There's an old Quaker joke about the newcomer visiting their first Quaker meeting. They sit down and follow the example of everyone sitting silently until handshakes and the rise of meeting, then timidly ask the Friend sitting next to them "Wait, when does the service begin?" The answer comes back: "Now that the worship has ended." Ba-da-domp!
As corny as the joke is, there is a long history of Friends preaching and witnessing outside of the confines of the meetinghouse. George Fox's Journal is full of unconventional worshiping; he had a particular penchant for preaching from any bit of high ground he could find, like a tree or rock outcropping. His contemporary James Naylor is most remembered for re-enacting Jesus's Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem by dramatically riding a horse down a main road into Bristol.
Modern-day Friends continue to find unconventional places to worship, from bank lobbies to White Nationalist rallies. Many more Friends find their Quaker training and balance give them surprising skills in their work (our January 2017 issue on Quakers in the Workplace has a lot of great stories). As a religious movement that began as a response to the churchiness of other denominations, it's part of our DNA to challenge the idea that worship is limited to a set place or time.
In March of 2019, we'll look at the broader issue, "Outside the Meetinghouse." Some ideas we've been wondering about:
- How do we interact with the town and neighborhoods where our Friends meetings are located, especially when they don't look like our meeting membership?
- What does non-branded Quaker activism look like and how does it interplay with our Quaker identities and processes?
- Quakers sometimes talk of "opportunities"--unexpected moments of worship between two or more Friends who find themselves together. What kind of experiences do we have of this and can/should we do it more?
- What about unconventional ministries, for example in prisons?
- How do we use billboards or local events to let neighbors outside our meetinghouses know what's happening inside--and letting them know they're invited to share the worship?
It can be comforting to talk amongst ourselves and debate nuances of Quaker lingo in Quaker conferences, but what happens when we move outside our meetinghouse walls? How do our values follow us into the world?
Note: All poetry submissions here.
So how many Quakers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Share your corniest Quaker jokes but also tell us stories of humor overcoming differences and building bridges.
Note: All poetry submissions here.
Quakers believe in the spiritual equality of all people, and therefore try to approach competition in a way that honors and respects the unique gifts and Light within each individual. Let’s explore the ways competition affects our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors and get curious about if there is a distinctly Quaker approach to being competitive. This issue includes the 6th Annual Student Voices Project. Due February 11, 2019.
How do our food choices reflect our values? From eating in ways that reduce our environmental impact to connecting with others through the hospitality of food, our relationships to food have a greater impact than simply nourishing our bodies. Due March 11, 2019.
Friends Journal’s QuakerSpeak video series began five years ago. In that time, over two million people have tuned in to watch our short videos about Quaker practice, theology, activism, history, and ministry. How has QuakerSpeak changed how the world sees us and how we see ourselves? How do Friends use it in meetings and First-day schools? Due May 13, 2019.
We will stop collecting new submissions for the September 2019 issue on 6/10/2019.
Since 2012, most of the monthly issues of Friends Journal have been set aside for specific themes. Every eighteen months or so we poll readers and dream up ideas for future issues. Sometimes we’ll be inspired by a particular article that struck a chord with readers; other times we’ll look at a topic that Friends aren’t talking about enough. There are some relatively perennial themes (race, art, finance, social witness, outreach), but even with these, we try to find hooks that might bring fresh voices to the conversation.
We also keep two 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 us without regard to our schedules.
Please be aware that since we only run two un-themed issues a year, response times can be longer on these, from 3-9 months.
Learn more: Tips for Writing for Friends Journal Open Issues
Also, please note: All poetry should be submitted separately here.
Our sixth annual Student Voices Project calls all middle school (grades 6–8) and high school (grades 9–12) students to add their voices to the Friends Journal community of readers. This year's theme is Friendly Competition?, asking students to write about the role of competition in their lives and how Quaker values influence their view of or approach to it (more details on our Student Voices Project page). Deadline 02/11/2019.
Start by logging into your Submittable account if you already have one, or create a new one.