Friends Journal welcomes articles, poetry, art, photographs, and letters from our readers. We are also helped by your comments and questions. We are an independent magazine serving the entire Religious Society of Friends. Our mission is “to communicate Quaker experience in order to connect and deepen spiritual lives,” which allows for a variety of viewpoints and subject matter. We welcome submissions from Friends and non-Friends alike.

Read our full editorial guidelines and learn about the different types of articles we publish on our Submissions Page.

Upcoming General Submissions Deadlines:

  • 2024: Jan. 22, May 20, July 22, Nov. 18.
  • 2025: Jan. 20, May 19, July 21.

Many issues of Friends Journal are set aside for specific themes. Every 18 months or so we poll readers and dream up ideas for future issues (you can see the current list on our submissions page).

We also keep four issues a year open: no theme and no expectations. Most of our unsolicited articles go into a “General Submissions” list that we hold for these issues. Sometimes a choice is easy: we’ll get a blockbuster article that we know we just have to print. But just as often we’ll run some quiet piece of Quaker life that is offered to us without regard to our schedules.

The first bit of advice is to give our editorial submission guidelines a good once-over. The introduction to what we’re looking for is instructive.

We prefer articles written in a fresh, non‐academic style. Friends value an experiential approach to life and religious thought. Our readers particularly value articles on: exploring Friends’ testimonies and beliefs; integrating faith, work, and home lives; historical and contemporary Friends; social concerns and actions; and the variety of beliefs across the branches of Friends.

You should also study our tips for writing for Friends Journal. This is our list of the most-common pitfalls for incoming submissions—problems like length, structure, and tone.

The next thing to ask when writing or pitching an article to us is “why Friends Journal?” There are very few places where someone can write on the Quaker experience and see their work published. This scarcity weighs on us as we select an open issue’s mix. Authors don’t need to be Quaker, but the piece should have a strong Quaker hook. We’re not above doing a control-F on a submission to see how many times “Quaker” or “Friends” is mentioned. If it’s just a tacked-on reference because you’re shopping a piece written for another publication, it probably won’t work for us.

When you’re ready to send us something, please use the Submittable service so that we will have all of your information on file. “General Submissions” is the category for material that we consider for non-themed issues.

Link to share: Writing for General Submissions

Please note: All poetry should be submitted separately here.

One of the perennial topics for Friends is membership in our society. Friends Journal has devoted special issues to it before, most recently in 2020. It’s perhaps the other end of a funnel that starts with outreach: we let people know we exist, bring them in, and slowly build relationships until they become part of us.

It sounds simple but as the idiom warns, the devil is in the details. How do we invite regular visitors to consider joining us? Are there ways to prepare them? Do we explicitly talk about membership? Do we regularly explain both what it is and how the process to join happens?

And do we ourselves have a common understanding of what it means? Some compare it to the commitment of a marriage and joining can be a major life milestone. But it can also be the acknowledgment of a relationship that’s already formed: a confirmation of the status quo. It can also sometimes be an administrative technicality, a toggle on the meeting contact spreadsheet.

There are a variety of pressures on the current membership model:

  • Increased mobility means work and school often take us far from home meetings, especially for younger adult Friends.
  • Quakers’ visibility on the Internet and outreach projects like our own QuakerSpeak video series mean seekers can find us even when there is no Friends meeting nearby.
  • We continue to have ongoing questions of what qualifications might be needed or appropriate for membership.
  • The emergence of new Quaker associations out of the breakup of historic yearly meetings raises questions for the status of ousted members.
  • The newer phenomenon of hybrid and online-only meetings for worship means isolated seekers have a way to connect with Friends worship but no brick-and-mortar meeting to affiliate with.
  • Shrinking memberships, combined with the increased time pressures of modern life, have made it harder for outreach and clearness committees to operate effectively in many meetings and Friends churches.
  • Experiments with at-distance and/or yearly-meeting-sponsored memberships are raising a host of questions about how individuals relate to larger Quaker bodies and vice versa.

In addition to identity, there are all sorts of questions about the expectations and duties of members.

  • How do we explain the membership process to regular visitors? How do we balance being non-pushy with being non-communicative?
  • Are there benefits or expectations that membership provides, i.e., eligbility on certain committees or financial support?
  • How do we support and communicate with members who have stopped participating in the life of the meeting, either because they might have moved, or become disinterested, or are physically unable to attend?

As always, these ideas are just suggestions, and we’re happy to read whatever readers think about the current state and future of membership.

Fast facts:

Learn more general information at Friendsjournal.org/submissions.

We’re breaking two of our rules for the June/July 2024 issue. The first is our aversion to running issues focused on particular individuals. Perhaps it’s a remnant of the kind of old-school Quaker humility that gave the world plain speech, plain dress, and plain meetinghouse architecture, but we’re also a bit allergic to the “Great Man” histories that ignore the context behind most social movements. We also shy away from giving attention to anniversaries, which seem rather arbitrary and also too plentiful.

