FMW Newsletter, December 2017

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Minutes

Young Adult Friends Report

Finance & Stewardship Report

State of the Staff Report

Update from Ministry & Worship

Event Policy from Property Committee

Pertinent Documents

Upcoming Events

Thinking About Race

Comics

 

 

Friends Meeting of Washington

Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business

Nov. 12, 2017

 

Query for Worship Sharing How do I stay connected to Spirit in times of transition? How do I keep an open heart when change comes?

 

Welcome of Visitors

Meeting for Business opened at 12:25 pm with 45 Friends present.  Friends welcomed first time business meeting attenders Jim Fussell, Roland Garrett, Susie Raymond (2nd time attender to business meeting), and Rebecca Nelson.

 

Clerk’s Report

  • The kids of FMW have raised $260 for UNICEF so far on Halloween.

 

  • The Sanctuary Taskforce held its first training. Celeste Bryant from the Metropolitan AME Church worked with us to understand the plight of the Undocumented and how we might best work with them to discern their needs and how we can help. The Sanctuary Taskforce is also discerning if FMW should go forward with hosting an undocumented person at imminent risk of deportation. They have held a threshing session and are working with those committees likely to be affected to understand concerns and hopes. For more information, contact Jim Bell at kelleybell21@comcast.net

 

  • 11/23 Thanksgiving Worship: There will be a special called Meeting for Worship with a concern for Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 23 at noon. All are welcome.

 

  • 12/3 The Task Force on Committee Structure: Clerked by Todd Harvey, working with Beth Cogswell, Chris Wickham, and Meg Greene, FMW has been asked to think about our committees and how we can do the work of the Meeting in the most connected possible way. The challenge the Task Force has set for itself is to think about how our community functions and how it can best be served by our committee structure. The Task Force held a first focus group last Sunday and will hold another one on December 3 to consider the query: Reimagining how our community works. What are we doing, and where are we going?

 

  • 11/29 DC Detention Visitation Network Training:  The Sanctuary Task Force would like to invite Friends and others to attend an orientation/training session sponsored by the DC Detention Visitation Network (DCDVN) on November 29th from 6:30 PM to 9 PM at FMW. The training will provide participants with information concerning the DC Detention Visitation Network in Maryland at the detention centers in Howard and Worcester Counties.  For those living in Virginia, the DCDVN also hopes to be granted visitation privileges at  the Farmville Detention Center but has not yet been given the go ahead.  The training session will be facilitated by Erin Hustings,  the Network Coordinator; it will qualify participants to join the list of persons who can visit the detention centers to interact with the detainees --- many of whom are facing deportation. We are planning on offering pizza and drinks from 6:30 to 7 PM. RSVP to kelleybell21@comcast.net for pizza orders and please bring a donation toward the cost of the meal.

 

Major Business

 

Membership Committee

  • Janet Dinsmore, Marcia Reecer, Judy Hubbard, and Joe Izzo provided the first presentation of three applicants for membership:
    • Jesse Finkel, who is also applying for associate membership for his child.
    • Monique Russell, and child
    • Rashid Darden
  • A Friend shared gratitude for the application of membership from these individuals, each of whom will enrich and deepen our meeting. Another Friend vouched for the genuine kindness and commitment to the Quaker process that these individuals have already given to our community.
  • The applications will be held over for one month, as is our custom.

 

Nominating Committee

  • Todd Harvey announced that Carrie Mitchell, who is an attender, will be nominated to Marriage and Family Relations at the next meeting. This is being held over for consideration because a according to the Handbook, membership on this Committee is limited to Meeting members, unless an exception is granted. Exemptions lie over for a month.

 

Young Adult Friends Annual Report  

  • Rebecca Nelson presented the report, which was accepted by the meeting.  A Friend inquired whether Young Adult Friends (YAFs) are more active now than in the past.  YAFs conclude that they are perhaps more visible within the official business of the meeting due to the intention of the leaders to report more actively.

 

Finance and Stewardship Annual Report

  • Jim Bell presented the report, which was accepted by the meeting. He thanked Ed Hustead, the Meeting’s Financial Coordinator, for his dedication to the work of the Committee. Jim emphasized that the Committee expects a transition in leadership transition, and is looking for new members, especially drawn from among Young Adult Friends.

