FMW Newsletter, January 2019

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Minutes--Meeting for Business, December 2018
-Clerk's Report
-Major Business
-Trustees report
-Report from FCNL Annual Meeting
-Nominating Committee: Nomination of Committee Officers and Members
-Memorial Minute for Joseph Parker Johnson
-Memorial Minute for Susan Leigh Shaughnessy


Friends Meeting of Washington Order of Worship

Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business
Sunday, December 16, 2018


When the song of the angels is stilled, 
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,

The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost, To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations, To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.

  • The Mood of Christmas, by Howard Thurman

Opening and Visitors

The Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business opened at 12:30 pm with 23 people in attendance. Chris Kearns-McCoy was welcomed as a first-time attender.

Clerk’s Report, December 2018

In Memoriam
Hilda Rachel Findley-Knier, passed away December 6, 2018.  The Clerk has contacted a few people to write the Memorial Minute.

Committee Announcements

  • Friends Non-profit Housing Corporation seeks board members: Calling people with interest or experience in affordable housing, construction, legal issues related to affordable housing, please contact Dan Dozier.  The 84-unit complex in Maryland needs new leadership.
  • Hospitality Committee Seeks new members! This is a wonderful opportunity for volunteerism. Please contact Susan Griffin.

Upcoming Events

  • Monday, Dec. 24: FMW Christmas Eve Potluck (5:30pm):  Come one and all to the Xmas Eve potluck and worship! Please bring a dish to serve 8 or more. Food cannot be reheated, and leftovers will be returned to you in the dish. We eat at 6:00, sing Christmas carols, and hold a candlelight Meeting for Worship, ending by 8:00 pm. All are very welcome.  For more info, contact Debby Churchman,
  • Christmas Day Worship will be at 12:00 noon in the Quaker House Living Room.
  • Friday, December 28:  Holiday Hike at Friends Wilderness Center:  Start a new family holiday tradition: Join folks from around the region for a reflection hike at the Friends Wilderness Center, located 15 miles from Harpers Ferry. We'll depart shortly after 10 a.m. Directions and details at Greg Robb ( will organize carpool from FMW.
  • Quaker Bible Study Resumes January 16: The Wednesday night Quaker Bible Study will finish the Acts of the Apostles and all through February we will read the Song of Solomon in honor of Valentine's Day. For more information, contact Gene Throwe at
  • Baltimore Yearly Meeting Women's Retreat (January 25) will be held the weekend of January 25-27 at the Pearlstone Conference Center in Reisterstown MD. The theme is Women's Treasure: Honoring our Time and Talents. Registration is now open through this link:  For the best rate, register by December 21. Registration ends January 7.

Kudos & FMW Community Highlights

  • On Dec 8 & 9, FMW hosted another successful Shoebox Project! For over 25 years, our meeting has partnered with homeless shelters across the city to ensure that our neighbors in need receive a gift on Christmas. This year, we assembled 1008 boxes filled with gifts for homeless men, women and children. Thank you to all the many volunteers, including our ringleaders, C.J. Lewis and Steve Brooks!

Major Business

Trustees Annual Report and Audit - Dan Dozier

  • Dan Dozier presented a brief report on the Meeting’s triennial audit. Friends Meeting of Washington received a clean audit and is operating well. The financial status of the Meeting will be presented in February.

Nominating Committee - Todd Harvey

  • Todd presented the slate of people being nominated for committee work, noted with great thanks the hard work of the whole Nominating Committee this year. To give the meeting a sense for the scope of their work, the handbook states that, ideally, there are 215 committee positions total. Currently, our meeting fills of those 155 slots with 98 people.
  • Only 6% of the meeting’s committee members who are attenders and not members have required the meetings approval of exceptions.
  • Friends approved the nominations slate [attached as modified]. with the following changes:
    • Officers of the Meeting
      • Usually the Meeting has an alternate or co-clerk. A Friend recommended that Nominating Committee fill this position soon. There is a plan in process.
    • Finance and Stewardship:
      • Jen Jenkins
      • John Bluedorn
      • Religious Education--There are several members who will be moving this year, stay tuned for more nominations.

Records and Handbook Annual Report - Beth Cogswell

  • The Meeting accepted proposed changes to handbook. Highlights include:
    • Updated committee descriptions to be more accurate of their current work, or the work they aspire to do.
    • Formal consideration of two year committee terms, versus three-year committee terms. The handbook current says most committee terms are up to three years.

BYM Representatives to FCNL Annual Report - Susan Griffin

  • Friends accepted the report. Susan highlighted that some of the advocacy included ensuring that the federal Farm Bill retained the SNAP program, which was at risk of being cut.

