FMW Newsletter - March 2020

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Table of Contents:

3rd Month Query
Events
Crews Social Justice Fund-deadline 3/15
Leadership Opportunity-Friends Community School

FMW Workshops in Formation
Thinking About Race

Minutes: FMW Meeting for Business, February 16, 2020
- Clerk's Report
   - Upcoming Events
   - Community Highlights: Polar Plunge / Gun Violence Workshop / Women's Retreat
      Clearness Working Group / Hearing Improvement Project

- Major Business
  - Nominating Committee
  - Membership
  - Property Committee (Tenant request)
  - Hospitality Committee
  - FMW Event Rental Report
  - Minutes: Committee of Clerks 1/26/2020
  - Recorders Report
  - Letter from Asylum Seekers Assistance Project (ASAP)
 

3rd Month Query:  THE MEETING COMMUNITY

Are love and harmony within the Meeting community fostered by a spirit of open sharing? Do you endeavor to widen your circle of friendships within the Meeting, seeking to know persons of all ages and at all stages of the spiritual journey? Does the Meeting provide for the spiritual refreshment of all members and attenders? Do Friends provide spiritual and practical care for the elderly, the lonely, and others with special needs?   Source:  BYM Faith & Practice, Part II The Queries


Events

Threshing Session on Use of Clearness Processes at FMW, Tuesday, March 3, 7:00 p.m. in Decatur Place Room:  FMW’s Working Group on the Clearness Process requests your participation in a threshing session to discuss how Friends Meeting of Washington can better support the spiritual health and wellbeing of the community and individual F/friends through the Clearness process.  Please join us for a Threshing Session to better illuminate a path forward for Friends meeting of Washington.  If you are unable to join in person, please contact a member of the Working Group to provide your input. Contact:  Danielle Carnes, carnesdanielleg@gmail.com

Grate Patrol—Preparing meals for the homeless, Wednesday, March 4, 5:30 pm: Join our Grate Patrol Team!  On the first Wednesday of every month, members of our FMW community gather at the Meeting House to prepare brown bag meals for the Salvation Army's Grate Patrol (http://salvationarmynca.org/gratepatrol/).  After the meals are prepared, two of us join a Salvation Army truck driver and make several stops in NW Washington, DC to distribute food to our community.  Please come join us Wednesday, March 5 at 5:30 pm. The truck arrives at 6:30 pm and then returns to the Meeting House at 8:30 pm.  We welcome your help to make the sandwiches or distribute the food on the truck or both! Kids and teens are welcome.  If you have any questions or want more information, please email Louisa Terrell (louisa.terrell@gmail.com).

Clerking Workshop, Sunday March 15, 12:15 in Quaker House: Are you a clerk of a committee?  Ever considered becoming one, but puzzled as to what that entails? Come to a Clerking Workshop on March 15, starting at 12:15 in Quaker House Living Room. Marcy Seitel, who has for many years helped BYM clerk its interim meetings, will be walking us through both the logistics and strategies useful for successful clerking. Substantial snacks will be served. For more information, contact Debby at dchurchm@yahoo.com

Washington Interfaith Network DC Council Ward 2 Candidates Forum, March 22 at 2pm

FMW is involved in important work to address the problems of affordable housing and immigrant rights in the District through our affiliation with Washington Interfaith Network.  There are many ways you can help with this work, but we are hoping for more Ffriends to join on March 22:  Our meeting is in Ward 2 and this is a unique opportunity to influence the thinking of the candidates.   Location:  Metropolitan AME Church (on M Street NW, east of 16th)  For more info contact:  Elaine Wilson, elaineswils@gmail or Beth Cogswell, bethcogswell8@gmail.com

Quaker singer-songwriter Letitia VanSant, City Winery, April 2:  VanSant of Baltimore is described by Paste Magazine has named her as an Artist to Watch: “..her gentle singsong may strike you as sweet, but listen a little closer and you'll realize she is spitting fire."

City Winery, 1350 Okie St NE.  Doors open 6:00 p.m., show 7:30.  TicketsFacebook event

Friends Committee on National Legislation lobby weekend, March 28-31, Volunteer hosts may been needed:  We have had several requests for lodging.  If you can host 1-2 youth participants in your home or do an overnight at FMW, please contact Peace & Social Concerns, Elaine Wilson, ElaineSWils@gmail.com or Barbara Briggs, admin@quakersdc.org


FMW Crews Social Justice Fund application deadline is March 14, 5:00 p.m. 