 

State of the Staff Report

  • Debby Churchman presented the report, which was accepted by the meeting.  Debby thanked Neil Froemming for his support with a brilliant database, as well as Merry Pearlstein and Brian Lutenegger for their wise counsel.
  • She also announced that she will be retiring in October 2018. Friends shared deep gratitude for her work and kind wishes for the next phase of her life.  Another Friend shared that Debbie’s inventive resourcefulness and leadership has been key to the Meeting’s accessibility to our community these past several years (and to increased rental income!).

 

Report on BYM Interim Meetings (October 14 and November 10)

  • Mary Campbell reported on the two meetings; her report was accepted. The BYM budget was held over without approval at the end of the first meeting because of a lack of clearness on adding a new position for Associate General Secretary. This was resolved in the second meeting. Young Adult Friends were led to do anti-racism work and the second meeting began with a special workshop on anti-racism.

 

Property Committee

Merry Pearlstein reported that the property committee is in unity on a common sense policy to ensure that anyone who is disruptive to renters and private events at FMW be asked to leave.  Enforcers of this new policy would be FMW staff during regular hours and FMW Friendly Office Presence during special events.

 

Ministry and Worship report on disruptive messages

  • Greg Robb provided a progress report to follow up on the discussion held at last month’s business meeting concerning a response to disruptive messages during Meeting for Worship.  A separate Meeting for Worship was established in the Terrace Room for the Friend under discussion, who has not returned since the committee has set it aside for that purpose.  The Terrace Room meeting has been active for the past month with a rich worship for those in attendance, ready for this Friend, providing an experiment for a way forward,.   For next steps, the M&W committee plans to convene a small group to meet with our Friend under discussion.

 

Further discussion ensued on this topic:

  • A Friend provided a testimony about our meeting’s struggle over the years with being truly welcoming.  She shared about her experience of eldering and being eldered in the face of this very difficult and complex Friend.  The Friend expressed her hurt and dismay at the unhealthy reactions of one Ministry and Worship Committee member as she witnessed yelling directed at the Friend under discussion. The Friend emphasized that singing has been an important tool for her to bring the meeting back to center. She expressed that she feels extremely hurt by the process to set limits for the Friend under concern and has considered leaving the meeting because of it.  She expressed that our meeting has consistently not been able to enforce the limits that we put forth, which is part of the problem.
  • A Friend expressed gratitude to M&W committee for the work they have done to bring honor to our community’s commitment to be open and welcoming.  The Friend appealed to the meeting to be honest in regards to our experiences, observations, concerns, and confusion about how we can show our care and love for a Friend who has extreme challenges with mental illness.  She is impressed with M&W’s attempt to set some limits for this Friend, which is part of the Meeting’s commitment to minister to her as a member of our meeting.  The Friend sees this as part of the meeting’s responsibility to minister and set loving limits. People are leaving this meeting because it is clear that our Meeting is not ministering to our Friend under discussion.
  • A Friend observed that the Meeting’s changing response to the Friend under discussion makes him uneasy. Our ability to see the light of God in everyone depends not on whether the person is lovable, but rather on our Meeting’s capacity for love. The Friend recognizes that there is suffering in the meeting because of the actions of the Friend under discussion.  He noted that to move the person who has been at the edge of our meeting further to the margins feels like a loss.  He also observes that this meeting is likely more important to the Friend under discussion than it is for most of us.  The Friend observes that this change has effectively excluded the Friend under discussion from Meeting for Worship, and emphasized the regret that M&W’s decision to offer the Friend under discussion a separate meeting feels like a breach of Quaker process. It seemed to the Friend that our meeting was subversively addressing the problem, which should have been brought to Meeting for Business.
  • A Friend noted that as a Meeting, we are a weaker, lesser place when we don't listen to people with whom we disagree, echoing the Friend’s earlier need for Meeting for Business to be responsible for this decision.
  • A Friend emphasized that many people have been hurt and driven from this meeting because of the behavior of the Friend under discussion-- and  also because our meeting has not taken any accountability for her hurtful actions.
  • A Friend, who is an attender, who has been a part of the meeting since she was a child, rose and spoke that Quaker process hasn’t been ignored; rather it has reached a tipping point.  She sees M&W’s decision to be an essential form of eldering, a temporary request to ask the Friend under discussion to leave Meeting for Worship until the Friend can be respectful.  Throughout all this, it is essential that the Friend under discussion knows that she is loved. We also need to hold the door open for those who have been injured by this Friend in the process.  Setting a loving boundary is essential to the spiritual growth of our meeting, and would make it possible for this Friend to consider requesting full membership.
  • A Friend implored us to consider if this discussion is more about us than it is about the Friend under discussion.  He offered some contextual framing to the discussion. While the Friend under discussion has not been at Meeting for Worship since the boundary was set, the Friend under discussion has come regularly to the Meetinghouse during the week.  When the Friend under discussion comes, she doesn’t seem like someone who is hurt or feeling attacked by the meeting. Life seems to be continuing as usual, with many other things on her mind. It’s unclear to him in the recent weeks whether the Friend under discussion is particularly hurt by this current situation.
  • A Friend shared that she is much more distant to this meeting because she needs to set boundaries in her exposure to our Friend under discussion
  • A Friend emphasized that framing of this situation is not about kicking our Friend under discussion out of the Meeting, but actually setting aside a special meeting for our Friend, at least temporarily.
  • A Friend expressed that our Friend under discussion generally respects rules and authority and suggests that we give her the opportunity to follow a new set of rules.  
  • A Friend from the Ministry & Worship committee emphasized that it has never been the intention of the committee to ban our Friend under discussion from the meeting.  This is an experiment. The Friend under discussion is not banned. She is welcomed here with a Meeting for Worship offered for her to worship.
  • A Friend provided insight into how the situation evolved over time. The committee needs to be trusted in the work it has done, as it has labored with this topic at almost every meeting they have had for the past year.  At some point, the committee discussed the situation as a crisis, but were not in unity about how to proceed. However, in the past 6 weeks, the committee reached unity that its responsibility is to the larger community. M&W understands that the Meeting for Worship is central to the spiritual health of our community in this sacred space. Therefore, the committee needed to inform the Friend under discussion of the imperative to curb the hurtful behavior and if she wanted to worship here, she would be welcome to do so in the separate Terrace Room meeting.  
  • A Friend offered a reflection.  We offer love and support to people with disabilities. In our Friend under discussion, we see ourselves. This is something which we need to consider for many different scenarios, such as mental health, disability, harassment, or others.