Other Business

Ministry and Worship Committee Update - Greg Robb

  • The theme for 2019 is “Community Building,” including a welcoming of new members from the past two years, being intentional about name tags, and other ways we can be more welcoming and and build community.
  • Host a Homecoming Meeting for Worship next year after construction and invite those from local meetings and those who haven’t been to meeting in a while.  
  • The Pastoral Care Task Force is actively engaging in plans to make the meeting more spiritually nurturing.
  • Have a Unity Meeting to bring together attenders from all the different FMW meetings.
  • Potentially hosting BYM Interim Session in the future, as soon as October 2019.

Property Committee Listening Session on Accessibility - Brian Lutenegger and Merry Pearlstein

  • Brief review of the work the Property Committee:
    • The committee currently is working on the following: addressing hearing issues in the meeting room, lighting system addressing the various needs, updating the very old plumbing of the first floor, updating the flooring of the first floor, and maintaining furnishings.
    • Less tangible needs related to inclusivity:
  • Bringing more art into our spaces.
  • Renaming some of our spaces to honor the diversity of Quaker leadership.
  • Building on the the work of our former Administrative Secretary, Debby Churchman, began to expand the reach of the Meetings availability to various activist communities.  
  • Event rental guidelines.
  • Website update.
  • Inventory for furnishings.
  • Consultation: Aside from the larger, ongoing improvements related to the renovation, what are other critical property concerns related to safety & accessibility which the Property Committee should prioritize in 2019 and beyond? Are there other pressing issues the committee has overlooked?
  • A friend shared concerns around how the layout of the inside of the Meeting Room may be outdated in a way that is not in line with our Quaker values or feel divisive, noting specifically issues around facing bench, vestibules, benches, etc. This could be an issue to explore in the future when the renovation is complete.  
  • A friend emphasized the importance of preserving and designing an intentional space for teens in our meeting.
  • Regarding artwork, a friend suggests art that can be colorful and engaging for all ages, especially children.

Memorial Minute for Joseph Parker Johnson - Hayden Wetzel and Molly Tulley

            The memorial minute for Joseph Parker Johnson was read. (Below)

Memorial Minute for Susan Leigh Shaughnessy - Martha Solt (Below)

            The memorial minute for Susan Leigh Shaughnessy was read.

In the generous spirit of the memorial minutes, at the suggestion of a Friend, the Meeting provided a spontaneous opportunity to speak aloud the names of Friends in our community who have passed away. Remembering their names reminds us of the lives and work of the people who have come before us in this Meeting. Through their work, we have a great inheritance to honor and build upon.

25 people


Trustees Report, December 11, 2018

Trustees hereby transmit to Meeting for Business the financial review report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, prepared by Hertzbach and Company, the Meeting’s independent accountant. The financial review analyzes the statements of the financial position of Friends Meeting of Washington and the related statements of activities, changes in net assets, and cash flows for the year without expressing an opinion about the state of the organization’s financial records. A financial review is routinely conducted in the years in which the Meeting does not conduct an audit of the Meeting’s financial statements.  The accountant certified that the Meeting fulfilled its responsibility to prepare and present the 2018 financial statements.  The accountant then performed procedures to obtain limited assurance about whether the Meeting’s financial statements are being kept in accordance with accepted accounting principles. Based on their review, the accountant has expressed confidence that the Meeting’s 2018 financial statements appear to be free from material misstatement, without a need for material modifications to be in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

Trustees will be submitting an Annual Report to the Meeting regarding the FY18 financial position next month; this Report will provide more information about the Meeting’s present financial status.

Annual Report from FCNL Representatives, December 2018

Susan Griffin and Byron Sandford attended the FCNL Annual Session 11/28 to 12/1 as delegates for BYM to the FCNL Central Committee.

The sessions started with sessions on lobby training. On Thursday, we joined our fellow Maryland Friends to conduct office visits with our Representative, Jamie Raskin and our Senators, Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin. Our lobbying ask was the approval of the SNAP program in the Farm Bill. The highlight of the visits with our Senators were the young people from the Friends School that is affiliated with Adelphi Friends Meeting.

The theme of this year’s session was: Prophetic, Persistent, Powerful. This year, FCNL is celebrating its 75th anniversary. FCNL was founded 75 years ago and was originally housed at Friends Meeting of Washington. Our own Laura Nell Obaugh was one of the first employees of FCNL.

Susan Griffin was appointed to the Policy Committee which develops the legislative polices for the FCNL every 2 years. The first step is to review the legislative goals from each Friends Meeting. From that work the policies are then prioritized by the committee for review and adoption by the Central Committee.

The policies for the 116th Congress are attached. The Business meetings were ably clerked by Bridget Moix of FMW.




