Submissions: Write for Friends Journal

Information on upcoming issues and behind‐the‐scenes news from FJ’s editors.

Friends Journal welcomes articles, poetry, art, photographs, and letters from our readers. We are also helped by your comments and questions. We are an independent magazine serving the entire Religious Society of Friends. Our mission is “to communicate Quaker experience in order to connect and deepen spiritual lives,” which allows for a variety of viewpoints and subject matter. We welcome submissions from Friends and non‐Friends alike.

We prefer articles written in a fresh, non‐academic style. Friends value an experiential approach to life and religious thought. Our readers particularly value articles on: exploring Friends’ testimonies and beliefs; integrating faith, work and home lives; historical and contemporary Friends; social concerns and actions; and the variety of beliefs across the branches of Friends.

Friends Journal prefers articles with a constructive approach to spiritual seeking. We seek an open, curious and respectful tone even when discussing controversial subjects. We prefer articles rooted in the author’s own experiences of the divine. Submissions should show an awareness of Friends’ ways and concerns, as well as sensitivity to them.

The magazine is published monthly (with a combined June/July issue) in print and PDF editions. We have an active and growing website with special web‐only features focusing on timely topics, as well as special selections from the Friends Journal archives. We are seeking to publish more themed issues and to encourage and cultivate new writers and fresh topics

We are generally not able to pay for writing. Authors of feature‐length articles receive four free copies of the issue in which the article appears, while poets receive two copies. Authors of shorter material appearing in the departments will receive two free copies upon request. We welcome inquiries about potential articles and invite you to contact senior editor Martin Kelley at [email protected]​friendsjournal.​org or message us via Facebook or Twitter.

By submitting to Friends Journal, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to the legal agreement found at https://​www​.friendsjournal​.org/​l​e​gal. Advertising reservation deadlines typically occur a few days after our editorial deadlines; check our Advertising page for specific dates.

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Upcoming themes

Most of our monthly issues are built around themes (full list from 2012–2019), which in turn means that most of the featured articles we publish are written for particular issues. We write about upcoming issues in our Editor’s Desk blog:

Would you like to know when we post new Editor’s Desk stories? You can sign up for our super low‐volume email list here.

We keep two issues a year un‐themed in order to highlight extraordinary articles of interest to the Quaker community. Please be aware that competition for these issues is particularly high and decision timelines can be longer given the twice‐annual publishing schedule. Potential authors might want to read our Tips for Writing for Friends Journal Open Issues.

Feature articles generally run from 1,200 to 2,500 words. We strongly prefer material that has not already been published elsewhere, either in print or electronic form, including on personal blogs. Please submit all poetry to our specific category for poetry.

Editor's desk 

Friends Journal’s QuakerSpeak video series began five years ago. In that time, over two million people have tuned in to watch our short videos about Quaker practice, theology, activism, history, and ministry. How has QuakerSpeak changed how the world sees us and how we see ourselves? How do Friends use it in meetings and First‐day schools? 

It’s been five years since Friends Publishing Corporation launched a companion project to Friends Journal: the QuakerSpeak video series. In that time, over two million people have tuned in to watch its short videos about Quaker practice, theology, activism, history, and ministry. It has given an online face to modern‐day Friends.

There were Quaker videos on YouTube before this of course. Some vloggers had lined up webcams to give their personal ten‐minute takes on Quaker faith or practice. A few short‐lived projects put out a half dozen videos filmed at Quaker events. Various Quaker organizations had put cameras on tripods and recorded speeches from the middle row 30 feet back. Kudos to everyone who has done this—so many people don’t know about Quakers or think we died out in 1750, so online Quaker content of any type is awesome.

The reason for much of QuakerSpeak’s success is that it was YouTube‐native in a way that previous projects weren’t. Videographer and project director Jon Watts comes from a music background and studied successful YouTube video channels before launching. The format, the length, and the weekly schedule of QuakerSpeak were all designed to appeal to YouTube subscribers from the start. With institutional backing from Friends Publishing and support from foundations and sponsoring partners, QuakerSpeak could get the equipment, contacts, and time to make this the first professional Quaker YouTube channel.

