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Resources for Workcamp/Service leaders

Quaker Workcamps are much more than a service or mission program run by Quakers. They are outward expressions of core Quaker beliefs, including that there that of God in all things. To stay grounded in this as we venture into the world of service is an important reason we run Workcamps. Below is a list of resources for service leaders interested in learning more about the theology/philosophy that informs our work: They include academic work, personal reflections and recommendations, and spiritual resources.

Ethics and Practice of Workcamps - written by WPH Program Coordinator Brad Ogilvie, this goes into greater detail about core principles and guidelines of Workcamps, and how they reflect Quakerism and the testimonies. For those looking a basic but detailed understanding of Workcamps for modern times, this is a good place to start.

Listen to Your Community - a reflection by Brandon Lazarus about his experience living in community committed to service.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility - Dr. Katy Swalwell's academic study about the conceptions of students from communities on justice-oriented citizenship.

Minding the Civic Empowerment Gap - another writing of Dr. Swalwell. Her work on Educating Activist Allies has been an instrumental part of articulating many of the principles of our Workcamps.

The following two can be viewed as companion pieces: 8 Steps to Genocide, and Seven Stages of Deep Dialogue. When looking at the early steps/stages of each of these, the former can be viewed as "what", and the latter as more of a "how-to" manual, with the subsequent progressions following similar paths. The former also takes a more "work against the wrong" whereas the latter has more of a positive flow.

Appreciative Inquiry - a method of studying and changing social systems from a strength-based approach of collective inquiry into what is, what can be and what should be. Developed by Dr. David Cooperrider at Case Western Reserve, the principles easily align with the Quaker faith that there is that of God in All, and the testimonies of Community and Equality. WQW has consciously reflected AI in its work since 2007.

Radical Hospitality and Simplicity - Also by Brad Ogilvie, this is a reflection on how the Benedictine Practice of Hospitality and the testimony of Simplicity work together so we can keep our hearts open to being with others so we see people as they are, not how we think they should be.

The Prayer of Saint Francis - Quaker founder George Fox and St. Francis of Assisi shared ideas of God existing in and accessibility to all. This prayer is often used in Workcamps as a reminder of how to practice that, especially remember that we are instruments of peace, to seek to understand rather than to be understood, and where there is hatred, to sow love.

Mindfulness - By Dr. Ellen Langer, this book is about the mindsets that lead human beings - even the smartest - to become stupid and mindless. She also demonstrates that young people can become more creative and engaged, leaders more effective, and elderly healthier when we practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is one of the basic principles of William Penn Quaker Workcamps. Here is a blog posting reflecting on Mindfulness in Workcamps.

Blind Spots: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things - Dr. Madeleine Van Hecke's work reminds us that we all have blind spots. In Workcamps, we use these principles to remind us that when we are in fellowship with people in new and/or different surroundings, our own certainty and righteousness can blind us to seeing opportunities and goodness in others.

In Praise of Doubt: How to have Convictions without Becoming a Fanatic - This work by Peter Berger and Anton Zijderveld challenges us to remember that we live in a pluralist society and, while we may be radicals on some issues, ultimately we are all going to rise or fall together. Doubt allows enough room for others to speak their truths while we speak our own, and encourages the formation of relationships where we may least expect it.

Quotes/Readings - some writings from various authors that have been used in group reflection.

Frequently, William Penn House blog postings include reflections of Workcamps that become a part of our future.

We also welcome other suggested readings and materials. Please send them to Brad.

 
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