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:

  • 2022: Nov. 21
  • 2023: Jan. 16, May 22, Nov. 20

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 five 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.

Quakers are distributed very unevenly in many parts of the U.S. and world. There are many would-be Friends that have no physical meeting or Friends church nearby. There are also small meetings and worship groups isolated from other meetings by hundreds of miles. How do we pull isolated Friends closer into our religious fellowship? Traveling ministers once linked isolated meetings and helped knit them into culture of wider Friends. How are we doing that today? What tools and practices do we have to support those at a distance?

Fast Facts:

  • Features run 1200-2500 words
  • Submissions close December 19, 2022.
  • Questions? Email editors@friendsjournal.org

Friends have been a communal bunch. Back in the day, we often clustered in towns to be near one another, close to meetinghouses, ready for worship that could extend for hours. When we traveled to new areas of the United States, we often traveled together, sometimes whole meetings relocating. When some Friends started missionary endeavors, new Friends communities would coalesce around the new church.

A lot has changed. We’ve been becoming a more mobile society for the better part of a century and have adapted. The new meetings movement of the mid-twentieth century planted meetings in towns far from any Quaker center. Among Liberal Friends, the big East Coast yearly meetings lost membership as new yearly meetings formed. We haven’t so much declined as spread out across a wider geography.

Our outreach efforts often flounder on this dispersion. People see our videos or read our literature only to find out the nearest meeting is hours away.

But in the last few years everything has changed. Most of us are comfortable with remote conferencing now. You can get on your computer and participate in daily worship, learn about our history in Quakerism classes, and listen in real-time to lectures given by noteworthy Friends. Fellowship opportunities that would have require hours of commute time are now accessible from our dining room tables.

  • What does it mean to be an isolated Friend or an isolated meeting in the 2020s?
  • What opportunities do we have and what problems do we face? How do our ties to our neighbors and local issues fray if so many of our connections are distant and maintained over screens?
  • How do we build leadership at the local level when we have access to established, well-known Friends from around the country or world?
  • Ministers used to be nurtured and accountable to their monthly meeting; what happens as Internet fame becomes more important than local clearness or anchor committees?
  • In what ways does Zoom not address isolation? What other methods must we employ? And who should be spearheading these initiatives?

We’d like to open up the issue to the spirituality of food: how do we produce it, how do we consume it? Food is also the heart of communal human behavior: how do we share it in our Quaker and outward communities? Friends have long been involved in farming: how is that occupation faring? And how should we be involved in the sourcing of food? 

Quick Facts:

Some ideas for articles:

  • How have Quaker farms adapted to changing food production? Are there any new or experimental models emerging within Quaker farming? We’re not just looking at plant agriculture but also cattle raising, cheese-making, and other food products that Friends produce. How are farmers adjusting to climate change?
  • Food security and community initiatives in urban areas and towns. This could include work with local food banks, community-owned food coops, and community fridges.
  • Educational centers and Quaker schools that grow their own food. Also: individuals who garden and grow their own food.
  • How do our meeting potlucks and food festivals create community, both within our Friends meeting and with neighbors?
  • How do we ensure our food choices reflect our testimonies? Do we or should we prioritize locally grown food or food which takes up a smaller carbon footprint?
  • As humans with bodies, what is our relation to food? How do body image concerns and eating disorders affect our lives?
  • More metaphorically, an article could look at food for the spirit: how do we nourish ourselves with arts, poetry, reading, etc

When early Friends did away with the clergy they did away with hierarchy: or did they? Every generation of Friends have had debates over authority and leadership (sometimes fierce enough to lead to schisms) and the Friends Journal news column continues to publish modern-day stories which hinge on questions of power. With the rise of Quaker bureaucracies in the mid-twentieth-century, a new kind of professional leadership has taken hold without always examining the pluses and minuses of these new roles. Quakers also have always benefited from a kind of renegade authority from below–think of a figure like Benjamin Lay, speaking a truth to the power of the slave-owning Quaker leadership of the time, expelled from membership. How do we encourage this kind of leadership—and how might we be discouraging it today?

Submissions due 3/20/2023.

Yes, there are some Friends meetings and churches with a healthy mix of ages. But there are many more that are graying. Like many denominations today we are having a hard time retaining young people and attracting young families. How can we turn this around? How to we bring children, teens, and young adults into the life of the meeting? What supports and education do we give? How do we balance freedom and exploration with safety and instruction? And how do we invite them back into the life of meetings after school and work travel have settled them elsewhere?

Submissions due 6/19/2023.

A look at our relationship with other denominations and faiths. What do Friends raised in other traditions bring to us? What of Friends whose spirituality also embraces other faiths? How do we make common ground with other Christians? What is the balance between keeping to our own traditions and opening up to others?

Submission due 7/17/2023.

In November 2021 we published our first issue dedicated to Quaker fiction, specifically speculative and science fiction. This year we’re opening it up to all genres—romance, action-adventure, suspense, young adult, and more. Surprise us with your work!

Submissions due 8/21/2023.

In Genesis 2:15 it is said that God put us “into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”What is the right relationship between humans and the world? What are our responsibilities for caring for the earth and other creatures? How do we use our talents to glorify God’s creations? What are Friends doing to promote sustainability, both on the personal and political level?

Submissions due 9/18/2023.

A fairly wide-open topic for Friends to consider: what does it mean to forgive? Are there any preconditions? Any limitations? What does forgiveness do to us and to the forgiven?

Submissions due 10/16/2023.

What is prayer? How does it work? How does it differ from the modern Quaker idea of holding in the Light?

Submissions due 12/18/2023.

Friends Journal