Announcement: Moving on From QuakerSpeak

Dear Friends,

I am writing to announce my decision that this will be my last year as the director of QuakerSpeak. This has been such an amazing journey for me, and I’m really proud of the work I’ve done. What an incredible impact the project has had in just 6 years.

When I first had the vision for a Quaker YouTube channel, I never imagined it would surpass 2.5 million views or generate the kind of widespread support it has seen. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness when I think of it. Remembering back to the discernment process that brought about the idea for the project, I am truly humbled and feel more confident than ever that when we listen and follow the leadings of the spirit, we often have an impact beyond our own imagination.

I’ll be staying on at Friends Journal through the end of the year to finish this season and help transition the project to a new director. I am interested and excited to see what a new creative voice can bring to the project and am glad to know that QuakerSpeak will continue beyond my time at Friends Journal.

My plan in 2020 is to give myself some space for reflection and discernment as I seek clarity about my next big project. My work on QuakerSpeak has been a tremendous opportunity to grow in my skills as a videographer, storyteller, and project manager… skills that are incredibly helpful in getting the word out about organizations that are doing good work.

If you, your meeting, or an organization you work with needs help spreading the word about a program or event, feel free to get in touch. I’ve updated my portfolio page to provide a sense of the scope of my collaborations.

I may also do some traveling to share with Friends what I’ve learned in my experience designing and implementing this groundbreaking outreach project, and welcome inquiries about visiting and speaking with Friends in your area.

Finally, if you’d like to follow my journey, I encourage you to stay in touch through my occasional newsletter:

Thanks so much for your interest and support over the years, and here’s to the next leading!

In peace
Jon Watts

Music from QuakerSpeak

I’ve been asked a lot in the past 3 years about the music that we use for QuakerSpeak episodes. Mostly when I need music for the project, I just search back through my archive and use a piece that I’ve never released. Sometimes I’ve composed an instrumental or two for the project. But I’ve never made the music publicly available on it’s own, until now.

Listen to all of the music from QuakerSpeak Season 1 & 2 below, and feel free to download the mp3’s. I’m composing music for Season 4 now, so keep an eye out for the next compilation!

Watch Me Talk About QuakerSpeak

So I feel a little bashful about this… but my co-workers thought it was a good idea for me to talk to the camera for a little while.

The video project I’ve dedicated my 30’s to so far is wrapping up its 3rd year and nearing a million views on YouTube. To celebrate, the Friends Journal editors turned the cameras around and asked me some questions about the project.

Thanks to everybody who follows the project and has supported me throughout the years.

How Do We Save Quakerism?

Are your Meeting’s numbers dwindling? Do you worry that there won’t be a “next” generation to pass Quakerism on to?

Are your Meeting’s numbers dwindling? Do you worry that there won’t be a “next” generation to pass Quakerism on to?
quaker-meeting-house
You aren’t alone. As I’ve traveled the country visiting different kinds of Quaker Meetings, I’ve noticed that many Quaker Meetings are holding a similar, underlying anxiety: what’s next?

Of course there are Meetings that don’t fit this categorization, but if you are one of those Friends who holds a concern for the future of the Religious Society of Friends, read on.

Step 1: Ask Ourselves, “What Are We Trying to Save?”

As someone who gets most excited about Quakerism when I think about the Early Friends, I believe that the litmus test for whether we have life is the fire and Spirit that motivated the emergence of the Quaker movement.
Continue reading “How Do We Save Quakerism?”

Announcing… Season 2! (QuakerSpeak Lives On!)

This Thursday, tune in to our YouTube channel for the first video of Season 2 and subscribe to get a new QuakerSpeak video in your inbox every Thursday for the next 9 months!

Dear Friends,

It’s been a big three months! Since I wrote my last post about the YouTube Channel that I work on, and how I’ve been working with Friends Journal to find the resources needed to create a second season, I have heard from so many of you about how the project has touched you or your Meeting. Thank you for those beautiful and inspiring messages, and thank you to everyone who ordered a DVD and/or contributed to a Season 2!
Continue reading “Announcing… Season 2! (QuakerSpeak Lives On!)”