The Social Justice Fund offers small grants to strengthen social justice efforts, especially those in which FMW members and attenders are engaged.  More information, instructions on how to apply and the application form can be found here.


Leadership Opportunity:

Friends Community School is looking for Board members from the wider Quaker community.  Friends Community School is under the care of Adelphi Friends Meeting. Many Adelphi members and attenders serve and have served on the Board.  The Board meets evenings once a month, and all Board members have committee assignments.  If you are interested in serving or have questions, please contact Marsha Holliday, hollidaymsd@yahoo.com.

FMW Workshops in Formation….Interested?:

Share Your Experience!  Have you written a spiritual autobiography?  Committed to Spirit-led giving?  Prepared for the end of life? Would you like to share your experience in a workshop with Friends? To contribute to “Sustaining Each Other in Community: A Year-Long Series on How Our Meeting Can Support Us,” please get in touch with the Ministry & Worship Committee. Contact: Sabrina McCarthy, sabrina.mccarthy@verizon.net, cell 240.778.5234.

Communicating With Purpose: Listening. Do you want to become a better listener? In this experiential and applied three-session workshop on listening, you will set goals for yourself and build listening skills through practical exercises during and between sessions. Georgetown University Certified Leadership Coach Roseanna Stanton will facilitate. The program is open, on a space permitting basis, to participants who are prepared to make a commitment to doing the work of increasing their listening capabilities, will attend all three sessions, and agree to complete 2-3 hours of practice and homework between sessions. Sessions are 1.25 hrs each and will take place in March-April 2020.  Please go to https://forms.gle/7nWsbBjj793rhg339 to register your interest in this program.


Thinking About Race (October 2019) – from How To Be an Antiracist

Martin Luther King, Jr., disagreed with Brown vs. Board of Education, 1954.  “I favor integration on buses and in all areas of public accommodation and travel….  I think integration in our public schools is different,” King told two Black teachers in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1959.  “White people view Black people as inferior….  People with such a low view of the black race cannot be given free rein and put in charge of the intellectual care and development of our boys and girls.” (p. 177)

After Brown, the integrated White space came to define the ideal integrated space where inferior non-White bodies could be developed.  The integrated Black space became a de facto segregated space where inferior Black bodies were left behind.  Integration had turned into a “one-way street,” a young Chicago lawyer observed in 1995.  “The minority assimilate into the dominant culture, not the other way around,” Barack Obama wrote.  “Only white culture could be neutral and objective.  Only white culture could be nonracial.”  Integration (into Whiteness) became racial progress. (p. 178)

  • From How To Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, 2019.  It can be useful to consider to what extent these observations from the 1950s and 1990s still apply today.  Some local Meetings have formed groups to read and discuss this book—and others.  Book discussion groups can be part of the Change Group process. 

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 first 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, david.etheridge@verizon.net.
 

Friends Meeting of Washington
Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business
February 16, 2020

Meeting convened at 12:18 with 21 Friends present.

Query for Worship Sharing: Have we provided opportunities for those most likely to be directly affected by the choices we are contemplating to influence the decision making process? What would change if we did?

  • A Friend remembered during the discussion about the renovations that only twice was it discussed to put in an affordable housing unit in Quaker House or a housing dedicated to providing sanctuary to someone who would need it and that when this was brought up it was not discussed seriously and perhaps it should have been.
  • A Friend noted that FMW allows non-members to join committees and this provides an opportunity for everyone to weigh in on decisions that affect them, and that Friends are better at this than some others.
  • A Friend spoke about how the Human condition we find ourselves in locks us in a prison of our own ego defined by our race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other markers of self. This prison of the ego makes it difficult to see things from the perspective of those different than us and that these queries give a good opportunity to break out of the prison of the ego.


Anti-Racist Queries:  These queries are a tool to help us become aware of the racism that is built into our culture and our Meeting, and work to heal it.

1.   How will we provide opportunities for those most likely to be directly affected by the choices we are contemplating to influence the decision making process?   

2.   How could the choices we are contemplating affect those who have been harmed by systemic, institutional, interpersonal and/or internal racism?

3.   To what degree have privilege, class, stereotypes, assumptions, and our ability to include other perspectives affected this decision making process?

4.   How will the choices we are contemplating promote equity, diversity, and inclusiveness? Will they enable us to be more friendly and whole, engaging across racial divisions?

5.   How do the choices we are contemplating support the declaration of our Yearly Meeting that we aspire to be an anti-racist faith community?
 

