Swarthmore Lecture

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2006 Swarthmore Lecture at Friends House, London

Swarthmore Lecture is one of a series of lectures, started in 1908, addressed to Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

The preface to the very first lecture explains the purpose of the series.

“This book is the first of a series of public addresses to be known as the Swarthmore Lectures. The Lectureship was established by the Woodbrooke Extension Committee, at a meeting held December 9th, 1907. The Minute of the Committee provides for “an annual lecture on some subject relating to the Message and Work of the Society of Friends.” The name “Swarthmore” was chosen in memory of the home of Margaret Fox, which was always open to the earnest seeker after Truth, and from which loving words of sympathy and substantial material help were sent to fellow-workers.

“The Woodbrooke Extension Committee requested Rufus M. Jones, M.A., D.Litt., of Haverford College, Pennsylvania, to give the first lecture on the evening preceding the holding of the Friends’ Yearly Meeting of 1908. In accordance with this decision, the lecture was delivered in the Central Hall, Birmingham, on May 19th.

“The Swarthmore Lectureship has been founded with a two-fold purpose: firstly, to interpret further to the members of the Society of Friends their Message and Mission; and secondly, to bring before the public the spirit, the aims and the fundamental principles of the Friends. This first lecture presents Quakerism as a religion of experience and first-hand reality—a dynamic, practical religion of life.”

Transcripts and recording of some of the lectures are available from the Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre website.

List of Swarthmore Lectures[edit]

