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Clearness Committees: An Introduction to Spiritual Discernment in Community for Personal and Social Transformation

Dec 4, 2023

A First Monday Lecture with Valerie Brown and John Baird
7:30pm - 9pm Eastern Time (US & Canada) via Zoom.

Free to the public! Registration required.

Call us for more information!

610-566-4507, ext. 137

The journey toward reinventing and transforming limiting beliefs takes courage, self-awareness, a growth mindset, a vision of a just and equitable society, a supportive and caring community, and more. The Quaker Clearness Committee is a unique process of individual and communal spiritual discernment that can support people on this journey. Valerie Brown and John Baird will share an innovative vision of the Clearness Committee based on the work of Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal, introducing themes they will explore in their on-campus March workshop, including vocation, life transitions, and aging.

Thanks to the generous support of the Friends Foundation for the Aging, we’re able to make this and other free, online programs accessible to f/Friends of all ages.


Valerie Brown is an author, an ordained Buddhist-Quaker Dharma teacher in the lineage of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village tradition, a Courage & Renewal® Facilitator, and an executive coach specializing in leadership development and mindfulness practices with a focus on diversity, social equity, and inclusion. A former lawyer and lobbyist, Valerie transformed her high-pressure, twenty-year career into serving leaders and nonprofits to create trustworthy, authentic, compassionate, and connected workspaces.

Her latest book, Hope Leans Forward: Braving Your Way toward Simplicity, Awakening, and Peace (Broadleaf, 2022), received the Nautilus Gold Award for Eastern Spirituality in 2023. She has authored several popular Pendle Hill pamphlets, including Coming to Light: Cultivating Spiritual Discernment through the Quaker Clearness Committee (PHP #446). She is a member of Solebury Monthly Meeting (PA). She leads an annual pilgrimage to El Camino de Santiago, Spain. Learn more at

John Baird has served as clerk of two Friends meetings, head of two Friends schools, a board member at Pendle Hill and the Friends Council on Education, a religion and a biology teacher, and a Friend in Residence at Pendle Hill and Woodbrooke Study Centre. He has been prepared as a facilitator by the Center for Courage & Renewal® and has led retreats and workshops for schools, meetings, conference centers, and churches. He loves working collaboratively to create space for listening to one another in such a way that we can hear our Inner Teacher, discover our gifts, and support and encourage each other in bringing them into the world. John is a member of Durham (NC) Monthly Meeting. He and his wife are the parents of three grown children.

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