FMW Newsletter - April 2019

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Notes: Meeting for Business - March 2019
Community Highlights
Major Business
  - Nominating Committee Report
  - Library Committee Report
  - Peace & Social Concerns re Washington Interfaith Network
Letter to Friends in New Zealand
Thinking About Race



Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business
March 10, 2019

Query for Worship Sharing:  What is our Meeting doing to nurture new life?

Welcome Guests and Newcomers

The Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business opened at 12:15 pm with 24 Friends present.  There were two first time attenders, Gerald Fitzgerald, and Amanda Nadeau.

Clerk’s Report, March 2019

Upcoming Events

  • March 17: Baby welcoming for Lucia Diane Pomerleau, daughter of Liz and Dan Pomerleau will be at rise of meeting. Everyone is welcome!
  • March 17: Luncheon for School for Friends, a Quaker Pre-school. They will be hosting a Simple Lunch as both a fundraiser for the school, and as a thank you to the FMW community. The preschool, which was formerly hosted at FMW, has 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.
  • March 31: All are welcome to at the New Member reception, where FMW will celebrate those who have become members in the last year.

Kudos & FMW Community Highlights

  • The Mary Jane Simpson Lunch on March 3 raised well over $3,000! This lunch supports local DC high school students in their journey to college with scholarships and mentorship.  Many of our Scholars are brilliant, first-generation college students.
  • Anna Avenaysan was accepted into Haverford College.
  • Eileen Hanlon has recently gotten engaged!

Major Business

Membership Committee - Robb Farr

  • Friends approved Betsy Bramon for membership after her second presentation.

Nominating Committee - Martha Solt

  • Friends accepted the Annual Report of the committee.  The Meeting and the committee also note with great appreciation the hard work of Todd Harvey in his time as committee clerk.
  • Friends approved the following nominations:
    • Grant Thompson (M), Finance and Stewardship (3 years until 12/2021)
    • Ed Hustead (M), Personnel (3 years until 12/2021)
    • Justin Kwong (A), Personnel with a waiver for non-members (3 years until 12/2021)
    • Debby Churchman (M), Recording Clerk of the Meeting (1 year through 12/2019)
    • Betsy Bramon (M), Co-Clerk of the Meeting 1 year through 12/2019)
    • Bill Fosket (M), of Clerk of Finance and Stewardship (1 years through 12/2019)
  • The Friends accepted resignations of:
    • Mary Lou Schram, Hospitality
    • Jim Bell, Finance and Stewardship. Friends offered gratitude to Jim for extending his service to two years of service to the committee.

Library Committee - Judy Hubbard

  • Friends accepted the annual report of the committee, which was summarized by Judy Hubbard.

Other Business

Peace & Social Concerns - Elaine Wilson

  • Update on discernment process regarding affiliation with Washington Interfaith Network

Friends APPROVED the minutes as improved.

The Meeting closed at 1:10 PM with approximately 25 persons in attendance to reconvene as Way opens on the next second Sunday of the Month, April 14


FMW Nominating Committee 2018 Report

The FMW Handbook charges Nominating Committee with the care and well being of the committee system insomuch as it brings to Meeting for Business nominations for individuals to serve in certain roles. The Handbook specifies 216 positions.

Current Nomination Metrics

The FMW committee system is robust. In December 2018 the Nominating Committee brought forward a slate of 36 nominations so that committees may begin their annual work in January 2019. At that moment the system will consist of 155 positions filled by 93 people. The number of positions filled is as follows:

24 officers, special positions, administrative staff, and trustees

76 members of standing committees

55 members of special committees and representatives to organizations




Friends filling

Jan 2016




Jan 2017




Jan 2018




Jan 2019





Nominating committee has concern about the health of three committees: Hospitality, Finance & Stewardship, and Personal Aid. In each, the clerks and committee members are capable and have a clear understanding of their charge, but either the charge is ambiguous or the number too few for the demands. We ask Meeting for Business to assist in remedying these situations.


A considerable discrepancy exists between Handbook specifications and practice. Much of it is based on unrealized numbers for standing committees (remedies recommended in the December 2019 Records & Handbook committee report). There are, as well, inconsistencies between the Handbook and reality relating to special committees: to wit, neither the Capital Improvement Task Force nor the Capital Campaign—both longstanding—are describe in the Handbook. Perhaps it is a sign of a dynamic community when the governing/descriptive document lags behind practice.

Committee members are as varied as the number of service needs: some are spiritual, some focused on infrastructure, and some on Quaker testimonies. Some committee service requires membership in the Meeting and some does not. In past presentations of the nominating slate, a few friends have expressed concern over the number of exceptions requested—that is requests to allow attenders to serve on committees in which membership is suggested. In January 2019 a total 8% of slots will be filled in this manner.