 

Friends APPROVED the minutes.

 

The Meeting closed at 2:32 PM with approximately 35 persons in attendance to reconvene as Way opens on the third Sunday of the Month, December 17th.

 

Young Adult Friends Report for 2016-2017

Leadership and Communication

Kate Oberg has been the sole convener of the YAFS from summer 2016 until mid-way through summer 2017. Erin Murphy and Rebecca Nelson have come forward to co-convene the YAF group. This is great news for Young Adult Friends. We are very excited to have new energy in the leadership of Young Adult Friends. 

In terms of outreach YAFS have maintained the Meetup.com site. Kate Oberg thinks it is a worthwhile endeavor to have as those interested in Quakerism can easily find the YAFS and the meeting as a whole.  Many people have found YAFS this way, and it lets all know about Friends Meeting of Washington, not just people who identify as “young.” 

The YAF listserv has continued to provide a forum for YAFs to convene outside of the meeting. The listserv has been used to disseminate information and coordinate in-person gatherings. There are currently 253 members of the YAF listserv. This is 5 fewer than the previous year, partly because of Kate Oberg’s efforts to be responsive to removal requests and also contact members who may not be active or consider themselves YAFs still. Potential other platforms for the YAF listserv are being actively considered. 

 

Young Adult Friends and the wider meeting

Many YAFs have been active in Meeting wide events and serving on committees. Of Young Adult Friends that identify with the YAF group (rather than people that do not attend Young Adult Friends events even if they are in the typical age group) these have included: Brian Lutenegger & Justin Kwong, (Property), Chris Wickham (Records & Handbook), Jorge Sanchez (Hospitality). Young Adult Friends have also been a driving presence on the FMW Sanctuary Taskforce, including Rebecca Harris, who recently agreed to be co-clerk of the taskforce, Erin Murphy, Brian Lutenegger, Anastacia Ebi, and Rebecca Nelson. Kate Oberg is on the Scholarship committee for Langley Hill Friends Meeting.

 

Social and Spiritual Activities

The Young Adult Friends continue to try to meet at least monthly basis for a shared meal. Rebecca Nelson hosted several gatherings at her home, and there were several potluck dinners at the Meeting House. The YAFs also sometimes go to brunch after Meeting on Sundays.  

Other social events have included a trip kayaking on the Potomac.

Starting in September, Gene Throwe has hosted a weekly Bible study with the FMW YAFs and multi-denominational Queer for Christ group on Wednesdays. 

