Africa Quaker Archive Begins

The Africa Quaker Archive at Friends Theological College, Kaimosi, Kenya is a collaborative project of the Quaker Religious Education Collaborative and Friends Theological College (FTC), a ministry of Friends United Meeting (FUM). This vital and time-critical work gathers, documents, and preserves key pieces of contemporary Quaker history. It combines recording and transcribing oral histories with the collection of personal documents and institutional records going back to 1902 when Quakerism came to East Africa.

The leading for the Africa Quaker Archive rose at a QREC Sunday School teacher training at Friends Theological College in January 2019. The facilitators told the story of East African Friend, elder and minister, Priscilla Makhino, to demonstrate the Faith & Play style of storytelling. When the 26 East African participants heard a piece of their own history for the first time, a deep yearning to know more took hold! They wanted to have the resources to share stories of Quaker faith from earlier generations of African Friends with their Sunday School classes. Dr. Robert J. Wafula, Principal of Friends Theological College, and others in the FUM family, shared a similar leading to document and preserve Quaker history in Africa. A group of East African Friends formed a QREC Steering Circle, East Africa to help carry this work.

This is a multi-year project. Its scope will cover all of Africa and it will serve an international community. A digital collection will make materials and oral histories available to Friends and scholars around the world. Some of the stories of faith and witness among East African Friends will be shared in translation with Friends around the world as religious education resources. The Africa Quaker Archive Working Circle worked with Mary Crauderueff, Curator of Quaker Collections at Haverford College. Mary was the first visiting Quaker archivist to guide cataloging of materials, train others to continue this work, and consult on future directions for the project. We are grateful to the Thomas H. and Mary Williams Shoemaker Fund and the Friends Historical Association for seed funding to begin this work and to Haverford College for supporting Mary’s participation.

The Africa Quaker Archive is pleased to accept donations of documents, photographs, letters or personal journals related to Friends in Africa. For questions about the Africa Quaker Archive, please contact Beth Collea at quakercollaborative4re@gmail.com.

The Africa Quaker Archive Working Circle

  • Judith Nandikove (Nairobi YM), QREC Steering Circle, East Africa
  • Dancan Sabwa (East Africa YM-North), QREC Steering Circle, East Africa
  • Robert J. Wafula, Ph.D., Principal. Friends Theological College
  • Marian Baker (New England YM), long-time Quaker teacher and minister in East Africa and member of QREC
  • Beth Collea (New England YM) QREC, Steering Circle

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An Introduction

The Quaker Religious Education Collaborative (QREC) is an international, cross-branch, grassroots network of Friends sharing a stewardship for lifelong Quaker faith formation through religious education. We formed in April 2014 and now serve more than 300 Friends in our network. We actively engage and support each other across languages and continents. We gather for regional and annual conferences and offer monthly Conversation Circles via an online conferencing platform.

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