FMW Newsletter - May 2019

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Query #5 (May) - The Personal Way of Life
Upcoming Events
Thinking About Race

Minutes:  April Meeting for Business
- Spiritual State of the Meeting
- Hilda Findley-Knier Memorial Minute

Moses in Spring



Do you live in accordance with your spiritual convictions? Do you seek employment consistent with your beliefs and in service to society? Do you practice simplicity in speech, dress and manner of living, avoiding wasteful consumption? Are you watchful that your possessions do not rule you? Do you strive to be truthful at all times, avoiding judicial oaths?

Do you strive to develop your physical, emotional and mental capacities toward reaching your Divinely given potential? Do you cultivate healthful and moderate habits, avoiding the hazards of drugs, intoxicants, and over-indulgence generally? Do you try to direct such emotions as anger and fear in creative ways?

(More: Early Quaker TestimoniesThe Practice of the Life of the Spirit Personal Life)

Source:  BYM Faith & Practice, Part II The Queries

Upcoming Events

* Beginning this month, the Newsletter will begin the News and upcoming events.  Notes from Meeting for Business will follow.  The Editor would love to hear how that works for you!

End of April

Bethesda Friends Meeting Fundraiser for Ramallah Friends School Scholarship Fund:
Sunday April 28 Spring Fling 12:30-2:00 p.m. 
Rummage sale, perennials, olive oil, Silent Auction, Middle East Buffet, Music.  Location: Sidwell Friends Lower School, 5100 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda.  Contact: Sara Anderson,, tel: 301-908-1226

Visit to Clagett Farm, April 28, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm for FMW families.  Tour will include cow and lamb visits, vegetable fields, potting tree seedlings (!) on this 284 acre working farm operated by Chesapeake Bay Foundation, home to Rob and Amelia Vaughn, our hosts, who have helped manage the farm for 20 years.  Bring lunch, dress for weather.  Clagett Farm, 11904 Old Marlboro Pk, Upper Marlboro MD 20772. For more info call Rob Vaughn, t:  301-646-0281, email: 

Voices from the Holy Land film series: “1948: Creation & Catastrophe,” April 28 at 2:30 p.m.  Riveting personal recollections of Palestinians and Israelis.  Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave.

In May:

FMW Meeting for Business, Sunday, May 12, 12:15 p.m. 
On the agenda this month are:  Budget discussion, Nominations; report from Peace & Social Concerns Committee regarding process for decision-making regarding spending of the Crews bequest—and more!   All members and attenders are welcome.  For more information, contact co-clerks Gene Throwe ( and Betsy Bramon (

Baltimore Yearly Meeting will be hosted at Friends Meeting of Washington, June 15--in our newly renovated buildings!  Baltimore Yearly Meeting is the collective of Quaker Meetings in Virginia, DC, Maryland west of the Chesapeake Bay, the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, and central Pennsylvania. This means we will have about 100 people coming to DC that Saturday from this large region. We need to provide hospitality for our fellow Friends—breakfast, lunch, dinner (food, prep & clean-up, and some overnight lodging for guests from far away. If you can volunteer, please contact:  Gene Throwe, or Barbara Briggs,

Calling all FMW parents!  The Religious Education Committee would like to meet you and talk about what's happening, all the exciting new changes on the committee, and our plans for the Spring and Summer.  This meeting will occur on May 5 at noon in the Quaker House (or outside in Mitchell Park, if weather in nice).  Food and childcare will be provided.  Contact:  Jake Ritting,

Voices from the Holy Land film series:  “Imprisoning a Generation,” follows the stories of four young Palestinians detained and imprisoned. For more info go to:
* Saturday, May 11 at 2:30 p.m. Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave.
* Sunday, June 23, 12:30 p.m. Friends Meeting of Washington, 2111 Florida Ave.

