FMW Newsletter, 5.2016

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Queries & Advices


Property Annual Report

Alcohol Policy Recommendation

Healing & Reconciliation

Susan Ellis Memorial Minute

Proposed Diversity Language

Upcoming Events

Thinking About Race

Random Happenings



Friends Meeting of Washington

Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business

April 2016



Do you make time for meditation, prayer and worship? Do you read the Bible, the writings of Friends, and other inspirational works, seeking new light? Do you regularly seek God's guidance? Are you open to guidance and support and do you give thanks for them? Do you share your spiritual insights with others and willingly receive from them in turn?



The place of prayer is a precious habitation: … I saw this habitation to be safe, to be inwardly quiet, when there was great stirrings and commotions in the world.  - John Woolman, 1770





Dear Lord and Father of mankind

Forgive our foolish ways!

Reclothe us in our rightful mind,

In purer lives thy service find,

In deeper reverence, praise.


In simple trust like theirs who heard

Beside the Syrian sea

The gracious calling of the Lord,

Let us, like them, without a word,

Rise up and follow thee.


O Sabbath rest by Galilee!

O calm of hills above,

Where Jesus knelt to share with thee

The silence of eternity

Interpreted by love!


With that deep hush subduing all

Our words and works that drown

The tender whisper of thy call,

As noiseless let thy blessing fall

As fell thy manna down.


Drop thy still dews of quietness,

Till all our strivings cease;

Take from our souls the strain and stress,

And let our ordered lives confess

The beauty of thy peace.


Breathe through the heats of our desire

Thy coolness and thy balm;

Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;

Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,

O still, small voice of calm!

- John Greenleaf Whittier, 1872



Welcome of Visitors

2016/4-1 Welcome of Visitors

Meeting for Business opened at 12:20 pm with 23 persons present. Friends welcomed Chris Wickham, an attender of the Meeting, as a first time attender at meeting for business.


2016/4-2 Clerk’s Report

  • Friends express concerns about the inability of some to hear in Meeting for Business and Meeting for Worship.
  • Diane McDougall's dad is very ill and frail; she's helping with 24-hour care. The clerk asked everyone to hold him and her in the light.
  • Maurice Boyd needs a ride to Meeting; he lives in North Arlington. Friends who live nearby and who can provide Maurice a ride may contact the Personal Aid Committee.
  • BYM Spiritual Formation retreat is taking place on 13-15 May 2016; register on the BYM website.
  • Lydia Pecker got a job in Cincinnati; she and Carl Johnson will be moving there in August.
  • FMW joined with three other meetings to put an ad in the Blade, a local newspaper that focuses coverage on issues of interest to the LGBT community. This was done as part of the BYM Advancement and Outreach Committee. They also ask to hear from people who wish to participate in further local outreach.
  • Today Property Committee will be bringing forward a specific proposal about the alcohol policy. The suggested process is for this month and next month and beyond is to speak to the issue for about 20 minutes at each meeting for business and to have threshing sessions as well in the next two months.


Major Items

2016/4-3 Property Committee

Merry Pearlstein, co-clerk of Property committee, presented its two-year report. She especially acknowledged Ken Orvis as Property Manager and Debby Churchman as Office Administrator.  She further noted that due to internal struggles of the committee last year, this report, a copy of which is attached, covers two years rather than the usual annual report. She thinks the committee is working well now and is happy to include others in their discussions. She noted not only the many improvements of the buildings during that time but a ponderous list of things that need to be done without even considering the potential construction. She noted that the list does not include furnishings. The report does include both maintenance items which are paid for from the budget and capital items which would come from property reserves.


A Friend asked to be informed about plans for the children’s library. The committee is still in the discernment process, but is looking for permanent storage and a glass wall and door to make it once again a separate space.


The Clerk noted the amount of the work put into the report and how much it represents in work for the Meeting.


Friends ACCEPTED the report with gratitude.


2016/4-4 Alcohol Policy

Merry Pearlstein, presented a proposal, a copy of which is attached, from the Property Committee for permitting soft alcohol (i.e., beer and wine) to be served at the Meeting under limited and specified conditions. The committee has been discerning this matter for at least five years. One thought is that this enables the Meeting to reach out; it better reflects what we personally value and many of us drink; and there is a financial aspect.  The committee is arranging a meeting with event managers to talk about what would be possible in the market for our space and what additional staffing needs permitting alcohol to be served would require.


The Clerks asked for a focus on the questions we should consider that would help illuminate this decision. A Friend wanted to know, how much of this is about money and how much does it reflect that times have changed?  A Friend noted that this issue had been addressed some on the listserv, which was helpful. He asked—this is obviously an important issue before us -- but would Friends be liable to withdraw from the Meeting either way it is decided? A Friend said that if she had a memorial meeting here she would want it to have soft alcohol available to serve.


Another Friend noted that she used to drink now and then but doesn’t now because of medication. She is concerned that we will spend too much time determining the specified conditions.  The Clerk noted that the property committee has made some initial suggestions about those conditions but they may still take time to refine. Another Friend noted that the conditions listed seem to be drawn from comments in the listserv about other Meetings’ policies and what they have found useful. She also suggested there is no reason not to do something just because a driving force is money. In fact, she sees that as a good thing.


A Friend noted that on more than one occasion at meeting she thought it would be nice to have a glass of wine.  She remembers a particular wedding reception when it would have been welcome. She participated in a Tuesday night supper when it would have been nice.


A Friend noted that something resonated with him: very deep in his appreciation of the Quaker world is the sense that it is the world that is sacred and every time is sacred. The meeting house is not consecrated ground. This is a house which we have made comfortable and convenient for meeting for worship. If we held meeting for worship on the south lawn of the Capitol it would have the same resonance. Do we treat this place as an equal place to the other places we revere? Are we forgetting ourselves if we want to make the meeting house separate from our lives in the world?


A Friend noted that her mother was an anthropologist and member of the Episcopal Church. She felt that churches are a drug to some. We need to be sure that we are not part of a steeple house. If you need to drink you may want to be somewhere else than Quaker Meeting. A small change is interconnected with everything and can change the whole culture. If people need a place to drink they should go elsewhere.


A Friend asked about taking a stand. Alcoholism and alcohol cause enormous damage in the world. We need to think about that. He recalled another Friend saying that this is primarily a cultural issue. He wonders how much we want to reach out to others beyond our Anglo-Protestant group, since many others celebrate special occasions with drink.


Another Friend noted he had no moral object to the use of alcohol for most people, but as a therapist he knows that even small amount of alcohol loosens inhibitions. He has been at weddings which became violent. Alcohol is always at the root of domestic violence. Even though he occasionally drinks, he is not sure this is the right route.


A Friend noted that his history on the property committee gave him insight. He told about the discovery some time ago that we needed to find a way to cover the very expensive process of maintaining the old historic property. We now take in a great deal of money but it all goes to deferred maintenance. This is not about profit but we have a campus that is three times the size we can use. We have never explicitly decided to keep this campus. Four years ago we decided to focus on event management. That has increased and income with it. He recalled that a group wanted to have a memorial meeting but wanted to toast the deceased but because they could not serve alcohol they felt they could not hold the memorial services here. That felt bad to him. The Property committee has been in unity for several years on the need to open up this conversation, but money is even more of an issue now. He would prefer that we only allow alcohol only at non-Meeting events. Based on his knowledge, only the Savannah Meeting  serves beer at a meeting event.


A Friend is wrestling with the no-alcohol practice in that it does deter young adults who have been lied to about drugs and sex.  So, Gen-Xers and Millennials feel rubbed the wrong way. Are we living in integrity saying this is a holy place where we do not drink, and we do drink at home?


A Friend disagreed with the comment that the property committee had been in unity on the alcohol issue or they would have brought this proposal forward before now.


A Friend asked if this would help any young couple to make the decision to have their reception here and a simple one or feel pressure to have it elsewhere with a more expensive reception. The administrator and events coordinator answered, “Yes.”