Each YAF event attracts 4-10 Friends although it is very varied who shows up. Many young Friends attend Meeting for Worship on a regular basis and in that, Kate Oberg thinks YAF has a very strong representation especially when including the different times and locations.

Erin Murphy and Rebecca Nelson conducted a poll with the Young Adult Friends to determine what they’re looking for from their membership in this community. The results indicated that most YAFs are primarily interested in “Making new friends with at least some shared values,” “Sharing spiritual concerns with people in a similar life situation,” “Participating in community service activities,” and “Learning about events and opportunities,” in that order. 

YAFs indicated they were interested in 2-3 activities per month, and the most popular options were “Outdoor activities like hiking, tubing, kayaking, camping,” “Social justice activism activities,” “Quaker or other activities,” “Post-Meeting brunches,” and “Mid-week evening dinners.” 

Email (Google Group), Facebook, and a Shared Google Calendar were the most popular options for communicating with YAFs about activities - while MeetUp was listed as an option, YAFs did not select it. However, MeetUp does advise participants by email about upcoming events, so that functionality could make it useful even if YAFs don’t directly think of MeetUp as a useful tool.

Two-thirds of YAF respondents live in DC, while one-third live in Maryland and Virginia. 

 

Budget Use

The Young Adult Friends did not spend nearly as much of their budget as was possible this past year, resulting in a reduced request for budget this year. 

 

Challenges and the future

The challenges that face YAFS are much the same as those affecting the general Quaker community.  We are disheartened and challenged by the political strife and decisions taking place on the national and international stages.  Many of us have been drawn to work on these particular challenges – in particular the challenges of immigrants and the undocumented in the United States.  This has led many of us to be drawn to social activism.  Many YAFS participated together in various protests including the Women’s March as well as the march in response to what has been referred to as the Muslim Ban and the March for Science. 

In the future, we hope to maintain a schedule of 2-3 activities per month, with a mix of spiritual and social focuses. We solicited ideas for social activities that we will be scheduling on a new, shared Google Calendar to help coordinate between co-conveners and FMW YAFs.  

 

Respectfully submitted,

Kate Oberg, Rebecca Nelson, and Erin Murphy

 

Finance and Stewardship Annual Report, November 2017

The Finance & Stewardship Committee supports the Meeting through fund raising, accounts management, budgeting, support and interaction with committees and ad hoc groups, and longer-term planning. It attempts to translate into dollars and cents the spirit of the Meeting’s temporal activities and to mobilize the needed funding.

 

The Committee identifies the general operating income and expenses, and appropriates support for organizations and projects beyond the Meeting that are in keeping with Meeting policies and leadings. Annually, the Committee recommends to Meeting for Business an operating budget to meet these needs 

 

Through a bi-annual appeals letter, we highlight the activities and programs of the meeting.  We received over $37,500 between 11/15/16 and 1/15/17 in annual gifts.

 

The committee recognizes and appreciates all those who make contributions to the operating fund each year and we sincerely thank you.  With donor support, FMW was able to provide funding for the following activities:  numerous FMW committee activities, William Penn House, BYM Camping Program, Friends Wilderness Center, Friends Committee on National Legislation, American Friends Service Committee DC Program, Mary Jane Simpson Scholarship Fund, SOME Saturday morning breakfast program, Grate Patrol, and Young Adult Friends activities.  The donations also allow us to support the Religious Education program, staff, and daily maintenance and operation of the campus.  At the same time, we also recognize the value of members and attenders contributing many volunteer hours to all aspects of FMW’s committees, outreach programs and social services, and many other activities with which the community engages.

 

The Committee worked closely with the Capital Improvement Task Force, Capital Campaign Committee, Trustees and Property Committee to prepare for the major construction project which is scheduled to begin later this year.

 

The current operating budget results improved markedly from FY2016.   In FY2016 we reported a loss of $561 from operations.  In FY2017 we had a gain from operations of almost $30,000. FY2017 began on July 1, 2016 and ended on June 30, 2017.

 

Our three major sources of income for the general fund are contributions, rental income and investment income.  Contribution income in FY2017 was $194,000 which was an increase of $15,000 (8%) over FY2016. Rental income from monthly rentals and event rentals was $234,000 which was an increase of $42,000 (22%) over FY2016. Investment income was $82,000 which was about the same as in FY2016.

 

F& S recognizes the hard work of the Administrative Secretary, Property Manager and Property committee in FY 16 and wishes to acknowledge their very positive contributions in maximizing rental income to the extent possible.

