Order of Worship, Meeting for Business, Feb. 2018

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Minutes

Sanctuary Considerations

Sanctuary Pledge

 

Friends Meeting of Washington

Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business

February 11, 2018

 

Query for Worship Sharing: How do we compassionately recognize the ways our Meeting holds implicit bias? How do we work to overcome it?

 

Welcome of Visitors

The Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business opened at 12:25 pm with 22 Friends present.  There were two visitors, Steve Chase and Margot Briggs.

 

Clerk’s Report

In Memoriam

 

Upcoming Events

  • On Feb. 18, we will hold an Open House for Neighbors. In anticipation of our upcoming renovation, we will invite neighbors to stop in, view the video and hear what we’re doing and how it’s likely to affect them. For more information, contact Merry Pearlstein at merrypearlstein@gmail.com.

 

FMW Community Highlights

 

 

Community Engagement at our Meeting House

  • January events were largely devoted to the Dreamers, for whom we provided quite a bit of shelter and care. A group of Jewish activists called Bend the Arc met here to devise their action, which had them risking arrest on Capitol Hill on behalf of the Dreamers—something like 85 of them were scooped up. They came back the next day to do the post-mortem, and said things like, “I felt like I was really living my faith.”
  • The Heinrich Boell folks—Germans who concentrate mostly on climate issues, but look at how climate change is causing massive human migration—were here when the Bend the Arc folks came, and also the next day, when the Detention Watch folks came to strategize an action against ICE. Very synergetic—some good conversations came out of that.
  • The next week, the Seed Project https://nationalseedproject.org/  community advocates seeking better treatment from their employers, were back in action, despite push back from politicians.  Their work is hard and painstaking. Asking Friends to hold these Dreamers in the Light.
  • We hosted the Walmart workers, who are organizing for their right. Hold them in the Light as they go forward with their plans to confront management over their treatment of employees. They were a fabulous group of people—kind, caring, generous and brave.

 

 

Major Business

 

Property Committee’s Semi-Annual Report on Alcohol-included Events - Merry Pearlstein 

See the attached report for details. The meeting accepted the semi-annual report dating from July 1-December 31, 2017. In sum, the types of events with alcohol included weddings, anniversaries, memorial service receptions, educational institution picnics. Approximately $3,000 was generated from these events from FMW’s alcohol specific surcharge, and 10% of that amount is donated to organizations addressing alcohol abuse. The recipient for the donation will be determined by the committee. A friend noted that the Meeting has also provided almost free community space to an active al-anon group for the past year and a half (the value of the space is approximately hundreds of dollars monthly).

 

Nominating Committee- Todd Harvey

Friend’s expressed appreciation to nominating committee for their service in finding attenders and members to serve on committees.  Another friend expressed hopeful anticipation that attenders serving on committees will explore membership.

 

Friend accepted the following resignations with gratitude for their service:

  • Liz Pomerleau, Ministry and Worship Committee
  • Faith Williams Mary Jane Simpson Fund
  •  

Friends accepted the following nominations:

  • Valerie Graff (A) to Hospitality Committee, through December 2020
  • Rob Vaughn (A) to Religious Education Committee, through December 2020
  • Susi Remold (A) to Religious Education Committee, through December 2020
  • Gerry Fitzgerald (A) to Peace and Social Concerns Committee, December 2020
  • Steve Chase (A) to represent FMW at the American Friends Service Committee-DC Office (AFSC-DC), Program Committee, through December 2019.

 

Finance & Stewardship Committee- Neil Froemming standing in for Jim Bell

Friends approved  a transfer of approximately $42,000 in budget surplus from the FY17 operating budget to the Capital Campaign. 

 

Trustees FY17 Annual Report- Dan Dozier

See the attached audit report for details, which was accepted, with gratitude, by the meeting.  In sum, our books are in order and our finances are reasonably healthy. Dan answered some questions related to the Friends Fiduciary Fund, emphasizing the long term nature of our investments.  Historically, Trustees have been more focused on the financial health of the meeting. Technically, the trustees are “owners” or signatories with legal responsibility to maintain the property.   Within the Quaker context, they have an obligation to act beyond this legal responsibility to defer and report to Meeting for Business, which has the ultimate decision making authority.