A Friend feels that many deep questions have been raised. At her wedding she served ice tea and lemonade and then her father brought a case of champagne. She wonders what would have happened if they said no to the champagne. We are often afraid to talk about money and we shouldn’t be.  We need to talk about it. Every meeting where she had been in the same position every time they were able to do the renovation the meeting grew. She feels we should find every way we can to finance our vision. We need to address the concerns but we won’t be here if we don’t say that we need money.


The Meeting will consider this proposal over the course of several business meetings to allow sufficient opportunity for the Meeting to come to unity.


2016/4-5 Nominating Committee

Todd Harvey, clerk of Nominating Committee, brought forward the following resignations:


Byron Sandford, resignation from Finance & Stewardship

Francisco del Pozo, resignation from Property


Friends ACCEPTED the resignations

Byron Sandford, member, nomination to Membership (until Dec. 2018)


Friends APPROVED the nomination.


2061/4-6   Membership Committee

Janet Dinsmore, clerk of Membership committee, brought forward the transfer for membership of Ellis (Ollie) Jones to State College Friends Meeting where he has been attending for some time.


Friends APPROVED the transfer.


2016/4-7   Healing and Reconciliation annual report

Ken Orvis, co-clerk of the Healing and Reconciliation Committee, presented its annual report, a copy of which is attached. He noted in particular that Healing and Reconciliation Committee is charged with attending to the social fabric of the Meeting the way that Ministry and Worship Committee is charged with attending to the spiritual fabric of the Meeting. For many years H&R has been focused on particular situations and particular individuals. This last year, the committee was challenged with a different kind and scope of issue in the meeting that took time to be shared and for the committee to understand and to accept its import and see the way forward. It was centered on behavior that was predatory in nature and had resulted in driving some people in our community away. The committee realized it needed to understand how that situation could arise and how to move forward so that our community is not susceptible to that kind of hurt. So the committee is thinking about the committee and the meeting and about how we govern ourselves when we are a relatively large and complex community. As Friends, we have stepped away from the model of Eldering. We are leery of setting any kind of limit. But we still find ourselves in situations where boundaries are crossed.


He asked that we hold the Committee and the Meeting in the Light to help discern not only the role of the committee but the role we, as a community, wish to have in nurturing ourselves.


Friends ACCEPTED the report.


The alternate clerk presented the Sue Stimus Ellis memorial minute, a copy of which is attached.


Friends APPROVED the minute as improved.

Other business

2016/4-9 Ministry and Worship

Gene Throwe, clerk of Ministry and Worship Committee brought information of the ongoing process of the Meeting’s annual Spiritual State of the Meeting Report. The survey is closed and there was a focus group with young Friends at First Day School and there will be other focus groups in the next week and online for those who cannot make them.

Gene Throwe also brought forward a proposed change to Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Mission Statement, proposed by the Baltimore Yearly Meeting Working Group on Racism, a copy of which is attached. The committee added gender expression and immigrant status and political affiliation.


A Friend noted this is a laundry list and other things could be added. He felt that saying “Friends is” and then giving a list is awkward. He is also concerned that saying “we want to discern how to create” seems odd for a visions statement. He feels it should be a vision rather than a “how-to.”


David Etheridge, FMW member, is a member of the BYM committee and he noted that he wanted to hear all comments and they would take them into consideration.


A Friend suggested ‘citizenship status’ rather than ‘immigrant status.’ A Friend suggested saying only, “we support a greater diversity of Friends.” A Friend suggested that we say, “These are Friends.” A Friend noticed that without the boldface the text is already quite inclusive and it states that we aspire to inclusiveness and he wonders if adding all the types of identity help. Is this a poke at Friends United Meeting?


A Friend suggested that people who have historically been excluded may feel they are not included unless it is specific. A Friend noted that this is an important time to bring emphasis to race issues. Her concern is that the list is random in that it doesn’t include all forms of identity but she is torn because we need to call out institutional racism. A Friend likes the list for the same reason we say, “Black lives matter” rather than “all lives matter.” We have made them less than; we should make them more than.

A Friend noted the oppression of the citizens of the District of Columbia.  A Friend suggested adding the word ‘disenfranchised.’


Friends APPROVED sending our comments to Ministry and Worship which will incorporate them and send on to the Working Group.


Friends APPROVED the minutes as improved.


The Meeting closed with a period of silence at 2:20 p.m. with 25 persons in attendance, to reconvene as Way opens on May 8, 2016.





FMW Property Committee Annual Report
April, 2016


Friends Meeting of Washington owns three historic buildings with beautiful gardens in the heart of Washington, DC. Properly managed, the campus can both reflect Quaker values and enhance the Meeting’s collective spiritual life. The Property Committee plans for and maintains the safety, security, comfort and attractiveness of the Meeting’s buildings and grounds. It is responsible for the condition, repair and maintenance of building structures, systems, furnishings, equipment and major appliances. We also work closely with Meeting staff and coordinate with the Capital Improvement Task Force (with whom we have two members in common) in planning for the proposed renovation.

This report covers a two year span. Friends may recall that the Property Committee did not meet for several months in 2015 as it underwent a clearness committee process to assess its composition and improve its operations.


Committee members include Ken Orvis, Jay Harris, Justin Kwong, Brian Lutenegger and Merry Pearlstein. Administrative Secretary Debby Churchman is an ex-officio member. We could not function without excellent staff in the form of property manager, Ken Orvis, and events manager, Debby Churchman. We acknowledge our debt to our recent predecessors Francisco del Pozo, Jean Harman, Janet Dinsmore, Steve Coleman, Steve Brooks, Basil Kiwan, Martha Solt and Neil Froemming, as well as Mary Campbell, who served on the ad hoc committee acting in lieu of the committee last year. We work to honor these Friends by building responsibly on the excellent foundations they and their predecessors put in place.

The committee held four work days in 2014 and 2015, and others are being planned. We are grateful for the enthusiasm and generous participation of the community in keeping the campus in good repair.


As part of routine maintenance and to satisfy our insurers, the property manager conducts a monthly inspection of the campus to determine that safety systems are in good working order. Mechanical systems are also checked periodically.


The committee continues to explore opportunities for “greening” our campus such as the purchase of solar panels and/or “green” electricity.

In the past two years, the committee spent approximately $235,000 on the following projects:

  • Completed HVAC conversion in Quaker House (QH) and Carriage House (CH), resulting in elimination of the old boilers and radiators, increased efficiency in energy costs, and better control of heating and cooling by individual space users.
  • Upgraded electrical capacity (“heavy up”) for entire campus to three-phase, 400 amp service, both for current needs and in anticipation of renovation.
  • Completed structural repairs to QH
  • Installed accessible first floor restroom in QH.
  • Created a new kitchenette in CH
  • Converted small office on second floor, north wing of QH to a “pass through” room to eliminate the need for traffic through QH Living Room (QHLR) and provide breakout space for QHLR events; furnished same.
  • Repaired the east terrace railings and stonework.
  • Refurbished the Terrace Room (TR): paint, window shades, ceiling fan/light
  • Refinished Meeting House (MH) stairs
  • Addressed water infiltration into Decatur Place Room (DPR)
  • Installed glass in DPR and TR doors to enhance child safety
  • Installed fixed stepladder in North Room (NR) window well for emergency egress
  • Addressed asbestos abatement in QH/CH
  • Replaced water heater in QH
  • Installed dusk-to-down, motion-sensing historic LED fixtures for MH east porticos.
  • Refinished 1st floor in MH
  • Repaired hinges on MH east doors
  • Completed numerous other “invisible” improvements.

We negotiated and the Meeting entered into a contract with MacDonald’s Cleaning Service for cleaning our entire campus. The new contract has not only resulted in much improved service for ourselves and our space use partners, but it also exemplifies Quaker values; our annual outlay of about $39,000 provides a living wage to our excellent custodian, Maria Torres.


