At the time of this writing, Susan Corson-Finnerty is off getting some vacation and supporting far-flung family members, and she has asked me to fill in for her in preparing this column. Actually, this is only fair: for six weeks this fall, I was out of the office, recovering from an operation, and she, ably assisted by Rebecca Howe and many others, covered for me. This break was by far the longest one I’ve had since joining the staff of the Journal in 1999. I come back with renewed commitment and a heightened sense of the uniqueness of this very special magazine.
The feature articles in this first issue of our 53rd year are a hard-hitting bunch. Terry Wallace challenges us to be careful in what we say to others about Quakerism (p. 6). Then James Fletcher writes candidly about his experience as an African American Friend (p. 9), giving all Quakers much to think about. Next, in our continuing series on "What Are Friends Called to Today," Maya Porter traces the roots of the Iraq War back to the thirst for oil (p. 14), while Benjamin Vail raises moral questions about the dependence of Quakers on cars (p. 16). Betsy Brinson closes the features with a look at the new movement of U.S. conscientious objectors to Canada, echoing the flow during the Vietnam War (p. 18).
The departments in this issue—as always—offer a rich reading experience. We are happy to announce this month a new column, "Earthcare," giving a Quaker perspective on environmental concerns, notably those that are a result of our dependence on fossil fuels. In the first one, Ruah Swennerfelt and Louis Cox zero in on the ethics of where the food we buy is grown (p. 22), an issue directly related to excessive use of petroleum. In addition to the usual mix of regular departments, this issue brings a large number of Reports and Epistles. I encourage you not to jump over them! They include some unusual reading and will help you put your finger on the pulse of Quakerism today.
Nearly all of the writing in this issue of Friends Journal consists, as usual, of unsolicited contributions. What a comment that fact is on the energy and health of our Religious Society!
Reminder: 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.