FMW Newsletter, July 2018

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Personnel Report


Upcoming Events

Thinking About Race

Family Separation Letter


Friends Meeting of Washington

Meeting for Worship with Concern for Business

17 June 2017


Friends were asked to reflect on the query:


What is your vision of a fully LGBT-inclusive meeting? What would, or should Friends Meeting of Washington be doing to be more inclusive?


Some suggestions that came up in the discussion were: ending the special welcome to the Quaker Living Room Worship but refer to all of Friends Meeting of Washington as welcoming of LGBT people. Other committees should examine what they can do to make it more explicit that LGBT people are welcome. For example, Marriage and Family Relations should have information about the range of ceremonies FMW supports, Peace and Social Concerns could offer training or awareness posters about gender issues and can put up an LGBT-inclusive banner up for June  in the future.  


Welcome of Visitors

The Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business opened at 12:25 pm with 19 Friends present.  There was one visitor, Jen Jenkins.


Clerks Report:

Renovation Update

  • Demolition has begun! The gate between the Carriage House and the Meetinghouse has been demolished and digging has begun. Please be respectful of barricades around the construction site for your own safety. Also be flexible about space usage as we go through this construction project.
  • A friend expressed gratitude to Neil Froemming and Ken Orvis and the Property Committee for their hard work, humor, and dedication to help bring this renovation to fruition.


Kudos & FMW Community Highlights

  • Liz and Daniel Pomerleau have welcomed their new daughter, Lucia Diane Pomerleau on Sunday, June 10.
  • Friends marched in the Capital Pride Parade last weekend and had a booth at the festival. There were many visitors to our booth.


Tenant Updates- Tenant Updates- Activities at our Meeting House

  • Last Wednesday, a film crew booked Quaker House Living Room to interview Seymour Hersh, the famed journalist. We also hosted Planned Parenthood, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Al-anon, a meeting for worship, the Grate Patrol, and a meditation workshop, and showed rooms to a local think tank and a family arranging a memorial service. That is probably the last Totally Packed Day we will have at FMW until 2019, as we exchange event renters for folks in hard hats once the renovation comes into full swing.


Upcoming Events

  • (7/30- 8/5) Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM) Annual Sessions: There is still time to sign up for —an intimate community led conference of  to Quakers from across the region. We meet on the very comfortable campus of Hood College in nearby Frederick, MD. Children can attend for free with their families. Find out more here:
  • Scholarships available: Through BYM's generosity, three people (preference for  Young Adult Friends, or YAFs) who have not been to the BYM Annual Session, can go two days for free. The annual session is July 30 to August 5. Personal Aid Committee also has scholarship money averaging $150-200 to attend Quaker gatherings. To apply, send a note to the Personal Aid Committee as soon as possible at
  • Interfaith Event: On June 24 at rise of Meeting, Muslim Responses since 9/11 and Beyond, presented by Dr. Maha Hilal, 12:15 pm. The Muslim community has been targeted since 9/11 by the government and society. What are the ways that Muslims have been targeted and how has this shaped their experiences? What is being done at the local and national levels to improve or exacerbate the problems? How can we support the Muslim community? Dr. Maha Hilal is the co-Director of Justice for Muslims Collective where she focuses on political education addressing institutionalized Islamophobia. Come and invite your friends.
  • BYM’s Spiritual Formation program: The 9:00 worship group has been participating this year and have found it very helpful. They encourage others to try it out as well. Here is what they have to say: Spiritual Formation -Do you seek an opening to the Spirit? Do you sit in meeting in anticipation of the “still small voice”, yet it rarely or never comes? Or are you ready to deepen your connection to the Inner Light? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, FMW’s Spiritual Formation Group may be of interest to you. The Spiritual Formation Groups were formed to nurture and strengthen your connection to the Inner Light on personal, meeting, and community levels. For more information, please contact John


Major Items


Update on FMW’s Support to Disruptive Friends- Gene Throwe

  • An official letter was sent to our chronically disruptive Friend this month. The letter was drafted and approved by the Committee of Clerks.  In-person communication has occurred between the Clerk of FMW and the Clerk of the Personal Aid Committee with our Friend’s court-appointed guardian. The guardian accepted the letter, and agreed to discuss the letter with our Friend.  Additionally, FMW is prepared to discuss the letter with our Friend in person when way opens.
  • People are invited to be a part of a process to articulate positive values of the FMW community that can help us intentionally create a safe and inclusive space for people with mental health concerns.
  • Support for Friendly Office Presence (FOP): updated support information regarding how and when to contact the DC Mental Health Support Unit is available.
  • It was stressed that calling the Metropolitan Police Department of DC was the last thing anyone in the Meeting should consider. This action should occur if, and only if, the person in question was a physical threat to others or themselves.  