Work currently underway or committed (at an approximate cost of $43,500, which we have available) includes:

  • Restoration and refinishing of Meeting Room cork floor (to be completed by the end of April)
  • Repair/repainting of the wrought iron east garden perimeter fence
  • Repair and reupholster of the sofas in the Parlor
  • Replacement of Meeting Room HVAC (to be done the earlier of failure or start of renovation)


Future needs

The property manager has identified and categorized additional work that should be addressed in the future.

The attached Exhibit 1 lists “Property Work Planned, Authorized or In Progress as of early 2016.”  The estimated cost of these items (between $20,000 and $35,000) can be paid from funds remaining in the Property Reserve, which will then be nearly depleted.

Exhibit 2, “Property Work Contemplated or in Discernment,” lists necessary or highly desirable projects which may cost from $78,000 to $240,000, for which the Meeting has no funds set aside.

Exhibit 3, “Unscheduled Property Work Most Apt to Threaten as of early 2016,” itemizes major systems such as the Meeting House roof and plumbing throughout the property which could fail at any time and require substantial investment. The estimated cost of these items is between $25,000 and $100,000. Funds have not been set aside for these purposes, and the work is not scheduled to be addressed by the proposed renovation.

Exhibit 4, “Property Work Mandated (but not paid for) by Proposed Renovation” lists additional items that will be necessitated by but are outside the scope of the renovation. Again, no funds are currently available for these projects.



The Property Committee does its best to anticipate needs, budget and apply its resources wisely. As is evident from the above discussion, the needs are substantial and the funds are limited, particularly while the Meeting discerns its ability to fund a major campus renovation. Funding for maintenance and improvements comes from our long-term space use partners, event rentals and any excess of annual income over expenses set aside for that purpose by the Meeting.


The committee believes that income from space use partners is currently near the maximum the market will bear given the existing condition of our buildings and uncertainty surrounding possible future renovations. We will revisit that issue once the renovations have been completed -- or if the Meeting decides not to proceed.


Thanks to the excellent work of our events manager, Debby Churchman, we continue to be delighted with event rental activity, despite seasonal fluctuations. Recognizing the limitations that our current alcohol-free policy imposes on event rental income, the committee has recommended that the Meeting approve a one year trial period in which to permit the serving of champagne, wine and beer at weddings and memorial services or as part of fund raisers by non-profit organizations under controlled conditions as one means of enhancing event rentals throughout the year.


Respectfully submitted,


The Property Committee

Brian Lutenegger and Merry Pearlstein, co-clerks


Exhibit 1: Property Work Planned, Authorized or In Progress as of early 2016


Exterior Walls, Trim, Windows and Doors:

  • Proceed with waterproofing the parapet and adjoining wall areas above the north side of the Decatur Place Room.  We have purchased an appropriate sprayer but we need to wait for warm/dry weather—can’t be done when temperatures are near or below freezing, and ineffective if walls contain dampness that has not evaporated.
    Cost on the order of $400–800.
  • The Meeting House (especially) outdoor wooden trim needs a modest amount of re-painting in certain places.  We did a big job in 2012 so this is relatively minor.
    Cost on the order of $1–2K unless we need serious ladder work.
  • The Meeting House basement windows on the east side (those in the window wells) were never painted last time, and need work.  They are also all termite-damaged so we should consider more extensive work, even replacement.
    Cost on the order of $500-$1500; termite work more like $10K.
  • We need to re-inspect outside windows, especially basement ones, to be certain the caulking is in the correct place (caulk below steel lintel, none above) and adjust as necessary (work day activity?).
    Cost on the order of $100 if volunteer.
  • Install custom acrylic or similar-material window well covers for all east-side window wells, to let in more light, save heat in winter, keep the wells cleaner, and shed a lot of the water that falls.
    Cost:  $1K–2K


  • The flues that we are not using should be better blocked for energy-conservation reasons.  This can be the inflatable pillow approach, or other plans (work day activity?).
    Cost on the order of $200 if volunteer.

Exterior Patios and Steps:

  • Unless we start on the Renovation before this summer we need to pressure-wash the existing stoop and steps outside Quaker House Living Room as they have become slippery with algae.
    Cost on the order of $200 if we do it in-house.
  • The east patio needs re-pointing and some repair work including re-leveling the half-moon shaped section above the roses that was added in the 1990s but has since settled and slipped.
    Cost on the order of $4K–5K.

Outdoor Lighting

  • Need to install timer for MH2 Meeting Room north portico light.
    Cost:  nil.
  • Need to install timer for light at steps outside MH2 Stairwell Hall.
    Cost:  nil.


Room-by-Room—Meeting House

  • MH1 Kitchen:  The triple outlets at the NE corner really need to be changed so there are three circuits, and they could also be mounted as wire-mold style multiple outlets.  This was also on the insurance inspection punch list.
    Cost $50 (just rewire) to $200 (wire mold).
  • MH1 Kitchen / Assembly Room:  We have promised to rewire the double outlet at the Assembly Room pass-throughs as a wall outlet in the Assembly Room wall; the present setup is not optimal.
    Cost on the order of $40
  • MH1 Children’s Library:  Re-build the separation wall as storage below and a glass wall and glass door in the upper section.
    Cost on the order of $6K–9K if bundled with DPR mold abatement; more if a more complete job (new floor to replace asbestos; insulate ceiling; dropped ceiling and new lighting; improve electric more than just the new wall; finish and furnish to create “Learning Center” as envisioned by some Friends).
  • MH1 North Room:  We need to finish designing and installing emergency-egress capabilities at the window well, at this point mainly steps by Jon deWitt leading up to the window sill.  This plan should be compatible with new, acrylic window well covers.
    Cost on the order of $400–800.
  • MH1 Vault:  Install new flooring over worn-out asbestos tile.
    Cost on the order of $150–300.
  • MH1 Janitor Closet:  Finish rough repair of walls, paint interior (the door is frequently left open during events, and viewing the present condition of this room detracts from the overall impression of the building).
    Cost on the order of $200–400.
  • MH1 Janitor Closet:  Level/stabilize deteriorating asbestos flooring, install new flooring over top.
    Cost on the order of $200–400.
  • MH1 Main Office:  Rewire the surface-mounted “computer” circuit on south wall to provide a second outlet at the right angle (and also branch the unused wire there into a dedicated 20-amp circuit through the wall in the Restroom Alcove).
    Cost on the order of $10–30.
  • MH1 Restroom Alcove:  Add dedicated 20-amp outlet for Hall, through wall from Main Office per scheme above.
    Cost included.
  • MH2 Stairway Hall:  Need to replace the panic bar and lock.
    Cost on the order of $200–400.
  • MH2 Stairway Hall:  Still need to install the new ceiling light and add the new occupancy sensor for it.
    Cost nil.
  • MH2 Stairwell Hall:  Install timer for outdoor light over entrance.
    Cost nil.
  • MH2 Restroom Hall:  Still need to install the new ceiling light and add the new occupancy sensor for it.
    Cost nil.
  • MH2 Meeting Room:  Improve the lighting (replace old 500W halogen floods).
    Cost on the order of $200–600.
  • MH2 Meeting Room:  Install timer for north portico light.
    Cost nil.
  • MH2 Both Restrooms:  Replace ceiling light fixtures with LED downlights; replace switch with sensor light-fan controls.
    Cost on the order of $200
  • MH2 Terrace Room:  Install fan/light fixtures, add required wiring.
    Cost nil.
  • MH4 Meeting Room Attic (The Ballroom):  Upgrade wiring to allow use of existing or install new lighting fixtures and allow installation of active, energy-efficient ventilation controls.
    Cost on the order of $500–1500.


