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:

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.

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

Share you creativity with us. What are Quaker arts? Is there even a specific style of Quaker art? What motivates or inspires you? And most of all share your visual arts with us. 

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!

How do sin and forgiveness operate in your understanding of our spirituality? And while atonement theory has a very specific focus in Christian theology, writers don’t have to focus on that specifically. We’re hoping to publish articles from a wide spectrum of Quaker branches, with a diverse span of articles—from the personal, practical theology to a more formal exploration of atonement in Quaker history.

How do we repair past injustices? For many of us around the world the greatest collective sins in our past are the twin horrors of the genocide and displacement of Indigenous peoples and the centuries of chattel slavery that built our countries and fortunes. Quakers actively participated in both in complicated ways: despite some clear-eyed visionaries our hands are far from clean. What are our responsibilities today? What is being done? What should be done?

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?

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 fairing? And how should we be involved in the sourcing of food? 

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?

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?

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?

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!

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?

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?

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

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. Alternatively you can email us at editors@friendsjournal.org.

Friends Journal