Clerk’s Report, February 2020

In Memoriam:  Mary Campbell and Beth Cogswell have graciously agreed to do the memorial minute for Alex Mathews

Upcoming Events

  • Reading Early Quakers Together. Feb. 16, 9:15, Library  to discuss “This is a short Relation of some of the Cruel Sufferings for the Truth’s sake of Katharine Evans and Sarah Chevers in the Inquisition in the Isle of Malta” at pages 171 through 209 in Hidden in Plain Sight: Quaker Women’s Writings 1650-1700, available from Pendle Hill, https://pendlehill.org/product/hidden-plain-sight-quaker-womens-writings-1650-1700/. Contact: Sabrina McCarthy, sabrina.mccarthy@verizon.net, cell 240.778.5234.
     
  • Pendle Hill: Embracing Our Inner Critics: A Pathway to Inner Strength and Peace weekend workshop, February 21-23  with Quaker personal coach Dana Mitra.  Embracing Our Inner Critics: A Pathway to Inner Strength and Peace  For info and to register contact Pendle Hill Quaker Study and Retreat Center, 610-566-4507, ext. 137.
     
  • Pendle Hill Mindfulness and White Privilege weekend seminar, February 28-March 1 –  led by Deborah Cooper and Pamela Freeman blending mindfulness practices with an engaged exploration of racial conditioning to help white people practice anti-racism with intention and self-understanding.  For info, contact Pendle Hill at 610-566-4507, ext. 137.
     
  • FMW’s Racial Equity Change Cttee and BYM STRIDE Anti-Racism Series begins February 22.  This 5-part  antiracism series will be led by Khalila Lomax, coordinator of the STRIDE program, committed to ensuring that young people from all racial, geographical, and economic backgrounds have the opportunity to benefit from the Quaker camping programs conducted by the Baltimore Yearly Meeting.  FMW, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm, Sat, Feb 22, March 28, April 25, May 23, June 27.  Please RSVP the STRIDE Coordinator Dyresha Harris at OIC@bym-rsf.org
     
  • Spiritual Friendships.  Feb. 23, 11:30 to 1:30, Terrace Room. You are welcome to join us either for Worship 11:30 to noon or for Check-in at noon, followed by reflections. Inspired by FMW former member Margery Larrabee, we consider the spiritual issues in our lives, explore spiritual disciplines, and share thoughts about readings. Contact: Sabrina McCarthy, sabrina.mccarthy@verizon.net, cell 240.778.5234.
     
  • Spiritual Autobiography-Share Your Experience!  Have you written a spiritual autobiography?  Committed to Spirit-led giving?  Prepared for the end of life? Would you like to share your experience in a workshop with Friends? To contribute to “Sustaining Each Other in Community: A Year-Long Series on How Our Meeting Can Support Us,” please get in touch with the Ministry & Worship Committee. Contact: Sabrina McCarthy, sabrina.mccarthy@verizon.net, cell 240.778.5234.
     
  • Spiritual Journey Meditation Group.  Feb. 24, 1:00 to 2:30, Library for meditation, worship sharing and check-in.  Contact: Sabrina McCarthy, sabrina.mccarthy@verizon.net, cell 240.778.5234.
     
  • Looking for hospitality for 2 Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS) Fellows during FCNL's Spring Lobby Weekend, Sat. March 28 to Tues. March 31 in D.C. Hosts are ideally located within a Metro-accessible commute to National Press Club/US Capitol vicinities. Please contact Claire at claire@quakervoluntaryservice.org asap if you're able/interested in hosting these young adults.

FMW Community Highlights & Kudos   

  • Report back from Climate plunge
    • A Friend reported that total plunge group raised $164,000 and FMW is responsible for raising 10% of that amount totaling $16,000. There were no reported cases of pneumonia, hypothermia, staff infection, or any other injuries.
    • The Quaker Polar Bear team was “nonviolently kick-ass”

               

  • Report back from Gun Violence workshop
    • FCNL was invited to present on Gun Violence. Andre Gobbo and Larissa Gil-Sanhueza. We were also happy to welcome the General Secretary Diane Randall. We made a list of those who wanted to be kept informed on what FMW would be doing to help deal with Gun Violence. We were also able to rediscover the 1979 minute that supported a federal ban on hand guns.
    • March 29 Peace and Social Concerns committee will be holding a time in which they will write a minute about gun violence.
       
  • Report back from BYM Women’s Retreat
    • FMW planned and hosted 163 people for the Women’s Retreat and a fun time was had by all. FMW has volunteered to plan the Women’s Retreat again next year.
       
