New England Yearly Meeting

A community of Quakers and Quaker meetings across New England.

Bibliography: Quaker Resources on Aging and Beyond

Alexander, Brigitte. “Living Near the End of Life: Queries for the Elderly.”  Friends Journal, October 2009.

Andrews, Elsie M. “Facing and Fulfilling the Later Years.” 
Pendle Hill Pamphlet 157, 1968.
Concerned with the wise and happy use of the later years.

Backstrom, Kirsten. “In Beauty: A Quaker Approach to End of Life Care.” 
Pendle Hill Pamphlet 355, 2001.
Hospice nurse and Friend shares stories of experiences in her meeting to show how our dying can be as fully centered on God as our living.

Bacon, Margaret Hope. Year of Grace: A Novel
Philadelphia: Quaker Press of Friends General Conference, 2002.
The story of a 76 year old Quaker grandmother who learns that she has a year left to live, and her spirit and action-filled last adventure.

Bien, Peter. “On Retiring to Kendal (and Beyond): A Literary Excursion.” 
Pendle Hill Pamphlet 368, 2003.
Retired professor uses literary passages to reflect on whether death is “an unmitigated calamity.” 

Britain Yearly Meeting, Committee on Eldership and Oversight, Funerals and Memorial Meetings.
London: Quaker Books, 2003.
“This handbook clearly sets out tasks of funeral coordinators and people responsible for eldership and oversight, gives information on low-cost and `green' funerals, has tips on planning for a funeral and has a section for planning for one's own funeral. Includes a form at the back for one to fill out in preparation for your own death. Though some information is pointedly for British Quakers, American Friends will find much that speaks to their condition here as well.”

Britain Yearly Meeting, Spirituality and Ageing Group. 
This is who I am: Listening with Older Friends. London: Quaker Books, 2001.
“The Spirituality & Aging Group was formed by some older Quakers who were reaching a new phase of life, and were struggling to understand the lessons of old age, and its challenges. This book will be useful for those responsible for pastoral care in Quaker meetings and elsewhere and to people of all ages who listen to each other in love and friendship.”

Friends Journal: Quaker Thought and Life Today. 
Special issue on Aging and Life’s End, July 2004. 

Gaffney, Amy Runge. “God’s Healing Spirit: An Answer to Our Suffering.” 
Quaker Life, December 2000.
Reflections on her physician father’s death.

Gates, Tom.  “You Must Live a Dying Life”: Reflections on Human Mortality and the Spiritual Life.  
Boston: Beacon Hill Friends House, 2007. 
"I want to explore with you the subject of death: how our mortality is the central issue in our spiritual lives, at one and the same time a stumbling block and an invitation to transformation; how our mortality isolates us, from one another and from God, but at the same time unites us, with all humanity and with the divine mystery that is both our source and our destiny; and how it is that caring for the dying among us can open us as perhaps nothing else to this mystery and transformation."

Green, Connie McPeak. “To Live Fully Until Death: Lessons from the Dying.” 
In Friends Journal: Quaker Thought and Life Today. Special issue on Aging and Life’s End, July 2004. 
Featured essay available from Friends Journal website:

Jacob, Norma. “Growing Old:  A View from Within.”  
Pendle Hill Pamphlet 239, 1981. 
Reflections on aging based on her experiences, thoughts and observance of others, from a retired social worker living at Kendal-at-Longwood. 

Lampen, Diana. Facing Death. 
Imprint Systems Ltd., Wanganui, NZ, 1996. 
On death, bereavement and the need for truth telling.

Lewis, Claude E. “How Do I Love Thee?: A Marriage Survives Alzheimer’s.” 
Quaker Life, June 1999.
Reflections from a Quaker dentist on his wife’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

Lyman, Mary Redington. “Death and the Christian Answer.” 
Pendle Hill Pamphlet 107, 1960
In the face of our society’s general denial about death, hers is an appreciation of mortality, an explanation of Christ’s holistic life giving 
assurances based on faith and God’s love.

