In 2013 I founded a video project called QuakerSpeak. In my six year run as the director of the project, I interviewed hundreds of Quakers from all over the country, won awards and grew it into a force of outreach and dialogue for Quakers across the globe. In that time, I released 223 videos and the project has more than 4 million views.
Here are some stories of how the series has impacted the lives of Friends and seekers all over the world:
“I was not raised Quaker, but for as long as I can remember, at least from the age of 4, I have always been searching for my spiritual home. Nothing ever felt right. Then I met a Quaker where I lived, and I started to explore. For close to two years I spent time watching every video you put out. Without those videos, I would never have had the courage to show up at my local meeting house by myself. When I did finally get the courage to go, I immediately knew that in my heart I am a Quaker, and that I found my spiritual home. You changed my life. Thank you.”
– Christie Shaver, Ellis, NY
“Jacksonville Friends Meeting, which I’ve clerked since January 2017, is a tiny one. Attendance by those recorded on our roster with yearly meeting has dwindled to me and the treasurer, plus, occasionally, one other homebound member—when I can give her a ride from far out of town. However, reading FJ keeps me connected on a very practical level, as well as intellectually and spiritually, and I share posts and articles from FJ on meeting and yearly meeting email lists and Facebook pages.
Better still, we’ve had a steady stream of newcomers over the past year, some of whom sought us out after watching QuakerSpeak videos. These are not just the usual “social action” folks who join Friends Meetings after wars or political crises. They are real Seekers in the original 17th century sense.
Please let the QuakerSpeak team know how much we appreciate that service.”
– Mike Shell, Jacksonville FL
“Thank you for these QuakerSpeak videos. They are so enriching. Friends in Australia greatly value them and are grateful for your ministry thorough them. So often I see people I know in them (coming from the USA as I do) and it gives me a wonderful sense of connection with them.
But truly, we can connect with all the Friends we hear speak, and with what they “bring to the Table”.’
– Jacqueline Schultze, Australia
“I just wanted to emphasize how valuable these QuakerSpeak videos are to me. I was brand new to Quakerism, as of April of this year, and the videos helped me to learn so much, so quickly. As a result, I felt comfortable going to my first meeting! I knew what to expect and I centered down with a mind better prepared on how to attend to the Inner Light.
While it is enlightening, and a real joy, for me to happily venture around all of the wonderful Quaker literature, seeing “real” Quakers on QuakerSpeak does something different. It brings Friends out history, out of the mind’s eye, into today, into my heart, and makes The Quaker Way tangible. I would not have attended a Quaker meeting so readily had it not been for your video series.
I look forward to your future QuakerSpeak. I know this service must bring in more inquiring minds such as mine.”
– Amy N., Annapolis MD
“QuakerSpeak for us is a pungent and fertile source of nutrition for understanding the culture of Quakerism today. From the individual videos the messages are about how Quakers interact with the world and how Quakers respond to the positive and negative reactions of the world. Each is a mini George Fox Journal. What we really enjoy about these videos is the careful choice of language which matches the colour of the topic being presented. These are very profound observations of the Quaker condition. They show us how to behave. They show us the virtues of Quakerism. They are very powerful teaching tools. We love them and look forward to seeing them arrive in our Inbox each week.
QuakerSpeak has enriched our journey into Quakerism. We almost feel a personal connection with some of the people presenting. We find their contemporary perspectives to be intelligent, deep and considered reflections that make sense to us. The topics have been the source of ongoing conversations in our home and have helped us to connect with Quaker values and beliefs long held but concealed. The settings of the videos have also touched us and resonated with our own simple back drop.
These videos have helped us immensely.
Intelligent – Diverse – Thoughtful – Interesting – Stimulating – Mindful – Thought Provoking – Timely – Contemporary – Accessible – Visually Delightful – Thank You !!”
– Terry and Jennie Gill, Northland New Zealand
“I have been attending the Scarsdale Friends Meeting in NY since March of this year. I have had some limited exposure to Friends previously but do consider myself new to all this.
Quaker Speak has been a most important part of my journey. I think I’ve watched all the video clips from all three seasons. They have exposed me to a wide range of issues and the experiences of many Quakers. I am not always comfortable with the topics but am delighted to be stretched and challenged. I am deeply grateful. While I am not on Facebook, I have forwarded videos to many friends and also received positive feedback. I find that I look forward to getting home on Thursday to see what the latest installment will bring. I have subscribed to Friends Journal because of Quaker speak.”
– Ken Johnson, Yonkers NY
“I just wanted to let you know how important QuakerSpeak is to me and, by extension, to our family. It’s like a lifeline. We live in a very rural, homogenous area. QuakerSpeak lets me connect with others who feel like my own people. I was quite literally counting the weeks until he new season started. I identify with something in every video. Thank you very much for the work you do. It is priceless.”
– Erin Snook, NJ
With my outreach work and marketing background, I appreciate QuakerSpeak as one of the most consistent and effective outreach tools we have. The subject lines you send seem to cut through the other crap and lead attention. Not only because I”m interested, because they are written and timed well.
– Amy Wagner, Fallsington PA
This ministry is vital to the survival of Quakerism in North America. I’ve loved all of them and we have embedded them in our Miami Monthly Meeting’s website.
Thank you for helping bring our Light out from under the bushel!
– Kathy Hersh, Miami FL
“Ministry & Counsel of Chatham Summit has been using QuakerSpeak videos for over a year now to stimulate discussion and encourage Friends to think more deeply about their tradition. Recently, we encouraged the Bible study class from a local Methodist church to view some of the basic videos before coming to worship with us one Sunday. It was such a help—both to them and to us! Thank you, thank you to Friends Journal for its support of QuakerSpeak!”
– Robin Whitely, New York Yearly Meeting
See a playlist of all the videos I filmed, edited and released during my time as director of the project.
Read a letter from the executive director of Friends Journal about the founding and impact of QuakerSpeak.
Read an article from a member of San Francisco Meeting about how their Meeting uses QuakerSpeak to deepen their Quaker practice.
Read an article by Quaker professor Max Carter about the origins and impact of the QuakerSpeak project.
Watch QuakerSpeak Videos
Produced by Jon Watts