  • Working group on clearness committees
    • March 3rd they will have a threshing session for the use of clearness committees from 7-8:30pm. They have created a brochure about the use of clearness committees and believe we could use clearness committees more often to help our community.
  •  Property Committee Hearing Improvement Project
    • The engineer who will install the equipment has been looking at the space and says it will happen by May if not beforehand, but possibly later. We will be kept up to date on the progress. A fourth way to hear with the system was found that hearing aids with induction coils can be used.

Committee of Clerks - see minutes, below

Major Business

  • Recorders’ Report (Barbara)  -See below
     
  • Nominating Committee
    • All are approved for a single year term (Ending December 31, 2020)
    • Ann Herzog for Ministry & Worship, second presentation --Approved       
    • Juanita Cribb-Wade to Hospitality --Approved
    • Bill Parker to Library --Approved
    • Galina Sergen to Hospitality --Approved
    • Nominating wants to bring to the attention of everyone that nominating is having a difficult time filling positions and is discussing the possibility of combining task forces and other groups.
  • Membership - Rob Farr and Judy Hubbard
    • A letter was received welcoming Tara Tappert’s transfer to Lancaster Friends Meeting
    • Bill Parker, first presentation
    • Bill seeks membership after being a member of several committees and clerking the hospitality committee and is happy that Quakerism has helped him relate better to his sister who is not a Quaker
    • Jessica Wolfley, first presentation
    • Earl Eutsler, first presentation
    • Both come to us from different spiritual backgrounds but with a similar motivation to join FMW. They are looking for community in the world particularly after the birth of their children.
    • We would like to add their children as associated members.
    • Katie Breslin, Sojourning in Indiana
  • ASAP Request (Tenant's letter is attached below)
    • The Asylum Seeker Assistance Project (ASAP) rents out the first floor of Carriage House. The proposal of the property committee is found below.
    • They are good tenants but seem to have a pronounced sense of entitlement and regularly use unoccupied space without asking permission. Some of our furniture has been taken into their space without permission. The hope with our counter proposal is to push back on this sense of entitlement. We do not want to lose them as tenants but also did not write a blank check for them when we agreed to lease to them.
    • The clerk began this discussion by having the meeting read the Anti-Racist Queries and then enter into prayerful silence to help frame the discussion and decision-making process we will have over this issue.
    • A friend said that it may be more helpful to start with a round of practical questions before going into silence with the anti-racist queries to capture the scope of the issue we are contemplating.
    • A Friend shared that they feel a strong resonance with the mission of ASAP and believes that the meeting itself should provide material support to groups like ASAP when we are able and have done so in the past. It is important that it be recognized as a form of “in kind” donation and that be made clear to ASAP through a letter.
    • A Friend sees this as us moving toward being more of a partner and less of a landlord/tenant relationship and perhaps they should report to us in some way as a result. 
    • A friend asked if we were aware of their financial situation. A Friend is concerned about us not being respected as a landlord and is concerned that ASAP may go the way of the Washington Peace center.
    • A Friend sees it as odd that a direct service organization would be in DuPont, farther away than where many asylum seekers or refugees are currently placed. Particularly based on how expensive the rent in Dupont is.
    • A Friend wants to ask if the meeting itself can afford this sort of generosity. The renovation increased the cost of running the meeting by something to the tune of $300,000 a year, most of it in the form of the mortgage payment. We also have a number of new and increased costs based around the changes caused by the renovation. We need to ask if we are able make our mortgage payments and perhaps make more than our mortgage payments to get it down before the mortgage balloons in 13 years. We have also become more willing to spend money in our new situation and we need to ensure that we can actually afford to spend the money we would like to spend. We should also limit the time for the arrangement with ASAP to give us time to get out of the spending fog we are currently in.
    • A friend is concerned about the use of space in the meeting that we did not offer ASAP and the practice of ASAP to move furniture without asking.
    • A Friend thinks the whole issue should be brought before finance and stewardship to see if the compromise is financially responsible and if offsets can be included, though the friend is in favor of the compromise as proposed. The friend also wants the new lease with ASAP to ensure that they make it clear what of FMW’s they are allowed to use under the lease.
    • A friend would like to make sure that there is a negotiated settlement rather than a sending back and forth of leases.
    • The Clerk is hearing that research be done into ASAP’s finances to see if they can afford it. The Clerk is hearing that we may want to send this to finance and stewardship to see if we can afford the subsidy being proposed in the property committee proposal. The Clerk is hearing that we want to ensure lease is clear to include what spaces ASAP is allowed to use and what they are not allowed to use.
    • A Friend wants to know if they are able to answer our questions and respond to our concerns.
    • A Friend wants to support the proposal presented by property committee. We should be clear what the rate we want to charge these organizations whose missions we support.
    • The Clerk would like to see if the proposal as written by the property committee has unity.
    • A Friend points out that they do have limits of space usage in their current lease that they regularly forget.
    • A Friend wants to thank the property committee for their proposal. On a staff level it can be a pain in the neck to move things back into place but it is not that ASAP is having parties in our space without permission. The work they do in our space does help the greater good.
    • A friend asks if it might make sense to formalize the subsidy if that is what we decided to give them.
    • A Friend would like to ask how their work effects our taxes within DC?
      • A friend responded that they are a DC based non-profit and do not need to pay real estate taxes and nor do we as a religious institution.
      • When an organization we license to do needs to pay taxes we pay them, and then pass that charge to them in the form of a license fee.
      • FMW is not responsible for the DC property taxes due to ASAP’s status as a DC non-profit but this does not effect the FMW federal tax liability.
    • The Clerk again would like to put the property committee proposal as written to the business meeting for possible approval.
    • There was some agreement, but a friend would like to hear from finance and stewardship and get what they think makes sense.
    • Friends have proposed to ask the finance and stewardship committee to look at the feasibility of the subsidy.
    • A friend does not believe that we have the possibility to off set the funds needed to support the subsidy.
    • A friend points out that what is likely to be given or taken is the possibility of advanced mortgage payments which will help to limit the size of the mortgage balloon when it comes. The friend is not sure what answer the finance committee could give. A friend commented that this comment spoke their mind.
    • A friend would like to be clear what this proposal would mean for other tenants.
    • This would be a special agreement just for ASAP.
    • It was made clear that ASAP is not a long-term tenant but is fairly new to the property and that other tenants have agreed to the 80% discounted rate that was initially proposed to all non-profit tenants who license from FMW.
    • The Clerk is not hearing unity but does hear that we support the mission of ASAP but have issues with their behavior as a tenant and concern from us about how we could afford the $13,000 annual subsidy we would be giving them if we take up the property committee proposal. The Clerk commented that her favorite clearness committee ended without clearness and perhaps that is the case here.
    • The property committee itself was undecided.
    • The Clerk found it very enlightening to hear about what is going on with our financial situation and wants to know how easy it would be to find a different organization similar to ASAP and their support with our mission.
    • A Friend has said there are many who want to come to the space for free or very little. It is much easier to find those who want to be in the space for purely commercial purposes that do not relate to our mission who will pay the license fee we would like. It seemed fair to the meeting to see if the meeting wants to be involved with sanctuary issues in this way. If they move out we will likely lose 2-3 months’ worth of funds from the space before we find a new tenant.
    • The Clerk would like to ask if we are at unity with the property committee proposal.
      • A friend would like to make sure that the property committee be given the discretion to come back to the meeting for business as they need on this matter. 
    • Unity was found to the proposal that property committee first proposed with the understanding that the property committee be able to come back to the meeting for business as the negotiations continue as they need.