 

The last decade had seen a steady decline in the number of families who contribute to the general fund but we were pleased to see a small increase in the number in the last year.   The committee seeks the guidance and concern of all at FMW to assist in increasing the total amount given each FY and in increasing the number of members and attenders who give.

 

The F & S committee compliments and recognizes the dedication and hard work of the bookkeeper in providing accurate and up to date financial information to the committee, Trustees, and ultimately Meeting for Business.

 

Do we value our spiritual home and life as much as we do our secular world: our automobile(s), our internet and television? Every year, we each should evaluate our annual giving and ask ourselves: Has our giving to the Meeting kept pace with inflation? Do we have a Cost-of-Living Index for our charitable giving? Has our giving increased as our personal income has increased? If we are not giving to Meeting, have we considered giving this year? And if not why not?

______________________________________________________________________________

 

STATE OF THE STAFF REPORT, 2017

 

This report is a misnomer, since our staff includes an Admin Secretary/Events Manager, a Property Manager, a Youth Programs Coordinator, a Child Care Supervisor, a Bookkeeper, and numerous child care workers and events staffers. Almost none of those people are covered by this report—or by the Personnel Committee, whose major job is to supervise Debby. At the committee’s instigation, a taskforce is looking at current staffing issues to see how all of that is working; stay tuned. Perhaps next year’s report will cover all, or most, or more of, the actual staff.

 

So…the State of Debby is, a little tired. The job has grown exponentially since I started five years ago, mostly as we have attracted groups wanting to use our space for their events. This is all to the good—we now provide much needed space and support to numerous small, medium and large nonprofits, and start-ups, not to mention neighbors wanting to hold their children’s birthday parties or their baby showers here. Last year was financially solid as a result, and the expectation is that we will double or triple that amount once the renovation is complete. But it takes a lot of management to steer each group through the process of answering the inquiry, conducting a site visit, answering more questions, booking the space, following through on payments, finding a staffer to cover the event, and then dealing with the wants and needs of each renter on the day of the event. The job is supposed to be doable in 40 hours a week; realistically, it can probably be accomplished in 50 to 60 hours.

 

One thing that has made all this much easier is Neil Froemming’s splendid new database which he created to track all of this. Stuff that used to take me four or five steps can now be done in one or two. The database can create the booking, create the contract, create a calendar for the staff to review, create invoices to be sent to folks for their final payments, and record payments, special needs, etc. It’s really been a miracle—I think he should market it to other event locations. Stop by my office if you’d like to see a demonstration.

 

The other thing that has really helped has been our fabulous event staffers—real professionals who work hard to help events go smoothly. The day after the event, I usually write a little note to the renter asking for feedback. I get these day-brightening notes in return:

 

"We had a full house last night and everything went well. The staff was great and the room definitely met our needs. Thank you very much for allowing us to use your space and for your patience in taking all of my phone calls and answering my questions while preparing for our meeting. It was all greatly appreciated!"

 

“We so appreciate what a good experience it was using your Meeting space for our event with Dan Goleman. IN particular:  Erin was just great!  So available, supportive and responsive.  Think it's the best support I've ever received from a venue I've used for events.  Down to water glass for speaker.”

 

“The event on Saturday, the memorial for Jim Rubin, went beautifully, and this was in large part to Brian’s fantastic assistance during set-up and clear-up.   I want to thank him personally for all the special attention he gave us.  He was very patient and incredibly helpful as we swept around trying to get things tidied up by 5:00pm, the agreed stop time.”  

 

Event rentals have a number of side effects. It forces us to look at our space from the point of view of how outsiders might see it—and start tidying up a bit. This effort is being driven by Property (read: Merry Pearlstein) with help from Alex Mathews, Judy Hubbard, and Gray Handley; you can see the results throughout our campus.

 

It also drives a lot of traffic our way. Google informs me that our webpage or map request had more than 33,000 hits just in October, with literally hundreds of folks asking for directions and wanting to know more about us. So Events are putting Quakers in DC on the map. We are typically the first Quaker meetinghouse any of our visitors have visited, and I notice that our literature disappears in a steady stream when they’re here.

 

Of course, all of this (or most of it, anyway) is coming to a screeching halt in January as we begin the renovation. Then I might have time to concentrate on the Primary Directive, so to speak, of being the Administrative Secretary.