 

Sanctuary Task Force Update- Rebecca Harris

Rebecca shared about ways to sponsor immigration sanctuary at FMW. As FMW has been considering being a sanctuary church, the financial sustainability of taking on a family or person seeking a sanctuary church  has become a threshold question to be able to move forward. As such, the Task Force is circulating pledge cards to help with the discernment process.   The task force has threshed out what resources would be needed for baseline support to individuals, i.e. basic budget, volunteer needs, etc.  This should also include setting aside physical space for sanctuary, which will come at cost of in-kind rental income.

  • The Task Force is aware of the complications that our upcoming construction zone may bring to how the meeting would physically be able to house individuals.
  • The Task Force is seriously threshing out the legal ramifications for becoming a sanctuary church, in addition to any ramifications it may have for those individuals who donate to the cause. The task force has been working with an attorney, Matt Handley, who has given them legal guidance; we are currently negotiating an agreement with this attorney who has promised pro-bono representation of the Meeting in the event of issues surrounding their sanctuary efforts.
  • The Task Force has reached out to the Trustees regarding the legal implications and responsibilities as well. Dan Dozier will be following up with them.

Friends offered gratitude for the careful deliberation of the Task Force in helping our meeting discern the way forward.

 

 

Friends APPROVED the minutes as improved.

 

The Meeting closed at 1:22 PM with approximately 28 persons in attendance to reconvene as Way opens on the second Sunday of the Month, March 11, 2018.

 

 

 

Sponsor Sanctuary at Friends Meeting of Washington

 

            Members of the Sanctuary Taskforce at Friends Meeting of Washington (FMW) feel a strong spiritual leading to use one of our greatest resources at FMW—namely, our beautiful, extensive space—to offer physical sanctuary to an individual (or two) threatened with deportation as the result of cruel and unforgiving immigration policies and laws. We are currently seeking sponsors to make this possible.

 

            Since the 1980’s, congregations across the US have been providing physical sanctuary to people facing threats of deportation. Over thirty congregations have taken on this commitment in the past year, largely in response to our government’s shift towards increasingly harsh and xenophobic immigration policies.

 

At this point, it is unclear how the current administration will respond to this resurgence of the Sanctuary Movement. Previous administrations have upheld a policy whereby immigration enforcement officers avoid “sensitive locations” like places of worship. However, we have no guarantee that the current administration won’t send ICE into churches or arrest members of religious communities for protecting our neighbors. We view this issue as a moral test for the Trump administration.

 

Note: we have been periodically consulting with an experienced local attorney and taking his advice into consideration in order to minimize the legal liability assumed by those who support sanctuary at FMW.

 

Your Impact

 

Provision of physical sanctuary is not simply about protecting a single individual or family from deportation. It’s about working with impacted communities to send a strong moral message to our government and to the American public.

 

We understand that taking up residence in a place of worship is not necessarily an ideal way for an individual to avoid deportation. That’s why we’ve decided that if FMW ultimately moves forward with provision of physical sanctuary, we will offer this assistance not to any individual trying to evade ICE, but only to those who feel compelled to speak out publically against cruel immigration policies and their impact on people across the country.

 

By financially supporting sanctuary at FMW, you will be providing a platform for a brave individual to turn their own experiences with the US immigration system into a public statement in support of reform. You will also be demonstrating that this individual has the full support of the local faith community in their struggle for compassion and justice.

 

Funding Structure and Goals

 

We are currently seeking pledges to cover $800-$1000/mo. for eight months. Pledgers will only be expected to contribute if/when FMW takes someone in. Please see the attached pledge form for more details.

 

Pledge to Support Provision of Physical Sanctuary

at Friends Meeting of Washington

 

            In the case that Friends Meeting of Washington comes to host an individual facing the threat of deportation, I/we will support this cause by making donations of

 

  • $10
  • $100

 

  • $250

 

  • $25

 

  • $50

 

  • Other: $_____

 

every month to FMW’s  Sanctuary Fund, which will be used to provide support to an individual in sanctuary. I will continue to make these donations until no individuals remain in physical sanctuary on FMW’s campus or FMW’s Sanctuary Task Force determines that this support is no longer needed.

 

Contact Information

 

Name

 

Street/Apt

 

City & Zip

 

Phone

 

Email

 

 

 

________________________________

Signature

 

 

_____________

Date

 

Please return this pledge form to:

 

Friends Meeting of Washington

2111 Florida Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008

(202) 483-3310

Email: admin@quakersdc.org