We will stop collecting new submissions for the February 2020 issue on November 11, 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.

Friends will proudly tell visitors we have no creeds or set practices in worship, but this isn’t exactly true. There are all sorts of expectations and unwritten rules when we come together First-day morning. This is our chance to share them and question any that may be making our meeting spaces unfriendly to newcomers. What is the divide between core Quaker faith and optional Quaker culture? How does this differ among branches of Friends and between different styles of Quaker worship? We hope this issue will be especially helpful to new visitors. Due December 9, 2019.

Quaker schools facing budget crisis! Yearly meetings reorganizing for the third time in the last ten years! Quaker organizations shedding staff or pivoting to new causes! It’d be nice to take a big-picture look at our  Quaker institutions, most of which are only about a century old in their current form. What’s working and what isn’t and which beloved institutions do we need to make sure we keep alive? Due January 13, 2020.

With few rituals to guide us, Quaker worship at its core is a direct connection with the Divine. We are bridging the thin space between us and the Light. How does that work? How do we bridge other thin spaces in our lives, like births and deaths? This issue includes the 7th Annual Student Voices Project. Due February 10, 2020.

Who’s a “real Quaker” and who isn’t? What does it mean for someone to join and what responsibilities do we have for those who are in membership? What other “almost Quaker” identities exist and how do we relate to them? Due March 9, 2020.

Friends Journal comes out of the unprogrammed tradition of waiting worship, but many Friends throughout the country and the world have incorporated mainstream elements of Christian worship—pastors, planned sermons, liturgies, and even some sacraments. What are the different forms of pastoral worship and what are the unique challenges, benefits, and cautions for this style of Quakerism? Due May 11, 2020.

One of the things that define many of us as Friends is our reliance on Quaker process for decision making. What is it? How does it different from consensus? How do we respectfully adapt it for non-spiritual uses? Where did it come from and is it really still the best way of making every kind of decision? Due July 13, 2020.

Quakers outgrew the British isles in the first decade of the new moment in the 1650s and now speak dozens of languages. What are the unique issues in translating Quaker texts? How do we make sure that language doesn’t remain a barrier in our worldwide religious fellowship? Due August 10, 2020.

Friends talk of “concerns” that start with an individual or small minority of our fellowship and grow into more widespread leadings and eventually sometimes into society-wide testimonies. There are a handful of popular Quaker testimonies that get talked about all the time. But what are some emerging ones that might deserve our attention? Some might be older ones that could be revisited; others might be issues that are new or that Friends may have overlooked. Due September 14, 2020.

Friends Journal