Education & Courses

Learning Resources

This is part of an evolving web presence for the Education Program of Canadian Quakers. Over time, Friends will have access here to a variety of resources.

The Education Program is administered by the Canadian Yearly Meeting Education and Outreach Committee (E&O), which can be reached at E&O also administers several funds that support Quaker education and travel.

Check out the courses and resources below!

Introduction to Quakers and Friends Ways

jeffThis six session learning resource will build community among the participants to deepen our understanding of Quaker worship. The course facilitator, David Summerhays, will support an exploration of the early history of Friends, the history of Friends in Canada, Quaker testimonies and their origin, and how our Quaker community nurtures how we live, work, worship, and transact business. This course was previously offered in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

Although created to meet the needs of more recent attenders seeking to learn more about Quakerism, we believe that even longstanding members could benefit from this course.We welcome inquiries from anyone who would like to learn more about Quaker ways, with priority given to Canadian Yearly Meeting Members and Attenders.

Participants will meet once a week for six weeks using either video conferencing or audio conferencing technology. Don’t worry if you are unfamiliar with conferencing technology, the facilitator and the Education and Outreach Committee are committed to making participation in the course as easy as possible for everyone.

The 6 sessions will focus on:

  • Introduction(s) and Building the Course Community
  • Experiencing the Spirit – Worship and Ministry in our Community
  • Early Friends – History (including Canadian) – What are our roots?
  • Testimonies – Faith in Action
  • The Meeting Community – Business
  • The Meeting Community – Living the Spiritual Community

Participants will be asked to do a short reading before each of the sessions. These readings can be accessed below this text.

The course will include worship, active exercises, reflections from readings, and the application to one’s own life of what is learned.

The course is free of charge, and donations to Canadian Yearly Meeting are of course welcome. For information concerning the dates of the course and how to register, email


“Uh oh, Was That a Leading?” Course

This is an on-line course developed by David Summerhays for Canadian Yearly Meeting which can also be used by face-to-face meetings. The course contains 5 or 6 two hour sessions including:

  • Exploration of the concept of “leadings”
  • Readings and discussion on how early Friends and Friends throughout history have understood “leadings”
  • Jokes
  • Discernment of what is and what is not a “leading”
  • Practice explaining Quakerism to newcomers
  • Exploration of what participants learned in the course

There are readings for each session. The full course descriptions, readings and resource materials and facilitator guides are available here.  The course includes worship, storytelling, reflections from readings, and the application to one’s own life of what is learned.


Study of Canadian Yearly Meeting’s Faith & Practice

Published in 2011, Faith & Practice is a collection of writings and quotes selected by Canadian Friends to serve as a living reference of our values, witness, and tradition.

This course was developed by Majory Reitsma-Street and Gale Wills as a tool to explore and study Faith & Practice. It was first used in Vancouver Island Monthly Meeting.

It is available as an online course and a self-study course, which you can access below:


“Being Peace, Being Quaker: Walking Through Conflict Together”

Quaker testimonies, discipline, and instruction in faith and practice focus on the positive value of good relationships among us. However, conflicts do arise from time to time, and we hope that Quakers will seek to be faithful in addressing these conflicts and walking through them together.

The resources below have been developed or collected for Canadian Yearly Meeting, and are offered with the hope that Friends will find them useful:

Being Peace, Being Quaker: A Course on ‘Being in Conflict’

This guide for a 6-part learning session is offered as part of the Canadian Yearly Meeting resources for individual and Meetings in conflict. It is based on Quaker Process and the Non-Violent Communication (NVC) approach developed by Marshall Rosenberg. Those interested in the course can contact

Session 1:
 Welcome and Introduction
– A practical, life-affirming approach to being peace, being Quaker

– Introduction of the Non-Violent Communication approach and link with Quaker faith and practice

Session 2: 
Being Peace Being Quaker
– Peace within myself
– Understanding my needs, exploring, inquiring to find them behind feelings and thoughts
– Practicing self-empathy, distinguishing between needs and strategies

Session 3: 
Speaking Peace, Speaking Quaker
– Peace with another
– Listening to hear, understanding and acknowledging others’ needs
– Expressing empathy, listening where there’s hurt

Session 4:
 Speaking Peace, Speaking Quaker
– Peace with another
– Speaking truth without judgment, seeing the unmet needs behind thoughts and expressions of judgment, making requests (not demands) of others

Session 5:
 Living Peace, Living Quaker
– Answering that of God – in self and in others
– The power of empathy, sustaining a practice of Spirit-led, peace-full communication

Session 6: 
Living Peace, Living Quaker
– Peace where others are in conflict,
 or there is a difficult question without resolution
– What would Love have us do? How do we support others in listening, in speaking truth with compassion?
– How do we contribute to moving through conflict in the Blessed Community?


Learning at CYM in Session

tomfindleyCanadian Quakers gather annually for CYM in Session, where there are many opportunities for learning

Specific information will always appear on the coming year’s program (once it’s available), but here are typical examples of learning opportunities at the yearly gathering:

  • Pre-gathering retreats – sometimes silent retreats, sometimes on specific topics
  • Welcoming and gathering activities that involve learning more about our community and who we are as Friends
  • The Sunderland P. Gardiner Lecture – a kind of keynote address, usually sharing wisdom from a seasoned Friends on how Spirit has moved in their lives. For the audio and video of some past lectures, go to
  • The Quaker Study or Bible Study – 4 or 5 daily sessions on specific topics of interest to Friends. Again, for audio and video of past studies, go to
  • Workshops on topics like welcoming first-timers, leading worship-sharing or worship-study groups, the role of Listeners at CYM in Session, and training for those working with youth
  • Special Interest Groups (SIGs) offered by a number of Friends or Committees. Past SIGS have included: presentations on local service projects, dealing with conflict, writing, collage, playshops, visitation, clerking Meeting for Worship for Business
  • Age-appropriate, engaging learning and play activities for children and youth
  • Sometimes we learn just by being in the presence of our elders.


Quaker Youth Pilgrimage

The Quaker Youth Pilgrimage was active for over 50 years, enabling Young Friends ages 16–18 to learn about Quaker history and process, develop a stronger relationship with God, and experience the diversity of Friends’ traditions and worship while traveling, living, and working on a service project together for a month during the summer.

The pilgrimage took place every two years and was jointly sponsored by the Section of the Americas and the Europe and Middle East Section of Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC). (Canadian Yearly Meeting is part of FWCC.)

In 2016, the program was suspended due to budget and staffing issues. In its place a Young Adult Friends Development Fund has been created. Its aim is to sponsor projects that enable Young Adult Friends (ages 18-35) to strengthen Quaker identity and meet peers at the international level, across different branches of the Quaker family, or across different variations of the same branch.

For information on the Young Adult Friends Development Fund and to apply for it, visit the webpage for the pilgrimage/fund.