You are here

List of Friendly School topics and facilitators

These are the Friendly School sessions, from which you can choose.


A focus on the deeper spiritual and cultural factors behind our exploitation of the world and resources.

Facilitators:  Elizabeth PO' and David King                2pm to 3:30pm AEST

The future belongs to those who are young now. This future looks bleak, with the threat of climate chaos, resource depletion and species extinction.
In this session we consider how young people want to live their lives, and how they prepare for this uncertain future.
We will consider what we can learn from them, and how to support them, in the light of Quaker values.
Intergenerational theft has shaped much of the division between young and old, and so how can we empower young people to make a planet guided by spirit-led discernment?
Quakers in Australia are every age, though most of us are older. What are the spiritual understandings and commonalities and values that people bring to and discover in our Meetings ?
90 minutes - Elizabeth PO' and David King - for the AYM Climate Emergency & Species Extinction Working Group


Working together adaptively as we face the ten threats to human existence

Facilitators:  Bob Douglas & Vidya                              11:30am to 4:30pm AEST

Human civilisation, and perhaps our existence as a species, is threatened by global warming, global poisoning, ecological devastation, population overgrowth, resource depletion, food insecurity, pandemics, nuclear weapons, dangerous new technologies and lastly, mass delusion, with the uncontrolled spread of misinformation and disinformation. 

Facing these catastrophic risks challenges our established ways of working together and our governance systems.  In Australia we are experiencing more severe and more frequent floods, cyclones, droughts and bushfires, and a Covid pandemic.  How can we adapt in the face of these and other emerging threats?  What is adaptive governance?  What role can Quakers play in Australia and around the world? 


Creative Writing on the Theme of “Caring for Humanity in Interesting Times”.

Facilitator:  David Evans                                   11:30am to 4:30pm AEST

Creative writers are invited to contribute an essay or poetry on the theme of Friendly School 2022 ,“Caring for Humanity in Interesting Times”. The time available will be divided between the number of contributors.
In the first session opportunity is given for each attendee to talk about their involvement in creative writing, past, present, and future. The second and third sessions will be presentation of individual articles related to the theme of Caring for Humanity followed by discussion with the group. Lastly there will be consideration of opportunities for Quaker Writers in the wider world. Friends newly interested in creative writing are welcome to attend.
With permission the contributions will be put together as an e-book. At YM2017 the theme of Friendly School was Turning Points. This published set of 10 essays by Australian Quaker Writers is available from David Evans (

The labyrinth as a way of consolation

Facilitator:  Joy Bowles                                              12:30pm to 2pm AEST

During the times of COVID, many people around the world are finding it helpful to meet with others on Zoom to participate in a finger labyrinth meditation. The practice of using your finger to trace the design of a labyrinth, which is a one-way path leading you from the outside to the inner centre, allows you to reflect on where you are on life's journey at any time. Many people find the physical process relaxing, and it can provide some surprising insights depending on what you take into the session.
In this 90 minute session, running from 12:30 to 2pm AEST, we will hear a little about labyrinths and their use as meditation aids, we will do a finger labyrinth meditation, and then we will share any insights or reflections we feel like afterwards.
The attached design can be printed out on paper and used if people don't have their own finger labyrinth.


Building the Peace the World Needs, Quaker Peace and Legislation Committee

Facilitator:  Harold Wilkinson, Margaret Clark          11:30 to 1pm AEST

Friends have always been more about peace building than just opposing violent conflict. Creating the world we want for the future, and developing ways to make it happen is both a creative and cooperative community enterprise, engaging the community of Friends.
Drawing on various Quaker United Office resources including, Building Peace in Times of Crisis (February 2022), this session will focus on the many peace building opportunities which are often drowned out by belligerent calls for hatred and war. The intersections between social justice, economic inequality, racism and environmental destruction will anchor the session.