Other Business

* Hospitality/Bill Parker - organizing and volunteer recruitment

  • A white board is now in place in the fellowship room for people to write on with any announcement that they have to give introverts and visitors a way to make announcements in the space.


FMW Event Rental Report
January 2020

Prepared by Brian Lutenegger, Event and Rental Manager
email: eventspace@quakersdc.org, phone: 202-483-3310

Financials
Here is a breakdown of how we’ve fared so far in FY20 (through January 31, 2020) in terms of booked events for the current fiscal year:

 

FMW Event Space Bookings

Fiscal Year

2017

2018

2019

2020

Before FY Start

$25,511

$24,648

$11,098

$15,964

July

$5,791

$9,592

$3,302

$4,405

August

$5,833

$14,764

$3,623

$16,228

September

$8,095

$8,528

$2,543

$23,296

October

$13,826

$9,582

$3,686

$20,319

November

$7,160

$4,281

$3,394

$6,147

December

$5,635

$7,621

$5,363

$6,649

January

$29,877

$9,714

($50)

$15,098

YTD Total

$101,727

$88,730

$32,959

$108,105

Year End Total

$130,777

$115,600

$41,749

$0


Our fiscal year runs from July 1 to the following June 30th.

As of the end of January, we remain ahead of previous fiscal years in terms of events booked. As shown above, we booked just over $15,000 worth of events in January. New marketing tools such as Yelp and others are helping get the word out.