From our Friends at BFM: We at Bethesda Friends Meeting would like to invite friends from Friends Meeting of Washington to consider attending a session we have scheduled on Wednesday evening, May 15, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at our Meeting House.  Joan Paddock Maxwell, longtime hospital chaplain and author of Soul Support: Spiritual Encounters at the End of Life, will give a presentation she calls “Soul Support: Providing Emotional and Spiritual Support to the Dying.”  Her talk was enthusiastically endorsed by people who heard it at Sidwell Friends School in March, and we are happy to provide another opportunity for people to hear this talk, meet Joan, and ask questions.  (Event Flyer attached.)  Please RSVP to Stephanie Koenig,, or 301-593-3843.

BYM Young Friends Conference, Friday-Sunday, May 24-26. 
All high schoolers are invited.  This Young Friends Conference sponsored by Baltimore Yearly Meeting will include workshops, time for outdoor exercise, a service project, worship sharing, Meeting for Business,  community building, free time and meal prep.  Location:  Sandy Springs Meeting, 17715 Meetinghouse Road, Sandy Spring, MD.  
For details contact: or 301-774-7663.

Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology, Pendle Hill, Wallingford, PA, May 24-27:
The Mystical and Spiritual Dimensions of Trauma and Healing, with Plenary Speaker, Donald Kalsched, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst.  FCRP is one of the oldest conferences in the U.S. dedicated to individual spiritual exploration with a focus on Jungian psychology.  C. G. Jung felt that there were similarities between the inward journey to wholeness through the unconscious in psychoanalysis and the Quaker trust that the Inner Light will guide. Space is limited. For more information and to register, go to:  

In June – July:

Silent Retreat for Friends at Dayspring, June 16-18:  “True silence is to the spirit what sleep is to the body: nourishment and refreshment.” – William Penn, 1699

Is your spirit in need of nourishment? Come to Dayspring Silent Retreat, June 16-18.  We will keep silent from Friday evening through worship on Sunday, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation, reading, walking, resting, finding our own rhythms, listening for the Still Small Voice.  Dayspring Retreat Center, 11301 Neelsville Church Road, Germantown, MD 20876.  Cost:  $225.  Registration deadline is June 7.  For more info, contact Jean Christianson, tel: 410-544-1912, email:

A Special Meeting at FMW - The Asylum Seeker on Your Doorstep, June 27:  Friends, one of our beloved tenants is the Asylum Seekers Assistance Project (The Asylum Seeker Assistance Project), which offers assistance in their Carriage House office to asylum seekers from all over the world. The Peace & Social Concerns committee is offering an opportunity to get to know them and their work better. You will meet staff members and asylees, learn their stories and how you can help. Meet at their office on Thursday, June 27 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Refreshments will be offered. For information & to RSVP, contact:  Debby Churchman, email:

Friends General Conference (FGC) Gathering, Grinnell, Iowa, June 30-July 6:
This year’s FGC gathering will be held at Grinnell College. The theme is “Peace in our Hearts, Justice in the World.”  The gathering is a chance to get together with over 1,200 Friends, with many opportunities to address spirit, mind and body—singing, dancing, good food, good conversation.  You can look up the program at:  Registration is open.  There are half-gathering and part-time attender options for adults.  Financial aid is available.  Thanks to a generous donation, there are no program fees for children or teens (but registration closing dates are May 31 for children, June 10 for teens).  For details go to:

Background:  Friends General Conference nurtures the spiritual vitality of the Religious Society of Friends by providing programs and services for Friends, meetings and seekers.  The work of FGC falls into three areas: 
* Helping meetings deepen Quaker worship and practice,
* Supporting a loving Quaker community
* Supporting Quaker outreach.

FGC is a volunteer-led association of regional Quaker organizations, primarily in the U.S. and Canada.  Founded in 1900 to hold a “general conference” every other year, FGC has grown from seven original yearly meetings to 14 yearly meetings plus regional groups and individual meetings.