Friends Meeting of Washington: Nomination of Officers and Committee Members, 2019

(updated 2018-12-12, TH)



Ending 2021

Ending 2019



Gene Throwe (M)

Alternate Clerk


Recording Clerk


Betsy Bramon (A) (2nd presentation)



Barbara Briggs (M)

Financial Coordinator


Bill Foskett (M)







Michael North (M)



Hayden Wetzel (M)



Chris Wickham (M)


Board of Trustees

Bruce Kellogg (M) (through 2024-10)


Elaine Wilson (M) (through 2024-10)


Chris Wickham (M) (through 2024-10)




Child Safety


Virginia Avanesyan (M), clerk

Finance & Stewardship

Chris Mitchell (A) (2nd term, no exception needed)

Jim Bell (M), clerk

Healing & Reconcilliation

Betsy Bramon (A) (2nd term, no exception needed)

Ken Orvis (M), clerk


Mary Lou Schram (A) 


Andrea Bryant (A)



Frank Weiss (M)

Faith Williams (M), clerk


Lucy Norman (A)


Marriage & Family Relations

Debby Churchman (M)

Gray Handley (M), clerk




Robert Farr (M), clerk

Ministry & Worship

Steve Chase (M), exception needed

Greg Robb (M), clerk

Peace & Social Concerns


Elaine Wilson (M), clerk

Personal Aid


Mary Melchior (M), clerk



Bill Strein (A), clerk






Brian Lutenegger (A), co-clerk


Merry Pearlstein (M), co-clerk

Records & Handbook

Chris Wickham (M)

Beth Cogswell (M), clerk


Elizabeth Nyman (A), exception needed


Religious Education


Shannon Hughes (Q), clerk




Garden Committee


Mark Haskell (M), clerk

Mary Walcott-Lucy Foster Education Fund

Bruce Kellogg (M), clerk

Information Technology committee

Brian Lutenegger (A)





Elaine Wilson (M)


Right Sharing of World Resources

Karen Grisez ?)




Personal Aid

Steve Brooks (M)



Leonard Eoussa (M)



Joseph Parker Johnson, 13 July 1931-5 January 2018

Joseph Parker Johnson was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on 13 July 1931 to Benjamin and Mary Johnson and raised in Boston.  He began to attend worship at Friends Meeting of Washington in the early 1950s while a graduate student of mathematics at Howard University and applied for membership in October 1953.  Wrote the Meeting’s secretary Sara Hadley to the Overseers Committee at that time: “I know him to be a young man of fine character.  He is honest and trustworthy in every way.”  In the following year he requested Meeting approval for his application for conscientious objector status from the Boston Selective Service Board.

Joe served on Meeting committees continuously from 1964 to 1989 – Peace, Personal Aid, Finance and Property, Ushers, Quaker House, Marriage and Family Relations, Nominating, Trustees, Overseers – and as Meeting Treasurer.  He also participated in community activities.

For most of his working life Friend Joe managed computer operations for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and sometimes taught at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Graduate School. In 1955 he married Gladys Richardson, a librarian at Sidwell Friends Middle School.  She attended meeting with her husband and children but did not take membership.  Gladys died of cancer in 1998.  Their three children (all associate members when young but not attaining full membership) were: Kenneth and Judith (both born 1959) and Mary (1969).  In 2002 Joe married for some years Meeting member Deborah Churchman.

Joe’s health deteriorated slowly from the late 1990s onward; operations, mostly relating to mobility, took him to hospital and rest home with increasing regularity until he moved from his Georgetown house to Avalon House.  He died in 2018.

Memorial Minute for Susan Leigh Shaughnessy

Susan Leigh Shaughnessy died on September 23, 2018, but her Light remains with us.  Susan was born to Dorothy Leigh Williamson and Frederick A. Smith, on August 24, 1947, in Norfolk, VA where she was raised.  Her father was a Marine Corps veteran who served in the World War II Pacific Campaigns.  Her parents divorced when she was young, and her mother remarried another veteran.  After graduating from Norfolk's Maury High School, Susan attended the University of Richmond on a partial scholarship.

While in Richmond, Susan met Charles A. (Shaun) Shaughnessy, a man immediately attracted to her lively and spirited personality.  Susan and Shaun lost touch with each other between 1967 and 1969 as Shaun fulfilled his military duties in Viet Nam.  When Shaun returned in 1969, Susan sought him out.  As Shaun describes it, Susan called him wanting a date with someone who had a flashy red car and didn’t mind her smoking.  Their relationship as a committed couple began then.  Susan transferred to and graduated from George Washington University in pursuit of education and the excitement of the big city.  Shaun followed her.  They lived in several parts of DC in the 1970s.

Susan was raised in a fundamentalist Baptist background.  Susan and Shaun were members of National Baptist Memorial Church where they were married on December 26, 1976.  Shaun and Susan stopped attending in the early 1980s as the Southern Baptist Convention moved to more conservative positions on the role of women and became more theologically dogmatic.  Nevertheless, both Susan and Shaun missed a spiritual connection.  On a whim one Sunday morning, they decided to try “the Quakers” in DC as they had some experience with Quakers while living in Richmond.