Friends Meeting of Washington Budget for Fiscal Year 2019-Ed Hustead and Jim Bell

  • Friends approved the fiscal year 2019 budget.  There was one small change from the first presentation last month.  
  • Ed and Jim answered a variety of clarifying questions related to specific line items, impact of the renovation, and friends discussed the Friends Fiduciary Investment  Fund.
  • Friend’s thanked Ed Hustead and Jim Bell for their hard work on the budget.


Membership Committee-Rob Farr

Friends approved:

  • Membership for David Miller
  • Membership for Jacob (Jake) Ritting with associate membership for his two children, Julius Jacob Ritting and Violet Faye Ritting

Friends accepted the  request for a transfer of membership for Harry Massey to Jamestown Friends Meeting in Jamestown, NC. A friend volunteered to give him a call with our well wishes.


Marriage and Family Relations Committee- Jim Bell

  • Friends approved the marriage under the care of the meeting of Danielle Green and Petra’Rahim Soloman. The marriage is scheduled for August.


Nominating Committee-Todd Harvey

  • Friends approved the nomination of Mary Lou Schram (A) to Hospitality (1 year term ending December 2018).


Other Business


Personnel Committee Annual Report- Bill Strein

  • Friends accepted the annual report.  The committee believes the ideal number is four people for this committee, please consider joining this committee as there are 3 current members.  The committee meets every-other month, so the time commitment is minimal.
  • Debby Churchman, our Administrative Secretary, is retiring in October. The job description will be posted in the next few weeks. Please spread the word!
  • The committee and Debby have laboured lovingly over how to articulate this very important and complex job and plan for this transition. They have budgeted for at least two weeks overlap between the current administrative secretary and the new hire for training and familiarization.  Standard operating procedures, and management of the Friendly Office Presence are also being updated.  Additionally, the event management part of this job will be moved into a separate full time job.  There has been a lot of due diligence on this major staff transition, please see a committee member if you have any questions.



Friends APPROVED the minutes as improved.


The Meeting closed at 1:35 PM with approximately 18 persons in attendance to reconvene as Way opens on the second Sunday of the July 15.




Annual Report of the Personnel Committee of Friends Meeting of Washington

June 17, 2018

The 2018 Personnel Committee currently has three members: Marsha Holliday, Jim Steen, Bill Strein (clerk) and Gene Throwe (ex officio, as Presiding Clerk). Marsha is in her second year of a first term. Bill and Jim are both in their third years, first terms. The appointed members of the Committee wish to thank Gene for his substantive involvement with the Committee. The Committee holds scheduled in-person meetings bi-monthly and engages frequently via e-mail correspondence. The Committee frequently dedicates a portion of its in-person meetings to meet with Debby Churchman, FMW Administrative Secretary and Event Manager, for whom the Committee provides supervision. We have also instituted the very pleasant tradition of having a “take-in” lunch with Committee members and Debby at FMW after each in-person meeting.

As detailed in the Meeting Handbook, the Personnel Committee’s primary responsibilities are three-fold: (1) review and revision of employment policies and procedures as necessary; (2) oversight of, and the provision of advisory assistance to, FMW’s Administrative Secretary and Event Manager; and (3) conducting the annual review of the Administrative Secretary and Event Manager, that includes making a recommendation to the Committee of Clerks regarding extending her contract for the next year and a salary recommendation in collaboration with the F & S Committee. During the past year the Committee has been involved actively on all of these functions.

Regarding personnel policies, we revised our health benefits policies for employees who may be hired after July 1, 2018, because the current policies were tailored to specific situations that apply to the present employees who are eligible for health benefits that may not apply to future hires. We plan to do a broad review of all policies prior to the anticipated hiring of new employees in the Fall.


The Committee has continued its efforts to provide advisory assistance to Debby Churchman in her role as Administrative Secretary and Event Manager, including, but not limited to, the bi-monthly meetings referenced above. In keeping with long-standing FMW tradition we hold all discussions between the Committee and FMW employees to be confidential, personnel matters. We report here, however, that we hope and believe that our efforts have been supportive of Debby’s high quality work.

In anticipation of new hires in the Fall the Personnel Committee proposed, and Meeting for Business approved, the time-limited formation of a Staffing Workgroup to discuss personnel policies and decisions. The Workgroup’s meetings and e-mail correspondence produced increased inter-committee understandings and resulted, in part, in a recommendation that the Personnel Committee’s functions be expanded to include coordination of hiring and annual evaluations of employees, and salary recommendations to F & S. In the coming year Personnel will be recommending to the Meeting, through Records and Handbook, for revisions to the Handbook that will operationalize the expanded coordinating function.

