Future of Quaker media at Pendle Hill next month

I’m part of a dis­cus­sion at the Pen­dle Hill con­fer­ence cen­ter out­side Philadel­phia next month. Everyone’s invited. It’s a rare chance to really bring a lot of dif­fer­ent read­ers and media pro­duc­ers (offi­cial and DIY) together into the same room to map out where Quaker media is headed. If you’re a pas­sion­ate reader or think that Quaker pub­li­ca­tions are vital to our spir­i­tual move­ment, then do try to make it out.

Youtube, Twit­ter, pod­casts, blogs, books. Where’s it all going and who’s doing it? How does it tie back to Quak­erism? What does it mean for Friends and our insti­tu­tions? Join pan­elists Charles Mar­tin, Gabriel Ehri and Mar­tin Kel­ley, along with Quaker pub­lish­ers and writ­ers from around the world, and read­ers and media enthu­si­asts, for a wide-ranging dis­cus­sion about the future of Quaker media.

We will begin with some wor­ship at 7.00pm If you’d like a deli­cious Pen­dle Hill din­ner before­hand please reply to the Face­book event wall (see http://​on​.fb​.me/​q​u​a​k​e​r​m​e​dia). Din­ner is at 6.00pm and will cost $12.50

This is part of this year’s Quak­ers Unit­ing in Pub­li­ca­tions con­fer­ence. QUIP has been hav­ing to re-imagine its role over the last ten years as so many of its anchor pub­lish­ers and book­stores have closed. I have a big con­cern that a lot of online Quaker mate­r­ial is being pro­duced by non-Quakers and/or in ways that aren’t really rooted in typ­i­cal Quaker processes. Maybe we can talk about that some at Pen­dle Hill.

What might it mean that one of the best-selling new novels revolves around a Quaker…

What might it mean that one of the best-selling new nov­els revolves around a Quaker plot line? Yes indeed, “The Mar­riage Plot” by “Vir­gin Sui­cides” author Jef­frey Eugenides appar­ently does. I’ve ordered it and will try to write up impres­sions too, Accord­ing to this piece in Com­men­tary, another cur­rent book has a Quaker theme. Curi­ous. #books #eugenides

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Jef­frey Eugenides « Com­men­tary Mag­a­zine
I am writ­ing about Jef­frey Eugenides’s mag­i­cal novel The Mar­riage Plot at greater length else­where, but a remark­able coin­ci­dence — an instant of serendip­ity in lit­er­ary his­tory — struck me upon re… 

There’s a lot of primary source material on Friends that Google’s scanned…

There’s a lot of pri­mary source mate­r­ial on Friends that Google’s scanned in. I stum­bled on this doing a search on some­thing com­pletely con­tem­po­rary!

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Friends’ intel­li­gencer
books​.google​.com

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Ginny Christensen, Educational Consultant

Strategy for GrowthGinny Chris­tensen is the force behind Strat­egy for Growth, LLC, a Wyn­cote, PA con­sult­ing firm that pro­vides strate­gic plan­ning, board devel­op­ment, exec­u­tive coach­ing, and lead­er­ship team devel­op­ment for inde­pen­dent schools and non­prof­its. The site is fairly sim­ple. It’s built in Word­Press and has rudi­men­tary e-commerce with a Pay­pal option for pur­chas­ing books.

Visit: Strat​e​gy​For​Growth​.com

Holiness and Quakerism

Just got Car­ole Dale Spencer’s Holi­ness: The Soul of Quak­erism in the mail. There’s been some blog­ger buzz around it and I’m glad to check it out for myself. I can tell right off the bat that I’m prob­a­bly not going to be con­vinced by her argu­ments. Flip­ping through the index (the place to start any book like this) I see she makes three scant ref­er­ences to tradition-minded “Con­ser­v­a­tive” Friends. That’s not a good sign, but she’s far from the first mod­ern his­to­rian to quar­an­tine this branch to the foot­notes.