Susan’s spirit was nurtured at FMW.  She attributed her interest in Quakerism to a book The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels.  As Susan described it, that book found early Christians worshipping “informally, speaking out of silence, with no distinction of rank, condition or sex, and emphasizing continuing personal revelation rather than idolatry of scripture.” Susan “found [herself] enjoying a deepening fellowship and sense of personal growth among Washington Friends.”  Two now deceased members (former FMW Clerk Myra Lank and long time member Joseph Johnson) interviewed Susan for membership on January 3, 1986, and reported “no reservation about recommending membership for Susan.”    

Susan’s interest in Quakers, in turn, led her to a close study the philosophy of Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung and his followers. Susan was active in the Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology.  She spent several all too brief seminars at the Carl Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. 

In the late 1980s, Susan and Shaun participated in a Couples Group formed at FMW with several other couples.  They served on Martha Solt and Dan Dozier’s Marriage Oversight Committee.  Martha will always think fondly on how Susan lent her the necklace from her own neck to offer one of the four good luck objects on her wedding day called for in“Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something Blue.

Susan and Shaun, by 1990, were ready to leave their Bloomingdale neighborhood in downtown DC.  In Accokeek, MD, they found a quiet, wooded area where Susan could continue her writing. Susan and Shaun hosted a small Quaker worship group in their Accokeek home for some time.

Susan was known for her intelligence, spirited personality, good humor, and ever-present red car.  In correspondence to the Clerk of the Friends Committee on Religion and Psychology on October 2, 1996, Susan reported that she was in the “Breakdown Lane of Life” and how she related to a notice on an old elevator, “Hang up and await instructions. Help is on the way.”  Susan suffered from depression or  “gremlins” who “chased her” “invading every area of life.”  In part due to distance and in part due to her depression, Susan stopped participating in FMW activities.  She quite incorrectly claimed to be “making a gift of [her] absence” because of her spiritual depletion and “gremlins.” FMW was a bit less vibrant without Susan’s presence those many years.    

Although she remained a prolific writer until the end, an injury in the late 2000s began a decades-long series of illnesses, restricting Susan’s mobility and contact with friends.

Susan enjoyed French culture and language and travels to France.  She pursued graduate education at American University and an internship at the London School of Economics and Political Science.  She had a successful career in freelance writing and advertising.  Susan wrote two unpublished novels and an inspirational volume of meditations for writers, Walking on Alligators, published by Harper-Collins in 1993.  Subsequent editions of the book have been printed in several African and South Asian languages, all of which she freely authorized.

The Light of Susan Shaughnessy lives on in her beloved husband Shaun Shaughnessy, in her writings, in her good service, and in our memories.



Friday, December 28:  Holiday Hike at Friends Wilderness Center:  Start a new family holiday tradition: Join folks from around the region for a reflection hike at the Friends Wilderness Center, located 15 miles from Harpers Ferry. We'll depart shortly after 10 a.m. Directions and details at Greg Robb ( will organize carpool from FMW.

Online course “Mobilizing Friends for Bold Action” begins January 7Led by longtime social justice activist Eileen Flanagan, board member of EQAT (Earth Quaker Action Team).  For Friends led to learn more about effective social justice organizing, campaign-building and creative tactics.  More info and to register go to:

January 15:  BYM Camp enrollment begins for returning campers.  New camper registration begins February 1 at 7:00 a.m. for Baltimore Yearly Meeting camping programs (at Catoctin, Opequon, Shiloh and Teen Adventure).  The camps are residential for children aged 9-17.  Space in sessions available on a first come first served basis. For more info and to register online go to  For more on Quaker camps:

Contact Jane Megginson, 717-481-4870

January 19:  “Hold Space for Transformation” training session sponsored by Baltimore Yearly Meetings Growing Diverse Leadership Ad Hoc Committee.  Facilitators Dr. Amanda Kemp and Dr. Erica Fitz of Lancaster Meeting.  Workshop from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Frederick Friends Meeting.  First of 2 part training for groups doing anti-racism work in BYM.  Session 2 to be held on March 2.  For details go to:

January 25-27 Baltimore Yearly Meeting Women's Retreat. The 2019 BYM Women's Retreat at the Pearlstone Conference Center in Reisterstown MD. The theme is Women's Treasure: Honoring our Time and Talents. Registration is now open through this link: For the best rate, register by December 21. Registration ends January 7

BYM Junior Young Friends Conference, January 12-13.  Middle school-aged youth are invited to Stony Run Friends Meeting (5116 N. Charles St, Baltimore, MD) for a weekend with +/- 60 youth from area Meetings.  Registration deadline for guarantee slot is January 5.  For info contact youth programs manager Jossie Dowling: or 301-774-7663