To be honest, we here on the magazine side of the Friends Publishing family sometimes get a little jealous of the direct connections that can be made in a short 5–10 minute video. Viewers don’t just get the words and ideas but also a look into the presence and personality of the interviewee. I love to watch the ways eyes dance between mischief, awe, sadness, and mirth as a story unfolds. The way these Friends sit and the different movements (or non‐movements) of their arms and hands give an added dimension you don’t get from type alone.

In August Friends Journal will look back at five years of QuakerSpeak. As proper Quakers we’re a bit wary of numbered anniversaries, so we’re not fishing for platitudes or glowing testimonials. We want to know how the series has inspired or challenged you and how it’s fed into the spiritual life and outreach efforts at your Friends meeting. Here are some ideas we’re looking for:

  • How have you been changed by QuakerSpeak? Are you someone who has been introduced to modern‐day Quakers through its videos?
  • How have you shared QuakerSpeak? Many meetings have embedded the introductory videos on their webpages; many routinely share newly published videos on Facebook.
  • Some meetings use QuakerSpeak as part of their First‐day school programs, and Quaker schools have used it to teach Quaker fundamentals to students. How has that worked?
  • Are you one of the 300‐some people (!) who have appeared in a QuakerSpeak video? Did the preparation or the interview process itself challenge or delight you? What reactions have you gotten from Friends afterward?
  • Has it changed your perception of Quaker faith or practice? Have you become more active sharing Friends’ values on YouTube or been inspired to engage in any forms of video outreach yourself?

We will stop collecting new submissions for the September 2019 issue on 6/10/2019.

Since 2012, most of the monthly issues of Friends Journal have been set aside for specific themes. Every eighteen months or so we poll readers and dream up ideas for future issues. Sometimes we’ll be inspired by a particular article that struck a chord with readers; other times we’ll look at a topic that Friends aren’t talking about enough. There are some relatively perennial themes (race, art, finance, social witness, outreach), but even with these, we try to find hooks that might bring fresh voices to the conversation.

We also keep two issues a year open: no theme and no expectations. Most of our unsolicited articles go into a “General Submissions” list that we hold for these issues. Sometimes a choice is easy: we’ll get a blockbuster article that we know we just have to print. But just as often we’ll run some quiet piece of Quaker life that is offered us without regard to our schedules. 

Please be aware that since we only run two un‐themed issues a year, response times can be longer on these, from 3–9 months.

Learn more: Tips for Writing for Friends Journal Open Issues

Also, please note: All poetry should be submitted separately here.

Half of the world’s Friends live in Africa; Kenya alone has almost twice as many Friends as the United States. But the African yearly meetings’ beginnings as missions from evangelical Friends created theological and cultural gaps with American unprogrammed Friends from the start. How do we begin to bridge differences and learn from one another? Due July 8, 2019.

One of the most important historic Quaker testimonies stood against gambling, yet it’s a topic we rarely seem to talk about anymore. Do we participate in raffles or games of chance? Does it matter? How about investments in the stock market? Does gambling foster materialism? Is it an addiction we need to work against? Due August 12, 2019.

What makes a Quaker kid Quaker? Let’s try having a Friends Journal issue by and for younger Friends! Due September 9, 2019.

The opioid crisis in America is killing friends and family members across the country, but it’s something Quakers don’t talk about much. How do we help members in their addictions and how do we stand as a society against those who profit against addictions? Many Friends were active in the temperance movement against alcohol. Where do and should we stand today on this and issues like legalized marijuana? What about the growing legal trade in pharmaceuticals, which have helped extend lives while also contributing to addictions in some cases? Due October 14, 2019.

Friends will proudly tell visitors we have no creeds or set practices in worship, but this isn’t exactly true. There are all sorts of expectations and unwritten rules when we come together First‐day morning. This is our chance to share them and question any that may be making our meeting spaces unfriendly to newcomers. What is the divide between core Quaker faith and optional Quaker culture? How does this differ among branches of Friends and between different styles of Quaker worship? We hope this issue will be especially helpful to new visitors. Due December 9, 2019.

