Religious Society of Friends in Australia (Quakers)

HomeReligious Society of Friends in Australia (Quakers)

IP is a key source of titles published the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia.

IP distributes This We Can Say and Advices and Queries, two key Quaker publications. We also assist in the publication and distribution of the James Backhouse Series, an annual lecture Series that focuses on the work of important Quaker thinkers across a variety of disciples.

All of these titles are available in print and eBook formats through the IP Store and from our global partners.

The Quakers

The Quakers are famous, despite having no formal “leaders” and minimal theology, for their involvement in working for good in local communities and the world, through pacifism, environmental conservation, and social justice issues.

The Australia Yearly Meeting is part of the grand tradition of the Quaker movement.

Around a thousand Australian Quakers contributed to this work over the course of nearly ten years.

Our purpose is to introduce the reader to our faith: what inspires us; our images of God; our ways of conducting our work and worship in community, in unity.

Quaker practices revolve around the importance of meeting quietly together in worship, waiting for the guidance of the Spirit within each one of us. Sometimes we feel prompted to share how we experience the Spirit working in and through us. This leads Quakers everywhere to strive to live by the principles of equality, truthfulness, integrity, simplicity and peace.

In Australia we are inspired and challenged in special ways by this ancient land and our varied heritages. We sense there is still much to learn, much that will change us.

These writings come together as rays of light from a great variety of individuals. We hope they inspire you to seek the stillness within you, from which loving words and actions grow.

Quaker Publications

Prepared over a period of nearly 10 years, this is the distillation of the thoughts of around a thousand Quakers with an interest in spiritual subjects.

The book includes inspirational writings and personal stories about challenge and opportunity, which reflect on the geography and social history of Australia.

It is arranged under subject headings such as Experiences of the Spirit, Images of God, Silence and stillness, Faith in action, Prayer, Truthfulness and integrity, Simplicity and peace, Life stages and challenges and Indigenous people.

The book can be used for personal study and meditation, for group work or just for inspiration.

It has an extensive glossary, and contains “Advices and Queries”, the Quaker ‘handbook’ of beliefs and practices.

ISBN 0975457906 (HB, 364pp);

145mm x 210mm

AUD $40 USD $34 NZD $49 GBP £23 EUR €32
ISBN 9780975157916 (PB, 364pp); AUD $30 USD $25 NZD $37 GBP £17 EUR €19
ISBN 9780992385743 (eBook) AUD $15 USD $13 NZD $20 GBP £9 EUR €11

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Read more of This We Can Say on Google Books

Advices and Queries is the Quaker ‘handbook’ of beliefs and practices.

New: Advices & Queries is now available separately as a print or eBook booklet.


ISBN 9780975157954 (PB) AUD $6 USD $5 NZD $7 GBP £3 EUR €4.5
ISBN 9780975157961 (eBook) AUD $3 USD $3 NZD $4 GBP £2 EUR €3.5

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This book scrutinises ‘peace’ and ‘war’ through Australian lenses. It uncovers a deeper understanding of these terms and reflects a desire to bring to light alternative Australian ideas of war and peacemaking. Certain stories have eclipsed others that add importantly to Australia’s history. This Quaker initiative considers a plurality of voices and the ‘truths’ they purport. It unpacks the act of ‘memorialising’ to discover the marked impact we make in our efforts to hold on to meaning and to our past. What have been the effects of our responses to the maxim ’Lest we forget’?

ISBN 9781925231755 (PB); AUD $30 USD $24 NZD $32 GBP £17 EUR €20
ISBN 9781925231762 (eBook) AUD $16 USD $10 NZD $18 GBP £8 EUR €10

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James Backhouse Lectures

Click to view the lectures from most recent to the first in 2008.

For over twenty years, Fiona has participated in facilitating the Meeting for Learning (a year-long program for spiritual nurture, designed to explore Spirit and Quaker ways), and lives with her partner in a small intentional community that has been a place of spiritual nurture and learning. She has worked as a social worker for many years and now as a university teacher, particularly in fostering critical reflection and spirituality for social workers and critical spirituality for pastoral care workers. A continuing challenge in her spiritual life has been how to integrate her spiritual being in all of these aspects of her life.

In the 2010 Lecture, Fiona asks “Why seek to live life in union with Spirit? Such a life, in my experience and that of many others, is a fuller, richer, meaning filled and deeper life, connected to that which is eternal. It means moving from what is often called the ‘divided life’, beyond opposing forces to a place of wholeness, to integrating all of who we are in all that we do. To do this means holding together these opposites.”

Fiona Gardner came to the Religious Society of Friends in her mid-thirties, convinced by the depth and power of silent worship, the warmth and welcome of Quaker community and social commitment. She is part of a small worshipping group in rural Victoria and has been fortunate to be a Meeting for Learning facilitator since its beginning in 1996. She seeks to integrate Quaker ways into all aspects of her life.

