Our April 2018 issue will look at Quakers healing. I’ve always been struck by the ambivalence of early Friends on the topic. The first generation went about the British and American countrysides like a band of newly reincarnated biblical apostles, healing people they met in miraculous ways. George Fox came across a man who had been had just been killed after falling off a horse in New Jersey and moved his head and neck about until he was brought back to life. This early enthusiasm turned to embarrassment pretty quickly, and many of these accounts of miracles were edited out of the published journals.
But this division between soberness and exuberance only continued. Many Friends pioneered advances in medicine, while others led the nineteenth-century Spiritualist movement that communed with the dead. Nowadays, Quakers continue to span the healing arts from traditional medical careers to more spirit-based healers—and often find fascinating ways to combine the two. Friends in these pages have written about how their training in worshipful silence gave them unexpected tools when counseling hurt or dying patients.
Then there are so many types of healing—medical, spiritual, the healing of communities, the mending of a broken world. There’s a lot to talk about. Join the conversation and write something for us by January 15, 2018 (updated):
We’re always looking for new voices and perspectives from our community. Is there a side of the story you think isn’t being told or heard among Friends? Contact me with questions or ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.