 

That job would be a whole lot of easier if you all weren’t such a dynamic group. Our Sundays continue to be filled with both the regular work on the Meeting and with a number of special taskforces furthering the work of Friends in the world. The Pastoral Care folks have organized  workshops and started a Grief Group that meets here regularly. The Sanctuary Taskforce is collaborating with the Metropolitan AME church and is working with them and numerous other groups to provide support for immigrants and asylees facing pressure from ICE. The Anti-Racism Taskforce is meeting with all committees to review practices and find ways for us to be a more inclusive and welcoming community to people of color. And a taskforce is looking at what work gets done at FMW and how it is accomplished, with an eye for improving the organization.

 

The 9:00 o’clock group started a Spiritual Formation Group, and Ministry & Worship is doing the second round of a Spiritual Deepening group. Our Clerk started a Bible Study group that meets after the Wednesday evening worship. And our core group of five weekly worship opportunities has just expanded to six, with Friends in favor of vocal ministry meeting in the Terrace Room in 10:30 am.

 

What’s more, we’re connected with Friends from the wider community, with recent visits from the Bolivian Quaker Education Fund, the Ramallah Friends School, BYM’s Unity with Nature committee, and BYM’s Working Group on Racism and STRIDE group. FCNL is providing us with numerous opportunities to speak up on behalf of peace and social justice.

 

All of this makes for a lively Meeting, with numerous small needs. I look forward to having more time to meet them. I’m also mindful of how much of a juggling act the next few months will be, particularly on Sunday mornings as we attempt to come together in a building under construction. It’s going to take some patience and flexibility and good humor, which are exactly the qualities that are in abundance in this particular Meeting. We’ll get through this, Friends.

 

  • Debby

Progress report from Ministry and Worship to Meeting for Business

11 12 17 

The Ministry and Worship Committee is in unity that a certain Friend should be asked not to attend the large 10:30 am meeting or any other meeting and attend a 10:30 am meeting in the Terrace Room. 

The committee is in unity that the action was taken as the Friend’s messages have been disparaging. While we find many messages at the large 10:30 am meeting could be more Spirit-filled, we felt this Friend's messages bordered on harassment and bigotry. 

We felt the need to safeguard the meeting and to be kind to both the Friend and other Friends who were hurt by the Friend's regular messages. 

The committee is not in unity about when and under what conditions the Friend would be welcomed back into the large meeting. We trust that a way will open and will labor with Friends in finding that way. 

No policy was agreed to if the Friend insisted on going into meeting. We will invite Friends to our committee to discuss this. 

There was agreement that a small group of selected Friends should help elder the Friend. Many Friends have expressed willingness to help. We feel with quiet conversation we can elder the friend. 

The 10:30 am Terrace Room meeting was started with the Friend in mind as an experiment. Over the past few weeks, we find that in addition to this Friend, the Terrace Room gathering is meeting a need. We have found Friends who find the Spirit in encouraging messages. A number of people outside the committee have volunteered to come to that meeting and participated.

 

Property Committee Event Policy

 

The Property Committee wishes to remind Friends that groups renting spaces at FMW for private events expect and are entitled to privacy at their events. Persons interacting with these groups should be limited to Meeting staff, including Event Hosts. Other Meeting members and attenders are expected not to enter those spaces or to engage with guests during those events (responding politely to simple requests such as directions to the restroom being the obvious exception).

Friends are expected to conduct themselves appropriately at all times when they are on campus. Any individual who causes a disturbance, particularly when a private event is in session, will be asked to leave.

 

PERTINENT DOCUMENTS

 

HANDBOOK

 

Ministry and Worship Committee

 

The Ministry and Worship Committee seeks to maintain and build corporate and spiritual unity throughout all group life within the Meeting, thus nurturing the spiritual state of the Meeting and everyone in it. The Committee encourages the Meeting to develop and maintain a corporate vision that is used regularly to shape the Meeting’s decisions and actions. Specific responsibilities include the following:

 

∙ Oversee the right order of the Meetings for Worship and Worship Groups.

 

∙ Form clearness committees as necessary with respect to

spiritual concerns, including bereavement.

 

∙ Provide encouragement and guidance to adult spiritual support and study groups and develop workshops and retreats on timely topics, so as to deepen the spiritual life of the Meeting and of its members and attenders.

 

∙ Coordinate with the Nominating Committee as way opens, regarding annual committee workshops.

 

∙ Has the responsibility of ensuring that one of the Meeting’s committees or task forces sits as Head of Meeting each first day and will prepare the listing as least one month in advance. Committees and task forces are encouraged to take this responsibility seriously

because it nurtures our spiritual community.

