FMW Newsletter - March 2019

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Minutes-February Meeting for Business
- Clerk's Report
- Major Business
- Other Business
- Addenda

Upcoming Events
Thank You from an MJ Simpson Graduate


Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business
February 10, 2019 (January & February Business)

Query for Worship Sharing:   

Are Meetings for Business held in a spirit of worship and prayerful search for the way of Truth?  Are all members encouraged to use their talents in the service of the meeting?


Welcome of Visitors

Meeting for Business opened at 12:23pm with 21 people in attendance. There were three first time attenders, Riley Cruttenden, Allen Fawcett, and Ajowa Ifategyo.

Clerk’s Report, February 2019

Upcoming Events and Announcements

  • Baltimore Yearly Meeting Workshop Proposals—deadline February 22.  The BYM Annual Meeting will be held July 29-August 4.  BYM is now accepting proposals for 2-hour long afternoon workshops on this year’s theme “Quaker Tools for the Journey” and other topics.  For more information and to submit, go to:


  • Pendle Hill Workshops: Strengthening Your Inner Wisdom and Silencing Your Inner Critic, February 22-24.  This interactive weekend led by Dana Mitra will expand the range and methods of accessing inner wisdom and differentiating the voice of the Inward Teacher from the inner critic.

Pendle Hill is a wonderful Quaker study and retreat center outside Philadelphia with many live stream events and weekend workshop offerings that are well worth the trip!  To RSVP and for more information on Pendle Hill’s programs go to their calendar or home page, or contact communications director John Meyer,

  • BYM is seeking a new Development Director.  Baltimore Yearly Meeting, comprised of more than 50 congregations (including FMW) and some 6,500 members is seeking a new Development Director, who will be responsible for identifying, cultivating, soliciting and securing new and ongoing gifts from individuals and foundations to support BYM’s ministries and programs.  For details go to:
  • March 17: Baby welcoming for Lucia Pomerleau (daughter of Dan and Liz Pomerleau) at rise of meeting.  Hold the date for our Meeting to welcome our new associate member!
  • FMW is starting a Change Group to address systemic racism and white privilege. Recently, Baltimore Yearly Meeting sponsored a few of us to participate in workshops facilitated by Dr. Amanda Kemp. If you are interested to come together toward deeper awareness of racism and changing the status quo around it, please contact Susan Griffin ( ) and David Etheridge (

Kudos & Community Highlights

  • Congratulations to Amanda Nadeau and Charles "Chuck" Mayer who have announced their engagement. They hope to be married "Under the Care of Friends Meeting of Washington" on August 24, 2019.
  • Congratulations to Rachel Ziegler and Matt Higgins who have announced their engagement. They will be married in Charlottesville with guidance from Friends Meeting of Washington on October 26, 2019.
  • DC Council passed the CleanEnergy DC Act in December 2018, putting the District at the forefront of U.S. state and city efforts to address climate change.  The bill’s passage has been credited to the strong coalition campaign--which included formal support by FMW’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee, and months of organizing work by FMW members and attenders.
  • FMW hosted a Gender Workshop on 1/27: Many thanks to Danielle, Pet for their leadership, and to the Peace and Social Concerns Committee for hosting this thoughtful discussion.
  • 2019 Women’s March: In January, FMW hosted students from Olney Friends School in Ohio to participate in the Women’s March. FMW supplied cauldrons of cocoa, warmth and local knowledge to a dozen high school students who were otherwise quite self-sufficient--and very grateful, saying that they could not have come to DC if FMW had not given them a place to stay.
  • Our former member Mike Hubbard is in remission from a bout of cancer and has written a short and very worthwhile book of his experiences and reactions.  It is available from Amazon:

Please Hold in the Light:

  • Please hold Kathy Brandt, and her family Kim and Greyson Aquaviva in the Light. Kathy is having a medical procedure on Tuesday, February 12 to treat her for ovarian cancer.

Renovation Update:

  • The renovation is over two-thirds complete, and aiming to finish in May! The elevator tower has been constructed, the Assembly Room is starting to look good.  The new lobby’s front steps and second floor, and a cute little bluestone patio in the back are all now visible.  So, it is starting to look like “A Thing”!