But rules are meant to be broken, right? This summer we’re looking at the 400th Anniversary or George Fox’s Birth (which occurred in July of 1624; historians are not sure of the exact day).

For those who have never walked into a meetinghouse or even cursorily scanned the Quaker Wikipedia entry, Fox is the founder of the Religious Society of Friends. Well, at least he’s credited for that. In reality there was already a strong movement of independent spiritual seekers when he arrived on the scene, and there were dozens of other ministers, organizers, and writers who each left their mark on the burgeoning Quaker movement.

Still, there’s a very good question to be asked (and perhaps an article to be written) about whether we should be making this kind of a fuss for George Fox. The irony is that those first Friends weren’t themselves interested in recent historical movements. They distrusted academic learning, rarely quoted spiritual contemporaries (except perhaps to mock them), and didn’t believe in any authority other than Christs’ inward inspiration and the Bible. What would Fox himself think of all the attention we give about him? When she first heard him preach, Fox’s future wife Margaret Fell went into a swoon when he preached “You will say Christ saith this, and the apostles say this; but what canst thou say?”

Many modern Friends very much care about what the apostle Fox said. In the twentieth century, many of the most visionary Friends were historians, from Braithwaite to Jones to Brinton. Quakers have used histories to divide us with claims that some types of Friends are closer to the original vision than others. But they have also been used to unite us by giving us a shared history that all Friends can claim.

Friends World Committee for Consultation has had its eyes focused on the anniversary for a while, hoping that Friends across the globe can put aside differences to get to know one another through our shared spiritual ancestor. There’s been a growing interest in recent decades for increased communication to understand differences among Friends. This seems as good a time as any to throw a Quaker block party.

What does George Fox mean to you? What parts of his life or writings have inspired and buoyed your own spiritual path? But we don’t just want a figurehead: we also want to understand the context of Fox’s life—his flaws, his evolutions, the things that make him not a saint but a fellow traveler. Give us the nuance. How did a movement coalesce around him? What lessons does his life provide for those of us wanting to bring together today’s seekers? What pieces of his legacy have we been overlooking?

Finally, a few pleas: please, please, please don’t write about Penn’s sword unless you’re discussing nineteenth-century Quaker hagiography (which, to be honest, could make for an interesting article for another issue). Also, take care to not dice up Fox quotes with so many cuts and pastes and ellipses that the original meaning is obscured. Let’s try to approach him as he was, or at least as he presented himself.

Fast Facts

Learn more general information at Friendsjournal.org/submissions.

Humans are social animals. We are inspired, influenced, supported—and sometimes undermined by—the people we love. In this issue we'll look at the variety of our personal relationships as well as those of extended families and close friendships. We're interested in the full range of friend and family models that our readers experience.

Fast Facts

Learn more general information at Friendsjournal.org/submissions.

In November 2024 we will publish our fourth annual issue of Quaker Fiction (you can read through our first and second issues here). It’s open to all genres—crime, fantasy, romance, science fiction and horror, young adult, and more. Surprise us with your work! For this special issue, we’re seeking short stories from 500-2000 words, and flash fiction of less than 500 words. We’re seeking stories of Quakers and their experiences outside of what is true of the world we inhabit today. We welcome submissions from Friends and non-Friends alike. While we’re casting a wide net, we’re not the right market for erotica or extreme horror. We are also not a market for fan fiction or other works that use other folks’ intellectual property. We are a queer-affirming publication and will not be accepting any work based in homophobia, transphobia, or general racism, sexism, bigotry, or fascism. Fast Facts 

Learn more general information at Friendsjournal.org/submissions.

Fast Facts

Learn more general information at Friendsjournal.org/submissions.

Fast Facts

Learn more general information at Friendsjournal.org/submissions.

Fast Facts

Learn more general information at Friendsjournal.org/submissions.


Fast Facts

Learn more general information at Friendsjournal.org/submissions.
 

Fast Facts

Learn more general information at Friendsjournal.org/submissions.

Fast Facts

Learn more general information at Friendsjournal.org/submissions.

In November 2025 we will publish our fifth annual issue of Quaker Fiction (you can read through our first and second issues here). It’s open to all genres—crime, fantasy, romance, science fiction and horror, young adult, and more. Surprise us with your work! For this special issue, we’re seeking short stories from 500-2000 words, and flash fiction of less than 500 words. We’re seeking stories of Quakers and their experiences outside of what is true of the world we inhabit today. We welcome submissions from Friends and non-Friends alike. While we’re casting a wide net, we’re not the right market for erotica or extreme horror. We are also not a market for fan fiction or other works that use other folks’ intellectual property. We are a queer-affirming publication and will not be accepting any work based in homophobia, transphobia, or general racism, sexism, bigotry, or fascism. Fast Facts 

Learn more general information at Friendsjournal.org/submissions.

Fast Facts

Learn more general information at Friendsjournal.org/submissions.

Friends Journal