 

In addition, the committee attends to the following duties as noted in Faith and Practice, III, B, 3, b, 2:

 

∙ Assure that appointed meetings for such occasions as.... memorials are appropriately held.

 

∙  Arrange special meetings for worship on behalf of those who are ill or imprisoned.

 

∙ Welcome newcomers and visitors to Meeting.

 

∙ Consider requests for travel minutes and make recommendations on them to the Monthly Meeting.

 

∙ Once a year, draft a report on the [spiritual] state of the Meeting.

 

This Committee endeavors to interpret the activities and purpose of the Meeting to the neighborhood and to the wider community. It is also responsible for all notices placed in publications and electronic media.

 

From Minutes of October 2017 Meeting for Business:

Climate of Meeting for Worship    

     A Friend addressed the Meeting for Business with a concern that our Meetings for Worship should be places safe from hate speech. The disturbances to worship in Meeting for Worship were notable this First Day.  The Friend suggested that we ask our Ministry and Worship Committee to devise recommendations for making our Meetings for Worship a safe space where vocal ministry that reflects the inner light is encouraged.

     A Friend from the Ministry and Worship committee explained that the Ministry and Worship Committee is not of one mind about how to manage the impact of messages delivered by people expressing disruptive and hateful sentiments. The Friend said that he would take the concern back to the Ministry and Worship Committee. Other Friends commented on the ubiquitous presence of challenging participants, urging us to exhibit patience, recognizing that such challenges provide an opportunity for growth. A Friend commented that we can use our institutional and social resources to establish boundaries. A Friend questioned what we would do when the boundaries we establish are crossed by people who struggle to contain their ire during vocal ministry; he questioned whether we would read a Friend out of the meeting. A Friend on the Ministry and Worship Committee added that consequences might not necessarily include reading a member out of the Meeting, but we do need to set firm boundaries regarding vocal participation in Meeting functions. A Friend agreed to take the concern to Ministry and Worship Committee for further consideration.

 

Excerpt from item # 10/11-7 Records and Handbook of the minutes for the October 2011 MMfB (page 6 of the November 2011 Newsletter): 

2.     Healing and Reconciliation Committee member Merry Pearlstein presented the following changes to the committee's description: 

The Healing and Reconciliation Committee consists of members of the FMW Community asked to respond immediately, or after an event or situation, to limit any hurtful behavior in Meeting-related settings and to initiate processes of healing and reconciliation. Through its interactions with individuals, the Committee complements efforts of the Ministry and Worship Committee, which gives special attention to the overall spiritual state of the Meeting and its Meetings for Worship. The Healing and Reconciliation Committee undertakes 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. In addition to addressing specific incidents and situations that arise, the Committee may work more generally to nurture the spiritual state of the Meeting as it relates to the way we address and resolve conflicts, and to help make our peace testimony a reality in the life of the Meeting community. The Committee may recommend long-term actions to the Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business and other Meeting Committees, but it does not itself undertake any actions other than those directed toward healing and reconciliation.

Friends APPROVED this language.

From Faith & Practice:

If a member's conduct or publicly expressed views appear to deny Friend's beliefs and testimonies or bring the Society into disrepute, the appropriate Meeting committee should appoint a few well-qualified Friends to meet with the member. These Friends should labor with the member lovingly and patiently in a spirit of reconciliation for as long as there is reasonable hope of benefit from their labors. If such efforts are unavailing, the Friends appointed to labor with the member may recommend to the committee which appointed them that the person's membership be terminated. If the committee agrees, it should so recommend to the Monthly Meeting after notifying the person of its decision. The Monthly Meeting, if it agrees, records the termination of membership for cause in its minutes. A copy of the minute should be delivered to the person whose membership is terminated.

One whose membership has been terminated may subsequently apply for membership in the usual manner.
______________________________________________________________________________

(This ends the Minutes & Reports from Meeting for Business)

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

Dec. 2:  Help make breakfast for our vulnerable neighbors. Convene at 6:15 am at So Others Might Eat. For more information, contact Tim Schleicher at timothy.c.schleicher@gmail.com

  

Also, at 11:00 am, join us for a special called Meeting for Peace. As we move into the holiday season, let us come together to focus on our Testimony of Peace in our lives, our communities, and our planet. For more information, contact malachykilbride@gmail.com

 

Dec. 3: Handel’s Messiah  You are invited to a wonderful performance of Handel’s Messiah at Metropolitan AMEC on December 3rd at 5pm - It is FREE.  It is phenomenal . We host it every year- Our choir plus the professional musicians we hire are amazing.  Please spread the word.  Parking is free but limited at NEA garage directly across the street from the church and the PMI garage only one block down on the opposite side of the street. Address for the church is 1518 M St NW, Washington, DC 20005

 

   Also, the Taskforce on Committee Structure is holding a second threshing session at noon to consider the query: Reimagining how our community works. What are we doing, and where are we going?