Major Business

Membership Committee  – Rob Farr

  • The Meeting accepted the Membership Committee’s Annual Report (attached)
  • First Presentation of Membership for Betsy Bramon
  • The Meeting accepted the transfer of Membership from Ottawa Monthly Meeting to FMW for Rebecca Nelson.
  • Comments: A friend shared a concern that some of the information in the database may need to be reviewed for accuracy, and is willing to help contribute to that effort.

Recorder’s Annual Report  – Barbara Briggs 

  • The Meeting accepted the report.
  • Report highlights: 282 members, 451 attenders, at least 80 attending children,
  • Comments: The committee clarified that children do not automatically become associate members, this is only done at the explicit request of parents.  Additionally, another friend shared that, in their personal context of coming of age in the Vietnam War era, having a child be an associate member can have wide ranging effects on your child, not just within the meeting.
  • In terms of demographic data collection, the Meeting has not asked for information on ethnicity.  Baltimore Yearly Meeting formal request -- check with here was one separate survey done on this in 2018 which asked people to consider self-identifying their ethnicity. This was informal, and not connected to any official membership data.

Records and Handbook Committee Semiannual Report – Beth Cogswell

  • Report highlights: The committee updated items such as number of people required on a committee, reduced term limit guidelines, updated committee mandate info.
  • Comments: As adult religious education has been removed from the mandate of the religious education committee, Ministry and Worship committee is now discerning how to move forward with stronger coordination on Adult Education.

Healing & Reconciliation Committee Annual Report - Ken Orvis

  • The meeting accepted the report. The committee seeks the Meeting’s reflection on how this committee can serve the meeting and stay relevant with interpersonal, spiritual and social issues that arise in meeting.   A friend shared that this committee could be an ad hoc committee under Ministry and Worship

Nominating Committee -Todd Harvey

  • The committee shared a concern that the Hospitality Committee needs additional support from the Meeting, as there has been high turnover and it has been difficult to fill the positions. The nominating committee is exploring how some changes, such as a co-clerk structure (instead of one clerk), in addition focused discussion between nominating, hospitality and records and handbook to consider how to move forward to better support the Hospitality Committee.  Hospitality Committee members expresses frustration and sadness at how difficult it has been to recruit volunteers for this very vital platform for fellowship in our Meeting.  Friends expressed gratitude to Todd Harvey and Susan Griffin for their hard, often thankless work on this.  Another friend reflected that the property renovations and changes have created considerable stress and disruption for this committee, which has likely contributed to the situation.  The clerks will follow up with the relevant parties to plan a time to talk about how next steps.
  • The Meeting accepted the following committee nominations:

Jacob Ritting (M) Religious Education (1 year term, ending 12/19)

Allen Fawcett (A) Religious Education (2 year term, ending 12/20)

John Bluedorn (A) Finance & Stewardship (3 year term, ending 12/21)

Jen Jenkins (A) Finance & Stewardship (3 year term, ending 12/21)

Galina Sergen (A), Peace & Social Concerns (1 year term, ending 12/19)

Justin Kwong (A), Personnel (3 year term, ending 12/21)

  • The Meeting accepted the following committee resignation:

Valerie Graf (A) Hospitality

Other Business

American Friends Service Committee-DC Annual Report - Steve Chase

  • The Meeting accepted the annual report. 
  • Report highlights: Steve highlighted The Human Rights Learning program has developed a Human Rights curriculum being taught in DC schools, which was officially institutionalized as an elective provided to teachers to teach. Now, AFSC is training teachers on the curriculum.
  • Comments: A friend asked about the required course, “History of DC” could be informed by this curriculum.  AFSC is working to integrate the Human Rights curriculum into required courses, which is a goal of AFSC.  Another friend expressed gratitude at the significance of this development.

Travel Minute for Stuart Greene

Sanctuary Task Force Update: Susan Griffin

  • Sanctuary DMV, which FMW is a part of, is asking members to sign on to a letter supporting a woman, Rosa, who is being threatened with deportation.  She has sanctuary with the Cedar Lane Unitarian Church in Maryland.  For more info, see this letter.
  • The Meeting approved the request to sign on to the letter.