Room-by-Room—Carriage House

  • CH1 Conference Room, Front Office, Rear Office:  Repair floors along western north wall after removal of radiator pipes, perform other remaining radiator-removal repair in walls and ceilings.
    Cost on the order of $400–800.
  • CH1 Front Office:  Repair water damage in ceiling from leaking toilet flange upstairs.
    Cost $50–100.
  • CH1 Future ADA Restroom:  Complete low-cost conversion to temporary restroom (Renovation appears to be happening no sooner, and we need this as an emergency restroom).
    Cost on the order of $150–300.
  • CH1 Entrance Hall:  Repair leaking vent that’s allowing water damage.
    Cost on the order of $30–60.
  • CH2 Corridor and 1st–3rd Offices:  Repair floors after radiator removal.
    Cost on the order of $200–400.


Room-by-Room—Quaker House

  • QH1 Foyer:  Terrazzo floor needs sanding and sealing.
    Cost nil to $200.
  • QH1 Foyer Closet:  Post-radiator repairs and conversion to coat closet need to be completed.
    Cost on the order of $200–400.
  • QH1 Center Office Closet:  The northern (Boiler Room) portion of the closet needs to be partially demolished and rebuilt, with the former radiator section turned into shelving and the back fully walled across for sound privacy.
    Cost on the order of $600–1400.
  • QH1 Boiler Room:  Continue to replace the failed electric circuits and remodel the room to be rentable storage space or for similar use.
    Cost on the order of $1500–3000.
  • QH1 Janitor Closet:  Finish the ceiling once the Boiler Room electric repairs are complete.
    Cost on the order of $200–400.
  • QH1 Stairs Closet:  This space provides access to the former Asbestos Pit in which we need to clean out the remaining debris (very carefully, I would judge, despite the assurances of the asbestos remediation folks).
    Cost nil.
  • QH1 Dumbwaiter Closet:  In the near term the plan is to remove tools from this room to the Property Manager office, and to refurbish it—still as a closet, probably with shelves—so it can be rented as storage for tenants.
    Cost $200–800 depending on how nice we make it.
  • QH1 West Office:  An old exposed hydronic line still needs to be removed from near the ceiling.
    Cost on the order of $200–400.
  • QH1–2 West Stairs:  Add fourth mounting point for east handrail; repaint; address lighting issues.
    Cost on the order of $400–600.
  • QH2 Restroom:  Install vent fan we already purchased.
    Cost on the order of $50–150.
  • QH2–QH3 Offices and North Hall:  Repair holes in floors where radiator pipes used to penetrate.
    Cost on the order of $800–1200.


Exhibit 2: Property Work Contemplated or in Discernment as of early 2016



  • The one flue we do use is the Assembly Room fireplace, which is out of service due to eroding mortar in the liner joints.  We should plan to repair it at some point as having a fire is a traditional part of Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.
    Cost on the order of $2K.



  • Since at least 2011, Property Committee has been discussing options for improving our security systems (now a combination of dozens of different locks, most of them residential-grade).  The thought has been to wait until we decide what to do in combination with the Renovation.
    Cost for switching to a professional-grade master/sub-master lock system would be  on the order of $400/lockset.
    Cost for full-on electronic security would be on the order of $10–15K plus ongoing cost of monitoring.


Exterior Patios and Steps:

  • Need to install code-required handrail at steps from QH1 North Office exit-door areaway up to QH West Alley (NOT AFFECTED by planned Renovation work).
    Cost on the order of $500–$1000
  • The east Terrace pavers need to be re-set, i.e. removed and replaced in firm, level condition with new leveling supports.  This is just a few hours’ work along with the purchase of new supports, but requires appropriate experience / skills.
    Cost on the order of $1K–3K.


Meeting Room Sound Issues

A longstanding concern of the Property Committee (and many members) has been the acoustic challenges of the Meeting Room.  The central problem is the Quaker Acoustical Quandary—we want to be able to hear anyone, speaking from anywhere in a room, from anywhere else in the room.  This is perhaps the ultimate of all acoustical engineering challenges.  But we have identified things we can do that can help.

  • Install sound-absorbing materials to lower the room’s liveliness:  Mainly this means installing carpet atop the sounding form and vestibules, which will only help a little but is easy and cheap.  Wall hangings, free hangings, other sound boards, acoustic tile and carpet would all help but Friends are not easy with such visible alterations to Meeting Room.  There has also been a suggestion to install carpet or felt or similar on the bottoms of the bench seats—not certain of the efficacy of that plan, but it wouldn’t cost much.
    Cost on the order of $150 to sky’s-the-limit depending on choices.
  • Isolate Meeting Room from Florida Avenue:  Because Friends like to open the big outside doors during worship—as a signal of welcome—options are limited to installing glass or Plexiglas/acrylic as a second, sound-incompatible layer over street-facing windows and vestibule doors/windows (the key to sound-deadening windows is two different layers of glass or etc.).  This could be extremely effective at modest cost, or a more aesthetic but expensive route would be to order commercial sound-proofing windows and inner doors.  Modifying the insides of the vestibules with sound-absorbing materials (ceilings, walls) would also help.
    Cost on the order of $3K to perhaps $25K for fully custom acoustic windows to match existing.
  • Isolate the Meeting Room from fan noises associated with the HVAC, or else purchase an especially quiet blower, or else install computerized active sound-isolation in the ducting system.
    Cost on the order of $1K (extra for special blower) to $8K or more for active.
  • Upgrade the hearing-assist system, which is at present nearly useless.  This is a big topic, but some very good technology is now available.
    Cost of this can vary over a wide range, with improvement related to price, from several hundred to several thousand dollars.


Water Infiltration Issues (ones not addressed by Renovation plans)

  • Water infiltration along base of north basement wall (i.e. back sides of North Room and Furnace Room) and possibly also along NE side of North Room.  This is rare but does happen and will not be addressed by the Renovation except by installing a stormwater stub under the Furnace Room that we can connect to.  The permanent cure is to trench inside the wall and install a perforated drain line and weep mask up the wall behind the baseboard, and then connect the line(s) either to the sump or the proposed stub.
    Cost on the order of $6K–18K.
    A temporary cure would be to glue infiltration capture channel to the floor along the affected walls, designed to drain into the sump.
    Cost on the order of $300–600.
  • Until drain is installed and connected to stub, add backup pump, backup power, and/or failure monitoring for the Meeting House sump pump.
    Cost on the order of $1K–2K.


Plumbing:  Sanitary Drains

  • The thinking on the Terrace Room has been that perhaps we would like to put in a counter and sink along the west wall, which can happen IF it is possible to attach to the adjacent restroom sink drain line.  The question is the height (considering the need for the new sink drain to be well above the wye where they join so that restroom sink water doesn’t easily back up into the new Terrace Room sink).
    Cost on the order of $2K–$6K if the height works.
  • Failing toilet connection in CH2 Restroom:  The toilet-to-plumbing connection here is damaged and fragile, and requires repeated maintenance.  At some point soon we will have to go farther into the floor to replace the connection.  That will trigger installing a new floor (which is needed anyway).
    Cost on the order of $1500–3000 if we don’t remodel otherwise.
  • Remaining sewer gas leak near QH1 Janitor’s Closet:  This has been an elusive issue, and unfortunately we thought we had solved it before recently repairing the walls.  We should probably just cut and cap the lines from this former bathroom right above the slab.
    Cost on the order of $600–800.


Plumbing:  Hot and Cold Water Supply Lines

  • To meet code we should install anti-siphoning devices especially in the mop sink in the MH1 Furnace Room, but also on all campus hose bibs.
    Cost on the order of $800.



  • The Renovation presents an opportunity to redesign exterior lighting, especially the four powerful mercury lamps along the western eaves of Meeting House.  (The Renovation should blow away and replace the ineffective lighting on the north side of Quaker House and Carriage House.)
    Cost:  on the order of $1–2K.
  • One tangential piece involves the wooden support structure to which the Meeting House panels are attached.  The whole structure has come loose from the wall and is presently supported in large part by the electric connections themselves.  It would be a very good idea to address this before Renovation work (and electric inspectors).  There is also a minor asbestos problem behind the support.
    Cost:  on the order of $500–1500.


