Learn & Discern about Accompaniment

PPF accompanier Ruth, who served as an accompanier in both Colombia and Agua Prieta, presenting at the Learn & Discern training, October 2019

Accompaniment begins with a long weekend of training and discernment in the U.S — called “Learn & Discern.”

Upcoming Learn & Discern training weekends:

  • Spring 2020: March 20-23, 2020 – St Paul’s Commons – Los Angeles, CA – Postponed in response to Covid-19
  • Summer 2020: August 10-13 2020 – Stony Point Center, Stony Point, NY
  • Fall 2020: October 9-12, 2020 – Maria Kaupas Center – Chicago, IL
  • Spring 2021: March 19-22, 2021 – Menucha Retreat & Conference Center – Corvallis, OR

Click here to apply; our Accompaniment Coordinator will follow up with you after receiving your form.

ABOUT LEARN & DISCERN EVENTS:

At this four-day gathering, people who are interested in accompaniment gather to train in non-violence and anti-racism, engage with accompaniment principles, learn about the contexts in which we have been invited to practice accompaniment, and spend time in discernment and reflection.

You organize your own travel to the Learn & Discern event; all costs are covered while you’re there (lodging and food). Anyone who is interested in accompaniment is welcome to learn and discern in community with PPF.

Requirements for Accompaniment Service with PPF:

  • Mature faith and a strong commitment to the theory and practice of faith-based, principled nonviolence
  • Demonstration of backing from your faith community
  • Ability to raise funds from family, friends, and your church community to support yourself as a volunteer
  • Ability to speak Spanish or comfort with situations in which you don’t understand the primary language being spoken (ability to speak Spanish is preferred but not required)
  • 21 years of age and a valid U.S. passport
  • Commitment to PPF’s Principles of Accompaniment

Participants are responsible for their own travel to the training. Once there, your expenses are covered by the PPF Accompaniment Program (but donations to offset the cost are very much needed and appreciated).


Example Learn & Discern training schedule:

*Note that the Learn & Discern at Stony Point in August 2020 is from Monday-Thursday. This is a rough sample schedule to give an idea of what our trainings include, and is entirely subject to change and adjustment as needed.

Friday

  • 4-5pm: Registration and check-in
  • 5:30pm: opening worship
  • 6:30pm: dinner
  • 7:30pm: Community building + group agreements

Saturday 

  • Eat breakfast before we start
  • 9am: Morning Prayer/Devotion
  • 9:15am: What does “accompaniment” mean? What does accompaniment with PPF look like?
  • 11:30am: Break, lunch
  • 1pm: Anti-racism training
  • 6:30pm: Dinner
  • 7:30pm: Evening self-care practice

Sunday 

  • 9am: leave for worship
  • 12noon: lunch after worship, rest time
  • 2pm: work with accompaniment manual, details about accompaniment contexts (break included in this session)
  • 6:30pm: dinner
  • 7:30pm: Evening self-care practice

Monday

  • Eat breakfast before we start
  • 9am: Morning Prayer/Devotion
  • 9:15am: final thoughts and questions
  • 11am: Closing Worship
  • 12noon: departures

Frequently Asked Questions:

How much does participation in Learn & Discern cost? 

You are asked to cover your travel costs to the event. Because we are committed to ensuring financial hardship is not a barrier to participation, there is no registration fee and your lodging and meals are covered. If you have resources available to make a contribution to help cover those costs, we certainly appreciate it! There is a space on the registration form to make such a contribution.

Can I participate in Learn & Discern if I’m not sure that I want to be an accompanier?

Absolutely. This event is designed to offer space for reflection and discernment alongside training and education. If you’re even a little interested in accompaniment service, participating in Learn & Discern is a great way to figure out if accompaniment is right for you.

I’m my child’s primary caretaker. Can they come to the event with me? 

We are working to make sure that Learn & Discern events are as accessible as possible. If this is your situation, please email our Accompaniment Coordinator Alison Wood (alison@presbypeacefellowship.org) to talk through options!

I have a disability. Can I participate in Learn & Discern?

Definitely. Please reach out to Accompaniment Coordinator Alison Wood ((alison@presbypeacefellowship.org), if you feel comfortable doing so, to talk through what support or accommodations you might want to be able to participate fully in this weekend event.

I have dietary restrictions. What will I eat?

Most often, the participants at each Learn & Discern event work together to prepare food for the group. At certain locations, the group eats in a cafeteria or has meals otherwise provided. Either way, we are happy to make sure everyone gets enough of the foods they need to be nourished! You will have an opportunity to share your dietary needs in the registration process.

What time does the event start on the first day? What time should I plan to arrive? 

Generally, Learn & Discern events start at 5pm on the first day. Please plan to arrive on time! The specific start time for each event will be confirmed by PPF Staff when you are sent the event registration form, after filling out the application linked above.