McIver, Lucy. “Song of Death, Our Spiritual Rebirth: A Quaker Way of Dying.” 
Pendle Hill Pamphlet 340, 1998. 
On the witness to the power of God to be present in each moment of life, and especially the moment of death.

Marshall, Jay W. “I am not Healed Yet!” 
Quaker Life, November 1998.
Reflections on grief and healing after the loss of a loved one.

Morrison, Mary C. “Gift of Days: Report of an Illness.” 
Pendle Hill Pamphlet 364, 2003,
At age 92, the author relates the gift of her extraordinary experience of 100 days of illness, near-death and slow recovery.

Morrison, Mary C. Let Evening Come: Reflections on Aging. 
NY: Doubleday, 1998. 
Expanded version of “Without Nightfall Upon the Spirit.”

Morrison, Mary C.  “Without Nightfall Upon the Spirit.” 
Pendle Hill Pamphlet 311, 1994.
“To preside over the disintegration of one's own body, looking on as sight and hearing, strength, speed, and short-term memory deteriorate, calls for a heroism that is no less impressive for being quiet and patient…” Octogenarian’s writings on the demands and joys of aging and on recognizing the source of dignity and ways to nurture the integrity of aging.

Mullen, Tom. Living Longer and Other Sobering Possibilities.
Richmond, IN: Friends United Press, 1996. 
Humorous treatment of growing older, medical problems, and adjusting to new routines for living.

Mullen, Tom. “Two Funerals and a Party.”
Quaker Life, September/October 2009.
Reflections on memorial services.

Mullen, Tom. “When Friends Say Goodbye.”
Quaker Life, April 2000.
Reflections on death and memorial services and on the memorial service for Mullen’s wife Nancy.

Murphy, Carol. “Milestone 70.” 
Pendle Hill Pamphlet 287, 1989.
Mystic shares glimpses of her daily life at age 70, inviting us to sense the divine in the ordinary.

Murphy, Carol.  “Valley of the Shadow.” 
Pendle Hill Pamphlet 184, 1972.
Reflections on the ultimate problem of death and what the living make of it.

Quaker Aging Resources.
New York and Philadelphia Yearly Meetings of Friends (Quakers), through generous funding from Friends Foundation for the Aging and the Thomas Scattergood Foundation, collaborated to develop Quaker Aging Resources. The project was designed to assist Meetings and individuals in responding to the needs of aging Friends including age related changes, chronic illness or disability. The resources are intended to uphold a culture of care for the body, mind, spirit and community of the individual which is consistent with our Quaker faith.

Scott-Maxwell, Florida.  The Measure of My Days. 
London: Stuart & Watkins, 1968.
Playwright and Jungian analyst Florida Scott-Maxwell explores the unique predicament of one's later years: when one feels both cut off from the past and out of step with the present; when the body rebels at activity but the mind becomes more passionate than ever.

Smith, Bradford. “Dear Gift of Life: A Man’s Encounter with Death.” 
Pendle Hill Pamphlet 142, 1965.
Journal and poetry of a Friend facing death from cancer.

Southeastern Yearly Meeting, Dying, Death and Bereavementapproved, 2001
Six-page draft of SEYM Faith and Practice chapter on dying, death and bereavement available online at:

Waddington, Mary. “Gifts From the Closet.” 
In Friends Journal: Quaker Thought and Life Today. Special issue on Aging and Life’s End, July 2004. 
Available from Friends Journal website:

Yungblut, John. “On Hallowing One’s Diminishments.”  
Pendle Hill Pamphlet 292, 1990. 
Describes the experience of contemplative prayer in facing diminishments from birth defects, natural disasters, aging, and death.

Yungblut, John. “For that Solitary Individual: An Octogenarian’s Counsel on Living and Dying.” 
Pendle Hill Pamphlet 316, 1994. 
On becoming a contemplative later in life.


Compiled by J. Christina Smith, February 3, 2012

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

901 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602

(508) 754-6760 - [email protected]