Room-by-Room—Meeting House

  • MH1 Kitchen:  Some Friends would like a disposal.  There may be electric service for that; it’s not clear (there’s a box with wires, but they are not live).
    Cost on the order of $250–800 depending on electric supply situation.
  • MH1 Assembly Room:  Long term, depending also on the different full-floor reconfiguration options discussed above, it would be very worthwhile to open up the false ceilings and change the geometry to something more open with a better aesthetic.  This could include a vaulted design—symmetrical taller areas with lower shelves left around for routing utilities and the like.  Lighting would also be a factor.
    Cost on the order of $15K–75K
  • MH1 Rear Hall:  While rebuilding Children’s Library wall and doing related work, replace old stationery cupboard and kluged storage shelf above pass-through:  rebuild custom storage along this wall and above; also beneath pass-through.  Insulate ceiling; install dropped ceiling; replace asbestos floor; clean up baseboards and electric.
    Cost on the order of $3K–9K.
  • MH1 North Room:  The plan has been to build temporary storage for the stored tables and chairs in this room, out of more or less freestanding 2x4s with attractive fabric stapled over, and kind a barn door setup.
    Cost on the order of $500–1000.
  • MH1 North Room:  Long-term, we need to finish the job of renovating this room from storage into usable multipurpose space (First-day school, adult classroom, conference room, small-event space), started in 2010, and furnishing it appropriately.  This includes insulating the ceiling; installing a dropped ceiling and lighting; furring the north wall to pre-empt any moisture seepage issues that occur over time; adding electrical outlets on the west wall; etc.
    Cost nil to perhaps $5K depending on options.
  • MH1 Restroom Alcove:  This area was built much later than the rest of the first floor and doesn’t match it at all.  It would be useful to plaster the cinderblock wall, and add wainscot and baseboard (and perhaps install a new ceiling / lighting as well).
    Cost on the order of $1000–2500 (or to $4500 with ceiling etc.).
  • MH1 Restroom Alcove:  This would be one possible place to install a drinking fountain.
    Cost on the order of $3K–6K.
  • MH1 Men’s Restroom:  Needs a new vanity or other sink setup, and probably a new faucet.
    Cost on the order of $500–800.
  • MH1 Decatur Place Room:  Property Committee has approved in principle a plan to renovate this room minimally providing (1) mold abatement, (2) effective insulation below Terrace; (3) replacement of ceiling / ducts / lighting as necessary; (4) repair of water-damaged portions of walls; (5) access to Crypt.
    Cost on the order of $10K–20K.
  • MH2 Restrooms:  Re-grout the ceramic tile floors.
    Cost on the order of $300–600.
  • MH2 Terrace Room:  Turn two window radiator cavities into window seats.
    Cost on the order of $800–1200.
  • MH2 Terrace Room:  Replace solid door with glass-panel door to invite integration with east garden.
    Cost on the order of $600–1000.
  • MH2 Terrace Room:  Replace bookshelves with buffet counter including better electric outlets and small sink, to allow use of this room for social events that involve food (especially when Assembly Room is unusable during Renovation).
    Cost on the order of $2K–5K.


Room-by-Room—Quaker House

  • QH2 Quaker House Living Room:  This room has been ignored and needs comprehensive, thoughtful refurbishing to keep it from deteriorating.  Flooring is literally irreplaceable American Chestnut random-width boards.
    Cost on the order of $2K–8K; more if we use a professional floor outfit.
  • QH3 North and South Offices:  Western casement windows are in poor repair and should be replaced by modern, energy-efficient casement windows.
    Cost on the order of $2K–4K.
  • QH3 North and South Offices and Hallway:  These floors were never refinished and will need to be at some point.
    Cost on the order of $1K–2K.


Exhibit 3: Unscheduled Property Work Most Apt to Threaten as of early 2016



  • Meeting Room roof will need replacing in the next eight or so years.  Inspected last year and passed, but need to keep inspecting regularly.
    Cost on the order of $10–20K.


Plumbing:  Drain Lines

  • Many Meeting House drains are antique and fragile, and there are quite a few abandoned leads, but as of this moment they work fine.  However, given their age and other issues, the situation can change at any time.  In the worst case we would have to trench five feet below the Foyer and Assembly Room.  (Avoiding that scenario is why we requested a sanitary stub as part of the Renovation.)
    Unanticipated cost without Renovation stub: $20K–60K.
    Unanticipated cost with Renovation stub:  $5K–15K.
  • NB:  Quaker House / Carriage House drains are almost a complete mystery and remain exactly as they were when we purchased the property, except for some upgraded attachment points/sections.  Failure potential is unknown.
    Unanticipated costs most probably in the $500–5000 range.
  • Other than the MH east-side window-well drains, which should be protected from flooding if we install appropriate window-well covers, four outdoor areaway drains can cause serious flooding problems if they clog.  These are:
    • The drain outside the QH1 North Office entrance to the QH west alley, which has in the past flooded the adjacent rooms when clogged by leaves (it also clogs with sand/tree roots over time).
    • The drain at the east end of the north-CH areaway, which has in the past flooded the office/conference room portion of CH1 when clogged.
    • The drain outside the MH1 Kitchen, which may have clogged and flooded the Kitchen in the past according to FMW lore.
    • The drain in the areaway outside the MH1 Decatur Place Room (between the two HVAC compressors) which tends to clog and which floods the Decatur Place Room floor through the wall when water rises too high in the walled-in areaway.


Plumbing:  Water Supply System

  • A portion of the Meeting House plumbing has been upgraded to copper from galvanized steel, but remaining galvanized portions are prone to clogs that can happen suddenly without warning.  Some scenarios and repair options would require opening up walls, ceilings, or soffits.
    Unanticipated cost: nil to perhaps $15K.
  • The hot water lines to the MH2 Restrooms appear to extend from the old line to the pre-1951 former restroom above the stairs, which is all but clogged with scale and rust.  Practically any work on the restroom faucets etc. risks losing pressure or losing flow altogether; I have had to back-flush the line repeatedly but one of these days the line may fail completely.
    Unanticipated cost would depend on how we address the problem, from sand-blasting and epoxy-lining the line in-place (perhaps $4k–8K), to replacing the line (wall/ceiling/floor repairs required; perhaps $10K), to using only the cold line and installing on-demand water heaters under the sinks (on the order of $5K–8K each I would imagine).
  • Unlike Quaker House, almost none of the Carriage House lines have been upgraded from the original galvanized steel, now very old and subject to failure without warning.  Hot water pressure in particular is an issue.  There are also some strange routing and valving issues.  Copper lines do serve the Kitchenette and future ADA restroom between the buildings (and supply-line plumbing in that area will be replaced if we carry through with that part of the Renovation).
    Unanticipated cost to make emergency repairs is apt to be in the $1000 range or less since many lines are exposed, but a more comprehensive solution would cost more (and be extremely difficult if not in the context of a complete renovation).


Exhibit 4: Property Work Mandated (but not paid for) by Renovation as of early 2016

This document highlights work that is necessitated by the Renovation but is not part of the scope of the Renovation.



  • The Meeting House rear flue may need to be remodeled into a multiple-self-venting manifold system for optimal esthetics and efficiency of our two gas furnaces in the Furnace Room.
    Cost uncertain—perhaps $4K or so?