Year Author Title Notes
1908 Rufus M. Jones Quakerism: a Religion of life[1]
1909 William Charles Braithwaite Spiritual Guidance in the experience of the Society of Friends[2]
1910 Joan Mary Fry The Communion of Life
1911 Thomas Hodgkin Human Progress and the Inward Light[3]
1912 Terrot Reaveley Glover The Nature and Purpose of a Christian Society[4] For biographical information on the lecturer, see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article.[5]
1913 Joshua Rowntree Social Service - its place in the Society of Friends
1914 Edward Grubb The Historic and Inward Christ: a study in Quaker thought For biographical information on the lecturer, see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article.[6]
1915 Silvanus P. Thompson The Quest For Truth[7]
1916 Henry T. Hodgkin The Missionary Spirit and the Present Opportunity
1917 William Littleboy The Day of Our Visitation
1918 Lucy Fryer Morland The New Social Outlook
1919 Lucy Violet Holdsworth (also known as Hodgkin)[8] Silent Worship: The way of wonder[9]
May 1920 Herbert G. Wood Quakerism and the Future of the Church[10] For biographical information on the lecturer, see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article.[11]
August 1920 Rufus M. Jones The Nature and Authority of Conscience[12] In August 1920 there was an All Friends Conference held. Rufus M. Jones gave the second 1920 Swarthmore Lecture on the eve of this event.
1921 T. Edmund Harvey The Long Pilgrimage: human progress in the light of the Christian hope
1922 Carl Heath Religion and Public Life[13]
1923 Helen Maria Sturge Personal Religion and the Service of Humanity
1924 Gerald Kenway Hibbert The Inner Light and Modern Thought
1925 John William Graham The Quaker ministry
1926 A. Neave Brayshaw The Things that Are Before Us
1927 Henry Thomas Silcock Christ and the World's Unrest
1928 John S. Hoyland Light of Christ
1929 Arthur Stanley Eddington Science and the Unseen world[14] U.S. Macmillan, UK Allen & Unwin.
  • 1980 Reprint Arden Library ISBN 0-8495-1426-6.
  • 2004 U.S. reprint - Whitefish, Montana: Kessinger Publications: ISBN 1-4179-1728-8.
  • 2007 UK reprint by Quaker Books, BYM, with a new foreword by George Ellis, Allen & Unwin ISBN 978-0-901689-81-8
1930 Gerhart von Schulze-Gaevernitz Democracy and Religion: a study in Quakerism
1931 Howard Brinton Creative Worship
1932 Francis E. Pollard Education and the Spirit of Man
1933 Shipley N. Brayshaw Unemployment and Plenty
1934 George Barker Jeffery Christ, Yesterday And Today
1935 William Ernest Wilson Our Response To God
1936 Howard E. Collier Towards a New Manner of Living
1937 Caroline Cassandra Graveson Religion and Culture
1938 A. Barratt Brown Democratic Leadership
1939 David Elton Trueblood The Trustworthiness of Religious Experience
1940 John Armstrong Hughes The Light of Christ in a Pagan World
1941 Edgar Bradshaw Castle The Undivided Mind
1942 Margaret M. Harvey The Law of Liberty
1943 Leyton Richards Planning for Freedom
1944 W. Russell Brain Man, Society and Religion
1945 Wilfrid Allott Worship And Social Progress
1946 Joseph Edward Hoare The Warrant For Youth's Search
1947 John W. Harvey The Salt and the Leaven
1948 There was no lecture this year[15]
1949 Roger C.Wilson Authority, Leadership and Concern. A study in motive and administration in Quaker relief work ISBN 0-85245-021-4
1950 Konrad Braun Justice & the Law of Love
1951 Richard Duncan Fairn Quakerism — a faith for ordinary men[16]
1952 Thomas Farrimond Green Preparation for Worship ISBN 0-85245-046-X
1953 Kathleen Lonsdale Removing the Causes of War
1954 Wilhelm Aarek From Loneliness To Fellowship: A study in psychology and Quakerism Article on Wilhelm Aarek at Norwegian Wikipedia.
1955 Douglas V. Steere Where Words Come From - an interpretation of the ground & practise of Quaker worship & ministry ISBN 0-85245-067-2
1956 Edgar Grieve Dunstan Quakers & the Religious Quest
1957 Henry J. Cadbury Quakerism & Early Christianity
1958 Margaret B. Hobling The Concrete & the Universal
1959 Harold Loukes The Castle and the Field
1960 Kenneth C. Barnes The Creative Imagination
1961 Richard Karl Ullmann Tolerance and the Intolerable Biographical article in German Wikipedia
1962 J. Duncan Wood Building the Institutions of Peace
1963 L. Hugh Doncaster God in Every Man
1964 Richenda C. Scott Tradition and Experience
1965 John Macmurray Search for Reality in Religion ISBN 0-85245-001-X
1966 William E. Barton The Moral Challenge of Communism: Some Ethical aspects of Marxist/Leninist Society
1967 Kathleen M. Slack Constancy and Change in the Society of Friends
1968 William Homan Thorpe Quakers and Humanists
1969 Maurice A. Creasey Bearings, or, Friends and the new reformation
1970 Kenneth E. Boulding Prospering of Truth
1971 Charles Frederick Carter On having a sense of all conditions For biographical information on the lecturer, see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.[17]
1972 Richard S. Peters Reason, Morality and Religion ISBN 0-7100-7651-7
1973 George H. Gorman Amazing Fact of Quaker Worship ISBN 0-85245-100-8
1974 Wolf Mendl[18] Prophets and Reconcilers, Reflections on the Quaker Peace Testimony ISBN 0-85245-115-6
1975 Ralph Hetherington The Sense of Glory - A psychological study of peak-experiences ISBN 0-85245-117-2
1976 W. Grigor McClelland And a new earth: Making tomorrow's society better than today's ISBN 0-85245-122-9
1977 Damaris Parker-Rhodes Truth - a Path & not a Possession: A Quaker woman's journey ISBN 0-85245-124-5
1978 John Ormerod Greenwood Signs of Life: Art and Religious Experience ISBN 0-85245-131-8
1979 John Reader Of Schools and Schoolmasters. Some thoughts on the Quaker contribution to Education ISBN 0-85245-140-7
1980 Janet Scott What Canst Thou Say? Towards a Quaker theology ISBN 0-85245-151-2
1981 Adam Curle True Justice, Quaker peace makers and peace making ISBN 0-85245-156-3
1982 Gerald Priestland Reasonable Uncertainty: a Quaker approach to doctrine ISBN 0-85245-161-X
1983 Michael Rutter A Measure of Our Values: goals & dilemmas in the upbringing of children ISBN 0-85245-170-9
1984 Laurence Lerner Two Cinnas: Quakerism, Revolution and Poetry. A dialogue ISBN 0-85245-182-2
1985 Christopher Holdsworth Steps in a Large Room: a Quaker explores the monastic tradition ISBN 0-85245-188-1
1986 Quaker Women's Group Bringing the Invisible into the Light. Some Quaker Feminists speak of their experience ISBN 0-85245-199-7 (Lecture performed at the University of Exeter)
1987 John Lampen Mending Hurts ISBN 0-85245-206-3
1988 Harvey Gillman A Minority of One ISBN 0-85245-207-1
1989 S. Jocelyn Burnell Broken for Life ISBN 0-85245-222-5, given at the University of Aberdeen

2010/2011 reprint is planned by Quaker Books, BYM.

