FMW Newsletter, March 2018

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Sanctuary Considerations

Sanctuary Pledge

Upcoming Events

Thinking About Race

Update, Racism Assessment



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


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  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






City & Zip















Please return this pledge form to:


Friends Meeting of Washington

2111 Florida Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008

(202) 483-3310




March 3: Help make sandwiches for the Grate Patrol to take to our vulnerable neighbors, starting at 5:00 pm. For more information, contact Steve Brooks at


March 4: FMW Groundbreaking Event - In fine Quaker tradition, we will begin the festivities with a potluck at the rise of Meeting in the Assembly Room.  Bring one of your favorite foods to share, enough for about 8 to 10 people. This will be an occasion for the Meeting community to meet the on-site construction team, reintroduce the architects, and pay tribute to the surviving members of past Meeting planning committees, all of whom helped make this dream a reality. There will be appropriate activities for children of all ages. Please join us for this momentous occasion!


March 7:  Help make breakfast for our vulnerable neighbors. Convene at 6:15 am at So Others Might Eat. For more information, contact Tim Schleicher at

March 9 to 11: “From Mourning to Renewed Witness, Pendle Hill, Wallingford, PA. Doug Gwyn and Brian Drayton lead a weekend workshop exploring how Friends throughout history hve mourned the injustices of the world and, led by Spirit, have transformed the melancholy of grief into fresh, resilient witness. For details, go to

March 10: Friends Wilderness Center: Poems in the Cabin, 10 am to 3 pm. Explore how poems enrich our lives with their power to enlighten, challenge and expand us. $10 suggested donation. For details:

March 11 – 15: Examine the Prophets, Pendle Hill, Wallingford, PA. The Prophetic Faith from Moses to Martin, facilitated by Doug Gwyn and John Meyer. Participants will seek to understand the spiritual formation  that undergirds the prophets’ radical social witness. For detals, see

March 17 – Third Month Interim Meeting, Charlottesville Friends Meeting (Charlottesville, VA)  Get to know Yearly Meeting Committees and Friends from other Meetings! Be a part of important decision making. Join Friends for morning committee meetings and the afternoon’s Interim Business Meeting. Charlottesville Friends Meeting will host the Third Month Interim Meeting. Friends will begin gathering at 10:00am. Committee meetings will begin at 10:30. Check the Yearly Meeting website for more information.

March 17 – 20: FCNL Spring Lobby Weekend, bringing 450 young adults to Washington to be trained to lobby Congress on a just and fair immigration system. For more information, see

March 18: Simple Meal, School for Friends, noon, Assembly Room. The wonderful parents at School for Friends bring us a delicious meal every year, in honor of our historic role in their school. Enjoy!

March 24 - 25 – Junior Young Friends Conference, Frederick Friends Meeting (Frederick, MD)  Junior Young Friends should plan to begin arriving at 10:00am on Saturday. For information, check the Young Friends website ( or contact contact Jocelyn Dowling. (301-774-7663) Please remember that the deadline to register and be guaranteed a slot is one week before the conference (March 9). Any one registering after that date will be placed on a waiting list and may not be able to attend.

March 24 - BYM Peace and Social Concerns Committee Networking Day, Friends Meeting School (Ijamsville, MD)   Based on last year’s survey & other suggestions from Monthly Meetings, Networking Day will offer an opportunity for folks from various BYM Meetings to meet and exchange ideas and resources about each others’ successful Peace & Social Concerns programs. We also will offer four, practical 90-minute workshops for your most popular topics--two in the a.m. (A) and two in the p.m. (B), each led by Friends with experience in these areas:

  1. How Friends can speak to polarization & racism in our communities
  2. Strategies for addressing homelessness, reentry & poverty – shelters, “open tables” & more
  3. Immigrants, refugees & sanctuary in our midst (update - new resources)
  4. Issues and outreach: Peace festivals, death-with-dignity, LGBT, animal rights, healthcare under Trump

Workshop sessions will begin at 11 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. During breakfast/arrival time, Friends will be encouraged to mingle and share info. about specific programs/activities of our own Meetings. Coffee, bagels & pastries will be provided at 9:30; lunch (wraps, salad, chips, drinks) will be provided at noon. Vegetarian/vegan treats may be included both times. Donations are welcome, but not required, to assist with our Networking Day costs (est. $14 per person). REGISTRATION INFORMATION: Please let us know by reply email-a) participant name(s), b) email(s), c) Meeting for each participant, and d) which two workshops you prefer to attend. (NOTE: If you are interested in more than two workshops, but cannot attend them all, we will have extra copies of resource materials that you may take with you back to your Meeting.) Also, please tell us if you need child care or have any other special needs. Our final date for responses will be Mon., 3/19/18.

