Beth Smith sits in open worship at her Meeting and meditates on Micah 6:8, “And what doth God require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” The still, small voice within moves her to start the New–Old Quaker Women’s Club in order to determine how she can do just that. Through the club, Beth and her friends, Sylvia, Lois, and Nancy, learn about Quaker women who followed the leading of the spirit to make the world a better place, gleaning ideas for ways they can do the same in the modern world. Along the way, the women recall challenges from their pasts and new possibilities for their futures, from building closer friendships with each other to improving their relationships with their children and aging parents and experiencing the joy and hope of new love once more. But can the women accomplish what they set out to do, beat the odds, and learn from their predecessors how to “be the church" in the world?
Susan McCracken's heritage began on an Iowa farm with a family who could be found sitting in the Indianola Friends Meeting House for various worship services several times a week. In addition, there were summer camp sessions at Camp Quaker Heights, Quaker retreats, and many, many youth group meetings. After high school graduation, her career choice was education, and after five years in the classroom, marriage took her to Southeast Iowa where she spent twelve years farming with her husband and raising four children. Susan then returned to the classroom and eventually the principal’s office to finish out her career. When their children were teenagers, their local Meeting was unable to secure a pastor and Susan became the interim pastor at Pleasant Plain Friends for two years while still working as a principal. Upon retirement from both positions, Susan continued to focus on supporting a strong education for future students by supervising student teachers for the University of Iowa. During this time, she also accepted the position of part-time pastor at West Branch Friends Meeting. After serving there for four years and fully retiring, she saw an opportunity to do some writing once again. Susan has four previously published historical fiction novels based on Quakers settling in Iowa in the 1800s: For the Love of a Friend, For the Gift of a Friend, For the Call of a Friend, and For the Blessing of a Friend. She has been blessed with a loving family and eight wonderful grandchildren!