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 598 808 4864            Passcode: 413600


An introduction to several words in the language of Original Australians and the implied concepts they encapsulate

Facilitator:  Harald Ehmann                             11:30am to 1pm AEST and again at 2pm to 3:30pm AEST

Humanity is a complex mass of cultures, with most having their own language. Words in languages are usually shorthand for concepts, often complex ones if we are unfamiliar with the culture/language. Despite its world dominance the English language does not and cannot include all of the diversity of word/concepts of even one other language. In these sessions we will be introduced to several words in the languages of Original Australians and learn the implied concepts they encapsulate. Understanding the underlying and implied concepts and meanings of these words can provide eye-opening re-evaluations of the way Original Australians live in the English-dominated world. Elders invite us to consider and adopt their understandings, words and concepts in our ongoing English-based endeavours to “come right way” with Original Australians, ourselves, nature and the Earth. Adopting these will help to truly care for Humanity, all life and the Earth in these times.


Poetic and Artistic responses to Caring for Humanity in ‘Interesting’ Times

Facilitator:  Michael Griffith                                    1pm to 4:30pm AEST

Poets and artists care for humanity by opening minds and hearts to the reality, the light, that lies beyond our distractions. As John Main OSB noted in Monastery Without Walls “…neither we nor creation have lost the divine radiance. But we have lost the faculty of seeing it”. Beginning with a number of poems and paintings, this session will explore this question: how can the “language” of the arts open our lost faculty of “seeing”? Participants are encouraged to submit poems and paintings (from established authors/artists) for possible inclusion in our exploration. Please send to Examples: *Welsh poet R.S. Thomas: “But, the silence of the mind is where I live best/ Within listening distance of the silence we call God”. *Australian artist John Olsen, with reference to his painting Sydney Sun: “I like to keep the open-eyed innocence of a child”.


The Spiritual Side of Reality Caring for Humanity in Interesting Times

Facilitators:  Heather Herbert & Roberta Turner                                11:30am possibly to 4:30pm AEST

“Godness” is the loving energy at the Ground of our Being. At the time the scientists called the Big Bang, “Godness” released its energy to form whatever it chose. So all living beings were part of this release and are “children of God having “Godness” within them, responsible for each other. This responsibility is a loving energy all around us as well as within us; it is an energy eager to help us to be as fruitful and joyful as possible. A great deal of experience and research supports this view of reality. We will be sharing this research and experience in this session.  There will be a food and movement break between an hour and an hour and a half later. We can regather and continue for as long as we decide, up to 4.30pm AEST.


The Earthcare Game as a way of Caring for Humanity in Interesting Times

Facilitator:  Lisa Wriley                                    11:30am to ? AEST

The EARTHCARE game is a fun way to explore ways we can care for the earth, connect with nature and help conserve the planet's resources: take small steps to save the planet and earn points; make a mess, waste energy or water and lose points. I CARE cards help you do good things. Suitable for 6 - 106 year olds. At the Australian Yearly Meeting 2021 Lisa shared the Kickstarter (crowdfunder), raising funds to make the first 500 copies of the EARTHCARE game, inspired by the 1976 NZ game CONSERVATION. Thanks to many Quakers and others she reached her goal and began the journey to make a board game sustainably. Whether you have an EARTHCARE game handy or not, you can join the Friendly school session to find out more about the decisions made about what to keep and what to change on the 1976 game; how to play; what Lisa hopes for the game in the future and, if you feel inclined, how you can contribute to the games glossary, explaining the 42 different squares on the game board and providing links to more information. We can do this in breakout rooms. To get and find out more about the game:


Time with John --John's Gospel as the Quaker Gospel

Facilitator:  David Johnson                                    11:30am to 4:30 AEST

John’s Gospel is regarded as the Quaker Gospel because of its inwardness and the emphasis on the divine Light which is gifted to every person, without exception. The first Quakers, at times, referred to themselves as Children of Light.
George Fox asked the congregation at Ulverstone: “What canst thou say? Art thou a child of the Light, dost thou walk in the Light, and what thou speakest, is it inwardly from God?”
We will read some early Quaker writings from the mid 1600s and explore the biblical allusions, especially those from John’s Gospel.
First day 7th Month, 3rd, 2022
11.30am – 1.00 pm – Light in the Conscience
1.00-3.00pm – Lunch, and Time for Reflection
3.00pm - 4.30 pm – Worship in Spirit and in Truth