There exists some ambiguity about Nominating Committee responsibility. The Handbook specifies:

The Nominating Committee proposes to the Meeting for Business for its approval all Officers of the Meeting except the Recorder, the Historian(s), the Librarian, the Trustees, all members of standing committees except the Nominating Committee, and representatives to other organizations. The Nominating Committee also proposes annually to the Meeting for Business for its approval the clerk and co-clerk or alternate clerk for each standing committee; suggestions from committee members are welcome. In addition, the Nominating Committee proposes to the Meeting for Business for its approval the clerks and the members of the Mary Jane Simpson Scholarship Fund, and the Mary Walcott-Lucy Foster Educational Fund, but it proposes only the clerk of the Garden Committee.


This ambiguity leaves most special committees in a kind of limbo. Past practice has Nominating bringing forward members of IT and Capital Campaign, but, for example, not Young Adult Friends. It is our hope that Meeting for Business will clarify this responsibility for each special committee in the coming year, taking action toward: 1) placing special committees under the care of standing committees; 2) laying down special committees; 3) converting special committees into standing committees.

This and other recommendations relating to Nominating Committee responsibilities have been submitted to Records & Handbook for review.

Nominating Committee has labored to implement recommendations made by the Committee Structure Task Force, which was sponsored by the Committee of Clerks in 2017. Of the five recommendations made by that group (at /?? Mfb), four relate to Nominating Committee responsibilities and will manifest in 2019. These include: 1) offering 1, 2 and 3 year terms of service; 2) creating an ex-officio position on Nominating Committee for the Young Adult Friends convener (approved by November 2018 Meeting for Business); 3) creating a single-service volunteer app that will augment applicable committees, and; 4) right sizing committee numbers. Number 5 suggests aggregating committees with adjacent or overlapping responsibilities. The comments above relating to special committees applies here.


I.       Introduction

The Library Committee hopes soon the library will be back providing easy book checkout. Remember that most reference books and bound magazines are now stored in the Terrace Room.   

We continue our new system for checkout, using a notebook for signing out.  We trust you to return them, and cross out your entry.    

II.        Finding Books in the Collection and Checking Them Out

First, find the library website, by going to the Quick Links at  

Or by going directly to

The books in the Library have been cataloged on  The FMW Library catalog is viewable at or on mobile devices at by entering the collection name FMWLibrary.

Locate books by author, or subject, or title.  To find where the book you want is located, find the call number under the Comments section.  If necessary, ask Library Committee members for help.  If you can't find the book you want on the shelf, check the notebook to see if someone else has it out.

Try to return books within three weeks so that others may use them too.

III.      Size, Growth and Scope of the Collection

In February, 2019,  the Library held 2267 books in the collection, almost 50 more than last year at this time.  Additions to the collection came partly from donations this year. We will continue to seek suggestions from the community and look for new titles relating to Quakerism to add to the collection.      

Before donating books, please talk to committee members. The Library’s scope for collecting includes Quaker history and biography, spirituality, LGBTQ spirituality, mysticism, social justice, and non-violence.  We do hold occasional book sales, and would like permission to sell books outside our scope or duplicates.

IV. Kindles and E-Books

The library owns 5 Kindle paperwhites  which are available to be used by reading groups in the meeting. Ask the librarians about this if you are interested.

The Library has also added more links to electronic versions of classic Quaker titles to the Library’s homepage, including John Woolman’s Journal, Robert Barclay’s Apology, and Journal of the Life and Religious Labours of Elias Hicks. We have included a basic introduction to Quakerism website, and a link to another Quaker library which has even more material. If people need assistance downloading these to their own Kindles or other e-book readers, please contact Library Committee members

V.        Membership

We could always use assistance and actively welcome new members. If you have an interest, please approach one of the committee members.

Members of the Library Committee:

 Abby Thomsen (emeritus)                 Patrick Lynam (emeritus)

Michael North  (Meeting Librarian) ,   (Michael, at present not active in the library, is the one who set up Library Thing and cataloged all the books we had then, and showed us how to do it.)

Gene Throwe  ex officio

Judy Hubbard

Lucy Norman

Frank Weiss

Ana Rodriguez  

Elizabeth Nyman

Faith Williams (Clerk),



Since early December Peace and Social Concerns has been exploring whether or not Friends Meeting of Washington should become a member of Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) which is an affiliate of Industrial Areas Foundation.  

Washington Interfaith Network (WIN), founded in 1996, is a broad-based, multi-racial, multi-faith, strictly non-partisan, District-wide citizens’ power organization, rooted in local congregations and associations. WIN is committed to training and developing neighborhood leaders, to addressing community issues, and to holding elected and corporate officials accountable in Washington, DC. WIN’s 48 dues-paying members represent 25,000 families in every section of the District and reflect its theological, racial, geographic, and economic diversity.