Quaker schools facing budget crisis! Yearly meetings reorganizing for the third time in the last ten years! Quaker organizations shedding staff or pivoting to new causes! It’d be nice to take a big‐picture look at our  Quaker institutions, most of which are only about a century old in their current form. What’s working and what isn’t and which beloved institutions do we need to make sure we keep alive? Due January 13, 2020.

With few rituals to guide us, Quaker worship at its core is a direct connection with the Divine. We are bridging the thin space between us and the Light. How does that work? How do we bridge other thin spaces in our lives, like births and deaths? This issue includes the 7th Annual Student Voices Project. Due February 10, 2020.

Who’s a “real Quaker” and who isn’t? What does it mean for someone to join and what responsibilities do we have for those who are in membership? What other “almost Quaker” identities exist and how do we relate to them? Due March 9, 2020.

Friends Journal comes out of the unprogrammed tradition of waiting worship, but many Friends throughout the country and the world have incorporated mainstream elements of Christian worship—pastors, planned sermons, liturgies, and even some sacraments. What are the different forms of pastoral worship and what are the unique challenges, benefits, and cautions for this style of Quakerism? Due May 11, 2020.

One of the things that define many of us as Friends is our reliance on Quaker process for decision making. What is it? How does it different from consensus? How do we respectfully adapt it for non‐spiritual uses? Where did it come from and is it really still the best way of making every kind of decision? Due July 13, 2020.

Quakers outgrew the British isles in the first decade of the new moment in the 1650s and now speak dozens of languages. What are the unique issues in translating Quaker texts? How do we make sure that language doesn’t remain a barrier in our worldwide religious fellowship? Due August 10, 2020.

Friends talk of “concerns” that start with an individual or small minority of our fellowship and grow into more widespread leadings and eventually sometimes into society‐wide testimonies. There are a handful of popular Quaker testimonies that get talked about all the time. But what are some emerging ones that might deserve our attention? Some might be older ones that could be revisited; others might be issues that are new or that Friends may have overlooked. Due September 14, 2020.

Future themes:
August 2019: QuakerSpeak at Five
September 2019: Open Issue
October 2019: Friends in Africa
November 2019: Gambling
December 2019: Quaker Kids
January 2020: Drugs
February 2020: Open Issue
March 2020: Unnamed Quaker Creeds
April 2020: The State of Quaker Institutions
May 2020: Thin Spaces
June/July 2020: Membership and Friends
August 2020: Pastoral Friends
September 2020: Open Issue
October 2020: Quaker Process
November 2020: Quakers in Translation
December 2020: Emerging Witnesses

News & other departments:

  • ForumReader responses, limited to 300 words.
  • Viewpoints: short general reflections of 600–800 words.
  • PoetryWe generally publish 2–3 poems in each issue. Please use this form for all poetry, even poems that might be intended for specific issues.
  • Art and Photographs (Flickr): If you wish to send us graphic material that’s not attached to any article, please feel free to join our Flickr group.
  • Departments: Shorter articles (about 1,000 words or less) found toward the back of each issue that fall under one of our current Department categories, including Earthcare, Friends in Business, History, Reflection, Faith and Practice, and Witness. Click through to see the full list.
  • News Items: News, press releases, and reports from events. Click through for details and the submission form.
  • Book Reviews: We do not accept unsolicited book reviews. Review copies of books by Quaker authors or of interest to Friends Journal readers may be mailed to our address, “Attn: Book Review Editor.” If you would like to become a reviewer, please contact us.
  • MilestonesBirths, adoptions, marriages/unions, and obituaries. Click through for instructions and the submission form. You may also submit by email to [email protected]​friendsjournal.​org, by fax to (215) 568‑1377, or by postal mail to Milestones Editor, Friends Journal, 1216 Arch Street, Suite 2D, Philadelphia, PA 19107–2835.
  • Quaker Works: semiannual feature dedicated to connecting Friends Journal readers to the good works of Quaker organizations; the column is published in the April and October issues each year. Organizations must meet certain criteria in order to be included; click through for details.
  • Student Voices Project: Our annual student writing issue. The latest appears in the May 2018 issue.
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