March 24: March for Our Lives – (from the students in Parkland, Florida) On March 24 we will take to the streets of Washington, DC and our communities across the country. We will be the last group of students who have to stand up for fallen children due to senseless gun violence. March with us. Sign up at


April 3 – 5 – ACT Now! Unite to End Racism  Baltimore Yearly Meeting is supporting three days of action planned by the National Council of Churches and other religious organizations in honor of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Please join in this effort in any way you can. Participate in the events–offer hospitality to traveling Friends and others–publicize the event among your own social network–and hold in the Light healing around race in our country. The organizers of this event write: “We challenge ourselves and our communities to join in truth-telling, leading to actions that right the wrongs, and, with God’s grace, bring healing and wholeness to all people, and unity to the nation.” For more information, go to Annapolis Friends Meeting has gotten things organized for all of us. (Thank you!) Please go to to see how you can help and to sign up.

The Events of ACT Now! Unite to End Racism:

Tuesday, April 3: Ecumenical Worship Service in the Orthodox Tradition

  • 6:30pm: St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 2815 36th St., NW, Washington, D.C., 20007

Wednesday, April 4: ACT to End Racism Rally on the National Mall

  • 7-8am: Silent Prayer Walk to the National Mall
  • 8-9am: Interfaith Service
  • 9am-4pm: Rally and Call to Commitment

Thursday, April 5: National Day of Advocacy & Action


April 5 – 8 – QPCC – Quakers in Pastoral Care and Counseling: Annual Conference, Quaker Hill Retreat Center (Richmond, IN)  QPCC members are Quaker (mostly) chaplains, counselling professionals and pastors. Quaker life and counseling practice has always included elements of mindfulness, and we find there is always more to learn. With this in mind, we invite you to come to the next QPCC conference/retreat to be held on April 5 to 8 at Quaker Hill Retreat Center in Richmond, IN. Our conference retreat theme is: Awakening Together: Exploring Mindfulness, Healing Ourselves, Healing the World. Led by Valerie Brown, JD, MA, PCC, a Friend, international retreat leader, spiritual director, author, accredited leadership coach, and Center for Courage and Renewal facilitator. Registration is open now. Check the QPCC website for more details at ‘Small groups’ as usual, sharing with new and old friends and we hope to adopt a new strategic plan for QPCC.


April 8 – Programmed Worship, Baltimore Monthly Meeting, Stony Run (Baltimore, MD)

Everyone is invited to worship with Kenyan and Evangelical/ Orthodox Quakers from the Baltimore area. This Meeting for Worship is under the care of Stony Run Friends, but operates with its own Committee of Care, monthly on the second First day of the month, at 2:00pm. Kenyan Friends seeking a Kenyan Meeting are warmly invited. Social hour at the rise of Meeting, approximately 4pm. Please contact Sujata Massey,, or Gilbert Imbayi, for more information.


April 14 – Friendly Sing, Gunpowder Friends Meeting (Sparks, MD)  The Quaker Women’s A Capella Choir invites you to a Friendly Sing on Saturday, April 14th from 10am to 3pm in the Meeting House. F/friends from all over BYM are invited to join our singing leader, Ruth Fitz, for a day of singing. We will break at noon for a meal so please bring a bag lunch. Drinks and dessert will be provided. Please let us know if you need childcare by emailing the names and ages of your children to Diane Bowden at by Wednesday, April 5th. Contact for overnight hospitality. Strong and shy singers are welcome to join this circle of F/friends singing rounds, sacred chants, spirituals, peace songs, hymns, and fun songs. We will sing together to energize our bodies and nurture our souls, with music that affirms our diversity, reflects our beauty, and celebrates our unity. No singing or music reading experience is necessary to participate, just a willing spirit and a desire to sing.


April 21 – Yearly Meeting Apportionment Meeting (South Edition)  Williamsburg Friends Meeting (Williamsburg, VA)  The annual apportionment meetings will take place this year on April 21 (hosted by Williamsburg Friends Meeting) and April 28 (hosted by Eastland Preparative Meeting of Little Britain Monthly Meeting.) These are brown-bag lunch events which begin at 9am and continue until 3pm. The morning will be devoted to the first review of the 2019 apportionment and operating budget. There will be a general interest program in the afternoon. Details will be available later.



Thinking About Race– Service to the cause of racial equality


“It does no service to the cause of racial equality for white people to content themselves with judging themselves to be nonracist. Few people outside the Klan or skinhead movements own up to all-out racism these days.  White people must take the extra step – they must become anti-racist.” 

-- Clarence Page, 1996


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 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,


Update on Assessing Racial Inclusion and Justice

 The FMW Working Group on Racism has met so far with about half of the Meeting’s committees and other groups about its racial inclusion and justice assessment. Those interactions have identified several actions that Meeting groups have undertaken and a much longer list of actions recommended by those groups, but not yet undertaken. The Working Group will engage the remaining groups over the coming months. Here are the lists of actions taken and recommended so far:

