pad. That is the metaphor we’ve chosen to capture the idea of supporting from beneath, rather than controlling from above. We are here to gather and disseminate information about learning opportunities. Where opportunity arises, we will encourage the development of new resources and programs.

We are in the business of supporting Friends who feel led to create and lead those opportunities, not in the business of delivering them.

The name “Quaker Learning Australia” was agreed at mid-year Standing Committee (2008) as a way of differentiating between the Meeting for Learning retreat program, and the work of the committee.

Quaker Learning Australia is a committee of the Australia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) under the care of Tasmania Regional Meetinng.  The committee consists of Lyndsay Farrall, Stephanie Farrall, Shiobhan Harpur, Alison Imbriotis, Pamela Leach, Robin McLean, Margaret Mollison, Jen Newton, Katherine Purnell, Felicity Rose, Jenny Seaton, Kevin Sheldon.’

We continue to explore on-line learning.

You may have skills or resources to offer or ideas about Quaker learning; you may have identified a need to be met or want to report on something you’ve tried. Feel free to contact any member of the committee – we will welcome your contribution.

The QLA site will evolve and develop, as a learning site should. We welcome your further visits, and also any suggestions you have for content or capability.

Mar 112014

Sunday 21 September – Saturday 27 September 2014
Friday 25 September – Thursday 1 October 2015

One of the highlights in the Quaker calendar – each year, Quakers in Australia hold a 6-night residential Retreat as part of the Meeting for Learning. This is a year-long program of spiritual reflection which begins and ends with a week’s residential Retreat.

In 2014 the Retreat will focus on our individual inner journey, and in 2015 the Retreat will focus on the spiritual life of our faith community. Listening to ourselves and each other is a spiritual exercise which often leads to deep insights, transformation and discernment. Much time is devoted to deepening our listening skills, among other practices based on Friends’ long history of spiritual nurture and faith in action.

Another highlight of each Retreat is a mid-week silent day and night. Some participants feel nervous about this beforehand, and then find that extended silence in community is an enriching experience. A facilitator is always available to during the Silent Day.

Between Retreats the process goes on with a chosen Support Group from your local Meeting, willing to empathise and encourage while you choose some areas to work on – maybe personal growth or a task within your worshipping community. Sharing this journey is a rich part of the Retreats. There are many other ways of expressing our being and some of them are explored together and in personal time.

The 2014 and 2015 Retreats will be held at Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre at Ormiston near Brisbane. It’s a beautiful centre, owned by the Catholic Church, on the edge of Moreton Bay with views across to Stradbroke Island. Ormiston is about 40 minutes’ drive from Brisbane CBD or from Eagle Farm airport.

Accommodation and Cost
Each participant will have a bedroom with ensuite bathroom for the 6 nights. All accommodation, meals and a Resource Book are included in the price, which has been about $720 in the last few years. There may be financial assistance by applying through your Regional Meeting or the AYM Thanksgiving Fund. Facilitators give their time and support through the year as well

After lunch on Thursday 25 September, ending after lunch on Wednesday 1 October.

Who for?
The Retreat is limited to 12 participants, plus two or three facilitators. The lead facilitator is Fiona Gardner of Victoria Regional Meeting. Other facilitators in the past three years have been Jenny Spinks of Canberra, Catherine Heywood of Victoria, and Sue Wilson of Queensland.

How to apply – for this or a future year?
The Retreat is open to members, attenders and others in sympathy with the Quaker way.
If you think this Retreat might be for you, please take these two steps:

  1. Talk to a previous retreatant in your local Meeting, to ask all your questions and to hear their experience and descriptions.
  2. Contact a facilitator for more information.

Fiona Gardner or (03) 5446 9951
Jenny Spinks
Catherine Heywood
Sue Wilson

May 062013

My “Meetings for Worship” are necessarily on my own. But not exactly on my own. My fellow worshippers, joining me in the silence of the bush, have added a deep sense of spirit to the gathering, a strong sense of the divine presence in the stillness of creation. At times, one of those present has been moved to speak to me:


From Meeting for Worship Alone in The Northern Territory, Central Australia

Where the budgies spoke:

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Apr 052013

Quaker Basics (QB) is a course of study focussing on various aspects of Quaker life and practice. The basic materials for the course consist of a manual which is available online or as a hard copy publication. QB can be undertaken individually, with another Friend, or as a small group and will probably take several months to complete. Continue reading »

Jun 212012

This is the text of an article by Peter Wilde which was published in the Australian Friend.

“Hearts and Minds Prepared” seems well suited to our situation in Australia, a group of nine Friends and attenders in Hobart decided to try it out. We settled very quickly into a trusting, learning, spiritually growing group, and our Thursday evenings became a refuge of calm, deep sharing and sensitivity. We found the course as a whole enriching and enjoyable, if quite demanding of commitment and energy. We can thoroughly recommend it to others. Tasmania’s course package is now being used in northwest Tasmania and South Australian Friends are using their own.

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