Plumbing:  Hot and Cold Water Supply Lines

  • The Meeting House hot water heater is of unknown age and not tremendously efficient for several reasons.  If we proceed with a more efficient Meeting Room furnace and other Renovation-related changes, then we will need to replace the water heater to keep systems compatible.  Our options will be electric (possibly distributed on-demand setups) or self-venting using the chimney with heating-system venting, or perhaps something even greener like solar-assist or heat-pump-related.  In this we should better address the needs of the dishwasher which really should be receiving 140-degree water.
    Cost potentially from several hundred for a cheap electric, to a couple of thousand for a heat-pump style unit, or perhaps more for distributed on-demand electric units (some restrooms are a very long way from the water heater) which require appropriate electricity to be installed.
  • We had to take out the former QH-CH gas hot water heater, and we replaced it with a very small (30 gallon) electric heater that runs on 120V.  With or after the Renovation we will at some point need to revisit the issue of the QH-CH hot water supply.
    Cost will depend on the choice of path.



  • Construction for the Renovation will almost immediately require moving our Verizon POTS (“plain old telephone service”) service panel and all associated entrance cabling into Meeting House, along with some Meeting House Ethernet cables.  This will be a stupid expense because we want to switch to something else at the first possible moment.
    Cost:  Depends on Verizon or other plan.
  • Construction for the Renovation will at some point also require careful treatment of (at least) or moving (probably) our Ethernet connection between Meeting House and our service entrance in the north wing of Quaker House.
    Cost:  nil if successful.



  • Note that the Renovation will almost certainly involve replacing our 1940s-era (?) fire alarm systems with a single, modern, campus-wide system, and may require altering the emergency-lighting circuits and other safety features along with that.
    Cost: depends entirely on what the Fire Marshall and others mandate.


FMW Property Committee Request to Meeting for Worship with Concern for Business for Trial Relaxation of the Alcohol Policy for Celebratory Events

Friends Meeting of Washington’s website notes that ours is an alcohol-free environment, although it is unclear whether MfB ever formally considered or acted upon the question of whether to allow alcohol on our campus.  Our community has changed since this policy was established. Many Friends in our congregation enjoy alcohol in moderation, and the Meeting occasionally misses opportunities to host memorial meetings, wedding receptions and other celebrations because of our stance on alcohol.

The Property Committee has considered the issue over the past several years and is in unity in this request that the Meeting consider a one-year trial period in which beer, wine and champagne may be served in discrete locations to discrete groups under controlled conditions (see draftlist below). We would expect hosts to be sensitive to their guests’ needs, recognizing that alcohol is not appropriate for all.

Property’s motivations in bringing this request include our desires to:

  • Properly reflect who we are, and support members, attenders and others, in celebrating important life events.
  • Better support like-minded non-profit groups and causes who share and promote our values.
  • Improve stewardship of our property; we own three aging, historic buildings, which require extraordinary maintenance to keep them functional and attractive.

In weighing this request, it is our hope that Friends will prayerfully consider the following:

  • Does FMW’s current alcohol policy reflect my values?
  • Are my feelings about our meetinghouse reflective of George Fox’s warning against the creation and veneration of steeple houses and his position on the use of alcohol?
  • Do I trust our committee structure and meeting staff to safeguard my values?
  • Do I do my share to support the meeting financially?


Suggested general conditions/requirements, which have been reviewed and approved by our Event Manager/Administrative Secretary, include:

  • Serving of wine, champagne and beer only
  • Limit events to wedding receptions, memorial meetings and fund-raisers where partying and alcohol are not the main point.
  • Either a portable caterer’s license or a one-day liquor license, as required by law, with exact times and locations of alcohol service.
  • A liability license listing FMW as an insured party.
  • A damage deposit of at least $1,000, in advance.
  •  No serving of alcohol to anyone already inebriated or under age 21.
  • A signed contract to follow ABC laws, noise ordinance, etc.
  • A signed, post-event checklist with clear clean-up requirements to retrieve deposit
  • A signed advance schedule of all deliveries and event times.
  • Delivery and pick-up of liquor on the day of the event (no overnight storage).
  • FMW representatives empowered to evict anyone or terminate events in case of violations.

Healing and Reconciliation Committee
2016 Annual Report

In complement to the Ministry and Worship Committee’s task of caring for the spiritual health of the Meeting as a whole, the Healing and Reconciliation Committee is asked to nurture the health of the Meeting’s interpersonal and social life.  This task includes working with individual Members and Attenders who find themselves in conflict with one another, as well as addressing interactions that negatively affect multiple individuals as a result of individual actions.  This mandate is reflected in the FMW Handbook, which says the committee is to undertake “activities such as the interruption of hurtful exchanges, active listening to help find ways toward spirit-led harmony in situations of conflict, and taking actions to foster healing and reconciliation.”
The Handbook also states that “the Committee may work more generally to nurture the spiritual state of the Meeting…and to help make our peace testimony a reality in the life of the Meeting community….through action…directed toward healing and reconciliation.”  The Committee has interpreted this and related discussions among Friends as a call to identify and interrupt troubling interactions and to foster healing and reconciliation among individuals within our Spiritual Community.

Over the last year, the Committee has been asked to address several situations where members of our Community experienced a strong sense of threat or felt deeply wounded by aggressive or threatening interactions with a few members of our community.  The Committee undertook a series of actions designed to encourage dialogue and understanding, and to curtail the threatening behaviors. Ultimately, however, when these actions failed to end the interactions that caused discomfort, the Committee, perhaps somewhat belatedly, worked with other FMW Committees, Clerks, and organizations to publicly acknowledge the troubling behaviors and to request directly that they cease.  This led to important conversations throughout our Meeting about how we can work together to assure FMW is a place of nurturing harmony, non-violence, and safe community.  These discussions and related actions we are taking together continue.

As we enter this next year, the Committee asks FMW to hold it in the Light and to help it do a better job of identifying situations that need its attention and addressing them with compassion and the urgency which they warrant.  The Committee is inspired and challenged by our Meeting’s general reluctance to confront difficult behaviors and by some in our community’s concern about what they consider inappropriate eldering.  That said, we also understand that our Society is often a haven for individuals who find it difficult to settle into a spiritual home within
other religious faiths, where “different thinking” individuals may feel unwelcomed. The Committee has an abiding worry that without attention to individual behaviors that cause some to feel wounded our Meeting may suffer damage to its spiritual wellbeing, lose members of our community, or give a wrong impression to newcomers about our commitment to the peace testimony.

Going forward, the Committee will welcome being informed about situations where healing may be needed; and, with the help of our whole community, we will continue to acknowledge the Light within every individual as we pursue Spirit-guided reconciliation that enhances harmony and trust within our FMW Community.

Susan Stimus Ellis Memorial Minute
2 December 1931-21 October 2014

Susan Stimus Ellis joined our meeting in January 1971.  During her earlier residence in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she had attended worship at the Girard Street Meeting but had not formally joined there.  Living in Alexandria, Virginia, at the time of her application she requested dual FMW-Alexandria Monthly Meeting membership, something this meeting does not offer; she remained a full member of FMW for the rest of her life.

She was born in Camden, New Jersey and married Norman Leith Ellis in 1951 in Reno, Nevada.  She had two daughters, Susan and Danielle, in 1957 and 1964 respectively.  Both girls became members with their mother.  Soon after joining this meeting Friend Susan moved back to Albuquerque to teach at the University of New Mexico; soon after she and her husband divorced.  There she again attended the Girard Street Meeting.  She returned to Friends Meeting of Washington in 1974 and served as a Board member at the William Penn House in 1977.

Susan worked as a writer and during her professional career, from the 1960s to 2002, she held positions with the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, KABC-TV in Hollywood, California, the AFL-CIO, Peace Corps, American Federation of Government Employees, and USIA (working on the African newsletter).  She held long and enthusiastic concerns for animal welfare (her own pet cats and strays) and current affairs.  Her other interests included cooking, gardening and reading.

Although we seldom saw Susan in the last many years her messages to our meeting, kept in her Personal File, always expressed a sincere affection for the Friends Meeting of Washington.

She died of a brain tumor in the home of her daughter Susan in Allentown, Pennsylvania, leaving a large and loving family.

