Writing Opp: Younger Friends Becoming Quaker

We know there are plenty of Quakers who only need a little nudge to share their perspectives with a wider audience. If you know anyone who should write about this topic, please share this post with them!

Our September issue looks at “Younger Friends Becoming Quaker.”

Wringing our hands over our graying population is a favorite Quaker pastime in after-worship fellowship, and the question of how to attract and retain younger Friends and bring them deeper into our communities is of perennial interest. In this issue, we’d like to not just complain but hear of success stories and learn of concrete methods to be more welcoming.

We’re not going to try to define what age range we mean by younger Friends. We’re aware there’s not any monolithic group we’re talking about. Everyone is different, and issues around disabilities, neuro-diversities, LGBTQ+ community, and other identities certainly affect the kind of welcome people receive.

We especially want to see articles by younger Friends sharing their own direct experiences.

Some questions that might be addressed:

  • How are expectations of participation changing? As recently as a few years ago, Friends were expected to be involved in the in-person life of a specific meeting. Some yearly meetings have been instituting yearly-meeting level membership specifically to encourage participation by mobile younger Friends; how is that going and are there other models we need to adapt?
  • How do we stay in touch with Friends who have grown up in Quaker meetings but moved away or become less involved because of continuing education, families, and jobs?
  • There are a lot of different pathways into Quaker participation. Some grow up in a specific meeting community; others attend Friends schools or participate in Quaker-affiliated summer camps; and a growing number find out about us through involvement in service-based programs like Quaker Voluntary Service and FCNL’s Advocacy Corps. Many people also show up at our doors independently as part of a personal search for religious identity. How do we recognize these various pathways and connect with those who travel them?
  • Do we need more welcoming rituals? More regular intro-to-Quakerism classes? Projects aimed at younger inquirers? More involvement in online forums for newcomers?
  • Are there habits or cultures blocking our invitation to younger Friends? And how much of this is a problem not of attracting people to our meetings for a while, but of retaining them for a long period?

Quick Facts, September 2023:

  • Younger Friends Becoming Quaker
  • Features run 1200-2500 words
  • Submissions close June 26, 2023. Submit here.
  • Questions? Email editors@friendsjournal.org

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