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] 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 Advertising reservation deadlines typically occur a few days after our editorial deadlines; check our Advertising section for specific dates.

Upcoming Themes

Upcoming General Submissions Deadlines:

  • January 17, 2022 (April issue)
  • Feb 21, 2022 (May issue)
  • May 23, 2022 (August issue)

Many issues of Friends Journal are set aside for specific themes. Every 18 months or so we poll readers and dream up ideas for future issues (you can see the current list on our submissions page).

We also keep five 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 to us without regard to our schedules.

The first bit of advice is to give our editorial submission guidelines a good once-over. The introduction to what we’re looking for is instructive.

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.

You should also study our tips for writing for Friends Journal. This is our list of the most-common pitfalls for incoming submissions—problems like length, structure, and tone.

The next thing to ask when writing or pitching an article to us is “why Friends Journal?” There are very few places where someone can write on the Quaker experience and see their work published. This scarcity weighs on us as we select an open issue’s mix. Authors don’t need to be Quaker, but the piece should have a strong Quaker hook. We’re not above doing a control-F on a submission to see how many times “Quaker” or “Friends” is mentioned. If it’s just a tacked-on reference because you’re shopping a piece written for another publication, it probably won’t work for us.

When you’re ready to send us something, please use the Submittable service so that we will have all of your information on file. “General Submissions” is the category for material that we consider for non-themed issues.

Link to share: Writing for General Submissions

Please note: All poetry should be submitted separately here.

Fast Facts:

  • Features run 1200-2500 words
  • Submissions close December 27, 2021
  • Questions? Email [email protected]

Safety can mean all sorts of things. We should expect our religious community to be free from bullying, aggressive behavior, racist assumptions, sexual misconduct, petty jealousies, manipulative processes, and exclusionary decision making processes. But Quaker communities are full of humans. I think it’s safe to say that many of us have stories of Friends acting badly.

What’s interesting, and what we want to see in this upcoming March issue on “Safety in Meetings,” is meetings working collectively to protect members from unsafe practices and address problems that threaten to divide us. How do we react when tempers flare? When someone’s been treated badly? If we have a sexual predator sitting on our benches every week, how do we protect their potential target, be they a child or an adult?

Most of these issues are not particular to Friends. What can we learn from other churches who have dealt with scandals of sexual abuse? What is the role of the monthly meeting community and of the yearly meeting? Insurance companies and governmental bodies are also interested in our responses when legal lines are crossed. How have we adapted to their requirements?

There are also less formal responses. The #MeToo movement gave us the idea of “whisper networks”—women quietly telling other women about men who are known to be too touchy, disrespectful, or sexually aggressive. I’m sad to report that these do exist among Friends.

Institutions—even Quaker ones—typically cover up news on sexual assaults that take place on their property or in their gatherings or through their networks. There’s a mix of reasons to keep things quiet—from an altruistic wish to protect the identity of victims to a more self-serving concern about reputation. But by keeping quiet, do we project a false sense of security? Are people less on their guard because they rarely hear of the problems that take place behind the scenes? And what is our responsibility when a predator simply moves on to another Quaker community?

Some specific angles for writing include:

  • What are some best practices we’ve adopted? For example, background checks to work with children and ensuring two adults are always present. If there are costs involved, who pays them? How are the logistics worked out?
  • What happens when there is a rupture in the meeting—bullying, microaggressions, the kind of gossiping early Friends might have called detraction? How do meetings work through this? How do we stop the aggression? How do we hold vulnerable people in the meeting when they’re being hurt?
  • How do we hold up values of trust and love when insurance companies are dictating specific rules based on suspicion?
  • How do we deal with known abusers in our meeting community? How do we balance their ongoing recovery with concerns about potential victims in our meeting?

Fact Facts:

  • Features run 1200-2500 words
  • Submissions close February 21, 2022
  • Questions? Email [email protected]

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face. From rising sea levels to extreme weather events, wildfires to refugee crises, its effects are far reaching and amplify existing inequalities and injustices.

Our May issue will look at the various types of organizing we can do to address climate change. Some of the things we’re looking for:

  • Lobbying: how can we get our political and economic leaders to take climate change seriously?
  • Activist styles: what’s working? It’d be interesting to see something that goes behind the scenes on the youth movements, congressional lobbying, divestment, etc.
  • How individual and collective lifestyle changes in how we eat, clothe ourselves, work and play might address some of the issues involved. What does sustainable living mean to Friends today?
  • The factors that have brought us to a climate emergency are complex and touch on every other social aspect—race and class and economic structures. What does a Quaker-informed view of these various dynamics look like?

Due March 21, 2022

Due to the generosity of our donors, we are able to pay a modest honorarium for some content. If you have an idea for an article or project, please share it with us here.

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.

Departments: Shorter articles (about 1,500 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] 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 and upcoming deadlines (submit in mid-February and mid-August).

Student Voices Project: Our annual student writing issue. The latest appears in the May 2020 issue.

Additional Resources

Friends Journal Style Guide: Our frequently updated in-house style sheet includes guidelines for uniquely Quaker stylistic issues and also includes links to reference material by other Quaker and progressive organizations.

List of Friends Journal themes, 2012-2020