Friends APPROVED the minutes as improved.

The Meeting closed at 1:48 PM with approximately 28 persons in attendance to reconvene as Way opens on the next second Sunday of the Month, March 10.


Addenda - Committee Reports

2019 Membership Committee Report

Members:, Rob Farr clerk, Judy Hubbard alternate clerk, Janet Dinsmore, Gray Handley, Joe Izzo, Zoe Plaugher, Marcia Reecer

The duties of the Membership Committee remain largely the same year-to-year, with the consistent privileges of reviewing often deeply moving letters from individuals seeking membership, and meeting with them to discuss spiritual journeys leading them to apply.  The variety of paths applicants have taken to bring them to us is a regular source of inspiration and wonder.

During 2018, FMW welcomed the following new members and transfers, but due to remodeling, the Committee was unable to hold a reception. However the Committee plans to schedule a reception in early 2019 when renovations are completed. Letters were sent to new members explaining the reason for the delay.

Grayson Acquaviva (member, sojourner)

Forest Trent Breeze (associate member)

Barbara Briggs

Steve Chase (transfer)

Rashid Darden

Jesse Finkel

Jacob Benjamin Finkel (associate member)

David Miller

Jacob Ritting

Julius Jacob Ritting (associate member)

Violet Faye Ritting (associate member)

Monique Russell

Luca Romero Russell (associate member)

Mary Lou Schram

Resignations or transfers to other Meetings in 2018 include James Alliston, Harry Massey and Diane McDougal.

Deaths included Maurice Boyd, Susan Shaughnessy Hilda Findley-Knier, and Joe Johnson.

Rob and Judy represented the Membership Committee at the Committee Fair and were happy that Zoe Plaugher agreed to join our committee. New members are especially important in the upcoming year because a few of our members’ terms are coming to a conclusion.

The committee agreed to help Barbara Briggs determine the status of a list of members who have not been heard from for a while. We did so to the best of our ability but there are still several “missing” members who need further research.

In the ongoing effort to keep track of requests for membership, transfers, welcomes and other matters, the committee has begun a spreadsheet. Hopefully this will assist in preventing committee business from being delayed, which has happened on more than one occasion.

Finally, we wish to thank Debbie Churchman for all her support to this committee and the Meeting at large over the years. She is truly irreplaceable.

Submitted by Rob Farr, clerk.


Recorder’s Report – Year End 2018

In 2018 the Meeting switched from our old contact management system (Logos) to a new database (Breeze). There are some inconsistencies in the ways that several of our data categories are being used, and between last year’s and this year’s numbers, which we will need to work to remedy.


Members:  282

Same as last year.

Attenders:  451

Not reported in previous years.

Associate members: 5


Added as per report of Membership Committee.  59 were reported last year.   This category will need to be input or re-built.

Attending children: 80

A number of these would be Associate Members.

- FMW gained 9 new adult members and (at least) 5 associate members.

- Four members died in the course of 2018.

The Recorder/Admin Secretary intends to make data cleanup a major project over the next couple of months and hopes to work with the Membership and Committee clerks to be sure we have clear and consistent member status definitions, and with families to get their information right.

Submitted by Barbara Briggs, Recorder


Records and Handbook Committee Semiannual Report, January 13, 2019

Records and Handbook Committee has been busy this half year.  We asked all Standing Committees to review their Handbook descriptions and to recommend any changes as well as to adjust the number suggested in the Handbook of members needed to accomplish their duties.

The purpose of our asking committees to reflect on their work and the number of members/attenders needed to accomplish their goals was twofold.  First, we wanted to bring the Handbook up to date on the work being done by committees.   Second, we also wanted to lighten the burden for Nominating Committee to fulfill the number of positions required by standards that do not reflect present day needs.

All Standing Committees responded and we thank them for the time they took to respond to our requests.  Six committees made changes or updated their Handbook descriptions.  These include Hospitality, Personnel, Personal Aid, Property, Religious Education and Records and Handbook.   Eight committees made changes (reduced) the number of members required to conduct their business.  These include Child Safety, Finance and Stewardship, Library, Peace and Social Concerns, Personnel, Records and Handbook, Religious Education.  All changes were approved by the Meeting for Business.

