Our Top Five Articles for 2023

Images from “Young Adults Want What Early Friends Had,” “A Visit to the Hector Meetinghouse,” and “Three Common Fallacies of Quaker Leadership.”

As we review the most widely read features on the Friends Journal website this last year, we also want to give a shout out to full-time staff writer Sharlee DiMenichi. Her arrival has enabled us to cover events that affect Quaker communities, like the closing of Woodbrooke Study Centre in the UK or the split between Indiana Yearly Meeting and Friends United Meeting, in a more timely fashion than ever before.

5. Three Common Fallacies of Quaker Leadership

“We need to talk about leadership,” Andy Stanton-Henry insisted in June. “It’s essential to the health of our current leaders, the vitality of our meetings, and the future of the Society of Friends.” Andy walked readers through the misleading notions that Quakers don’t even have leaders, that they are too “chill” to take charge and act decisively in difficult situations, and that empathy requires them to stand by and do nothing while others take advantage of the power vacuum.

4. Speaking Up for Palestinian Rights Now

“The horrific events and war crimes in southern Israel and Gaza committed since October 7 by both Hamas and the State of Israel have sent shock waves of anguish and grief around the world,” Steve Chase reflected in November. But the question of Israel and Palestine is one that he’d been thinking about for some time, as he explains in this account of a fact-finding journey through the West Bank, Galilee, and Jerusalem earlier this year.

3. A Visit to the Hector Meetinghouse

“There are few things as rewarding for me as driving down a country road and finding an old building, secluded among the trees,” Chester Freeman declared in June. The Hector Meetinghouse, outside of Ithaca, N.Y., is one such place that he’s come to appreciate. “When I entered the door in silence, it felt as though I was walking into a sacred space—a space where I can open my heart, mind, and soul to receive whatever message may be given to me.”

2. From Atheist to Friends

“Until recently, my spiritual history could fit on the back of a postcard,” John Marsh revealed in February. Then an encounter with the life and work of Walt Whitman got him thinking about divine matters… and led him to the Religious Society of Friends and meetings for worship. “Mostly I listen, by which I mean I remain open to whatever God or the Divine or the Light Within may have to communicate to me.”

1. Young Adults Want What Early Friends Had

“Over the past 14 years, I have seen my faith shift and transform many times over within the Religious Society of Friends,” Olivia Chalkley wrote for our September issue. “These days, I’m not so sure where I fit in as a young adult and Christ-centered Friend who finds herself in Quaker spaces that often feel more like liberal discussion groups than church.” That message struck a chord with readers, becoming the most widely read article published in 2023 in just four short months. 

Banner images: Max Carter; Melissa Travis Dunham; David Botwinick

Catch up on past years’ lists!

Top Articles of 2022

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:

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