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.

On the Web: Where’s that Power of the Lord?

The new Quak­er Life has an arti­cle by Charles W. Heav­ilin ask­ing “Where’s the Pow­er of the Lord Now?”:http://www.fum.org/QL/issues/0506/heaviland.htm
bq. In our post­mod­ern, frag­ment­ed world, where now is the pow­er of the Lord among Quak­ers? There is a vast divide between the accounts of ear­ly Friends and that of con­tem­po­rary Friends. Most mod­ern Quak­er report­ing is per­func­to­ry — accounts with the spir­i­tu­al qual­i­ty of recipes in a cook­book. Con­ver­sa­tions at Quak­er gath­er­ings now revolve around declin­ing atten­dance or bleak assess­ments of the spir­i­tu­al shal­low­ness of soci­ety. Sel­dom, if ever, is there any men­tion of the pow­er of the Lord.
Great stuff. He gets into the way our cul­ture has neg­a­tive­ly influ­enced Friends. After you read it check out “C Wess Daniel’s”:http://gatheringinlight.blogspot.com/2005/06/i-appreciate-article-charles-has.html com­men­tary on the article:
bq. Sim­ply put, I think we need to learn the sto­ries of the Quak­er church once again, and begin to tell them, live them, and move for­ward in this tra­di­tion that has been past down to us as one that has been formed by the Spir­it of Christ through such won­der­ful lead­ers as Fox, Fell, Bar­clay, Wool­man, etc.

Quaker publications meeting (QUIP) in Indiana

Quak­ers Unit­ing in Pub­li­ca­tions, bet­ter known as “QUIP,” is a col­lec­tion of 50 Quak­er pub­lish­ers, book­sellers and authors com­mit­ted to the “min­istry of the writ­ten word.” I often think of QUIP as a sup­port group of sorts for those of us who real­ly believe that pub­lish­ing can make a dif­fer­ence. It’s also one of those places where dif­fer­ent branch­es of Friends come togeth­er to work and tell sto­ries. QUIP ses­sions strike a nice bal­ance between work and unstruc­tured time, it’s has its own nice cul­ture of friend­li­ness and coöper­a­tion that are the real rea­son many of us go every year.

Quakers Uniting in Publications annual meeting in Richmond Indiana 2004.
Quak­ers Unit­ing in Pub­li­ca­tions annu­al meet­ing in Rich­mond Indi­ana 2004.