The difference between booked event revenue and earned event revenue remains far greater at this point in the fiscal year than it has been in the past three years. As of the end of January, you will note above that we had booked just over $108,000 worth of events. At the same time, we had earned $67,889 from event rentals so far this fiscal year, a difference of more than $40,000 (and higher than last month’s difference of $35,000).

From an accounting standpoint, we earn the income only after the event is successfully completed—even if we already have the customer’s payment on hand. With many events already booked, the remainder of FY20 continues to look busy.

Nonprofit versus market rates

Of the $108,105 booked so far this fiscal year, $15,301 worth of rentals has been at our full market rates (approximately 15.7 percent,  a slight decrease from last month’s 16.4 percent). The remainder of the booked events have received some type of discount:

a)      A discounted nonprofit or tenant rate

b)      A lower rate due to construction

c)       Memorial service and weddings under the care of the meeting where we do not charge for space for the service itself – only for the cost of the event host

d)      Some other factor

Our standard nonprofit discount is 20 percent off our market rates.

While I wasn’t able to duplicate Debby’s successful January 2017 (which saw more than $29,000 worth of rentals booked), I think we are still on track for an excellent year, despite starting a bit later than usual.

Thus far, we have been able to accommodate all requests for Meeting- and Quaker-related activities at FMW around outside space rentals. We are making every effort to accommodate Sunday afternoon and evening rentals, while ensuring that all of our internal activities on Sunday mornings are unimpeded by outside events. There will be a few upcoming events on Sundays when the space user will arrive at 1pm and we appreciate the help of hospitality and others to make sure our spaces are ready. If we find that this does not work, we will adjust for future events.

Marketing Efforts

Tweaking our new website located at events.quakersdc.org continues to take time. Over the last month, I have replaced the booking tool used for scheduling a tour with me and also tried to troubleshoot some issues where messages sent to me using the form on the site did not reach me. I’ve also broken some content up over multiple pages to improve clarity – and added many new photos from past events.

I am continuing to add content to our new Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/fmw.event.venue/) specifically for event rentals. I will soon be creating an Instagram page, which I am told is a useful tool for online marketing.

We are also joining a site called Pridezilla which reaches the LGBTQ community and provides referrals to wedding venues.

We are also giving Yelp Ads a try to see if that tool connects us with new space users. So far, I am not convinced that this is the right tool for us. I spend a lot of time replying to messages with a relatively small return. We’ll continue to evaluate whether the fairly high monthly cost of this tool (although we are receiving some free advertising through a promotion) more than pays for itself.

Wedding Open House at FMW

We are planning a wedding event at FMW on Saturday 3/14 to show our spaces to prospective couples and have them meet some of our partner vendors. If anyone is interested in helping to plan or execute this event, please be in touch with me.

Interesting Space Users

Events in our spaces during January included another large group of Ethiopians – we have become a popular place for large meetings of that community in the DC area. January also saw the return of the Peace Corps for a retreat for the first time since before the renovation. FCNL also held an all day staff retreat in the Assembly Room. Several other past space users returned.

We also held three memorial services over two weekends, including one for beloved FMW member, Alex Mathews.

Finally, the last week of January was the first of several when we will have Opera Lafayette with us rehearsing their production of Beethoven’s Leonore. The cooperation of Friends in leaving their floor markings in the Assembly Room undisturbed is appreciated. Everyone appreciates having the music around throughout the day.

As was the case with several of these, when events are open to the public and of potential interest to FMW’s community, I plan to send out an announcement to our listservs. FMW members and attenders may choose to attend these events if they wish, making sure to RSVP or buy tickets as requested. These emails also make clear that the events are not sponsored or endorsed by FMW.

Other Things I’m Working On
·         Office Furniture: Furniture for my office will be installed on Monday 2/10.

·         Instructions for event hosts and Sunday FOPs: I will be drafting clear instructions for event hosts and Sunday FOPs to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding our new building systems and where things are located (and should be returned to!).


Committee of Clerks:  Minutes - 1/26/2020

Present:  Rebecca Nelson (Co-Clerk), Beth Cogswell (Records & Handbook), Debby Churchman (Co-Clerk), Merry Pearlstein (Property), Mary Melchior (Personal Aid), Ken Orvis (Healing & Reconciliation), Marsha Holliday (Ministry & Worship), Virginia Avanesyan (Child Safety), Bill Strein (Personnel), Jim Bell (Marriage & Family Relations), Allen Fawcett (Religious Education), Dan Dozier (Finance & Stewardship), Martha Solt (Nominating), Bill Parker (Hospitality), Rob Farr (Membership), Gene Throwe (Library), Justin Kwong (Property), Jake Ritting (Religious Education), Amanda Nadeau Mayer (Recording Clerk)

Icebreaker round: Clerks shared what they wanted to be when they grew up. 