ISBN 9781922332233 (PB); AUD $15 USD $14 NZD $17 GBP £9 EUR €10
ISBN 9781922332240 (eBook) AUD $8 USD $8 NZD $9 GBP £5 EUR €6

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In the 2019 Backhouse Lecture, Jason MacLeodshares what he has learnt about accompanying West Papuans – and to a lesser extent Aboriginal people, Bougainvilleans and East Timorese – in their struggle for self-determination. Through personal stories, he tries to make sense of this experience in ways that might speak more broadly to Quakers.

This lecture is a deeply personal reflection on what one person thinks it takes to animate freedom and accompany Indigenous peoples on a journey from empire to the ‘good life.’


ISBN 9781925231997 (PB); AUD $18 USD $15 NZD $20 GBP £10 EUR €11
ISBN 9781925231984 (eBook) AUD $8 USD $8 NZD $9 GBP £5 EUR €6

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In this lecture, Cho-Nyon Kim explores his spiritual journey in the Korean religious environment, in which Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism and Christianity have all influenced cultural practices and been integrated into daily life.

He is inspired by the life and thoughts of Ham Sok Hon, a prominent Korean peace activist and Quaker. He asks how we can live a simple life in a complex world. He wants to focus on how we can create a peaceful society in the face of nationalism and self-centredness.

Quakerism has similarities to Taoism in its mysticism and its sense of waiting in a meditative way. Cho-Nyon Kim concludes that he must lead his life ‘in the manner of those who always seek truth with an open mind’.

ISBN 9781921869686 (PB); AUD $15 USD $14 NZD $16 GBP £9 EUR €10
ISBN 9781921869693 (eBook) AUD $8 USD $8 NZD $9 GBP £5 EUR €6

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Margery Post Abbott explores the interplay between faith and action, drawing on her wide range of experiences as a scholar, activist, sailor and Quaker.

Taking an ethical stance, acting on the concern for justice and the yearning for peace, does much to open hearts. Yet some activists get burnt out or caught up in the tangle of power or pride,  becoming what they were resisting. Friends have always asserted that there is a source of strength and guidance that, paraphrasing William Penn, changes the human heart so that each person might better change the world. This Spirit fuels the work for which Friends are most known.


Marge Abbott is a member of the Religious Society of Friends and has been clerk of a number of bodies including the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), the Quaker advocacy lobby in the public interest based in Washington DC. Her monthly meeting has formally minuted its support of her ministry as a writer and teacher on Quaker spirituality and history. Abbott carries concerns both for how we might better articulate our faith today and for reconciliation across the divisions among Friends. These concerns flavour her writings which include To Be Broken and Tender: A Quaker Theology for Today and The Historical Dictionary of the Friends. Among other actions, her concerns have led her to help develop the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women’s Theology conferences which have brought together evangelical and liberal Quakers for over two decades.

ISBN 9780992385767 (PB); AUD $15 USD $14 NZD $16 GBP £9 EUR €10
ISBN 9781876819873 (eBook) AUD $8 USD $8 NZD $9 GBP £5 EUR €6

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Read more from Everydayday Prophets on Google Books.

Quakers have had a big influence on the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) from its beginning in 1975. This is consistent with their emphasis on seeking ‘that of God in everyone’ and their commitment to finding nonviolent ways to respond to conflict. In this lecture, drawing on long experience, Sally Herzfeld outlines the remarkable development of AVP within prisons, schools and social groups, and its spread to 60 countries. The philosophy and processes used in AVP workshops are explained in a way that makes it clear why this approach has changed many lives and helped build more peaceful communities.

Sally Herzfeld’s AVP journey started in 2002 when she trained in Acacia Prison for men, to become a facilitator. She considers herself very lucky since then to have been able to facilitate workshops in schools, prisons and with different community groups around Australia and in other countries.

Although family time with the three children, nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren takes priority, Sally is chair of the board of a women’s refuge, joins refugee women for cooking and handcraft activities, and is treasurer of AVP WA. She is grateful for her very full and interesting life.

ISBN 9780992385729 (PB); AUD $15 USD $14 NZD $16 GBP £9 EUR €10
ISBN 9780992385736 (eBook) AUD $8 USD $8 NZD $9 GBP £5 EUR €6

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Read more of This We Can Do (2015 Backhouse Lecture) on Google

The Quakers’ Advices and Queries says to rejoice in the presence of children and recognise their gifts. But how do you share your deepest beliefs with children, while leaving them free to develop as the spirit of God may lead them? This lecture advocates methods such as time in natural outdoor settings and nurturing young leadership and social activism by our kids.

Inspired by famous Quaker leaders who were only children themselves, such as founder George Fox and the children of Reading Meeting, Tracy Bourne addresses these issues and concerns with excitement for the future of the youngest Quakers.

This lecture examines the Quaker tradition of spiritual activism to argue that we need children and young people to energise us and help us prepare for difficult times ahead.

Tracy Bourne is a member of the Victoria Regional Meeting along with her husband Andrew Bray and three children, Emily, Rose and Miles Bray.

