With Gratitude

I never open an issue of the Journal without feeling a deep sense of gratitude to the many, many individuals that make this monthly miracle possible. Without the written offerings of literally hundreds of Friends every year, you would not be reading this column, nor enjoying the excellent articles that pour through our pages. Without the gifts of our donors, who contribute generously to support this ministry of the written word, there would be no way to underwrite the issue you hold in your hands for a reasonable price. And without the remarkable contributions of our interns (nine so far this year, with more applying for the fall) and our faithful long-term regular volunteers (14 at present, whose names appear in the masthead on the left), it would be impossible to create for you a magazine of comparable quantity and quality of content. We are very blessed to have readers, contributors, interns, and volunteers from across the nation and around the world, and a Board of Trustees whose membership reflects eight yearly meetings in the U.S. and Canada, and multiple branches of the Religious Society of Friends. Every one of these supporters and contributors to our work deserves many thanks.

In this issue, I want to particularly acknowledge the work of Christine Rusch, who served as our volunteer Milestones editor from 1999 until spring of 2008. Christine came to us when she was living in South Carolina, a seasoned writer and dramatist. Milestones is perhaps the most frequently first-read part of the magazine and an enduringly popular department. Christine’s wonderful ability to appreciate the many facets of human character has been a great asset to us, as she has worked with material provided by monthly meetings and family members to flesh out the remarkable lives of departed members of our Religious Society. Over the past nine years, countless Friends have found inspiration—and often new information about old friends—in the write-ups she has done.

Along the way, Christine moved to Michigan and requested that we recruit additional volunteers to help her with the heavy volume of work she performed for us. Mary Julia Street and Guli Fager have provided able assistance in this regard since 2006. It is with deep gratitude that I acknowledge Christine’s remarkable contribution to us all—including the Quaker historians of future generations. And I am pleased to say that Mary Julia Street has admirably taken over our Milestones department, keeping it on track as one of the most frequently read parts of the magazine. Guli Fager joined us with the express intention of giving equal in-depth treatment to announcements of births, adoptions, and marriages. I warmly encourage you to send such information to us; in Guli we have an excellent volunteer to work with you in illuminating your joyful news for our readers.

Additionally, congratulations are due to many of our authors. This past spring, Friends Journal was fortunate to win awards in four categories from the Associated Church Press: first place for Biographical Profile ("Julien Davies Cornell: Gentle Quaker, Determined Litigator" by Charles F. Howlett, 5/07), and honorable mentions (third place) for Poetry ("Shadows" by David Morse, 4/07), Department (Witness: "Peace Prayers in Every Language" by Jeannine Vannais, "A Lesson from a Lynching" by Joe Parko, 5/07, "Love in the Face of Violence" by Pam Ferguson, 6/07, and "Summer Doldrums Blown Away" by Keith R. Maddock, 8/07), and Theme Issue (Nurturing Younger Friends, 7/07). The ACP was founded in 1916, with nearly 200 publications, websites, news services, and individuals as members, representing a combined circulation of several million. Given our comparatively modest size, Friends achievements in this annual competition are remarkable. Congratulations to all!