FMW Newsletter - June 2019

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Table of Contents

Sixth Month Query (Home & Family)

News & Events

Crews Bequest: social justice funding 

Thinking About Race

Minutes: FMW Meeting for Business-May 2019

Clerk's Report
  - In Memoriam
  - Upcoming Events
  - News & Community Highlights

Major Business
  - FMW 2019-2020 Draft Budget (Finance & Stewardship)
  - Membership Committee
  - Nominating Committee
  - Spiritual State of the Meeting (Ministry & Worship)
  - Peace & Social Concerns reports
    * Proposed FMW affiliation with Washington Interfaith Network
    * Report on planned process for use of Crews bequest funds
  - Marriage & Family Relations - marriages under care of the Meeting

- Draft FMW Budget Summary
- Spiritual State of the Meeting report 
- Proposal for FMW to affiliate with Washington Interfaith Network
Report on Crews Bequest

For those who read to the end...


Sixth Query (Home & Family)

Do you make your home a place of affection where God's presence is felt? Do you practice family prayer? Do you share your deepest beliefs and interests with all in the family? Do you grow together through sharing prosperity and adversity? Can you keep a sense of humor and avoid taking yourself too seriously? Do you establish family standards including the mutual obligations of children and adults? 

                                                                        - Source:  BYM Faith & Practice, Part II The Queries

News and Events

In Memoriam:  Susan Lepper  

Long-time FMW member and Friend Susan Lepper passed away on Tuesday, May 14.  A memorial meeting for Susan will take place on Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 2 p.m. in the Meeting Room, followed by a reception in the Assembly Room.  Friends who would like to serve on the Oversight Committee for the Memorial Meeting may get in touch with Sabrina McCarthy at or 240.778.5234.

Welcome Phoebe Elizabeth Johnson--FMW's newest Associate Member

This Sunday!--Join us in a Meeting for Worship with the Purpose of Welcoming Phoebe Elizabeth Johnson, daughter of Lydia Pecker and Carl Johnson, who was born on October 14, 2018.  Our Worship to welcome Phoebe will be held in the main meeting room, this coming First Day at about 11:45, or soon after rise of regular Meeting for Worship. 

Upcoming Events

FMW’s Change Group on Race:  Interactive Theater, Saturday, June 1, 10 am

The Friends Meeting of Washington Change Group for Racial Equality invites you to an arts-based dialogue on race and privilege by The Baltimore Theatre Action Group (TAG) this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Meeting House Assembly Room at 2111 Florida Avenue in DC.

Racial barriers deprive us of the opportunity to learn from each other and instead cause harm to one another. Without those barriers our social justice witness would be much more effective.  This event will give us the space to do our own learning. The performance and dialog are child friendly and encourage all ethnicities to participate. The experience is dynamic, engaging, ethically rigorous, and fun.

The TAG experience is participant centered. You are the “expert” of your own life. It provides an arts-based “container” that you fill up with your own voice, story, perspectives, and wisdom.  TAG artists bring with them skills in everything from mask, clown, spoken word, visual art, music, and “theatre of the oppressed” techniques – all in service of integrating cultures, disciplines, and communities.”

The event is free and refreshments will be provided.  It will be held in the Assembly Room (unless planned building repairs are delayed, in which case we will be in the Meeting Room. 
RSVP’s are appreciated:  

Friends Couple Enrichment-A Spiritual Practice, June 8, Bethesda Friends Meeting: 

Join other committed couples in this practice of supporting and nurturing your relationship’s health and growth.  With dialogue as our centerpiece, we will deepen our understanding of ourselves and each other, finding joy in connection.  $25 per couple.  Bring your own lunch.  9:30am to 4:30pm at BFM, 5100 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda.  For more info contact: Tia Duer at 202-577-3488 (c)


Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM) Interim Meeting, hosted at FMW, June 15: 

FMW members and attenders are invited to join with Friends from other area meetings, to learn about BYM’s membership and programs as we gather for BYM’s Sixth Month Interim Meeting to be held here at FMW.  For more information and to register go to:

Also—Volunteers are needed to contribute food (lunch, supper), to help with meal prep & clean-up. Please contact Gene or Barbara,, tel: 202-483-3310.