Distribution of packets of information regarding clerking (all items will be available online in the future): 

  • Committee Resources at FMW: Tell Barbara if there is an error in your committee description
  • In Case of a Psychiatric Emergency: Contact Information 
  • Annual Reports from Committees to Monthly Meeting: Description of how to do an annual report
  • Check Request: Reimbursement form. Even if you do not want to be reimbursed, submit for better budget awareness and a tax receipt.
    • Donation receipts should not include dollar amounts for donation of items.
  • Budget Process: Step by step process of determining FMW budget
  • The Role of the Clerk: Guidance on clerking

Decision: Do we want a clerking workshop? 

  • A friend suggested that a clerking workshop would encourage the important work of teaching clerking skills.
  • Clerking Workshop could be held during an “open” Committee of Clerks Meeting
  • Meg Meyer or Marcie Seitel

Introduction to FMW proposed best practices: 

  • Zoom - use of digital conferencing platform
    • Peace & Social Concerns has been using Zoom with success recently. Other committees have used conference calls.
    • There are other free technologies (ie. Skype, Google Hangout)
      • Focus on one platform for ease of adoption
      • Multiple friends mentioned Zoom’s better performance vs. other systems.
    • Rebecca to lead session overviewing Zoom features
  • Committee Email Account (ex. fmwmycommittee@gmail.com )
    • Transfer of institutional knowledge 
    • One point of contact
    • In order to facilitate transfer between users, Clerks will set up accounts on FMW account with Barbara as the back-stop.
      • Clerks could send instructions to clerks on email usage
      • A few Committees have current email addresses
      • Consistent naming structure
    • Can link FMW email to personal email to facilitate ease of use
  • Google Docs
    • Committee Minutes in Google Docs. 
      • Prioritizing reading and approving minutes in person, either at the end of the Meeting or the beginning of the next Meeting
        • Suggestion of sending minutes to Barbara within 24 hours.
        • There may not be a one size fits all solution as some committees deal with more confidential items.
          • Set of confidential and non-confidential minutes.
      • Possibly could use single document to add Meeting Minutes
        • Easier to write Annual Report
    • Records & Handbook has been dependent on Meeting Minutes and Committee Meeting Minutes for histories of the Meeting. 
      • Asking if the Meeting could maintain paper copies of their minutes to be maintained for changes in technology. 
    • Folders of Meeting Minutes should be shared with Administrative Secretary, and she could do a monthly minutes dump into paper folders.
    • Google Docs tutorial forthcoming, both as a group and individual
    • This conversation is ongoing, and we are working towards a set of shared practices. Our next step would be launching technology workshops.
  • Anti-racist queries 
    • Committees to use queries when making decisions in order to work shift consciousness. The Change Committee would like feedback on the use of these queries. 
    • All Meetings for Business will start by reading queries aloud. 
    • Library Committee is looking for suggestions in order to increase the diversity of books and subjects.   
  • Joint volunteer table
    • Newcomers and new attenders can have difficulty integrating into coffee hour. Hospitality will start a table with a whiteboard for announcements and thoughts from Meeting, in order to create a touch point. Please add any upcoming volunteer opportunities.
    • Also creating a touch point in the North Room, using a table or just chairs for a quieter place to talk. More volunteers would help.
    • Facing bench could be volunteers so newcomers could seek you out.

Report on the policy on disruptive member:

  • The Letter distributed predates the most recent incident
  • Most recent letter from clerks was read aloud.
  • Personnel are in the loop about policy. 

Meeting ended at 10:18, to reconvene as way opens on 3.29.2020.


Recorder’s Report – Year End 2019

FMW’s official member and attender numbers changed little from year-end 2018 to 2019:

Members:  277

Down slightly from 282 last year reflecting several members who passed away or moved. 

Attenders:  453

An increase from 451 at the end of 2018.  This number is likely an undercount, since we have not been proactive in gathering attender contact data.

Associate members: 63

 

Slightly up from 59 reported in 2017.  (This category was not transferred properly from FMW’s prior database and had to be rebuilt.)

Attending children: 80

Same as last year.  A number of these are also Associate Members.

- FMW gained 8 new adult members.

- Five members passed away in the course of 2019.

