Our Top Five Articles for 2022

Images from “Flawed Quaker Heroes,” “The Peace Testimony and Ukraine,” and “Quakers Must Take a Position on Abortion.”

Quakers today have been challenged to reconsider much of what they know about their predecessors and their role in worldly affairs—at the same time, they have been given many opportunities to show how their testimonies can be applied to contemporary crises. These concerns are reflected in the articles that resonated most strongly with the Friends Journal community over the last year.

5. The Art of Quaker Quilts

“The world is hard on all quilts, but it is especially hard on quilts like the ones that have been passed down in my family.” Vicki Winslow’s essay about doing her best to preserve a bit of her family’s legacy proved to be a surprise hit with readers.

4. Quakers Must Take a Position on Abortion

Erick Williams’s call for Quaker organizations to offer a clear stance on abortion rights issues prompted a response from Friends Committee on National Legislation: “The impact of Dobbs vs. Jackson is indeed very infuriating for some Quakers and welcomed by others,” Bridget Moix, FCNL’s general secretary, wrote. “We welcome Erick’s call for deeper discernment. FCNL’s Policy Committee is engaged in further discernment on the matter and welcomes input from Friends. Quaker churches, meetings, and concerned Friends have communicated with us on this issue, even before the Supreme Court decision, and continue to do so.”

3. Safe Meetings Don’t Avoid Conflict

“I am not a believer in ‘safe space’—in Quakerdom nor anywhere else,” Shannon Roberts Smith reflected after reading Donald W. McCormick’s report on how adversity to confrontation can actually hold meetings back. “I understand the concept as an ideal, but it seems to be no more than that—an ideal. That said, I can testify that the White middle-class cultural norms that pervade our meetings can be particularly insidious when directed against folks who inhabit more marginal identities. Particularly Friends of Color . . . All Quaker meetings need to introspect and examine what is meant by ‘safety’ (safe for whom?) and what needs to happen to make our spaces open and welcoming beyond platitudes.”

2. The Peace Testimony and Ukraine

“The present warfare in Ukraine gives us renewed opportunity to look at what guides us, individually and as a Religious Society,” David H. Finke wrote after reading Bryan Garman’s consideration of whether total pacifism was an adequate response to Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine. “More than two millennia of Christian history has shown a predominance of the theory of ‘the Just War,’ especially within the Established Churches . . . but I would hope that integrity would compel us to admit and proclaim that ours is a different understanding of the Gospel.”

1. Flawed Quaker Heroes

“The story of how Quakers held people in bondage, and then let go of those who were bound is a powerful story of power, persistence, struggle, and change,” Rachel Findley commented following Kathleen Bell’s analysis of how perspectives on William Penn and other colonial-era Quakers have changed in recent years. “We need to know what evils we did, and how we stopped. It will help us to ask ourselves now what evils we are doing today, and how we will stop, and how we may be disentangled from our evils to work for a Peaceable Kingdom in the world.”

Banner images: Frederick Stymetz Lamb’s stained-glass portrait of William Penn (commons.wikimedia.org); “Stop the War” sign at a peace rally (photo by Tetiana Shyshkina); a pro-choice demonstrator pauses for rest (photo by Gayatri Malhotra)

Catch up on past years’ lists!

Top Articles of 2021

Top Articles of 2020

Top Articles of 2019

Top Articles of 2018

Top Articles of 2017:

Top articles of 2016:

Top articles of 2015:

Top articles of 2014:

Top articles of 2013:

Top articles of 2012:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Maximum of 400 words or 2000 characters.

Comments on Friendsjournal.org may be used in the Forum of the print magazine and may be edited for length and clarity.