1990 John Punshon Testimony and Tradition: some aspects of Quaker spirituality ISBN 0-85245-231-4
1991 Geoffrey Hubbard Patterns and Examples. Quaker Attitudes and European Opportunities ISBN 0-85245-236-5
1992 Brenda Clifft Heales & Chris Cook Images and Silence: Future of Quaker Ministry ISBN 0-85245-242-X
1993 Sydney D. Bailey Peace is a Process ISBN 0-85245-249-7
1994 Margaret Heathfield Being together: our corporate life in the Religious Society of Friends ISBN 0-85245-254-3
1995 Anne Thomas Only Fellow-Voyagers. Creation stories as guides for the journey ISBN 0-85245-272-1
1996 Jonathan Dale Beyond the Spirit of the Age ISBN 0-85245-282-9
1997 Christine Trevett Previous Convictions and end of the millennium Quakerism ISBN 0-85245-290-X
1998 Young Friends General Meeting Who do we think we are? Young Friends' Commitment and Belonging ISBN 0-85245-299-3
1999 Alex Wildwood A faith to call our own. Quaker tradition in the light of contemporary movements of the Spirit ISBN 0-85245-312-4
2000 Tim Newell Forgiving Justice. A Quaker vision for criminal justice Original: ISBN 0-85245-321-3
2007 reprint: ISBN 978-0-901689-51-1
2001 Tony Stoller Wrestling with the Angel ISBN 0-85245-326-4
2002 Jackie Leach Scully[19] Playing in the Presence: genetics, ethics and spirituality ISBN 0-85245-337-X
2003 Eleanor Nesbitt Interfaith Pilgrims: living truths and truthful living ISBN 0-85245-347-7
2004 Simon Fisher Spirited living: waging conflict, building peace ISBN 0-85245-357-4
2005 Helen Steven No Extraordinary Power: Prayer, Stillness and Activism ISBN 0-85245-379-5
2006 Roger and Susan Sawtell Reflections from a Long Marriage ISBN 0-85245-394-9
2007 Beth Allen Ground and Spring: the foundation of Quaker Discipleship ISBN 978-0-901689-67-2, BYM Press Release
2008 Christine A. M. Davis[20] Minding the Future ISBN 0-901689-88-2
ISBN 978-0-901689-88-7
2009 Peter Eccles The presence in the midst: reflections on discernment ISBN 978-1-907123-03-0, the 2009 Swarthmore Lecture was given during Yearly Meeting Gathering at University of York on Tuesday 28 July.[21]
2010 Paul Lacey The unequal world we inhabit ISBN 978-1-907123-12-2, the 2010 Swarthmore Lecture was given during Yearly Meeting in London on Saturday 29 May 2010.[22]
2011 Pam Lunn[23][24] Costing not less than everything: Sustainability and spirituality in challenging times The 2011 Swarthmore Lecture was given at Yearly Meeting Gathering in Canterbury on Monday 1 August 2011. ISBN 978-1-907123-21-4
2012 Rachel Brett Snakes and Ladders: A personal exploration of Quaker work on human rights at the United Nations The 2012 Swarthmore Lecture was given at Yearly Meeting in London, on 26 May 2012. It was published by Quaker Books. A free MP3 audio is available from the Woodbrooke website.
2013 Gerald Hewitson Journey Into Life: Inheriting the story of early Friends The 2013 Swarthmore Lecture was given at Yearly Meeting in London, on 25 May 2013. ISBN 978-1-907123-47-4. Available online as an Audio recording .MP3, Text (Word document) and Text (PDF) at the Woodbrooke website
2014 Ben Pink Dandelion[25] Open for Transformation: being Quaker The 2014 Swarthmore Lecture was given during Yearly Meeting Gathering at the University of Bath on Sunday 3 August 2014. ISBN 9781907123689. An online audio recording is available.[26]
2015 Diana Francis Faith, power and peace The 2015 Swarthmore Lecture was given during Britain Yearly Meeting at Friends House, London on Saturday 2 May 2015
2016 Esther Mombo and Cécile Nyiramana Mending broken hearts; rebuilding shattered lives - Quaker peace building in eastern Africa The 2016 Swarthmore Lecture was given during Britain Yearly Meeting at Friends House, London, May 2016
2017 Catherine West MP and Cllr Andy Hull Faith in politics? The Swarthmore Lecture 2017: Faith in politics? A testimony to equality was given by Catherine West on Monday 31 July 2017 as part of Yearly Meeting Gathering at Warwick University.

