Promo Banner Image


Mutual Accompaniment and the Creation of the Commons Online

Nov 6-8, 2020

A workshop with Lucy Duncan and Mary Watkins via Zoom
Friday at 7pm through Sunday at noon.

Basic Fee - $100
Fee Plus - $115
Subsidized Fee - $85

If you are seeking financial assistance to participate in this program, please click on the link below for our Financial Assistance Application form. Do NOT register online.

Image detail: "Life and Dreams of the Perla Ravine" ("Vida y Sueños de la Cañada Perla"), originally by Sergio Valdez and community members in 1998. Repainted on the U.S. border wall in Nogales, Mexico in 2005 by Alberto Morackis, Guadelupe Serrano, and community members. Photo: Mary Watkins.

Call Us for More Information!

610-566-4507, ext. 137

To accompany someone is to go somewhere with him or her, to break bread together, to be present on a journey with a beginning and an end. There’s an element of mystery, of openness, of trust, in accompaniment. The companion, the accompagnateur, says: “I’ll go with you and support you on your journey wherever it leads. I’ll share your fate for a while—and by “a while,” I don’t mean a little while. Accompaniment is about sticking with a task until it’s deemed completed –not by the accompagneteur, but by the person being accompanied. —Paul Farmer, Co-founder of Partners in Health

On this post-2020 election weekend, we are all being called to take deeper action for social change. Let us take a step back and discern our direction going forward. We invite you to retreat from your usual activities to listen to our histories of mutual accompaniment and to open a space where we can enter more deeply and consciously into ecopsychosocial accompaniments that call for our presence. If you are interested in working to uproot oppressive systems in a way that reweaves human connection and a sense of belonging to one another and to the earth, please join us. This workshop will help you reclaim gentle, mindful, relational practice, while disrupting systems of oppression embedded in our tissues and day-to-day interactions in order to rebuild the human and earthly commons for a more viable future.

In our lives the fabric of human caring is woven through thousands of acts of mutual accompaniment. Some are brief, others unfold over decades. Most are lived out between family, friends, and colleagues. Many are negotiated between strangers. Accompaniment is not relegated to our relationships with other humans, but is lived as well between ourselves and rivers, mountains, soil, air, as well as between us and other-than-human animals.

Often this fabric woven of accompaniment is taken for granted and forms the backdrop of our busy lives. What shifts happen if we lend our focus to accompaniment in our lives? Who has accompanied us in a way that is treasured by us? What was it about their accompaniment that mattered to us? Who have we accompanied who has graced our life with unexpected challenges and gifts? With whom has accompaniment failed and what are the lessons this offered? Who or what are we led to accompany? What resistances do we need to work with to allow our accompaniment to deepen.

We want to learn together how to navigate the complexity of accompaniment between people from different life experiences – such as race, religion, ethnicity, ability, sexual identity. We will focus on the ethics of the practice of accompaniment. Where do its shadows live, particularly for white people?

Through storytelling, dramatic enactment, council/circle, clearness committees, and silent worship, we will hope to put accompaniment on our life maps and plan, deepening our discernment about the ethics of accompaniment in a too-divided world.

"Life and Dreams of the Perla Ravine" ("Vida y Sueños de la Cañada Perla"), originally by Sergio Valdez and community members in 1998. Repainted on the U.S. border wall in Nogales, Mexico in 2005 by Alberto Morackis, Guadelupe Serrano, and community members. Photo: Mary Watkins.

Outline of Sessions:

I. Entering the geography of accompaniment: This evening will help participants ground in their own life stories and experiences of accompaniment. Working dyadically and in small and large groups, we will enlist participants as co-researchers in discerning from the stories what the key ingredients of accompaniment are.

II. Mapping the circles in our lives where accompaniment happens: Where is accompaniment occurring in our lives and where is it absent? Navigating and examining white supremacy as it contorts being in relationship with others: How internalized inferiority and internalized superiority shape how we show up and how we understand our roles? Increasing our consciousness of white reactivity/defensiveness and the kinds of usurping presence white people are taught, we differentiate transformative ecopsychosocial accompaniment from advising, informing, directing, as well as from charity and naïve notions of helping and serving. We will consider principled, empathetic accompaniment form the perspectives of both accompanier and accompanied.

III. Time for personal discernment about issues with regard to accompaniment in our lives: What are our leadings for where we would like to extend accompaniment or to deepen it? What would support us in doing so? Using abbreviated Clearness Committees, participants will be given the opportunity to be accompanied by several others as they face into one of the dilemmas they experience with regard to accompaniment

IV. An evening of cultural sharing and celebration including music, song, and poetry and other forms of cultural expression as folks are led.

V. Charting a path forward: In this closing session, participants will be invited to imagine transformations in the rest of their lives if accompaniment became or remained a key principle.


Lucy DuncanLucy Duncan serves as Director of Friends Relations for AFSC. She blogs, writes, organizes Quakers to work for justice, and has helped formulate and develop AFSC’s focus on accompaniment as an elemental social justice and spiritual practice including through the adaptation of Quaker social change ministry in which allies center the leadership and voice of those most impacted by injustice. She has been a storyteller for 20 years and has worked with Quaker meetings on telling stories for racial justice and of spiritual experience. Before working for AFSC, she was Director of Communications at FGC, managed QuakerBooks of FGC, owned and managed her own children’s bookstore in Omaha, The Story Monkey, and was a member of a storytelling troupe, The Five Bright Chicks. She is a member of Green Street Friends Meeting (PhYM) and is the proud mom of an 18 year-old son, Simon.

Mary WatkinsMary Watkins, Ph.D., is a liberation psychologist, Chair of the Depth Psychology MA/PhD Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and co-founder and co-chair of its specialization in Community, Liberation, Indigenous, and Eco-Psychologies. She is currently committed to the accompaniment of asylum seekers in detention and to education inside prisons. She is the author of Mutual Accompaniment and the Creation of the Commons, Waking Dreams, and Imaginal Guests: The Development of Imaginal Dialogues; and co-author of Up Against the Wall: Re-Imagining the US-Mexico Border, Talking with Young Children About Adoption, and Toward Psychologies of Liberation. She has been a member of Acton Friends Meeting and Santa Barbara Friends Meeting.

Financial aid may be available. If you are seeking funds to participate in this program, click to review and complete our Financial Assistance Application and a Pendle Hill staff member will follow-up with you shortly (please do NOT register online). Thank you for your interest.

Travel directions to Pendle Hill.