Proposed Additions to BYM Vision Statement


The Ministry and Worship Committee of Friends Meeting of Washington (FMW) received the proposed additions to the Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM) Vision Statement as proposed by the Working Group on Racism. Only the bolded sentences are the proposed changes. The Ministry and Worship Committee reviewed the statement and have added our additions. We ask Friends at FMW to also comment and propose any changes to the bolded
sections only during the Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business before sending our suggestions back to BYM.

Gene Throwe

Clerk, Ministry and Worship Committee

Proposed additions to the BYM Vision Statement

Baltimore Yearly Meeting is a worshipping community, gathered in the presence of the Divine, affirming that of God in every person. The Yearly Meeting knits together Friends from the Chesapeake to the Appalachians into the larger Religious Society of Friends. It is Friends who are all genders, gender expressions, and sexual orientations, ages, abilities, racial, ethnic, immigrant status and class backgrounds, political affiliations, and stages of life who are actively seeking the Spirit’s presence in our lives, and in our life together. As Quakers, we seek to know and follow God’s will for us as a gathered people, to speak the Truth that is revealed to us, and to listen to the Truth that is revealed to others.

We aspire to listen deeply and inclusively to each other, to actively welcome all, and to attend in joy and faith to the Inward Teacher, whom some call Light, some call Spirit and some call Christ. We will discern how to create a greater diversity of Friends in the worshiping community across racial, ethnic, immigrant status, and class barriers, ages, abilities, and gender, gender expressions, and sexual orientations and how to foster an atmosphere of welcome for a wider variety of people.

We aspire to teach and nourish Quaker ways of worship and service for this and future generations, to uphold and promote Quaker values and to support Friends Meetings in our region.

We seek to expand opportunities for Friends to meet together and know each other in that which is eternal.

We seek to serve others in love, to share our gifts and resources, to reach out to those in need, both friends and strangers, and to witness in the world to our shared experience of the infinite love of God.

(This ends the Minutes and Attachments for the April 2016 Meeting for Business)


April 29 – May 1: Family Camp Weekend, Opequon Quaker Camp (Brucetown, VA)

Family Camp Weekends at Baltimore Yearly Meeting Camp Properties offer us all a chance to come and enjoy our beautiful camp properties at a special time of year. Individuals and families are invited to come and enjoy the camps for a day or for the weekend. This fall, we will have a program coordinator at each weekend who will plan camp-type activities for Saturday and Sunday mornings, as well as Saturday afternoon and evening. These may include things like playing in the creek, a crafts project or hiking around one of the most precious places on earth. There will also be plenty of work projects to do! Work projects offer people with all kinds of skills the opportunity to enjoy some meaningful and satisfying work! We will enjoy meals together, have time to explore and even spend some time around a camp fire in the evening. Come and enjoy a camp experience, give the gift of your time, participate with children in activities and find yourself rejuvenated.


May 1: William Penn House Potluck & Dialogue  F(f)riends are invited to William Penn House for potluck and Quaker dialogue on Sunday, May 1, at 6:15 p.m. There will be a special screening of Brave New Film’s “Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA”. We will be starting the film at 7:00 p.m., so potluck will start at about 6:15 p.m. Bring a dish to share; family members and friends are always welcome. WPH is at 515 East Capitol Street, SE. For details:, 202-543-5560.


May 4:  Grate Patrol  Help prepare sandwiches to take out on the Salvation Army truck to feed our vulnerable neighbors. Come to the Meeting House at 5:30 pm. For more information, contact


May 6 – 8: Couple Enrichment Contemplative Weekend Retreat Lake Hickory (Hickory, NC) Come away and rest awhile with your beloved at a Couple Enrichment retreat in a beautiful lakeside home in Hickory, North Carolina (just off I-40, midway between Greensboro and Asheville, NC). This is the third annual contemplative couple enrichment weekend led by Marsha and Mike Green. The weekend is a time to renew, restore, and refresh your precious relationship for you, for your community, and for the world. The weekend is designed as a retreat, not a workshop, with invitations to explore your relationship with your partner. Opportunities will be offered to share in the group. For some meals we will hold the silence. There will be times to rejuvenate in nature as well as to relax alone or with your beloved. The intent is to deepen intimacy, hone our capacity to listen to one another and to the Spirit which enlivens our relationships, and to identify growing edges. This retreat is open to any couple in a committed relationship, regardless of legal status. It is offered under the care of Friends Couple Enrichment and with the support of the Durham Friends Meeting. Mike and Marsha Green are trained leaders in the Friends Couple Enrichment and have been offering workshops and retreats to couples and parents for over 20 years. For information and registration, contact Marsha Green. (

May 7: Friendly Adult Presence (FAP) Training, Charlottesville Friends Meeting (Charlottesville, VA)  There will be a training to become a Friendly Adult Presence at BYM Youth Programs events at Charlottesville Friends Meeting on May 7th from 10am to 4pm. Email Michael Doo ( to register and receive advance materials. There is no fee to attend, but please bring a bag lunch.

May 7:  Come to So Others Might Eat at 6:15 a.m. and make breakfast for our vulnerable neighbors. 70 “O” St. NW. For more information, contact


May 13 – 15: Junior Young Friends Conference, Shiloh Quaker Camp (Hood, VA) It’s the last JYF con of the 2015-2016 year! Please arrive at 7pm with sleeping bag, pad, pillow, change of clothes and toiletries. Please remember that the deadline to register and be guaranteed a slot is one week before the conference (May 6). Any one registering after that date will be placed on a waiting list and may not be able to attend. For more information, contact Jocelyn Dowling, Youth Programs Manager. To register, go to the JYF Registration page on the Yearly Meeting website.

May 13 – 15: Family Camp Weekend, Catoctin Quaker Camp (Thurmont, MD)  Family Camp Weekends at Baltimore Yearly Meeting Camp Properties offer us all a chance to come and enjoy our beautiful camp properties at a special time of year. Individuals and families are invited to come and enjoy the camps for a day or for the weekend. This fall, we will have a program coordinator at each weekend who will plan camp-type activities for Saturday and Sunday mornings, as well as Saturday afternoon and evening. These may include things like playing in the creek, a crafts project or hiking around one of the most precious places on earth. There will also be plenty of work projects to do! Work projects offer people with all kinds of skills the opportunity to enjoy some meaningful and satisfying work! We will enjoy meals together, have time to explore and even spend some time around a camp fire in the evening. Come and enjoy a camp experience, give the gift of your time, participate with children in activities and find yourself rejuvenated.

May 13 – 15:  Spiritual Formation Program Spring Retreat, Priest Field Pastoral Center

"I take the spiritual life to be a life which aims to discover human wholeness ... marked by vigorous activity in the world, on behalf of God’s creation ... a life capable of expressing love for others ... energized by affectionate goodwill toward others, and by affectionate goodwill toward the self.” (Paul Lacey “Nourishing the Spiritual Life,” 1999). Do you yearn for spiritual deepening? Are you longing for growth in a community of seekers who support one another on our individual journeys? Have you felt a nudge to greater intentionality in your spiritual practice? If so, the Spiritual Formation Program is for you. Join us for our Spring Retreat at the beautiful Priest Field center. Enjoy comfortable accommodations, good fellowship with Friends from your own and other Meetings, time for individual reflection and deep listening, and beautiful walks along the many nature trails. To register for the retreat, go to Register early! (through April 30th.) Financial assistance is available.


May 13 – 15: Stoking the Fire: A Gathering in the Power of Christ, Caraway Conference Center (Sophia, NC) The second annual Stoking the Fire Conference of North American Friends is hosted by Friends United Meeting. The conference is for those who are spiritually on fire; smoldering embers, ready to burst into flame; discerning risky new steps in faithfulness; or desiring deeper worship. For more information, see the Friends United Meeting website. (


May 27 – 29: Young Friends Conference, Hopewell Centre Monthly Meeting (Winchester, VA) Young Friends should plant to begin arriving at 7:00 pm on Friday. For information, check the Young Friends website ( or contact Jocelyn Dowling. (301-774-7663) Please remember that the deadline to register and be guaranteed a slot is two weeks before the conference (May 13). Any one registering after that date will be placed on a waiting list and may not be able to attend.

