Forum, October 2019

Announcing the 2019-2020 Student Voices Project

The seventh annual Friends Journal Student Voices Project is calling all middle school (grades 6–8) and high school (grades 9–12) students to add their voices to the Friends Journal community of readers. This year we’re asking students to write about what they want to change in their communities, why, and how they would do it.

We welcome submissions from all students (Quaker and non-Quaker) at Friends schools and Quaker students in other educational venues. Select pieces will be published in the May 2020 issue, and honorees will be recognized by Friends Council on Education. The submission deadline is February 10, 2020. Instructions and details can be found at

Living in Truth and Love

Thanks to both Max Carter and Jon Watts for the creative outreach of QuakerSpeak (“Stripping Down Quakerism for the Internet” by Max L. Carter, FJ Aug.). I have really appreciated it. Its very best quality is that participants do speak from the heart with their own understandings. We all know that words are never fully capable of sharing the indefinable. Our own experience is the best handle we have on Truth and living in Love. I like to see faith with skin on it.

Ruth Naylor
Bluffton, Ohio


Speaking our truths

Ann Jerome’s “Selling Out to Niceness” is right on (FJ Sept.). So often Friends are afraid of using terminology that might offend or get upset because someone expresses a belief with passion. Early Friends were alive with Spirit—their outreach and evangelism about the Light. Spirit is revitalizing Spanish-speaking congregations as more of their writings are being made available in Spanish. Speaking our truths attracts those who are seeking.

Dorothy Grannell
Portland, Maine


More Kat please

Kat Griffith must have the Spirit on her side. Her “Is Imagination Simple?” in the August 2019 issue is the most imaginative article I’ve read in Friends Journal. Kat is a great writer and storyteller. Please invite her back.

Carl Blumenthal
Brooklyn, N.Y.


Casualties of Quaker in-fighting

Quakers need to know that Susan B. Anthony, although raised a Quaker, did not remain a Quaker, but along with her family became a Unitarian when she was 29 years old. She remained a Unitarian until her death at 86 years of age. Moreover, we must acknowledge that, along with her family, she was a casualty of the Quaker in-fighting between Orthodox and Hicksite Quakers. I wonder how many more good folks American Quakers are losing because of the recent bitter splits among too many American yearly meetings.

David Zarembka
Lumakanda, Kenya


Quaker weddings get the QuakerSpeak treatment

As it happens, my son and his partner of many years have been trying to figure out how to do a Quaker-style wedding (“What to Expect at a Quaker Wedding,”, Aug.). Though they won’t be under the care of a meeting, this video is still a very useful piece for them and her family, who are not Quaker.

Caroline Balderston Parry
Ottawa, Ontario

All of my sisters and I were married in Quaker weddings, and my daughter was too. But I have a wonderful story from my daughter’s wedding. When it came time to bring the wedding certificate forward to have them sign, the table was there but not the certificate! Everything stopped for a moment and my daughter said, “Oh, I left it in the community room where we got ready. I haven’t done this before!” To great chuckles from the assembled meeting, her overseer (the wonderful Max Carter) said, “And we hope you won’t ever be doing it again!” The certificate was rescued in a few minutes, and everything proceeded apace. It was a wonderfully centered and supportive and friendly wedding!

Linden Smith

It’s an interesting moment to see the experience of other Quakers. In Kenya, where the programmed tradition is predominant, there is a slight deviation from this presentation: the parents hand over the bride; the pastor, licensed by the government, presides over the vows and promises; singing and preaching is done; garments are particular for the bridal party; and finally, photos and a reception banquet completes the day. What diversity.

Khaemba Simon
Nairobi, Kenya

This video reminded me of our Quaker wedding in England last year. There was a feeling of God’s presence and blessing. We were surrounded by the love and prayerful support of those attending. It was a great start to married life. I just wish that your video had been available then so that our non-Quaker guests could have viewed it beforehand.

Caroline Thickbroom

Most of the Quaker weddings I have been to have been weddings of people along the LGBTQ spectrum. The fact that Quakers have been at the forefront of the continuing revelation about equal marriage is one of the reasons I am still a Friend. Though I know that a number of the people in this video identify as LGBTQ, there were no obvious pictures of a same-sex marriage; the closest was a wedding certificate with two names that sound female. I found that disappointing in an otherwise wonderful video.

Janaki Spickard Keeler
Philadelphia, Pa.


Blueberries not included

I thought I would pass along a personal impression I got that others might also think. Even though the Quaker Oats Company has nothing to do with the Quaker religion, a new cereal they have come out with can reflect a negative impression about the religion itself. The Life multigrain cereal box features the cereal bowl with blueberries mixed in. So one gets the impression that you are buying a cereal with blueberries in it. However, after purchasing the cereal and opening it up . . . there were no blueberries. My first thought was that this was misleading advertising. And since I am not a Quaker and not that familiar with them, I thought, “How could the Quakers be this misleading?” Is their religion the same way? Do they falsely promote their religion too? Thank goodness I did some more checking, but the Quaker religion might want to contact the Quaker Oats Company and express their concern.

David Cox
Tulsa, Okla.

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