Thinking about Race:  Daveed Diggs on “Hamilton”

“Daveed thinks that seeing a black man play Jefferson or Madison or Washington when he was a kid in Oakland might have changed his life.  ‘A whole lot of things I just never thought were for me would have seemed possible,’ he says.  Even now, the show is changing him, making him feel more American.  ‘I always felt at odds with this country,’ he says  ‘You only get pulled over by the police for no reason so many times before you say, “F*** this.” ’

Don’t be too quick to count a kid out.  There are plenty of debatable lessons to be drawn from Alexander Hamilton’s life, but that one is clear.  The poor bastard orphan from the islands ought to have died a dozen times but somehow lived to help to found the nation.  As a leader of the new republic, he fought to make it easier for people like him to travel as far as their talent would take them.”

From “Hamilton – The Revolution – Being the complete libretto of the Broadway musical, with a true account of its creation, and concise remarks on hip-hop, the power of stories, and the new America,”  by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, 2016, p. 197.  Daveed Diggs, actor, rapper, and singer, originated the roles of Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette in Hamilton in 2015.

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,


Friends Meeting of Washington

Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business

Meeting began at 12:23 with 20 people present. Newcomers included Galina Sergen and Bill Parker.

Poems for Worship Sharing:  Friends read their favorite poems

Clerk’s Report, April 2019

Kudos & FMW Community Highlights

  • Welcome Evelyn Sylvia Miller, born to Jenni and David Miller on March 26, 2019

Upcoming Events

  • Hospitality Support & Strategy Meeting, April 28, 9:00am:  The coffee, cookies and snacks our Hospitality Committee provides every Sunday after meeting for worship plays a vital role in welcoming visitors and fostering fellowship in our meeting.  If you value this fellowship, have ideas about volunteer recruitment and management, or are looking for a new way to contribute to the vibrant life of our meeting, please join us in this brainstorming session to better support the committee.  Anyone is welcome! Contact Betsy Bramon for more info.
  • Bethesda Friends Meeting Spring Fling Fundraiser for Ramallah Friends School, Sunday, April 28 12:30-2:00 p.m.  Huge “White Camel” Rummage sale, perennials, olive oil, Silent Auction, Middle East Buffet, Music.  All proceeds to Ramallah Friends School scholarship fund.  At: Sidwell Friends Lower School, 5100 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda.  Contact: Sara Anderson,, tel: 301-908-1226
  • FMW Families Visit to Clagett Farm, April 28, 10:00 am–1:00 pm.  Tour with cow and lamb visits, vegetable fields, potting tree seedlings (!) on 284 acre working farm operated by Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Home to Rob and Amelia Vaughn, who have helped manage the farm for 20 years.  Bring lunch, dress for weather.
    Clagett Farm, 11904 Old Marlboro Pk, Upper Marlboro MD 20772.
    For more info call Rob Vaughn, t:  301-646-0281, email:
  • Catoctin Quaker Camp - FMW Retreat Weekend, May 10-12.  Share meals and fellowship in the lodge, hiking, canoeing.  Cabins and tent sites available.  Catoctin Camp address:  12611 Tower Rd, Thurmont, MD 21788 (near Cunningham Falls State Park).  Meals are potluck-bring food.  Cost $20/adult overnight, $10/daytrip, kids free.  For more info contact Anita Drever:  Phone:  307-399-4238
  • Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology, May 24-27.  The Mystical and Spiritual Dimensions of Trauma and Healing, with Plenary Speaker, Donald Kalsched, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst.  Held at Pendle Hill.  Please visit our website: for more information and/or to register.
  • Baltimore Yearly Meeting, hosted at Friends Meeting of Washington, June 15--in our newly renovated buildings!

Renovation Update

New Windows are in!  Campus is re-wired so Quaker House and Carriage House are now connected to the main Meeting House (1 master switch & 1 electric bill).  The project is ON SCHEDULE (“because ‘they’ keep changing the schedule depending on new developments”).  The present schedule calls for the project to be finished in June--just in time for us to host BYM Interim Meeting on June 15.

