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.
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.
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.
The theme of the 2004 annual session was “New Ways to Reach Our Markets in a Changing World” and our guest presenters were publicists Doug and Kate Bandos of KSB Promotions: http://www.ksbpromotions.com
The Evans House, built 1855: Gurneyite high style back in the day… It’s now the home of the Quaker Hill Conference Center, where we met. The Gurneyites evolved into Friends United Meeting and I had some good conversations with Friends about some of the visioning FUM is doing. Pretty interesting stuff, like many Friends they too are trying to figure out how to wrestle more fully with Quaker tradition.
Our hosts were the staff of “Friends United Meeting. The FUM campus in Richmond, Indiana, is very pretty in April, with flowers and the crabapple trees
Even prettier is the reforested trail down to the Whitewater River Falls.
We wouldn’t be Quakers if we didn’t have lots of meetings. Left: QUIP clerks Lucy Duncan, Barbara Mays, Elizabeth Cave.
Philip Arnold from the Quaker Bookshop in London, Ann Raper of North Carolina YM (FUM) publications committee and Liz Yeats, a former FGC employee and longtime QUIP stalwart (Ann and Liz are also both board members of “Friends Journal).
QUIP meetings are really all about the conversations in between sessions. Barbara Mays of Friends United Press talks with the new FUM webmaster Curtis Hermann (who later showed me the secret FUM coffee supply and chatted about collarless shirt vendors).
Marjorie Ewbank holds up QUIP’s “Quaker Tapestry”:http://www.Quaker-tapestry.co.uk panel, which should be finished by the end of the century.
Obligatory picture of Simon, sometimes referred to as the “QUIP baby“since his parents met at an annual QUIP meeting.
A field trip to the Levi Coffin house in Fountain City. Run entirely by very dedicated volunteers, it’s the only home still standing of Levi and Catharine Coffin, Friends who helped thousands of escaped slaves get to Canada through the Underground Railroad.
How many cameras does it take to make a group shot? That’s Trish Carn (the UK’s Quaker Monthly), Anthony Manousos (Western US’s Friends Bulletin) and our very gracious photo-taker (who I think might be Ann’s son?).
The many faces of Sally Rickerman, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting character par excellence. Sally spent part of the weekend challenging me about my plain dressing — okay, politely asking me a question and then following up my answer with her opinions. Sally also brought along a parody she once put together, a flyer for an organization called something like “The Society of Sentimental Friends” for all those who want to be Quaker because their great great grandparents were Quaker and they like antiques like old musty meetinghouses.
The many faces of Sally Rickerman (2)
Barbara in front of the falls. I think Friends General Conference should put in a nature trail near our office too (I vote for bulldozing the “National Constitution Center”).