Friday, 11 January 2013

Introducing Maud

Hello! I’m Maud.  When my colleague, Pam Lunn retired at the end of 2012, I was tasked with continuing this blog that she created and nurtured.  I thought my first post had better be an introductory one. So here goes.

If you have been to Woodbrooke in the last couple of years you may have met me, as I began working as the Faith in Action tutor 2 years ago.  I came to Woodbrooke from Birmingham Friends of the Earth (BFoE), a fantastic organisation, where I learnt a vast amount about grassroots campaigning, and experienced many a cold day trying to engage the public - asking people to sign up for campaigns and to play a more proactive role in their neighbourhood.  
I learnt at Birmingham Friends of the Earth that if we are going to create change we need to listen to one another, and really listen without trying to provide a generic answer.   One size doesn't fit all especially in the areas of Climate Change, Peak Oil, Sustainability, and Environmental Justice.  With friends and colleagues I established Faith and Climate Change.  This project lived within BFoE and was designed to forge relationships with faith communities, - to listen to their needs, concerns and ideas, and then to design a package to help them move forward.  I wanted to work with faith communities because when I asked myself why I felt called to work in this sector, it always came back to being a Quaker and my Quakerism.  I wanted to spend my days talking to people of faith about these issues.  I discovered for some, that the financial rewards of running a sustainable community centre attached to their place of worship was their motivator, for others it was Scripture, for some it was the chance for interfaith dialogue around a particular issue.  For almost everyone, the reason was different and the project was small enough to be as responsive as we needed it to be.

Eventually I wanted to spend more time exploring these issues within my faith community and so I ended up at Woodbrooke, looking not just at Sustainability but at a range of issues that Quakers are concerned with.  My first experience of Good Lives was the course, ‘Because we’re worth it’.   I loved the course, it took me to a place where I could name the values that underpinned my life choices:  it also made for great marriage preparation as I came with my now husband, but that was a happy coincidence!  I then went on to meet with the Good Lives on-going group, a group of Good Lives participants who had attended all or almost all of the courses and wanted to explore these issues further and together. It was great to be part of a group where we prioritised sharing our stories with one another.  

What next?

One question for Woodbrooke is how to continue the work begun by the Good Lives project. In 2011 Quakers made a corporate commitment to become a low carbon sustainable community.  To realise this as a community, not as a collection of individuals, but as a community – what does this mean for us? Are our communities resilient enough for the task, and when the task might be different for us all, how can we do it and how can we measure it to know we are being effective?   

These are only some of the questions I have… I would be really interested to hear from you, and hope this blog can serve as way to keep the conversation going.

Some of the courses we offer at Woodbrooke may answer a few of your questions – in 2013 we have the following courses that may speak to you


  1. Dear Maud,
    Welcome to this blog, and I look forward to reading your posts in future. In Sheffield we are wrestling with the challenge of how to embody the commitment to become a sustainable, low-carbon community in practice. This is proving very challenging, as it is for Friends throughout BYM I think, and it would be good to have more opportunities to discuss the process, and to learn from on-going events at Woodbrooke on this theme, perhaps through future posts here.
    In Friendship,

  2. Glad to hear you will be keeping this blog running Maud. It's lovely to hear from you and those courses sound great.