Actions taken

  1. Hang a banner for our Fence Ministry in support of Black Lives Matter.
  2. Make our space available to outside groups who would not come through our doors otherwise.
  3. Peace and Social Concerns Committee is interviewing Friends who do social justice work, reporting it in the Committee newsletter and inviting readers to join those interviewed in doing the work.
  4. Friends attended a presentation at Metropolitan AME about Richard Allen (the Philadelphia -based founder of their denomination who had numerous Quaker connections) and invited AME members to offer adult education sessions about their founder at FMW.
  5. Sanctuary Taskforce is working with other houses of worship and building coalitions with them.
  6. Conduct book discussion groups addressing the Black experience, Quaker responses to enslavement, and white people’s experience learning about racism.
  7. Wrote to Friends Fiduciary to empathize the Meeting’s commitment to racial justice and asked how their investments reflect that commitment. Received a detailed response.
  8. Appeal letters sent asking Friends to be generous in giving to the Meeting to eliminate fees for Meeting programs that create barriers for Friends with limited financial resources.
  9. Meeting committees asked to consider including in their budget requests funding for activities designed to reduce barriers to participation by people of color.
  10. Hosted presentations on slavery, lynching and voting rights.


Actions recommended

                Promoting Racial Understanding

  1. Adults can plan with the RE committee and FDS classes to lead activities that promote an understanding of race and privilege.
  2. Include a query about white privilege in the regular rotation of queries printed in the announcements and read at Meeting for Business.
  3. Add books on race and multi-culturalism and to both the main library and the children’s library.
  4. Invite young people from DC high schools to speak to us about their experiences and what needs to be done.
  5. Share widely Shan Cretin’s presentation at 2017 BYM annual sessions.
  6. Conduct worship sharing around racism and spirituality.
  7. Offer workshops on white privilege.


Reaching Out

  1. Promote the works, events and renovation of FMW on social media that is read and used by people of various ethnicities in DC, such as news sites and neighborhood email lists in zip codes 20008-20012.
  2. Be sure our outreach includes Howard University and communities/student groups for people of color on other campuses in the DC area.
  3. Support the work and encourage participation in BYM camping and youth program efforts to promote access for campers of color.
  4. Establish relations with African-American churches with progressive values (for example, Peoples Congregational UCC or Metropolitan AME).
  5. Encourage Friends to invite friends who may be interested because we support self-care for those who care about social justice.
  6. Partner with another congregation and share service projects or recreational activities, retreats, lectures and workshops.
  7. Leave flyers about our activities in the lobbies of apartment buildings and post information on neighborhood email lists,
  8. Reestablish an outreach committee to develop and implement both outreach and welcoming guided in part by advice from the BYM Outreach Committee.
  9. Use the Simpson Scholarship Fund as a vehicle for connecting with other congregations in DC that are demographically different from us.
  10. Have an all-FMW social event and invite other congregations to join us.
  11. Explore whether FMW should be a sanctuary congregation.
  12. Encourage everyone to wear name tags and stress the importance of learning visitors’ names in ways that do not suggest that their names mark them as outsiders.
  13. Invite new people into Meeting activities consistently—reaching out to them repeatedly if needed.
  14. Invite people individually to the Assembly Room for social hour.
  15. Invite people of color who are not currently on a committee to sit in on committee meetings and find their niche.
  16. Advertise in publications and on websites that are read mostly by people of color.
  17. Avoid charging fees for FMW activities.
  18. Hang pictures of noted Friends of Color in the Meetinghouse.
  19. Create queries that would be helpful for mixed race/mixed culture couples.
  20. Work to diversify the leadership of our Meeting.
  21. Encourage more Friends to learn Spanish.
  22. Ask African American Friends to speak to the Ministry and Worship Committee about their experience.
  23. Provide hospitality to groups of color who come to DC to advocate.
  24. Increase follow-up efforts with first-time attenders who fill out the guest book at the rise of Meeting.
  25. Connect newcomers with reading groups, spiritual formation groups, and other small groups and encourage those groups to invite people of color to join them.
  26. Hold “welcome Quakers in my hood” parties on a zip code by zip code basis.
  27. Reach out to trans people and ask them how we can be supportive.


Working in Community

  1. Invite youth groups from nearby congregations to collaborate on service projects like Grate Patrol or DC Central Kitchen.
  2. Include Friends of color on the DC government list of folks legally allowed to sign FMW wedding certificates.
  3. Establish a long-term relationship with a DC middle school and collaborate with other congregations that have already adopted the same school.
  4. Increase understanding among Simpson scholarship recipients of Quaker values and practices and increase resources available so scholarships offered can be expanded.
  5. Find someone to replace Susan Meehan on the D.C. Council of Churches whenever she decides she needs a replacement.
  6. Advertise occasional presentations about Quaker worship in neighborhoods around us.
  7. Provide a space at rise of Meeting for folks to discuss the worship they just experienced.
  8. FMW social activists could partner with and learn from All Souls Unitarian Church on issues of social concern and learn how they work to include both people of color and white people.


Meeting’s business relationships

  • Increase the number of contracts to organizations owned by people of color either to use FMW facilities or do work for the Meeting
  1. Provide a suggested list of local vendors of color for events held at FMW.
  2. Hire more Friendly Event Presences who are people of color by recruiting through Howard University, University of the District of Columbia, and community service agencies that serve substantial numbers of people of color.