Quaker Action Training (QAT) Program

QAT Description - Click to View


In November of 2016, the PYM staff Community Engagement Team began a process of discernment with Quakers, organizers, trainers, and social justice activists. We listened and labored with these elders for guidance on how PYM Friends could most effectively move into social action, grounded in our powerful spiritual tradition and in our core commitment to honor that of God in everyone.

A vision emerged from these consultations for an intensive spiritual organizing training program, developed in partnership with Training for Change. This program, called the Quaker Action Training (QAT), will serve as the springboard for the first cohort of Resource Friends to form a Social Justice Practice Area, with a particular focus on Friends taking action for social justice.


The QAT will bring together 10-15 Friends who are presently involved in movement work. The QAT hones skills in community-based spiritual organizing and is free to participants. At the conclusion of the training, participants will become Social Justice Resource Friends who make themselves available to Quaker constituents for consultation and support in organizing for social change. Constituents will be expected to pay Resource Friends modest honoraria for their services (about $250.00 per day). The overall goals of the QAT are to:

  • Cultivate effective, accountable, spiritually grounded movement builders.
  • Give Resource Friends a shared framework in providing skills and offering support to local Quaker communities on how to follow leadings/ministries related to community organizing and social action.
  • Develop evaluation tools and mutual accountability structures that help the practice area be maintained after the initial training.

Program description

The QAT is built around three, 3-day intensives. There will also be individual coaching sessions and self-organized meet-ups between each intensive. Participants will leave each session with clear ways to stay in touch and practice new skills.  A general overview of the sessions is below.

October: Quakers, Organizing and Our Role

In this session, participants will be welcomed into the program, reflect on skills they bring, and get clear on where they are applying lessons. Time will be spent examining this political moment, identifying anchors that support bold actions, and unlocking the creativity that supports innovative strategy.  The role of Social Justice Resource Friends within the Quaker context will also be further defined.

November: Self-Organized 1 Day Meet-Up:

What have you learned about Quakers, Organizing & Your Role?

January: Organizing Among Quakers and in Movements

Building off participants’ needs, potential content might include: organizing tools, communicating across differences, and training and facilitation skills. Time will be spent mapping Quaker communities and their Movements to strategize on how to maximize the value of Resource Friends.

February: Self-Organized 1 Day Meet-Up

Share stories and experiences. How has it been? What support do you need?

March: Skill Building for Increasing Your Impact & Resourcing this Collective Body

This session will explore how participants can continue to support the Quaker community to take action after this training program. Additional skill building opportunities will be designed based on the previous two sessions.

Workshop Format (for 3-day intensives):

Friday, start 6:00 pm, end between 9:00-10:00 pm dinner provided.

Saturday, start 9:00 am, end between 9:00-10:00 pm lunch and dinner provided.

Sunday, start 9:00 am, end by 6:00 pm lunch and afternoon snacks provided.

Though the hours of this training are long, it’s experiential style helps keep people engaged, alert and energized through the weekend. We also provide time for short and extended breaks within our agenda and encourage participants to take care of themselves so that they can stay fully present. Please contact us in advance if you have questions or concerns about the long hours of this workshop.

Other commitments:

  • Upon completion of the program, participants commit to serve the Yearly Meeting as a Resource Friend for at least 1 year (or longer if different group expectations arise from the program).
  • Participants will be accountable to the yearly meeting through a self-defined criterion that will be determined during the training program.
  • Participants can miss up to one day of training.

What do program participants get?

  • Organizing skills that cultivate and deepen one’s ability to organize from a spiritual center
  • A space to cultivate relationships that contribute to a collective vision, strategy and accountability between Friends, PYM and movements for social change
  • Tools for navigating Quaker cultural patterns that have made it hard for Friends to be effective in making change
  • Mentorship and support in the form of 1-3, hour long coaching sessions between each intensive
  • Tools for how to support Friends to take bold action within the context of the Resource Friends Social Justice Practice Area
  • The opportunity to skill-up in spiritual organizing training for free!

Who should apply?

This program is designed for social justice activists and organizers who are connected to local Quaker community in some way (meetings, worship groups, or other organizations) and identify publicly as a Quaker. We will prioritize applicants who are presently involved in grassroots organizing for social change in their community. The deadline for applying is September 10th. 


The first training in October will be held in the Rufus Jones room of the Friends Center, 1515 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102. Other locations are to be determined.