ISBN 9 781999 726904

2018 Chris Alton Changing ourselves, changing the world The 2018 Swarthmore Lecture was given during Britain Yearly meeting at Friends House, London on 5 May.[27]
2019 Eden Grace On Earth as it is in Heaven; The Kingdom of God and the yearning of Creation The 2019 Swarthmore Lecture was given during Britain Yearly meeting at Friends House, London in May.[28]
2020 Tom Shakespeare Openings to the Infinite Ocean: A Friendly Offering of Hope
2021 Thomas Penny Kinder Ground: Creating Space for Truth
2022 Helen Minnis Perceiving the Temperature of the Water

For further details see the list of lectures at the Woodbrooke Centre.


  1. ^ The text of Rufus Jones' 1908 Swarthmore Lecture is available online at the Internet Archive
  2. ^ The text of W. C. Braithwaite's 1909 Swarthmore Lecture is available online at the Internet Archive
  3. ^ The full text of Thomas Hodgkin's 1911 Swarthmore Lecture is available online at the Internet Archive
  4. ^ The full text of T. R. Glover's 1912 Swarthmore Lecture is available on line at the Internet Archive
  5. ^ Huxley, Herbert H. "Glover, Terrot Reaveley (1869–1943)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33427. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  6. ^ Kennedy, Thomas C. "Grubb, Edward (1854–1939)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/71530. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  7. ^ Online text of the 1915 Lecture by Sylvanus P Thompson on the Internet Archive
  8. ^ The lecture was published under the author's maiden name: L.V. Hodgkin
  9. ^ The text of L.V.Holdsworth's 1919 Swarthmore Lecture is available online at the Internet Archive
  10. ^ Online text of the May 1920 Lecture by H. G. Wood on the Internet Archive
  11. ^ Kennedy, Thomas C. "Wood, Herbert George (1879–1963)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/65076. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  12. ^ Online text of the August 1920 Lecture by Rufus M. Jones on the Internet Archive
  13. ^ Carl Heath's 1922 Swarthmore lecture is available online at the Internet Archive
  14. ^ The text of the 1929 Swarthmore Lecture by Stanley Eddington is available online at the Internet Archive
  15. ^ The 1948 lecture was cancelled as some Friends objected that the speaker was "too Liberal" see Anthony Manousos "Howard Brinton and the World Council of Churches:The Theological Impact of Ecumenism on Friends" in Quaker theology issue 17 (Summer 2010). Brinton spoke at Yearly Meeting in favour of Liberal theology.
  16. ^ Duncan Fairn's 1951 Swarthmore Lecture is available online at the Internet Archive
  17. ^ Middleton, Roger. "Carter, Sir Charles Frederick". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/77032. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  18. ^ Paskins, Barrie (9 December 1999). "Guardian Obituary - Wolf Mendl". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  19. ^ Portrait of J L Scully, with comments on UK Government policy on disability benefits (2012)
  20. ^ Christine A M Davis, the 2008 lecturer, currently has an entry in Who's who (July 2011). Her obituary in The Scotsman" 2 March 2015 by Rowena Loverance, with portrait photograph
  21. ^ 2009 Swarthmore lecture: Preview by John Fitzgerald in The Friend 6 March 2009, page 9
  22. ^ "Quaker Centre Bookshop - The unequal world we inhabit - Swarthmore Lecture 2010". Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  23. ^ Pam Lunn, the 2011 lecturer is a tutor at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, Birmingham, who blogs at woodbrookegoodlives.blogspot.com.
  24. ^ Review of 2011 Lecture by Jez Smith
  25. ^ Woodbrooke announcement of 2014 lecturer and topic.
  26. ^ Swarthmore Lecture 2014 audio recording.
  27. ^ "Swarthmore Lecture 2018: 'Changing ourselves, changing the world' | | Woodbrooke".
  28. ^ The Friend 2018-11-16 pp.10-11. Interview - Eden Grace interviewed by Oliver Robertson

External links[edit]