In the past couple of years, I have used this space in the magazine to reflect on the articles we are presenting to you, to share a bit about our excitement over new projects and challenges, and to introduce new staff and volunteers. This column is written to say thank you.
For me, one of the very best parts of working for Friends organizations is the opportunity to meet and work with extraordinary individuals. As I think back over the years at Powell House, Princeton Friends School, and Friends Journal, so many wonderful people come to mind—Board members, staff, and constituents of those Friendly entities. What a privilege it is to have known and worked alongside of and with these remarkable, dedicated folks! What a huge reservoir of wisdom and what a spirit of joyful service we have in the Religious Society of Friends!
As you read these words, here at the Journal we will be coming to the end of Kenneth Sutton’s eight years of service on our staff, as he leaves Philadelphia to move to Boston. Kenneth came to us in 1993 when our art director, Barbara Benton, mentioned to him that we were looking for a typesetter to help out with the production side of the magazine. Fortunately for the Journal, Kenneth was intrigued by the position and took to it with enthusiasm and talent. It wasn’t long before my predecessor, Vint Deming, noticed that Kenneth’s copyediting instincts and suggestions were superb. In the due course of time, Kenneth became Associate Editor, and then Senior Editor of the magazine—a position he alone has held.
In our years of working together, I have found Kenneth not only to be talented, but a true joy. His thoughtful responses to the manuscripts we receive, his insightful suggestions to authors on improving their work, and his wonderful sensibilities about balancing the articles in each issue have been a great service to all of us, staff and readers alike. As a staff member, he has been willing to speak his mind forthrightly and to share his personal journey with us. Perhaps what I have loved most about working with Kenneth has been his deep sense of calling to do God’s work and watching him discern how best to follow that leading. We all will miss his infectious sense of humor and hearty laughter! And I will deeply miss his companionship in thinking about how Friends Journal can best serve the Religious Society of Friends.
I wanted to share these reflections with our readers in the issue closest to Kenneth’s leaving. His name will stay on the masthead for a few more months, as he will be working on the January issue just prior to his departure at the end of the September. We wish him great joy and many blessings in his journey and his new life among Friends in New England.
Another word of thanks is due in this issue. It has been ten years since Friends Journal has conducted a survey of its readers. Our Board member Paul Buckley, who is completing his second term of service and who also will soon be leaving us, has 18 years of experience as a survey professional. In addition to the many other ways in which he served Friends Journal, Paul was willing to work closely with our staff to design a survey instrument that would provide unambiguous information about who our readers are and how they feel about various aspects of the magazine. It was a remarkable learning experience to work with Paul on this project, and I am pleased to report that the results appear in this issue on page 20. Peggy Spohr, Paul’s wife, joined him in working with readers’ responses. While Paul analyzed the data, Peggy transcribed and synthesized the numerous comments added by respondents. We are very grateful to both of them for the many hours of work they have given to this project—and we are very grateful to the Friends who took the time to help us better understand our readership by responding to this survey. I encourage you to read the results for yourself.
To these three Friends who have served Friends Journal so generously we offer our gratitude and our hopes for God’s blessing on their continuing work among Friends.