WIN seeks to create long-term power through a broad and united front of organized institutions, organized people, and organized money–acting consistently and persistently for change on multiple issues at the neighborhood, regional, national, and city-wide levels. WIN engages leaders across the divides of race, culture, income, faith, and neighborhood in order to initiate public action on their issues (e.g. affordable housing, public safety, youth, etc.) and to partner with and hold the government and corporate sectors accountable for addressing these issues.

The issues that we have been most eager to engage on are supporting the immigrant, population (documented and undocumented) of Washington DC, addressing income inequality and affordable housing, and to engage in this with congregations which are not predominantly white as we are, as a way to feel more connected.  

We began by inviting two of the 4 WIN staff to come meet with a small group of interested FMW folks, where we began to learn about the organization.

We learned that WIN has a good track record with the work in affordable housing: identifying potential sites, preserving existing housing, and pressuring the city to live up to its promises.   We heard that WIN was good at empowering local residents to be involved in the work in their neighborhoods. 

Our next step was to start attending meetings of the membership, which are divided into four groups by Ward—2 wards in each.  Five of us went to a meeting in January.

We found the meeting of Ward 3 and 4 which we attended to be very well run, and inspiring in its focus and action-oriented nature.  The action was directed by the membership, but the WIN organizer, Arleen Vargas, who convened the meeting was well prepared and worked to engage us all, both in relationship building and good decision making.  

Then we decided to start participating in events and actions that WIN was organizing both to ask for increased DC funding for legal aid for undocumented immigrants and to learn about the new development sites in Southeast and the Southwest Waterfront and to meet other clergy and lay people from the WIN membership to find out how we can work together to create as much affordable housing as possible.  Beth Cogswell has already gone on one such tour and we have been actively trying to get other FMW folks interested in the tours last weekend and the tours on March 23 and 24.   Beth Cogswell’s report on the tour was extremely positive, yielding greater awareness of what is going on in the city and meeting with many concerned clergy from WIN churches. 

Likewise, the 6 or so people who attended two of the Mayor’s budget engagement roundtables a week ago with WIN organizers found that this was a very effective action at the end of which the Mayor spoke very positively about increasing the budget for legal aid, because of the robust turnout of people to ask for it.

Both Debby Churchman and Elaine Wilson have had individual meetings with Arleen Vargas and found this to be very positive and engaging, reinforcing our sense that this would be a good fit for FMW.  

To join WIN we would need to consider two things:  a team of 3-4 people from FMW who would regularly go to meetings and trainings with WIN and who would be actively recruiting participation by the larger FMW community in WIN actions and events such as the bus tours and meetings with city council and the mayor to forward WIN’s issues.  We would also need to commit $ annually as dues.

As Peace and Social Concerns continues this discernment, we are looking to answer two questions:  1) who those 3-4 people would be?  2) how would the Meeting meet the expense of the dues?   Question 2 gives rise to further questions:  would this come out of PSC budget? Would it be a separate line item in the Meeting’s budget? Would PSC fundraise to meet some portion of the cost? Would we suggest that some portion of the funds be paid for out of the Crewes Bequest?  





FRIENDS FIDUCIARY talk on Socially Responsible Investment Screening, March 31, 12:30 p.m.  Friends Fiduciary, which manages FMW’s reserves, will lead a workshop on socially responsible investing.  How does Friends Fiduciary invest with Quaker values for Quaker organizations—and how can you, as an individual.  Sponsored by Peace & Social Concerns and Young Adult Friends. For more information, Contact: Chad Dobson:

Listening & the Light Yoga & Guided Meditation, Saturday, April 6, 2:30 pm What is really going on with you? What questions are you holding in your heart right now? Use transformative power of yoga to prepare for meditation, and a Quaker technique to find our inner guide. At Lotus Lounge, 3915 16th St. S. Arlington. For more info: Debby Churchman,  To sign up, click here. (Free) 

Environmental Stewardship for All, Friends Committee on National Legislation, April 10, 6:30 p.m.Join FCNC’s Emily Wirzba and other Quaker changemakers for panel on environmental stewardship—how Friends are bringing environmental concerns to Congressional offices.  At FCNL’s Quaker Welcome Center, 245 2nd St, NE (and livestreamed).  To register go to:

Upcoming at Pendle Hill Quaker Study Center:  (Contact:  610-566-4507 or

  • May 31-June 2 – An institute where Friends can enhance the skills they need to serve their meetings joyfully and confidently, focusing on religious education, eldering, pastoral care, clerking, and recording.
  • June 7-13  - Continuing Revolution 2019, Pendle Hill’s annual summer six-day summer program for Young Adult Friends and seekers. This year’s theme is “Experimenting Beyond Capitalism.”