- In the first months of 2020 there will be a more systematic effort to collect contact information for FMW’s regular attenders who are not yet in our system.

Submitted by Barbara Briggs, Recorder

 

Letter from Tenant, Asylum Seekers Assistance Project (ASAP):

Friends Meeting of Washington (FMW) c/o Property Committee
2111 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008 

To Whom It May Concern: 

The Asylum Seeker Assistance Project (ASAP) is the first and only nonprofit exclusively dedicated to serving the estimated 50,000 asylum seekers living in the Washington D.C. Metro region. Having survived persecution, violence, and war in their home countries, asylum seekers arrive in the U.S. with many needs but few resources. These needs often persist throughout and even after what is typically a protracted legal process. While there are some nonprofits working in the asylum space, their focus is almost exclusively on the provision of immigration legal services. These organizations provide a good and important service, but legal support alone does not guarantee a successful legal outcome, especially when asylum seekers are unable to meet their basic needs. 

Founded in July 2016, ASAP's wraparound, holistic service model combines social, employment, and community engagement programs to support the safety, stability, and economic security of our clients and their families. Our focus on services outside the legal realm means our work is complementary, not competitive. As a result, our organization has quickly been embraced by many legal service nonprofits, law firms, and pro bono attorneys looking to connect their clients to a continuum of care. Evidence suggests it is this combination of legal and non-legal services that dramatically increase the likelihood of an asylum seeker winning their legal case. Through direct services, education, and support, ASAP strengthens communities by empowering asylum seekers to rebuild their lives with dignity and purpose. 

ASAP was fortunate to become an FMW space partner in August 2018. We currently occupy the first-floor suite totaling 694 square feet. For the past year, we patiently endured the noise, dust, and general chaos that accompanied the year-long renovation. ASAP had anticipated a rent increase upon construction completion but we were stunned when our license agreement was increased from $2,500 to $4,315 per month (73% increase). After several conversations, FMW agreed to reduce our rent to $3,580 per month (43% increase) given our 501(c)3 nonprofit status. While we recognize the property committee’s fiduciary responsibility to FMW, we believe there are several pertinent reasons why ASAP’s rent should be further reduced.

History & Values. Although much has changed in the last 350 years, the right to seek safety from persecution remains a global concern. Quaker leader William Penn fled religious persecution in England. His influence resulted in the founding of Pennsylvania as a refuge for Quakers and other religious minorities of Europe. If Penn arrived in the U.S. today, he would be considered an asylum seeker. Two hundred years later, the Quakers were also prominently involved in the creation and operation of the underground railroad. The act of guiding persecuted people to safety and freedom is not unlike ASAP’s function today. Given these similarities, it is not surprising that ASAP’s organizational values align closely with the major tenets of the Quaker faith. Quaker values of compassion, equality, and integrity are interpreted at ASAP as radical hospitality, respect, and accountability. ASAP also practices courage, collaboration, and passion. 

Effective, Efficient, and Equitable. ASAP has proven itself to be a capable organization but a steep rent increase will reduce our ability to serve asylum seekers and their families. In 2019, ASAP served 272 asylum-seeking men, women, and children. This coming year, we anticipate serving upwards of 350 individuals. We are also careful to grow in a way that ensures our work is both innovative and sustainable. As a result, our work carries an outsized impact. In 2019, 100% of ASAP clients with legal cases that reached a final conclusion were granted asylum compared to the national average of 40%. 

Advocating for Sanctuary. Third, ASAP represents an opportunity for FMW and its members to meaningfully engage with the sanctuary movement. ASAP’s community engagement program facilitates a variety of opportunities throughout the year for clients and volunteers to connect, engage and build meaningful relationships. We are also committed to facilitating a range of inclusive volunteer opportunities for everyone from retirees to busy working professionals. By leveraging local community buy-in, ASAP we are working to broaden community awareness of asylum seekers and to build public support for humane and responsible asylum policy. 

In conclusion, we believe ASAP’s presence at FMW is mutually beneficial, and we are committed to working with the meeting to negotiate acceptable license terms. Given the aforementioned arguments, ASAP respectfully proposes a new license that would rent ASAP space at a cost of $51 per square foot signifying a 16% increase ($35,394 annually) over the current proposal of $61 per square foot. This would increase ASAP’s rent by just over $5,000 annually ($35,394) and give us time to grow our budget so that we can adjust to 5% yearly increases. 

Sincerely

Joan Hodges-Wu, MA, MSW, LGSW Founder & Executive Director Asylum Seeker Assistance Project