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:

  • January 17, 2022 (April issue)
  • Feb 21, 2022 (May issue)
  • May 23, 2022 (August issue)

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.

Fast Facts:

  • Features run 1200-2500 words
  • Submissions close December 27, 2021
  • Questions? Email editors@friendsjournal.org

Safety can mean all sorts of things. We should expect our religious community to be free from bullying, aggressive behavior, racist assumptions, sexual misconduct, petty jealousies, manipulative processes, and exclusionary decision making processes. But Quaker communities are full of humans. I think it’s safe to say that many of us have stories of Friends acting badly.

What’s interesting, and what we want to see in this upcoming March issue on “Safety in Meetings,” is meetings working collectively to protect members from unsafe practices and address problems that threaten to divide us. How do we react when tempers flare? When someone’s been treated badly? If we have a sexual predator sitting on our benches every week, how do we protect their potential target, be they a child or an adult?

Most of these issues are not particular to Friends. What can we learn from other churches who have dealt with scandals of sexual abuse? What is the role of the monthly meeting community and of the yearly meeting? Insurance companies and governmental bodies are also interested in our responses when legal lines are crossed. How have we adapted to their requirements?

There are also less formal responses. The #MeToo movement gave us the idea of “whisper networks”—women quietly telling other women about men who are known to be too touchy, disrespectful, or sexually aggressive. I’m sad to report that these do exist among Friends.

Institutions—even Quaker ones—typically cover up news on sexual assaults that take place on their property or in their gatherings or through their networks. There’s a mix of reasons to keep things quiet—from an altruistic wish to protect the identity of victims to a more self-serving concern about reputation. But by keeping quiet, do we project a false sense of security? Are people less on their guard because they rarely hear of the problems that take place behind the scenes? And what is our responsibility when a predator simply moves on to another Quaker community?

Some specific angles for writing include:

  • What are some best practices we’ve adopted? For example, background checks to work with children and ensuring two adults are always present. If there are costs involved, who pays them? How are the logistics worked out?
  • What happens when there is a rupture in the meeting—bullying, microaggressions, the kind of gossiping early Friends might have called detraction? How do meetings work through this? How do we stop the aggression? How do we hold vulnerable people in the meeting when they’re being hurt?
  • How do we hold up values of trust and love when insurance companies are dictating specific rules based on suspicion?
  • How do we deal with known abusers in our meeting community? How do we balance their ongoing recovery with concerns about potential victims in our meeting?

Fact Facts:

  • Features run 1200-2500 words
  • Submissions close February 21, 2022
  • Questions? Email editors@friendsjournal.org

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face. From rising sea levels to extreme weather events, wildfires to refugee crises, its effects are far reaching and amplify existing inequalities and injustices.

Our May issue will look at the various types of organizing we can do to address climate change. Some of the things we’re looking for:

  • Lobbying: how can we get our political and economic leaders to take climate change seriously?
  • Activist styles: what’s working? It’d be interesting to see something that goes behind the scenes on the youth movements, congressional lobbying, divestment, etc.
  • How individual and collective lifestyle changes in how we eat, clothe ourselves, work and play might address some of the issues involved. What does sustainable living mean to Friends today?
  • The factors that have brought us to a climate emergency are complex and touch on every other social aspect—race and class and economic structures. What does a Quaker-informed view of these various dynamics look like?

Due March 21, 2022

Due to the generosity of our donors, we are able to pay a modest honorarium for some content. If you have an idea for an article or project, please share it with us here.

Friends Journal