When we editors decided upon the theme for this issue, "What Are Friends Called to Today?," I had a feeling not unlike that of a child anticipating Christmas morning, with the surprises and delights it might produce. And, despite decades of work and service among Friends, I couldn’t predict what would show up. A clarion call to peacemaking? Thoughtful exhortations to work harder for social justice?
We were surprised and very pleased—and challenged—when 48 submissions arrived for consideration for this issue, about four times the number we could use at one time. Friends are generous and vigorous in sharing their views with us. As we read through this body of work, a clear group emerged as the content for this special issue. And with it came a very inspiring call to the Religious Society of Friends to go deeper, to ground ourselves in longer and more frequent worship, to open ourselves widely, to let go of our cherished and familiar perspectives so that we can enter into the condition of others, and to return to our roots to recover the power and prophetic voice of early Friends. Not one but many articles came to us with perspectives on this call. They came from a diverse group of Friends across geographic boundaries, age groups, racial backgrounds, and varying branches of Quakerism.
Friends have sometimes shared with me that they appreciate my comments in this column as to what is most noteworthy about a given issue. In this case, I have a strong recommendation: read this issue from front to back, rather than dipping in and out of it randomly, or starting at the back (as many of us do). Read all of the feature articles; each offers something special within the overall theme. We editors have found ourselves very stirred by doing so. My husband, Adam, volunteers as a proofreader of issues before they go to the printer, and in this case more than any other I can think of, this issue has become a dinner table conversation topic for us, both moving, challenging, and offering wonderful guidance. I know we personally will treasure it for a very long time. As we say in our family, "It’s a keeper."
But what about the many other excellent articles that arrived for this theme issue, which haven’t been included? I’m pleased to announce that during upcoming regular issues at the end of 2006 and through 2007, we will continue to publish articles under the heading of "What Are Friends Called to Today?" A wealth of insight and vision has been offered to us that we will be very glad to share with Friends in the coming months.
Special Issues for 2007
Most Friends Journal issues offer feature articles on a variety of subjects, but periodically we publish thematic special issues. For 2007, we invite submissions for the following:
Friends and Their Children (July 2007)
Quaker youth are the future of the Religious Society of Friends. How do children and youth fit into Friends meetings? How do the offspring of Friends fare in the world? How do Friends nurture young people—programs, camps, youth groups, parenting, counseling, jobs? Please send submissions by February 1, 2007.
Friends World Committee for Consultation (October 2007):
This year is the 70th anniversary of FWCC. How has it contributed to the well-being of the Religious Society of Friends? We are seeking memorable recollections and other writings about FWCC. Please send submissions by May 1, 2007.