Two items arose from committees in discussion of descriptions and numbers on the committee that may warrant discussion by Meeting for Business.

1.      It was suggested that the term for members on committees be reduced to 2 years, to encourage broader participation of both members and attenders.  Nominating Committee generally makes concessions for committee members who cannot make a three year commitment at present.

2.      Religious Education Committee is engaged with the education of children under the age of 18 years. Adult education which was part of the former description, is not in the revised description. 

Submitted by Beth Cogswell, clerk


Healing and Reconciliation Committee Report, February 2019

The Healing and Reconciliation Committee has been in place for several decades, serving the needs of members and attenders who bump up against each other in aggravating ways, by facilitating means to reach across an unintended breach and help make things right.  Over this past year, we have seen diminished activity as some members of the community have drifted away and others have come in.  Without as much routine activity, it may be the Committee should advertise its presence and its role more effectively, especially to recently arrived Friends who may not know of us.  In the beginning of the fall, Committee suggested to Committee of Clerks and Nominating Committee the options of laying the H&R Committee down, redefining its mandate in the context of a wider committee structure, or folding it into Ministry and Worship (or elsewhere) as a subcommittee.  For now the decision has been to keep the Committee in its traditional role.

Submitted by Ken Orvis, clerk

AFSC-DC Program Report - Steve Chase, AFSC-DC Program Committee Member for Friends Meeting of Washington

As another year comes to an end, we, at the American Friends Service Committee DC Peace and Economic Justice Program would like to tell you how grateful we are for what we have been able to accomplish for the community with your help.

Faithful to our mission, we have once again brought together people from throughout the DC area to work to build a community where human rights values prevail. This past year, we worked with youth, community members, activists, the religious community, and local lawmakers.  Here are a few examples of our work:

Through our Human Rights Learning Project we continued to offer human rights learning workshops to DC students. During the 2017-2018 school year, we partnered with Anacostia High School, Wheatley Education Campus, and Center City Public Charter School- Brightwood Campus, engaging over 140 students in our curriculum.

In March, we learned that our human rights learning curriculum had been accepted as a high school social studies elective course for District of Columbia Public Schools, entitled, “Human Rights and Social Action.” Our updated and expanded elective curriculum will be available to schedule in the 2019-2020 school year and will help progress our goal to ensure every student in DC receives a human rights education.

Our Human Rights City Project continued to advance the human rights city movement in DC this year. At the end of 2017, the Human Rights City Steering Committee published its third report evaluating the city’s progress in the promotion of human rights, and in February 2018, the report was shared with DC City Councilmembers.

On December 10, 2018 DC celebrated its 10th anniversary as a Human Rights City. AFSC DC partnered with ONE DC to host a celebration in honor of this important milestone. Speakers at the event included AFSC General Secretary Joyce Ajlouny and DC City Councilmember Mary Cheh, who presented a ceremonial resolution recognizing this anniversary and re-committing DC to its responsibilities as a Human Rights City.

We could not have accomplished such inspiring community work without your continued support!  With your gift, more can be done to strengthen human rights values in the community and build leadership skills of our youth.  More than ever, please consider a generous contribution to AFSC DC Peace and Economic Justice Program!

(This ends the Minutes and Reports for Jan-Feb 2019)


Upcoming Events

  • Baby welcoming for Lucia Diane Pomerleau, child of Liz and Dan Pomerleau, next Sunday, March 17 at rise of meeting, and…
  • School for Friends Simple Lunch, March 17.  This is both a fundraiser for School for Friends and the school’s thank you to the FMW community.  (School for Friends children, up to the age of 4 come to visit FMW frequently during the year.  They begin with 1 minute of silence, and build to half an hour by year’s end.)

PENDLE HILL PROGRAMS:  Some select program in March and April.  You can also always check our online calendar to stay informed. 

Thank You from an MJ Simpson Graduate

Thank you from MJ Simpson Scholar


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