She is a singer, singing teacher, theatre maker, and writer with an interest in new work that responds to the environment or to social justice issues.

ISBN 9780992385705 (PB); AUD $15 USD $14 NZD $16 GBP £9 EUR €10
ISBN 9780992385705 (eBook) AUD $8 USD $8 NZD $9 GBP £5 EUR €6

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Read more of Our Life is Love and Peace and Tenderness (2014 Backhouse Lecture) on Google

World renowned astronomer and Quaker Jocelyn Bell Burnell reflects on the big issues confronting scientists who also have a strong spiritual belief system. How can the principles of science be reconciled with the faith required by religion? Does scientific investigation call into question the givens of religion? While specific to her Quaker beliefs, Burnell’s reflections apply to many other religions as well. This is the 2013 James Backhouse Lecture Series, sponsored by the Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell is a professional astronomer and a Quaker from Britain Yearly Meeting. In the UK she has been President of the Royal Astronomical Society, President of the Institute of Physics and Clerk of Britain Yearly Meeting, and continues to do a lot of committee work for both communities. She has received many scientific prizes, and is much in demand as a speaker and broadcaster.

ISBN 9780646592398 (PB); AUD $15 USD $14 NZD $16 GBP £9 EUR €10
ISBN 9781922120458 (eBook) AUD $8 USD $8 NZD $9 GBP £5 EUR €6

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Read more of A Quaker Astronomer Reflects (2013 Backhouse Lecture) on Google

A systematic and inspiring examination of Quakers’ involvement in achieving non-violent international outcomes, e.g. working against landmines and the small arms problem.

Poses a challenge to Quakers worldwide to increase their effectiveness by communicating what they are doing, and the lessons learned, to each other and to the world.

Dr David Atwood has dedicated his life to the cause of peace, and served as Representative for Disarmament and Peace in the Quaker UN Office in Geneva.

ISBN 9780646569383 (PB); AUD $15 USD $14 NZD $16 GBP £9 EUR €10
ISBN 9781921869877 (eBook) AUD $8 USD $8 NZD $9 GBP £5 EUR €6

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Read more of From the Inside Out (2012 Backhouse Lecture) on Google

This lecture illuminates the original state of Earth, how humans have affected its environment, and provides theology and sustainable methods for restoring Earth to health.

Follows the author’s personal story of the change in her thinking over the course of her life.

Provides examples of Earth restoration projects and the people instrumental in achieving their success.

Rosemary (Rowe) Morrow trained in humanitarian work in France, and now teaches permaculture, a method of Earth restoration.

ISBN 9780980325874 (PB); AUD $15 USD $14 NZD $16 GBP £9 EUR €10
ISBN 9780980325898 (eBook) AUD $8 USD $8 NZD $9 GBP £5 EUR €6

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Read more of A Demanding and Uncertain Adventure (2011 Backhouse Lecture) on Google

Discusses the various ways Young Friends (Quakers aged 16 to 30-ish) create and participate in community, both spiritually and practically.
Includes open and honest dialogues about the personal experiences of Young Friends.
Closes with an encouragement to Young Friends looking to the future of the Quakers.

Over fifty of the Australian Young Friends joined together to create the Young Friends Backhouse Lecture. Contact for information about Young Friends in Australia.

ISBN 9780980325867 (PB); AUD $15 USD $14 NZD $16 GBP £9 EUR €10
ISBN 9780980325867 (eBook) AUD $8 USD $8 NZD $9 GBP £5 EUR €6

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Read more of Finding Our Voice (2010 Backhouse Lecture) on Google

Presents the key arguments and viewpoints regarding issues of conflict between science and spirituality.
Suggests an alternative viewpoint that reconciles science and spirituality by a new form of morality and altruistic ethics.

George Ellis is a leading world theorist in cosmology and mathematics, and has co-authored with physicist Stephen Hawking.

An award-winning Professor Emeritus and an active Quaker, Ellis is also winner of the 2004 Templeton Prize, was awarded the Order of the Star of South Africa by Nelson Mandela, and is a Fellow of the British Royal Society.

ISBN 9780980325812 (PB); AUD $15 USD $14 NZD $16 GBP £9 EUR €10
ISBN 9780992385750 (eBook) AUD $8 USD $8 NZD $9 GBP £5 EUR €6

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Read more on Faith, Hope & Doubt (2008 Backhouse Lecture) on Google

Explores Christian meditation and silence from theological, mystical, and practical viewpoints.
Examines common experiences of the Quakers’ Meetings for Worship.

Helen Gould is a long-time member of the Quakers with a special interest in worship.

ISBN 9780980325829 (PB); AUD $15 USD $14 NZD $16 GBP £9 EUR €10
ISBN 9780980325843 (eBook) AUD $8 USD $8 NZD $9 GBP £5 EUR €6

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Read more on The Quaking Meeting (2009 Backhouse Lecture) on Google