By Sherryll-Jeanne Harris
As always, there was a spine tingling moment. Charles Martin, co-clerk of Quakers United in Publishing (QUIP), pulled an old book from a Pendle Hill bookshelf. To his utter amazement, buried between its pages, was a letter written by his great-great grandfather, William Burgess, and published in the Friends’ Intelligencer, November 30, 1900. The following excerpt that Charles read aloud was meaningful to all of us attending the 2012 QUIP conference.
“Slight differences of opinion on doctrine, or conventional forms and customs, which by many seem to be considered as dogmas of the church and essential to salvation, are not allowed to interfere with that friendly intercourse which toleration invokes and true charity demands.”
Quaker authors, publishers, editors, bloggers, booksellers, Publication and Communication committee representatives from Meetings, sought to learn better and effective ways to publish Quaker thought, faith and essence, for all Quakers and non-Quaker readers alike.
There is concern that many Friends and attenders are not well versed in Quaker teachings. Apparently this is not a new problem. In the Memoirs of Rachel Hicks (1879), she wrote: “I wish Friends generally would read Friends’ books much more than I fear many do. I grieve in the secret of my heart when I go into Friends’ houses and see piles of books on the centre table, and I cannot find a Friends book among them!”
Are we better informed now than we were before the explosion of social media? There was a caution to not become so fascinated, so distracted and engaged, by the growing ways to communicate, that we lose time for precious silence: time to let the Spirit guide and inform our lives.
Readers may recall that QUIP supported the publishing of Spirit Rising — Young Quaker Voices. At business meeting we moved forward on QUIP’s commitment to funding the printing of a Spanish edition, for our Spanish-speaking Friends of the Americas. QUIP also administers the Tace Sowle Fund, which assists Quaker authors and publishers in less affluent countries to publish material. Contributions to this fund are gratefully received.
QUIP could become more than it currently is. From various participants, I gathered the following impressions and suggestions. QUIP seems to be geared more toward networking than to being directly helpful for publications marketing. It does have potential to be more helpful for marketing, but QUIP would need to actively engage in marketing. One suggestion was that QUIP could be a cooperative resource for book reviews.
Presently QUIP has a website on which Friends’ publications may be posted and linked. We invite all who publish in some form, to learn about QUIP and to join us. Help QUIP become stronger. Bring your expertise and join the conversation at Twin Rocks, Oregon, April 11-14, 2013.
While iPads and Kindles are changing publishing as we know it, I was rather tickled when travelling home, to overhear a young man — who was clutching a book — say to his girlfriend: “I feel like such a nerd carrying a book, but it’s so darn good!”