Canvas with Washington Interfaith Network at the Witness to Action Field Day, Saturday June 22, 10 am to 1 pm!

Reservation 13 is the name of the 50+ acre tract of land in SE near the Stadium Armory metro station that is just beginning development.  Ground has already broken on one project near the old DC General hospital.  We are hoping to keep the mayor and city council accountable to including affordable housing as these projects go forward.

Join a group of Friends and folks from other congregations around the city to knock on residents’ doors in the neighborhood to listen to what neighbors think about what is happening to their community and to learn how we might all be able to make sure that this massive undertaking can include affordable housing and assure that folks who have lived nearby for generations can continue to call it home.  No special skill necessary other than ability to walk, willingness to listen and desire to connect with other residents of DC.  WIN will train us at the beginning of the morning and we will canvas in teams.   

If you are interested, contact Debby Churchman or Elaine Wilson 734-276-2191.   Or, if you know you want to go, sign up here.  

Voices from the Holy Land:  “Imprisoning a Generation,” Sunday, 6/23, 12:30 p.m.

Film showing sponsored by FMW’s Committee for Peace & Social Concerns.  The film follows the stories of four young Palestinians detained and imprisoned.  Friends Meeting of Washington, 2111 Florida Avenue, Washington, DC.  For more info go to: 

“The Asylum Seeker on Your Doorstep”—Meet ASAP, June 27, 6:30 pm

Friends, one of our beloved tenants is the Asylum Seeker Assistance Project (ASAP), which offers assistance to asylum seekers from all over the world from their office in Carriage House.  The Peace & Social Concerns committee is offering an opportunity to get to know ASAP and their work better. This will be an opportunity to meet staff members and asylees, learn their stories and how you can help.

We will 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:

Crews Bequest:  
Funding Available to Support FMW Members/Attenders’ Social Justice Work

If you have a project or endeavor that you would like to take on but lack some essential funding, here is an opportunity that you should know about:  In 2017, Friends Meeting of Washington learned that a Mr. Thomas Crews had bequeathed a portion of his estate totaling just under $28,000  to “The Religious Society of Friends, Friends House, Washington, D.C for assistance in promoting their political endeavors." Consultations among Friends led to the conclusions that (1) the Friends Meeting of Washington should be the beneficiary body, and (2), since FMW does not and cannot engage in endeavors that are directly “political”, the funds should be used for transformational social-justice or peace work by Friends, under the supervision of FMW’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee.

Peace and Social Concerns committee is creating an application form as a tool for channeling requests for this funding which will be ready soon.  Meanwhile, if you are interested in applying or have questions, feel free to contact:   Elaine Wilson, cell: (734) 276-2191, or - Barbara Briggs,, cell: 412-417-9384.


Thinking About Race:  Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

The moment Black Americans achieved freedom from enslavement, America could have put to death the idea of Black inferiority.  But whiteness was not prepared to sober up from the drunkenness of power over another people group. Whiteness was not ready to give up the ability to control, humiliate, or do violence to any Black body in the vicinity – all without consequence.

Ultimately, the reason we have not yet told the truth about this history of Black and white America is that telling an ordered history of this nation would mean finally naming American’s commitment to violent, abusive, exploitative, immoral white supremacy, which seeks the absolute control of Black bodies. It would mean doing something about it.

How long will it be before we finally choose to connect all the dots?  How long before we confess the history of racism embedded in our systems of housing, education, health, criminal justice, and more?  How long before we dig to the root?

Because it is the truth that will set us free.

- Source:  I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Austin Channing Brown, 2018
                pages 116-17

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

May 12, 2019

Meeting began at 12:10 with 35 Friends present. We welcomed first-time business meeting attenders: Chuck Mayer,  Jessica Farley, Matt Higgins, Rachel Miller-Ziegler, Liz Bajjalieh, Krystin Sinclair, and Mary Ollenberger.