There will be three trainings facilitated by Training for Change Core Trainer, Matthew Armstead, and other guest trainers. The two meet-ups will be organized by the participants. * Note: The January Training was originally scheduled for Jan 12th-14th. It has been moved to the next weekend, Jan 19th-21st, which is reflected below. 

Facilitated Trainings:

Friday, October 6, 2017 at 6 PM to Sunday, October 8 at 6 PM

Friday, January 19th, 2018 at 6 PM to Sunday, January 21 at 6 PM

Friday, March 2, 2018 at 6 PM to Sunday, March 4 at 6 PM

Self-Organized Meet-ups:

November, 2017

February, 2018

QAT Program Facilitators

Matthew Armstead – Lead Program Facilitator

Armstead is a community builder, facilitator, and cultural organizer in Philadelphia, PA, and he is a trainer with Training for Change. He has worked with diverse groups of people from Occupy Wall Street activists to Ivy League university students and led sessions on a variety of topics, such as anti-oppression, strategic planning, community outreach, peer counseling, nonviolent direct action, training of trainers, and organizational development. He has designed workshops on raising class awareness among students, building toward racial justice with college administrators, utilizing conflict with LGBTQ community leaders, and direct action campaigning with Black Lives Matter organizers.

Dedicated to social change, Matthew develops curricula based on the framework of interlocking oppression with the goal of increasing people power. He is passionate about using music, theater, and dance to learn from groups and create dynamic change. Recently, he has been core faculty for Answering the Call to Radical Faithfulness at Pendle Hill as well as an organizer with the grassroots, nonviolent direct action campaign, Earth Quaker Action Team.

Eileen Flanagan – Guest Facilitator

Eileen Flanagan is a member of Chestnut Hill Meeting and a former teacher at Pendle Hill. She has been clerk of Earth Quaker Action Team for the past four years, helping to shape the strategy that pressured PNC Bank out of financing mountaintop removal coal mining. Eileen shares what she has learned about effective and spiritually grounded activism through her online course, We Were Made for this Moment, which has included hundreds of people since the November election. An award-winning author, she speaks to international audiences on topics ranging from personal empowerment and spirituality to climate justice and its intersections with race and class. Read more about her work at eileenflanagan.com




Shreya Shah- Guest Facilitator

Shreya Shah, MPH is a South Asian facilitator and trainer, certified coach, visual artist /designer, and writer.

Shreya was first politicized as a youth worker, implementing sexual health and anti-violence programming for LGBTQ and homeless youth of color at a Chicago drop-in health center. They have over 10 years of experience in education and facilitation- often working at the intersections of racial, gender, and economic justice- with grassroots groups and organizations, other artists, healers, activists and organizers.

Shreya loves singing, visiting with the ocean and woods, and laughing loudly with loved ones. Check out www.saltwatertraining.org for more information!



Reverend Rhetta Morgan- Guest Facilitator

Interfaith Minister, Musician, Activist, Visionary

Rev. Rhetta’s work encompasses spirituality, activism and creativity, contributing to transformation towards a more just community and world. She was an international professional singer for many years before completing studies at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in NY, becoming an ordained Interfaith minister in 2009.

Some highlights of her work:

  • Founder of Ecclesia Spirit, an inclusive, interfaith spiritual community, which has met monthly for the past seven years.
  • Founder of the While We Wait Project. Here she provides spiritual and emotional support to loved ones of incarcerated individuals. A Leeway Art for Change grant sponsors this project.
  • Facilitator of conversations on race and healing, including with Interfaith Peace Walk. She is also a facilitator for the Anti-Defamation League, A World of Difference Institute.

Rev. Rhetta is very active in the Philadelphia area, using music she writes and sings to inspire and heal. Alongside ministerial work at Ecclesia, she uses her voice to create inclusive sacred space, recently this included performing for the Town Hall on Incarceration and Gender hosted by the Leeway Foundation + Bread and Roses Community Fund.

Rev. Rhetta is a board member of Earth Quaker Action Team and has worked Philly Thrive, PILOTS’ student organizers, MAYPOP, The New Economy Coalition and Protecting Our Waters. Some of her most meaningful work is mentoring and counseling activist leaders, encouraging self-care and what she calls a spiritual tool box to aid against despair, overwhelm and depression.

QAT Application

QAT Application

Please read through the description above before filling out the application.