 

Dec. 6: Help make sandwiches for the Grate Patrol to take to our vulnerable neighbors, starting at 5:30 pm. For more information, contact Steve Brooks at sbrooks@uab.edu

 

   Also, Bible Study hosted by the Young Adult Friends and co-sponsored by Queer for Christ takes a fresh look at the New Testament Gospels. We meet Wednesdays at 7-8:30 pm. Bibles will be available but you can bring your own.

 

December 6 – Nurturing the Light in Times of Darkness: Dealing with Darkness
Baltimore Monthly Meeting, Stony Run (Baltimore, MD)  Winter is approaching. The days grow shorter. It can also feel like a time of political darkness, one that can trigger dark feelings. How important it is to nurture and share our light! Please come to this conversation, beginning at 7:00pm, as we love and enlighten one another. As Friends we hold each other and the world in the Light. But there also seems to be much that is dark in the world—and in ourselves. How do we face dark events and political forces without feeling overwhelmed? How do we avoid being sucked into dark emotional reactivity? And how do own up to our own “shadow side” rather than demonizing others? If we learn to deal well with darkness we will more effectively let the light shine through us.

 

December 15 – 17 – Young Adult Friends Conference, Sandy Spring Friends Meeting (Sandy Spring, MD)  To register, go to the YAF Event Registration page.

 

Dec. 9-10: 25th Annual Shoebox Project, 9 am to 2 pm both days. On Saturday, we need about 30 volunteers to unload the inventor, construct the shoeboxes, and fold t-shirts and socks. On Sunday, we need everyone to stuff the boxes with supplies for the homeless, wrap them, and help deliver them to local shelters. For more information and to volunteer, text CJ Lewis at 202.704.4430 or email Steve brooks at sbrooks@uab.edu

 

Dec. 24: Come to the FMW Christmas Eve Potluck, Sing-along and Worship. Doors open at 5:00. Please bring enough to share for 10 or more people. All are welcome. For more information, call the office at 202.483.3310 or email admin@quakersdc.org

 

Thinking About Race (December 2017) - Beyond William Penn and the Lenni Lenape

At the end of the 18th century, Friends were alarmed by continued public detestation of and violence toward Native Americans and feared they would be exterminated as a people.  The Quakers’ desire for just and humane treatment of the First Americans brought together a collection of Friends who would systematically focus on this matter.  The Indian Affairs Committee, a standing committee established in 1795, is Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s oldest, continuously operating committee working on a social concern and specifically addressing the concerns of people of color.  It was one of the first two committees to which women were appointed. 

Since then, Friends from BYM have interacted in various ways—both in-depth and informal--with citizens of the Shawnee, Wyandotte, Miami, Delaware, Iroquois, Seneca, Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Santee Sioux, Winnebago, Omaho, Nennah, Otoe, Pamunkey, Mattaponi, Lumbee, Navajo, Piscataway, and Rappahannock Native Nations.  In early times, relationships were closest with Shawnee, Seneca and Iroquois people, more recently with Navajo, Lumbee, and Piscataway people.  (Some of these tribes now use their own, non-western names; for example, the Iroquois are actually the Haudenosaunee.)  

To get involved in community education or advocacy, contact Indian Affairs Committee Clerk Sara Horsfall (Patapsco) at 817-875-4016 shorsfall99@hotmail.com  or Pat Powers (Sandy Spring) at 301-460-4939 patricia_r_powers@yahoo.com.  

This column is prepared by the BYM Working Group on Racism (WGR) and sent to the designated liaison at each Monthly and Preparative Meeting.  The Working Group on Racism and the Indian Affairs Committee are sharing this space this month, in order to reach as many local meetings as possible, and to recognize November as National Native American Month.

The BYM WGR meets most months on the third Saturday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Locations vary to allow access to more Friends.  If you would like to attend, on a regular or a drop-in basis, contact clerk David Etheridge, david.etheridge@verizon.net.