Celebrating 50 Years

This month we begin a yearlong celebration of Friends Journal. Our first issue was published on July 2, 1955, a celebration in itself of the reunification of the Orthodox and Hicksite branches of Quakerism. Our predecessor publications, Friends Intelligencer (Hicksite, founded 1844) and The Friend (Orthodox, founded 1827), take our publishing history back 178 years! This is a remarkable record for any publication, and especially so amongst religious periodicals.

This magazine has been through many changes in its half century, as you will learn in July, when we plan to present a special issue celebrating the ministry of Friends Journal to the Religious Society of Friends. We will be undertaking other celebration activities throughout this year. To start, in this issue you will find the first of 12 articles from our archives that we will republish, one per month, throughout the year. This month, we’ve chosen a selection from the venerable Henry J. Cadbury, "Our Theological Illiteracy" (p.10), which appeared in Friends Journal’s very first issue in 1955. In July, we will briefly revive a Friends Journal tradition of sponsoring a plenary presentation at the Friends General Conference Gathering. Throughout the year, our hard-working Board of Trustees will be making presentations and conducting local celebrations around the U.S. in their own monthly and yearly meetings. We will post these events on our website at. We hope that you will enjoy these celebratory activities and join us if one is taking place near you.

This year we will not just look back nostalgically at our past, but will peer ahead a bit at our dreams of the future. We hope that you will participate in creating that vision! Tell us about your hopes for and expectations of Friends Journal for the future. What new features would you like to see? How could the magazine become a better reflection of Quakerism in the 21st century? What technologies would you prefer we use? And what do you treasure about the Journal that you’d like us to preserve?

This month marks the end of six years since I returned to Friends Journal in 1999. That, with my four years of prior service from 1977 to 1981, brings my years here to the round number of ten. I feel very privileged to be on our staff when we can have an extended celebration of the hard work and contributions of so many individuals who have offered this ministry of the written word for half a century!

In the fall of 2003, when Assistant Editor Lisa Rand told us she was expecting her first child, we anticipated that she would take maternity leave early in 2004 and return in the late spring. Intern Danielle DeCosmo graciously took over Lisa’s duties in January and ended up providing coverage until the end of August, when she left us for a full-time editing position elsewhere in Philadelphia. Lisa decided to stay home with baby Caroline (who made an appearance in our December holiday photo), so a search was opened and 142 individuals applied for this position. I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Rebecca Rose Howe, an attender at Central Philadelphia (Pa.) Meeting, as assistant editor. Becca is currently a Journalism and Anthropology major at Temple University. She has long been active in the High School Young Friends program of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, as a participant and now as a Friendly Adult Presence. Actively involved with Adult Young Friends, Becca wrote, "I’m constantly aware of the hefty influence media has on the way people live their lives, and consequently, on the flow and exchange of the Divine." We are delighted to have her join us!