In early February 2018, we contacted the clerks of FMW’s standing and special committees as a part of the mandated annual review of the Administrative Secretary and Event Manager, and proposed that, given Debby’s announced retirement in October, we suspend her annual review and simply extend her current contract (with salary updates) through her retirement date. The Committee of Clerks unanimously concurred. Based on the clerks’ feedback we proposed to the F & S Committee a salary increase for Debby that included a one-time “retirement bonus” to honor her outstanding service to the Meeting, a proposal that both the Committee of Clerks and F & S endorsed.

FY19 Final budget can be found here.

April 2018 Balance Sheet can be found here.


Upcoming Events

July 1 – 7: Friends General Conference Gathering, University of Toledo, Ohio. Gather with more than 1200 Friends for a week of workshops, singing, dancing, good food and good conversation. For details, go to

July 4: Help make sandwiches for the Grate Patrol to take to our vulnerable neighbors, starting at 5:00 pm. For more information, contact Steve Brooks at

July 7: Help make breakfast for our vulnerable neighbors. Convene at 6:15 am at So Others Might Eat. For more information, contact Tim Schleicher at

July 30 – Aug. 5:  Baltimore Yearly Meeting Annual Session, Hood College, Frederick, MD. “Radical Listening: Rooted in Love.” All children (birth through 8th grade) may attend free. For more information, go to  For scholarships, please apply to the Personal Aid committee.

July 29 to Aug. 1: Pendle Hill Workshop on “Beyond Gender-Based Violence”  Thanks to the work of Tarana Burke and other effective organizers of the “meToo” era, sexual harassment and assault are being taken seriously in mass consciousness and popular culture, and several powerful men are being held accountable for their actions. Building on this work, Pendle Hill is hoting a program that grapples with the roots of gender-based violence and paves a path toward a world where women, men, and people of all gender identities can thrive together. The purpose is to hold a brave space for people of all genders to come together and envision a world where all can thrive and be free from interpersonal and societal violence locally and globally. For more information, contact or to go

August 11: The Ministry and Worship Committee will hold a day-long silent retreat. Participants will read and reflect on the Pendle Hill pamphlet, "Four Doors to a Meeting for Worship" by William Taber. The pamphlet can be purchased from the FMW bookstore. The silent retreat will take place on Saturday, August 11 from 9:30am to 5pm. Lunch will be served. Space is limited. For more information and to reserve your space contact Malachy Kilbride at


Thinking About Race (June 2018) – Repairers of the Breach

“Repairers of the Breach … seeks to build a moral agenda rooted in a framework that uplifts our deepest moral and constitutional values to redeem the heart and soul of our country. We challenge the position that the preeminent moral issues are prayer in public schools, abortion, and property rights. Instead, we declare that the moral public concerns of our faith traditions are how our society treats the poor, women, LGBTQ people, children, workers, immigrants, communities of color, and the sick. Our deepest moral traditions point to equal protection under the law, the desire for peace within and among nations, the dignity of all people, and the responsibility to care for our common home.” 

This mission statement opens the home page at, which also states:   “Some issues are not left versus right, but right versus wrong.”  The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II is the president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach. An author, preacher, and professor, he is the chief architect of the "Forward Together Moral Movement," and a founder and leader of the new “Poor People’s Campaign:  A National Call for Moral Revival,” that started May 14.  He will be addressing the Annual Gathering of Friends General Conference on July 5.

This column is prepared by the BYM Working Group on Racism (WGR) and sent to the designated liaison at each Monthly and Preparative Meeting.  The BYM WGR meets most months on the third Saturday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Locations vary to allow access to more Friends.  If you would like to attend, on a regular or a drop-in basis, contact clerk David Etheridge,


Family Separation Letter sent by the Sanctuary Taskforce to various newspapers, 6.2018

June 2018

As people of faith, we are deeply distressed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ attempt to justify the separation of migrant families with bible passages and references to God’s will on Earth. We do not believe that God wills us to tear children from their mothers’ arms, or to tolerate such cruelty on the part of our government. We agree with Diane Randall, executive secretary of the Quaker lobby group FCNL, who said yesterday that “the Bible does not justify cruel, dangerous and inhumane border enforcement practices. It teaches us to love our neighbors, not to break up families.”

Though Sessions’ remarks degrade a sacred text and misrepresent core faith-based values, these offenses pale beside the immeasurable harm caused by the policy his words support. We call on our members of Congress to show true moral leadership by speaking out against the separation of families at the border.


Sanctuary Taskforce at Friends Meeting of Washington (Quakers)