Query: As we near the end of this long labor of birthing a newly renovated space, what are your hopes, fears, and dreams?    

Clerks Report:

In Memoriam

  • Father of Steve Chase, Roland Kim Chase, who celebrated his 100th birthday on December 30, 2018
  • Memorial service of Hilda Findley Knier is on June 23, 1:00 pm, QHLR
    [NOTE:  Hilda’s family has decided to change the date to sometime in July.  TBD.  –Editor 5/29/19]

Upcoming Events

  • Pendle Hill Quaker Institute: Deepening Our Quaker Practice, May 30-June 2: An institute for Quakers concerned with strengthening and vitalizing their meetings, with worship, worship-sharing, workshops, and plenary speakers on central aspects of meeting life and opportunities for reflection and informal discussion. (Thursday dinner through Sunday lunch).  Contact:, tel: 610-566-4507, ext. 137
  • Theater Action Group performance and dialogue on race, sponsored by FMW’s Change Group for Racial Equality, Saturday, June 1, 10am to 1 pm at FMW. 

    This interactive theatre gives you the space to do your own learning.  It is child friendly dynamic, engaging, ethically rigorous, and fun. Contact: David Ethridge
  • BYM Interim Meeting at FMW on June 15:  Volunteers needed! —to contribute food, help with meal prep and clean-up (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and lodging for participants from further away.  If you can help, please contact Gene Throwe, or Barbara Briggs,, tel: 202-483-3310.

News, Kudos & FMW Community Highlights

  • Katie Breslin has been accepted to Earlham School of Religion where she will be working on her masters degree. 
  • Katie Lipp-Farr is volunteering for an eco-friendly farm in Utah.
  • Joe D’Antonio has been accepted as a Fellow at Friends Committee on National Legislation
  • Kathy Brandt and Kim Acquaviva have sold their DC house and are closing on a new house in Charlottesville next month. Greyson won an award for a film at the Bare Bones Film Festival in Muscogee, Oklahoma.
  • Michael Cronin had surgery on April 26.  His medical team at Johns Hopkins will decide on follow-up (chemo and radiation).  It may be June before the plan is set, but Michael says he has “learned to be ok with waiting.”

Tenant Updates- Activities

  • ASAP - The Asylum Seeker on Your Doorstep:  Friends, one of our beloved tenants is the Asylum Seekers Assistance Project (ASAP), 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 served.

    More info & RSVP to: Debby Churchman,   

Renovation Update

  • Steve Lail says:  “7 Weeks!” until the renovation is likely (mostly) complete-- or at least until we can begin full use of the main building space.


Major Business:

Finance & Stewardship  - Bill Foskett

2019-2020 Budget - Thanks to Merry Pearlstein,  Ed Hustead, Neil Froemming, Bill Strein,  Bob Meehan and others for their work in designing our financial structure for the future. This has been an unusually complicated year because of the construction, and doesn’t serve as a predictor for the future. F&S has made very conservative projections, and is budgeting for a $132,000 loss due to start-up expenses. That means for this upcoming year, we will have very heavy property expenses plus lower income. One Friend asked for a list of assets. Another Friend points out that with a  $3.4 million mortgage, we will owe $223,000/year. Friends would like to better understand how we expect to pay that.  Another Friend asked about the budget line for for electricity, and how much of that is covered by our solar panels.  The budget lies over for one month, and F&S welcomes feedback.


Membership -- Rob Farr

First presentation of Katie Breslin, who ran the Young Adult program for Friends Committee on National Legislation, and now will be attending the Earlham School of Religion. This lies over for one month as is our custom.


Nominating: - Martha Solt

FMW extends its gratitude to Shannon Hughes for her wonderful clerking of the Religious Education Committee over the past years. Friends approved the following nominations:

Jacob Ritting (M) Co-clerk Religious Education, one year term ending 12/19
Marissa Yeakey (A) Religious Education, two year term ending 12/20
Sabrina McCarthy (A) to Ministry and Worship also. She was nominated last month, and the nomination was laid over for one month because she is not a member.