Major Business

Approval of Hosting the 6th Month Interim Meeting of BYM in June - Gene Throwe

Friends approved hosting the 6.15.2019 Interim Meeting of Baltimore Yearly Meeting in our newly renovated Meetinghouse.

Interim Meeting Support Committee: Barbara Briggs will join this committee. Clerks will send out a notice to the FMW listservs asking for volunteers. We will need to provide meals and other supports.

Ministry & Worship Committee - Greg Robb

Ministry & Worship Clerk made the first presentation of the 2018 Spiritual State of the Meeting Report (see attached). This is a fairly Spartan report. It expresses a lot of optimism, but widespread agreement that we need to do more to welcome diversity of all kinds. The clerk answered process questions. This year, the committee held meetings and encouraged Friends to comment online, rather than using an anonymous survey. If Friends have comments, suggestions or edits, please reach out to Greg Robb. The report holds over for one month, as it our custom.

A Friend expressed concern about the number of latecomers disturbing the peace of the Meeting.

A Friend expressed gratitude to the committee for the work that created this report. She brought up the diversity of Friends’ relationship with Spirit, as a healthy sign.

Membership Committee – Judy Hubbard

Presentation of transfer of Amanda Nadeau from Hartford Monthly Meeting of Friends. Friends approved this transfer, and welcomed Amanda as a full member. 

Nominating Committee - Martha Solt

The committee presented their nomination of Sabrina McCarthy to  Ministry and Worship – Sabrina is part of a group of FMW Friends who have been serving as the Quaker in the Corner, as well as the Pastoral Care Taskforce. This nomination will be held over for a month, as is our custom, because she is not a member. Friends discussed our current practice of allowing non-members to serve on most committees.

Memorial Minute for Hilda Rachel Findley-Knier (see attached).

The memorial minute was read. Friends offered several edits. They remembered Hilda’s great contributions to our Meeting, and particularly to our gardens. Friends approved the minute, with edits.

Meeting ended at 1:27 with 21 people present, to be reconvened, as way opens, on 5.12.2019



1. Report on Spiritual State of the Meeting from Ministry & Worship Committee
    April 2019

This report is based on a series of Worship Sharing (s) held in February and early March at FMW.  This year, we used these queries from Baltimore Yearly Meeting as our framework for discussion.

·         With fierce winds of political discord and violent expressions of hate swirling in the world around us, what does your community do to strengthen our attention to the Spirit in Meeting for Worship?

·         What do you do to strengthen the Quaker “roots” of your community?

·         We recognize we can be a shining light and healing presence in troubled times, while on the other hand, we value our individual Meeting Community so much we can be unwelcoming to change or discordant voices. What is your meeting’s experience of this? Do you sense a tendency to avoid tension by not discussing differing points of view?  Is your Meeting a diverse community: racially, philosophically/politically, theologically? How is that expressed? In what ways?

What follows is a summary of our Worship Sharing conversations.  Ministry & Worship Committee can provide those interested with full notes from these meetings.

The spiritual state of Friends Meeting of Washington is becoming more gathered and inclusive, according to many respondents to this year’s Spiritual State of the Meeting Survey.

Discussion with attenders at the large 10:30 Meeting for Worship spoke of experiencing a deepened silent worship. Notes from the midweek meeting and the 9 o’clock meeting spoke of a greater sense of community.

It was agreed that care was needed to protect these green shoots.

There was also an acknowledgement that our meeting needed to focus on making Friends, visitors and attenders feel more a part of our community, regardless of their ethnicity, and political or religious beliefs. One Friend spoke powerfully about a young attender who was not comfortable saying she worked at a conservative think-tank.

It was agreed that the Light covers us all. Where we stand in the Light was seen as an individual matter and we should welcome everyone “where they are.” We must celebrate the diversity of views at our urban meeting, and allow people to express their views and find strength from it. It was not enough simply to be tolerant. We should find ways to celebrate our unique meeting and all those who gather for worship here.

Many spoke of a need for the meeting to find ways to connect with the city and increase the diversity of the meeting.

