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Review: Historical Dictionary of the Friends (Quakers)

Edited by Margery Post Abbott, Mary Ellen Chijoke, Pink Dandelion, and John William Oliver, Jr.
The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2012, 574 pages

A curious incident occurs once a pastor graces the entrance of their new monthly meeting to which they are called to shepherd. Someone usually requests the pastor give a class on “What It Means to be a Quaker.”

Now this task is not necessarily a difficult one, however, most of the congregation — the pastor quickly finds — has been a Quaker for decades. The chore is in finding new, innovative and exciting material that will entice participation and learning.

Not wanting to disappoint, the pastor frantically searches to find new and innovative ways to teach an old and revered faith. To be quite honest, finding new books, new material and new ways to rekindle the Quaker experience is a plain, ordinary tough job!

Imagine my surprise when I received a letter from The Scarecrow Press asking if I would want to review a copy of a new Quaker Dictionary. The letter promised this dictionary not only gave a brief history of Quakers, but, also had entries on concepts, significant figures, places, more. Immediately I answered their letter.

Two days later I received the book. Flipping through the pages, I found a plethora of ideas for future studies. Although this book is called a “historical dictionary”, it acts much like an encyclopedia providing an overview of each entry with just enough information to entice the seeker to continue their quest to dig more into the subject.

This book is a handy reference tool and a must have for busy pastors, Sunday school leaders and anyone who has even the most remote interest in Quakerism.

Annie Glen
Centerville, Indiana