I’ll cut her some slack because she’s trav­el­ing an inter­est­ing route. She’s spend­ing a lot of time talk­ing about the Methodist and Holi­ness influ­ences in Friends – John Wes­ley him­self directly is indexed eigh­teen times. If you look at the peo­ple who defined mod­ern 20th Cen­tury lib­eral Quak­erism, folks like Rufus Jones (28 index ref­er­ences), you find that these influ­ences were very strong. They still are, even if they go unac­knowl­edged. And many of the issues Spencer is trac­ing are still with us and con­tinue to be rel­e­vant even as some of us are talk­ing up the pos­si­bil­i­ties of a new renewal/revival move­ment.

Another Quaker bookstore bites the dust

Not really news, but Friends United Meet­ing recently ded­i­cated their new Wel­come Cen­ter in what was once the FUM book­store:

On Sep­tem­ber 15, 2007, FUM ded­i­cated the space once used as the Quaker Hill Book­store as the new FUM Wel­come Cen­ter. The Wel­come Cen­ter con­tains Quaker books and resources for F/friends to stop by and make use of dur­ing busi­ness hours. Tables and chairs to com­fort­ably accom­mo­date 50 peo­ple make this a great space to rent for reunions, church groups, meet­ings, anniversary/birthday par­ties, etc. Reduced prices are avail­able for churches.

Most Quaker pub­lish­ers and book­sellers have closed or been greatly reduced over the last ten years. Great changes have occurred in the Philadelphia-area Pen­dle Hill book­store and pub­lish­ing oper­a­tion, the AFSC Book­store in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, Bar­clay Press in Ore­gon. The ver­i­ta­ble Friends Book­shop in Lon­don farmed out its mail order busi­ness a few years ago and has seen part of its space taken over by a cof­fee­bar: pop­u­lar and cool I’m sure, but does Lon­don really needs another place to buy cof­fee? Rumor has it that Britain’s pub­li­ca­tions com­mit­tee has been laid down. The offi­cial spin is usu­ally that the work con­tin­ues in a dif­fer­ent form but only Bar­clay Press has been reborn as some­thing really cool. One of the few remain­ing book­sellers is my old pals at FGC’s Quaker­Books: still sell­ing good books but I’m wor­ried that so much of Quaker pub­lish­ing is now in one bas­ket and I’d be more con­fi­dent if their web­site showed more signs of activ­ity.

The boards mak­ing these deci­sions to scale back or close are prob­a­bly unaware that they’re part
of a larger trend. They prob­a­bly think they’re respond­ing to unique sit­u­a­tions (the peer group Quak­ers Unit­ing in Pub­li­ca­tions sends inter­nal emails around but hasn’t done much to pub­li­cize this story out­side of its mem­ber­ship). It’s sad to see that so many Quaker decision-making bod­ies have inde­pen­dently decided that pub­lish­ing is not an essen­tial part of their mis­sion.

More classic Quaker books available online

Geeky read­ers out there might want to know that Google Books is now mak­ing many of its out-of-print col­lec­tion avail­able as down­load­able and print­able PDFs. They list 42,500 entries under “Soci­ety of Friends”:http://books.google.com/books?q=%22society+of+friends%22&btnG=Search+Books&as_brr=1 I’m unsure whether this is books with that phrase or pages inside books with that phrase, but either way that’s a lot of read­ing. A quick breeze turns up some good titles. Thanks to “Tech Crunch”:http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/08/30/google-allows-downloads-of-out-of-copyright-books/ for the Google news. Older online book projects worth a men­tion: “Project Gutenberg”:http://www.gutenberg.org the “Chris­t­ian Clas­sics Ethe­r­ial Library”:http://www.ccel.org/ and the Earl­ham School of Religion’s use­ful but clunky “Dig­i­tal Quaker Collection”:http://esr.earlham.edu/dqc/.