To become a truly intergenerational faith community, Quakers must ask themselves: What do children and families need from their meetings?
A meeting can claim to be as welcoming and affirming as it wants, but if its structures only really work for its current, primarily retired members and attenders, then only its current, primarily retired members and attenders will stay.
"I don’t know how to say what the grace of God is. What I can say is what it’s like for me," Patrick Henry writes in Flashes of Grace: 33 Encounters with God (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company). As William Shetter explains in his review, Henry offers a valuable personal testimony in which we get an unparalleled view of his spiritual world, with influences ranging from Julian of Norwich to T.S. Eliot to Star Trek.
"For dinner this evening
I’ll take the Serrano ham and sheep cheese
a jug of water and pieces of fruit
alone to a shaded south mall bench
where the Carrowbeg runs through town
gulls and crows will gather to join me..."
—from "Dinner in Westport" by Peter Moretzsohn
"If we want Jesus’s ethical teachings all gathered in one place, there is no better Scripture to turn to than the Sermon on the Mount," reflects Ken Jacobsen, in his review of Charles E. Moore's Following the Call (Plough).
"The book is a remarkable compilation of commentaries on the Sermon, verse by verse," Ken notes, "including over a hundred people of faith from Augustine of Hippo, Meister Eckhart, and Søren Kierkegaard to Dorothy Day, Wendell Berry, and Howard Thurman. Moore’s radical Christian stance comes through in these contributors. They ask us again and again: What does Jesus’s ethics demand of each of us, in our daily living? What in us must change?"
When John Andrew Gallery began thinking about making the shift from being an attender at his local meeting to becoming a member, he recalls, "I knew even less about meeting for business than I did about meeting for worship."
So he came to his first meetings for business as he would for conferences at his job—knowing what he wanted to get done, and working to convince others. He figured out soon enough that was not the way. This is the story of how he got better at meeting for business... and at spiritual life in general.
In the summer of 2020, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge was visiting the United States as a Friend in Residence at Haverford College. George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police, and the social unrest that followed, spurred her memories of apartheid-era South Africa—where, as a member of the African National Congress, she had first came into contact with Quakers, including her future husband, Jeremy.
"Going to Quakers for me was very, very important," Madlala-Routledge said in an interview with QuakerSpeak. "It confirmed what I think was deep in my own personal understanding of violence and nonviolence, and my strengths grew in this and I find that is the only answer."
Quaker peace activist George Lakey considers a new pamphlet from the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) that discusses the threat posed by state agents and others who infiltrate nonviolent social movements and goad participants into committing violent acts—or perpetrate the violence themselves and leave the movement to take the blame.
"Wise activists will keep [How Agent Provocateurs Harm Our Movements] handy," George advises, to immunize their organizations against such discrediting tactics. "Our country needs as many Friends as possible to be made confident by the tools we bring to the occasion. This new booklet is part of our toolkit."
What is the state of our vocal ministry these days? How do we encourage it—or (perhaps unintentionally) discourage it? How has vocal ministry changed and what role does it play in Quakerism today?
These are the sorts of questions we're asking for our June/July issue, and we welcome your thoughts on the matter! Specifically, we're looking for essays of 1200 to 2500 words, which you can submit between now and March 21, 2022.
In Watershed, Ranae Lenor Hanson "explores how both the body and the planet change when basic flow and balances are disrupted," writes Ruah Swennerfelt.
Combining the story of her struggle with Type 1 diabetes with a consideration of the climate crisis, "[Hanson] allows her body to teach her to listen, to learn, and to look outside of her own distress to the distresses that abound around her and around the world."
Reader Donne Hayden wonders “how future generations will judge those of us who–knowing how harmful fossil fuels are to the environment and life on earth–still continue our unabated use of automobiles, airplanes, gas furnaces, etc. How COULD they?” https://www.friendsjournal.org/rethinking-william-penn/-201764
"Some days I want to
tell the newscasters
I don’t want to know about
the brown-eyed little girl missing from
her home in Chicago or
about the couple whose car
slipped on black ice and fell into
the cold Rogue River..."
—from "Some Days" by Colette Tennant
The scope of the coverage of environmental activism in the United States found in Audrea Lim's The Word We need is "breathtaking," writes Pamela Haines: "We hear from people in the Deep South, Appalachia, the rural Southwest, big cities spanning the country, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and many points in between....There are young people and elders, scrappy outsiders, and patient insiders: all tenacious, all holding to a vision of a world that works for ordinary folks."
This "eye-opening and hopeful" book, she adds, "would be a strong addition to any Friends school curriculum, meeting library, or individual collection."