Major WIN!:  FMW’s Peace & Social Concerns helps win $2.5 Million Legal aid for immigrants in DC:  
In February, FMW P&SC joined the Washington Interfaith Network at 2 of DC Mayor Bowser’s Budget Consultations.  Our ask:  $2.5 million in legal aid for DC immigrants—Dreamers and asylum seekers, many of whom have lived, worked, studied and worshiped in the District for years—or all their lives—and now threated with deportation to countries they do not know.  $2.5 million is a drop in the bucket compared to other requests in DC’s $15.5 billion budget.  At the Feb 21 consultation, Mayor Bowser spoke personally with our FMW/WIN delegation, and in her closing at the end of the evening, she commented that the issue that rose to the top that night was legal aid for immigrants.  On Monday (3/18) Mayor Bowser released her proposed DC budget for FY 2020--including $2.5 million in legal aid for DC’s immigrants.

See Friends Journal, March issue for FMW member Debby Churchman’s article “Holding Unite the Right to the Light—on FMW delegation’s powerful presence and anti-racist solidarity at the huge Unite the Right counter-rally in August 2018. You can also read Friends Journal (and many other Quaker-related resources) in FMW’s library

On March 10, FMW welcomed Lucia Diane Pomerleau as our newest (and possibly cutest) Associate Member.  More babies in the pipeline. Watch this space!


FMW Peace & Social Concerns
Letter to Friends Meetings in New Zealand

March 18, 2019

Dear Friends,

   We are writing in grief and shock to let you know that our Meeting is holding the New Zealand Friends meetings and all of those in your country in the Light, as you cope with the aftermath of the mass shootings at the mosques. As members of the Friends Meeting in Washington, DC, we know all too well the shock and range of feelings that come with such incidents. It is particularly abhorrent to find that this kind of rage-filled violence is being promulgated on people in a nation known for its peaceful culture.

   It strikes us that, as adherents of peace, your faith group must be particularly useful to your community at this time, as they struggle to re-establish the practice of peace in the face of violence. We write to offer whatever support you think might be useful, if you feel led to develop a response. We’d be happy to find research and individuals or organizations pertaining to dealing with the aftermath of mass shootings, for example, which may provide some ideas of how to best work through this kind of grief. Or we could ask our members to consider supporting any workshops or programs you feel led to offer your community. Please understand that we’re not suggesting you do anything in particular—we just didn’t want to say “if there’s anything we can do to help, please don’t hesitate to call.” We’re your American family. Tell us what you need now and how we can best support you, and we’ll do our best to help.

Sending love and Light,
Debby Churchman, on behalf of the Peace & Social Concerns Committee, Friends Meeting of Washington DC, USA


Thinking About Race (March 2019) – European-American Collaborative

“We use the term ‘white supremacist consciousness’ not to refer to a group of people, but to a system of thought. White supremacist consciousness describes a way of thinking that takes for granted the legitimacy of an American society dominated by white norms and values. In other words, white norms and values are normalized, thus making their supremacy over other groups' norms and values implicit.  It is this normalization that maintains the institutionalization of privilege based on race. We learned about this highly charged phrase from people of color, drawn from the discourse of Critical Race Theory (Delgado, 1995). As critical race discourse observes, many in our society fail to understand that racism is the institutionalization of privilege; it is not just a manifestation of prejudiced attitudes by individuals. When well-intentioned white people see themselves as ‘not prejudiced’ they often assume they are also ‘not racist’ because they are examining their personal attitudes instead of the way in which they participate in unjust distributions of power and privilege based on race.”

From “Developing Capacity to Communicate About Race with Critical Humility,” in The Handbook of Race and Adult Education: A Resource for Dialogue on Racism by the European-American Collaborative Challenging Whiteness (ECCW)


Thinking About Race (April 2019) – “Black and Blue”

All my life through I've been so black and blue
I'm white inside, but that don't help my case
Cause I can't hide what is on my face
I'm so forlorn. Life's just a thorn
My heart is torn. Why was I born?
What did I do to be so black and blue?
I'm hurt inside, but that don't help my case
Cause I can't hide what is on my face
How will it end? Ain't got a friend
My only sin is in my skin
What did I do to be so black and blue?
Tell me, what did I do?
What did I do? What did I do?
What did I do? What did I do?
What did I do? What did I do?
What did I do? Tell me, what did I do to be so black and blue?
What did I do to be so black and blue?

  • Louis Armstrong, 1929

Words by Harry Brooks and Andy Razaf.  Music by Fats Waller. You can see it and hear it sung by Louis Armstrong at   This column is prepared by the BYM

Working Group on Racism (WGR) and sent to the designated liaison at each local 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,



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