3 October 2021: Happy World Quaker Day!
Honoring and Respecting 377,557 Friends Worldwide
The BlackQuaker Project commemorates the 8th annual World Quaker Day (WQD), an international celebration of Quakerism on the first Sunday of October each year. Created by the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) in 2014, WQD is an effort to celebrate and to unite Quakers of various theologies, geographies, and ethnicities. This year’s theme, ”Resilience and hope: drawing strength from our Quaker faith,” asks Friends how they are both empowered and sustained by the forms of worship unique to their own community.
As the global presence of Quakerism has grown--traveling across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, including the Middle East--so too have the ways in which Friends worship. WQD seeks to recognize this rich tapestry of Quaker traditions, both past and present. We honor and respect all Quaker traditions, from Christo-centric beliefs to Buddhist and agnostic practices. These religious expressions may come in unprogrammed, semi-programmed, and programmed worship, the latter most apparent in the persistently expanding chapters of many Friends throughout Africa, South America, the Caribbean, Asia, and the USA. We draw on the FWCC’s 2017 study of Quaker populations, “Finding Quakers Around the World Map,” to show just how dramatically the global demographics of Quakers are changing as we move further into the 21st century. Below are figures (current to 2017), of the countries with the highest population of Quakers found on each continent.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (4,220)
Palestine and Lebanon (70)
United Kingdom (23,067)
South America and the Caribbean
The BlackQuaker Project seeks to contribute to the process of uniting Quakers worldwide by documenting the lives of--and addressing the concerns held by--Quakers of color, who represent the expanding numbers of Quakers worldwide. We recommend educating ourselves about our Quaker sisters and brothers of color around the world and taking steps to collaborate with them.
Please reflect on the following questions drawn from both the FWCC and our ministry, and consider sharing them within your own community.
FWCC Questions for Discussion:
What kinds of worship do Friends have around the world?
Do you know what an Evangelical Friend believes? A Conservative Friend? A Convergent Friend? A Liberal Friend?
How are programmed and unprogrammed Friends alike and different?
Which form of worship worldwide has more members and attenders — programmed or unprogrammed?
What do Friends around the world have in common?
The BlackQuaker Project Questions for Discussion:
What has been the historical experience of Quakers of color in the RSOF? How were these experiences different from those of Quakers of European ancestry?
How might Quakers of color, who comprise a dominant majority in the RSOF, be more equitably involved in the leadership of Quaker organizations?
What steps might contemporary Quakerism take to institute a plan of retrospective and reparatory justice to address the history of exploitation, degredation, and dehumanization of Quakers of color in chattel slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade, settler colonialism (Kenya et al.), apartheid, and segregation?
Learn about how World Quaker Day has been celebrated for the past 7 years by visiting the FWCC’s special website for the commemoration. Visit our Quakers of Color International Archive (QCIA) to explore our growing collection of video testimonies from Quakers from Africa, South America, and the Middle East, as well as Quakers of African and Asian descent in the USA. For writings of Quakers of African descent in the USA, see Harold D. Weaver Jr., Paul Kriese, and Stephen W. Angell, eds., Black Fire: African American Quakers on Spirituality and Human Rights (Philadelphia: Quaker Press of Friends General Conference, 2011). For our recommendations on addressing historical crimes against people of color, see Harold D. Weaver Jr., Race, Systemic Violence, and Retrospective Justice: An African American Quaker Scholar-Activist Challenges Conventional Narratives (Wallingford, PA: Pendle Hill Press, 2020). Additionally, consider joining Wellesley Friends Meeting’s virtual program on Sunday from 1:00-2:00pm to learn about Friends around the world and to view a short FWCC film with Friends from different countries and Friends’ traditions: "What Makes Us Friends.” The meeting can be joined through Wellesley Friends Meeting’s zoom link available on the front page of their website. The FWCC is organizing hour-long virtual worship events, as well, which will be taking place throughout Sunday for Friends across the world to participate in.
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments, questions, and concerns. Visit our website to learn more about our activities.
--The BlackQuaker Project