Alan Fawcett (A) co-clerk Religious Education, one year term ending 12/19 will lay over for one month because he is not a member and is being nominated to be co-clerk.

Ministry and Worship: Greg Robb

Second reading of the Spiritual State of the Meeting, which is a kind of annual spiritual self evaluation.  The main discovery this year was an overarching sense that we need to accept people where they are right now.  This should figure in to every step we take, every decision--instead of just tolerance, we should celebrate the differences and uniqueness of each person. This is likely to be a struggle, but it is the labor of love. One Friend spoke of how hard it was to be in a conversation in this Meeting with someone who negated her identity. Our Meeting can be the place where we do the hardest work, which requires great courage. Ministry & Worship thinks the hardest work can be done in our Meeting for Business, as well as all of the committees working together. We need to examine how our race and gender and class inform all of our actions, and take appropriate steps to work toward real equality. The Spiritual State of the Meeting was approved, with thanks to Ministry & Worship.

Peace and Social Concerns Committee: Elaine Wilson, Clerk

The committee brought its request to approve Friends Meeting of Washington joining the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN).  The committee has identified a core group of people at FMW who are willing to lead our Meeting’s involvement with this group, and have figured out how to pay our membership dues for the first year.. WIN has been working on affordable housing and support for undocumented immigrants. For the first year, we would like to use funds from the Crews bequest to cover the cost of the dues. In future years, those dues will be paid for by a combination of fundraising and monies from FMW.

Various Friends raised a number of questions and made supportive statements about this group. One Friend quoted a rabbi who spoke at a recent WIN event, speaking of a lot of NIMBY (not in my backyard) resistance to housing the homeless in Cleveland Park. He said “This is not your backyard, this is OUR backyard, and OUR backyard is always God’s front yard.”

One Friend spoke of unfortunate treatment of WIN’s unpaid interns and related policies, and asked that FMW look into it, which Peace & Social Concerns agreed to do. Friends are hopeful that joining WIN will help us to get to know our Washington community better and come alongside of our neighbors in a more specific, compassionate and supportive manner. Friends expressed support that WIN addresses social justice issues in our community that intersect with racial justice priorities.  It is simpler to isolate yourself--this will probably at times be a struggle, and some conflict may be inevitable. We should think of both how WIN will help us, but also what we can do for WIN. Trustees has already approved our spending $2500 for membership in WIN out of the Crews bequest. Concern was expressed that this was approved before we set up a process for using the Crews bequest. The Meeting approved having FMW join WIN for one year, and approved funding the first year out of the Crews bequest. Several Friends stood aside on the funding.

A proposed process for disbursing the Crews bequest (linked here & below) was also included on the Meeting for Business agenda for Friends to peruse.. Trustees has approved this process. It will lie over for discussion at a different time.

Marriage & Family Relations:

  • Marriage of Amanda Nadeau and Charles Mayer, First Presentation - Debby Churchman
  • Marriage of Rachel Miller-Ziegler and Matt Higgins, First Presentation - Jim Bell

These requests for marriage under the care of our Meeting will be held over one month, as is our custom



1.  Draft FMW Budget Summary for 2020  - Finance & Stewardship


Draft 2020 Budget - page 2

2. 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.


Peace and Social Concerns reports on Washington Interfaith Network and Crews Bequest

3. Washington Interfaith Network (WIN): 

We urge Friends Meeting of Washington to join Washington Interfaith Network as we believe this organization is well positioned to address the crisis of housing, racial inequality, and income disparity in this city, and has a proven track record of doing so.

In March PSC brought a report on our ongoing discernment process to the Business Meeting.

We highlighted members involvement with the Mayor’s budget roundtable process and the success WIN and others achieved in asking for $2.5 million to be allocated in the budget for legal aid for undocumented immigrants.

At that time we were asking members of Meeting to participate in the WIN sponsored bus tours of SE and SW Washington that highlighted the issues around gentrification and affordable housing facing the city.  A total of 9 people from Meeting went on one of these tours and engaged with other clergy and lay participants from around the city in discussion on the challenges facing organizers trying to address housing problems.  

