New Year’s top five: The most popular articles of 2016


We’ve been sharing our most-read articles of 2016 on Facebook and Twitter. Here is the full list.

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#5 Framing the Light

Jean Schnell, August.

Some of our upcoming themed issues get a buzz long before we have any content. Whenever we told people that we were doing an issue on “Quaker Spaces,” they would get excited about the pictures of New England meetinghouses that photographer Jean Schnell was posting to Facebook. We fell in love with them immediately. They capture an understated beauty at both meetinghouses old and new. Bonus: Video author interview with Jean.


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#4 Why Quakers Stopped Voting

Paul Buckley, October.

Did you know there was an presidential election in the U.S. this year? It’s true. From the start of the primary races, Quakers were divided over policies and personalities and more than one online discussion thread blew up after someone declared that anyone who didn’t like their preferred candidate wasn’t really Quaker. Historian and longtime Friends Journal contributor Paul Buckley gives¬†us a timely reminder that debate on the proper role of Friends in the U.S. political system has a long history and cautions us that “realities inspiring our actions in the eighteenth century are alive today.”


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#3: Affirming Ivy

Laura Noel, May.

Policies around transgender access to bathrooms and housing have become frequent flash points in the nation’s culture wars. What happens at¬†a Quaker boarding school? Loving discernment and affirmation. Laura Noel tells the story of how Pennsylvania’s George School¬†became the first school in the country to draft¬†a policy on transgender students.


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#2: The Third Reconstruction

William J Barber II, September.

When we watched Rev. Barber’s speech to the American Friends Service Committee on their YouTube channel earlier in the year we thought it would be a great anchor to a un-themed issue scheduled for the fall. He tells¬†a powerful story of the seesaw nature of American racial justice and warns us that America is not¬†a healed post-racial paradise. Our current¬†“Third Reconstruction” of democratic institutions around racial justice is fragile. As the summer came, unprecedented Quaker attendance at the White Privilege Conference and racial turmoil at FGC Gathering turned September’s issue into one the most prophetic of the year.

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#1: A Gospel of Quaker Sexuality

Kody Gabriel Hersh, May.

No mere clickbait at number one: The most-read article is also the most carefully written and distilled. Kody Gabriel Hersh retells biblical stories, examines quirky Quaker culture, and ends by reminding us all that we are loved. In between, Kody touches on sexuality, the missing ingredients in our peace testimony, body positivity, conscious parenting, and the shape of marriage. There something to inspire and challenge most every Friend in this and it’s well worth a re-read as we prepare for 2017. Bonus QuakerSpeak video: How Jesus Affirms My Queerness.

Honorable Mentions

The next five most-read articles are:

Catch up on past years’¬†lists!

Top articles of 2015:

Top articles of 2014:

Top articles of 2013:

Top articles of 2012:

This article originally appeared online on Dec. 31, 2016.

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