May 27 – 30:    FMW Catoctin Weekend: Join us for an unprogrammed weekend, when we share meals and fellowship in the lodge; we enjoy canoeing and hiking; we toast s'mores on Saturday night; and we worship on Sunday morning at a warm spot in the sunshine. Cabins are available (most have tin roofs, screen walls and a half dozen bare bunk beds), or bring your tent; come for one day or stay for all three. Cost is $20 per adult staying overnight, $10 for adult day-trippers, and free for all children, payable to FMW. All meals are pot lucks, we therefore ask you to contribute a dish or two to the communal meals each day.

   Please RSVP using our online sign-up sheet so we can get a count of how many of us will be there for each meal. If you have something in mind to bring or want to contribute to a particular meal, please leave a note in the meals column. Once we have a feel for the number of people and what meals are covered, I can send out requests for missing items or suggestions. For more information, contact Anita, To sign up, go to


May 27-30: Since 1943, the Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology has gathered to explore themes that appeal to the growth and development of the inner life, with a specific focus on Jungian psychology.  FCRP currently meets over Memorial Day weekend in beautiful Central Pennsylvania on the campus of Lebanon Valley College.  A guest speaker develops the Conference theme in four plenary sessions over four days.  Within a retreat-like environment, participants open to the speaker's message and its personal resonance in their lives.  Participants also participate in an Interest Group to process and integrate insights.  Each morning there is Meeting for Worship. Throughout the weekend, community builds at meals and in the evening diversions.  This year the theme for the Conference is “Reconnecting Self, Soul, and Earth: Bearing Witness to our Global Movement,” and the plenary speaker is Joanna Macy.  Register by April 27:

June 3 – 5:  Family Camp Weekend, Shiloh Quaker Camp (Hood, VA)  Family Camp Weekends at Baltimore Yearly Meeting Camp Properties offer us all a chance to come and enjoy our beautiful camp properties at a special time of year. Individuals and families are invited to come and enjoy the camps for a day or for the weekend. This fall, we will have a program coordinator at each weekend who will plan camp-type activities for Saturday and Sunday mornings, as well as Saturday afternoon and evening. These may include things like playing in the creek, a crafts project or hiking around one of the most precious places on earth. There will also be plenty of work projects to do! Work projects offer people with all kinds of skills the opportunity to enjoy some meaningful and satisfying work! We will enjoy meals together, have time to explore and even spend some time around a camp fire in the evening. Come and enjoy a camp experience, give the gift of your time, participate with children in activities and find yourself rejuvenated.


June 17 – 19:  Quaker Party, Young Adult Friends, 15 Rutherford Place, New York City  The Young Adult Concerns Committee of New York Yearly Meeting invites everyone to a weekend of joyful connection and deepening of spiritual relationships with Friends old and new. For full information, including rooming and registration, see the New York Yearly Meeting website.


June 17 to 19: Silent Retreat for Friends at Dayspring 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 and refreshment? Come to the Dayspring Silent Retreat from the evening of Friday, June 17 to Sunday afternoon, June 19. We will keep the silence 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. The Dayspring Retreat Center is located at 11301 Neelsville Church Road, Germantown MD 20876. You can arrive any time between 3:30 and 7:00 p.m. Friday. (Dinner at 7:00 p.m.) The cost of the retreat is $220. The registration deadline is June 10. For details: Jean Christianson (410-544-1912,


July 3 – 9: The Gathering, Friends General Conference, College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN. This year’s theme is be humble, Be Faithful, BE BOLD. Meet with hundreds of Friends for a week packed with programs and events, from small group morning workshops to public evening plenaries, and programs for children, teens and young adults. For more information, to go


THINKING ABOUT RACE– From a 13 year old black boy and a BYM Quaker

Despite what my mother taught me, something that I learned on my own is that equal rights are not guaranteed to all persons in the United States regardless of color or creed. I learned that people of color still face a life-long struggle with injustice. My mom taught me that the civil rights movement succeeded in guaranteeing equal rights to all persons in the US.  She taught me that the United States is a just and moral place. However, given the recent killings of unarmed black men by the authorities with no charges being filed; the routine harassment that my two older brothers and I endure; and the Justice Department’s estimation that one out of every twenty-one black men can expect to be murdered – a death rate double that of US soldiers in World War II – I learned that, contrary to my mom’s teachings, equal rights are not guaranteed to all.  This is a tough realization for a black boy of only thirteen years old.


Many people think the current protests of the recent publicized police brutality incidents are unwarranted. They say racism is no longer an issue and that we all enjoy the same rights. I beg to differ with such ideology. Racism is still a major problem in the US. This is exemplified by statistics such as: white males with a high-school diploma are more likely to have jobs and tend to earn more than Black males with college degrees; in some states a black person is 57 times more likely to be convicted of the exact same crime as a white person; and others. After 400 years of this kind of oppression, a resultant catharsis so strong that violence erupts should be no surprise.


Dr. King taught us that a man should be judged not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character. In an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of why people of color continue to be judged by the color of their skin, I attended several discussions of race at both my church and school where the majority of people expressed sentiments that made it clear that they were oblivious to the daily plight of the Black man.  Turning these meetings into teaching opportunities, I recounted my personal experiences: being racially profiled by the TSA; the assumption that I am on an athletic scholarship; being followed when I enter stores; frequently being told that I am “articulate,” and the consistent underestimation of my intellectual potential. By taking the time to share my experiences, which are shared by millions of people of color, I hope to help bring these issues to the forefront of the American consciousness. I think this approach forces the dominant race to acknowledge that the American dream, although equally desirable, is not equally attainable.


This column is prepared by the BYM Working Group on Racism (WGR) and sent to the designated liaison at each Monthly and Preparative Meeting for publication in their newsletter or other means of dissemination.  The 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,



The big news this month is that after only 85 years, we decided to restore and refinish the beautiful, thick cork floor in our historic Meeting Room. Ken Orvis found a group that had recently restored a similar floor in the Department of the Interior; this gave us confidence that they could do a good job with a place of history.

The first day was pretty sweaty, with Ken helping the bulky moving crew to haul out and stack benches, all of them über heavy. They put them on the terrace, covered them with thick tarp, and stuffed (literally) the cushions into the Terrace Room.


Then they started sanding. The floor just lit up from having nearly a century of grime removed. This was followed by polishing and sealing.



Wait until you see it in person--it's just so, so beautiful, and enriches the whole room. Elaine Wilson wants us to ditch the benches and just use cushions. Michael Beer suggested we hold square dances in there and use it as a fundraiser for the renovation. Meg Greene wants to bring a giant chess set for the kids to play on those squares.

And speaking of Elaine Wilson--this Friend's painting took the prize at an exhibit at the Historical Scoiety of Washington, DC. Her painting, "McMillan and Howard Chapel," won top prize in the painting category and overall Best in Show. Go, Elaine!

And while we're doing Attagirls, let's share the excellent, excellent news that our beloved Lydia Pecker will not be abandoning us to go to Cincinnati, but has instead taken a new job at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, where she'll be working in pediatric hematology doing both research and patient care. She wiill be well, well used. I explained to her that she and Carl need to start suffering a terrible commute every day to ensure that they stay in DC and come to FMW to meet my needs. She waffled. Please, Friends, talk to her!

More kudos to Kim Acquaviva, who restored our Photo Board to its original purpose of holding photos, and to Basil Kiwan, who is at the ready to take more photos. Just tap him if you'd like to share your photo with Friends.

And heartiest congrats to our own Lizzie Wiggins, who was accepted by Haverford College and will start attending there in the Fall. Go, Lizzie!

- Debby