Going forward, it was felt by participants in the discussions that we should find ways to strengthen our monthly Meeting for Business, so that everyone would feel more a part of our community.

It was seen as the right and responsibility of Friends and attenders from all our various meetings for worship to attend Meeting for Business so that we can get to know each other better. It was felt that care and attention should be given to find new ways to help increase ownership of our meeting.


2. Memorial Minute for Hilda Rachel Findley-Knier

Hilda Rachel Findley-Knier 
(2 December 1922 - 6 December 2018)


The Friends Meeting of Washington’s much-remembered member, Hilda Findley-Knier, was born to Earl William and Gisela Fusek Knier in 1922.  She reported growing up “on an estate farm near Philadelphia” under the care of two guardians, both professional gardeners and clearly influential in her own future interests.

Hilda joined Friends as a member of Downers Grove (Illinois) Friends Meeting, which she always called her “home meeting” and remained her touchstone for Quaker belief and practice.  Hilda travelled a great deal – when she applied for membership at this Meeting in 1974 she reported having attended worship at fourteen meetings throughout the country, five of which she attended with some regularity.  (One of these latter was the Berkeley, California, Meeting.)  She married native-Louisianan Thomas Wagner Findley at Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, in 1943 and divorced in 1971.  At that time she changed her last name of Findley to Findley-Knier.

              Hilda entered this Meeting in 1970 as a sojourner from Downers Grove and four years later became a dual member here, a joint membership which she maintained until her leaving us.  She later served as a professor of mathematics at the University of the District of Columbia until her retirement in 1996.

      Even before formally joining the Washington Meeting Hilda had become an active and valued member of our community; indeed, her letter of application states that she applied to “make it easier for me to be of service to the meeting in any way.”  In this she was following her example at Downers Grove, whose Clerk had commended “Hilda’s vocal ministry, imaginative ideas, and tireless service.”  Her committee service ranged from Religious Education and Marriage and Family Relations to Ministry and Worship and Trustees.  She collected yarn for an AFSC project and oversaw innumerable marriage ceremonies and memorial meeting.  She acted as the Quaker representative at UDC.  Her analysis and explanation, written for the Finance and Property Committee, of the (minor) expenses related to taking in a new member runs to six pages.  The Downers Grove Meeting has a “Hilda’s Grove” in its garden; our Meeting has the “Chiese di Hilda” (Hilda’s chair) in our kitchen.  She spoke with some regularity during worship, frequently quoting Scripture, especially the Psalms.       

            Always Hilda’s great passion was the Meeting garden, a project which she virtually came to own and which she endowed in her will.  She clerked the Meeting’s Garden Committee for more years than anyone remembered, campaigning for its careful planning and adequate funding (including regular professional care).  In 2006, soon after her leaving us, the Meeting Trustees minuted their appreciation for her “diligence in its [the garden’s] creation and in the solace it offers.”  Her love of nature showed also in her hobby of mountain-climbing – she travelled (in her prime) to camps in the Rocky Mountains annually.  Post cards in her Meeting file tell of other trips to Europe, Asia and Africa.

            Hilda had three children: Rosemary (born 1944), Rachel (1946), and Thomas (1949).  All married and she enjoyed visiting her grandchildren over the years. Traveling minutes in her file testify to her regular trips to visit children and grandchildren.

                        Health problems began to afflict the Friend from the mid-1990s onward, and in 2000 she had to lay down leadership of her beloved Garden Committee and moved to Kendal Retirement Community in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania two years later. She gardened there also.  Her departure from us elicited an outpouring of affection.  At her farewell reception Friends sang a song for her, read poems and recalled her years of deep commitment and love for Friends Meeting of Washington.  “I can think of no other place or responsibility or bearer of joy within our Meeting that is so intimately linked to the name of one person as is our garden to Hilda’s name,” spoke a former Presiding Clerk truthfully.

END of April Meeting for Business Notes


And for those who made it all the way to this point......


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