The debrief meeting held two weeks ago for participants brought 6 of those 9 together to share their thoughts on what they learned.  There was resounding support in that group for the ability of WIN to address the issues laid out, and deep appreciation for the education they had received on the tour.  One participant, Chris Kerns-McCoy said he had the opportunity subsequently to meet Mayor Bowser and to talk with her about the housing problem.  He said the tour enabled him to be very specific in his comments.  Without it, he would have just had only vague generalities, and likely wouldn’t have said anything at all.

In March we had two questions we needed to answer in order to bring a request to Business Meeting to join WIN: 1)  who were key participants with WIN?  and 2) how will we cover cost of $2500 annual dues?

1) Peace and Social Concerns has identified five FMW members who are interested in working as our “core group” .  Debby Churchman, Beth Cogswell, Elaine Wilson, Jim Bell and Rebecca Harris.  This core group will do most of the engagement with WIN but will be asking the rest of the FMW community to participate in key actions as they are identified.  

2) Peace and Social Concerns has been given the role of determining allocation of the Crews Bequest by Trustees Committee.  We have created a document which outlines our premises for making these allocations and the process for doing so.  Our first proposed allocation, approved by Trustees Committee is the first year’s dues for WIN of $2500.  In subsequent years we hope that Meeting will fund these dues through a combination of PSC fundraiser, allocation from the FMW general fund and possible allocation from Crews Bequest.

4. Crews Bequest:

Peace and Social Concerns has outline the premises and process for allocating funds from this bequest.  This has been approved by Trustees Committee.  We are developing a form to enable individuals within the Meeting to request funds for projects that will forward the Meeting’s Peace and Social Justice concerns.  We hope to have that available soon.  

Background:  FMW has been left $28,000 by Mr. Thomas Crews that we agreed to use for social justice work.  Trustees is responsible for overseeing bequests in general, and has asked FMW’s Peace & Social Concerns Committee to oversee the decision-making as to how this money will be spent, with report-back and affirmation of process by Trustees.

Proposed premises:

1.) We would like to make it last, but spend enough to make an impact:

We plan to spend this money over the course of several years--perhaps four.

Rather than predetermine a particular sum for yearly allocation we will hope that good projects are presented that allow us to make a visible impact.

2.) Multiplier effect:  We want to invest in projects in which FMW members/attenders are directly engaged, so that these funds will increase the impact of our work.

3.)   We will focus its use on projects that can help change society, make the world a better, more just and sustainable place, and not just use it for charitable purposes.

Proposed process:

(Context:  This is not enough money to pay for staff or office rent.  But we will be in a position to make contributions large enough to pay for affiliation to a larger effort, or costs associated with an event, or a campaign, or travel for some social justice purpose)

1. We create a proposal form to be used for people/groups interested having a grant of funds

                  a.)incorporating some of the above considerations 1,2 and 3

                  b.) project amounts generally starting at $100

                  c.) descriptions of how the money will be spent, why it is important, expected impact.

3.  Twice a year--September and March, we announce the availability of the funds at Meeting, in our weekly Announcements, in our newsletter and via listserv over the course of 1 month and encourage people to make written applications using our proposal form.

4. A subgroup of 2-3 of P&SC members collects the requests, weeds out those that do not fit our guidelines and comes up with 5-10 best candidates for funding.   (We don’t really know what we are going to get, so best to keep guidelines loose here.)  The subgroup will keep a spreadsheet of all proposals and notes on why they are selected to advance or not.  All P&SC Committee members, Trustees and FMW members/attenders will have access to both this summary and the original applications if they want to read them.

5. If requests are limited enough in number and sporadic, and we may be able to make decisions on an as-needed basis.  Or, if we get a load of requests for funding, we will have to make a plan for how to choose some and not others.

6. We will keep Trustees posted as to process and outcomes in a report designed to be shared, ultimately with the entire meeting.

First recommended allocation: $2500.00 in 2019 for FMW dues to Washington Interfaith Network, pending approval of FMW joining by Meeting for Business.