What’s Next for QuakerSpeak?

So QuakerSpeak’s funding didn’t get renewed for a second year. On Monday I will meet with staff at Friends Journal to begin to discern whether the project can continue to be housed there and if so, where the support for Season 2 might come from. I would appreciate your prayers in this time.

UPDATE #2: Season 2 is on!

UPDATE #1: Since we first heard that we didn’t get our funding for a second year, I have spoken with the folks at Friends Journal and they are confident that they want to keep me on for a season 2, and while we’re not totally clear on the details of how that will happen, it seems like things are moving in the right direction.

And if you are interested in helping make a season 2 happen, there is a way for you to help! Just go to QuakerSpeak.com/DVD and pre-order our new DVD… you’ll have the option to put in a little extra to help support season 2. Thanks to everyone who commented on this post, you gave me some Light in a moment where it was obscured! So much gratitude. With grace, there are enough folks like you out there that want to see another year of QuakerSpeak!


Original Post:

So QuakerSpeak‘s funding didn’t get renewed for a second year.

Without getting too much into the dynamics of the funding organization, I’ll just say that I am not too surprised, but I am disappointed. Most folks I talk to seem to feel like the project has been wildly successful in its first year.

So what comes next? I’m not sure yet.
Continue reading “What’s Next for QuakerSpeak?”

Can Self-Promotion Be Spirit-Led?

When I first received the call to do this work, my core values were offended. Hadn’t I already rejected the part of myself that strives for public attention? I was so attached to my humbleness that I refused to “self-promote”. Ironically, it was my pride and self-will that got in the way of my calling to publicize this ministry.

Give over thine own willing; give over thine own running; give over thine own desiring to know, or to be any thing

-Isaac Pennington full quote

As Quakers, we make this fundamental, unshakeable distinction: God’s will. My will.

If we are to do the will of God, we must first let go of our own striving, our own willing. And if we are to give over our own willing, how could it ever be in good order for us to reach out for something as vain and creaturely as celebrity?

I wrote this post as a part of QVS’ synchroblog on Quakers and new media. See what other bloggers had to say here.

The Allure of Attention

I am familiar with the allure of acting out my void in public. I want the attention. I want to be seen. I want to be known. I am afraid of being passed over.
Continue reading “Can Self-Promotion Be Spirit-Led?”

Quaker Epistle, Set to Music!

A few weeks ago a Friend in England Facebooked me to see if I’d put music to an epistle that she had a part in writing. The epistle is the Kabarak Call for Peace and Eco-Justice. Here’s my rendition.

The Kabarak Call for Peace and Eco-Justice

The Kabarak Call for Peace and Ecojustice was approved on 24 April 2012 at the Sixth World Conference Friends, held at Kabarak University near Nakuru, Kenya. It is the culmination of the FWCC World Consultation on Global Change which was held in 2010 and 2011. It is being circulated with the Conference Epistle.

In past times God’s Creation restored itself. Now humanity dominates, our growing population consuming more resources than nature can replace. We must change, we must become careful stewards of all life. Earthcare unites traditional Quaker testimonies: peace, equality, simplicity, love, integrity, and justice. Jesus said, “As you have done unto the least… you have done unto me”. We are called to work for the peaceable Kingdom of God on the whole earth, in right sharing with all peoples. However few our numbers, we are called to be the salt that flavours and preserves, to be a light in the darkness of greed and destruction.
Continue reading “Quaker Epistle, Set to Music!”

How to Play “Walk in the Light” (The George Fox Song)

There’s a Light that is shining in the Heart of a man
It’s the Light that was shining when the world began
There’s a Light that is shining in the Turk and the Jew
There’s a Light that is shining, friend, in me and in you.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been singing this song about George Fox, a man who is widely regarded as the founder of The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

When I became a singer-songwriter and started sharing some of my music with Quakers, I started getting a lot of requests for it. Though I was never a “singalong” musician (I have my own song that I wrote about Fox), I loosened up and learned the chords. If you’re looking to learn how to play the George Fox Song, I’ll post the chords and lyrics just below this video.

+Click to show chords & lyrics