Minutes, Meeting for Business, March 2018

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Baby Welcoming



Personal Aid

Spiritual State of the Meeting

Sanctuary Pledge


Friends Meeting of Washington

Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business

March 11, 2018


Query for Worship Sharing:


How do we listen for Spirit in all voices-- young, old, experienced and inexperienced?


Welcome of Visitors

The Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business opened at 12:25 pm with 25 Friends present.  There were three visitors, Shannon Hughes of the Religious Education Committee, Arlene and Dan Lutenegger of the Library Committee.


Clerk’s Report, 3.2018


Upcoming Events

  • 3/24, Anti-Gun Violence March: FMW will plan to march as a Meeting, gathering here in the Meetinghouse to journey together to the march, which begins at noon. We particularly want to hear from teens about how they would like us to support them. Details to come.
  • VOLUNTEERS NEEDED to Welcome and Host Marchers: Plans are proceeding apace for our Meeting to host out-of-towners for the March against gun violence, “March for Our Lives.”  We need volunteers to make dinner on  3/23 & 3/24, and to be present in the Meetinghouse during the day on Saturday. This is a great way for folks who are unable to march to still meaningfully participate.  For more info, contact Jean Capps or the Office.


FMW Highlights

  • FMW Renovation Update: Our ground-breaking event last Sunday was a huge success, thanks to help from Hospitality, Property, and First Day School folks, not to mention the Capital Improvements Taskforce and the Capital Campaign. Thanking everyone in advance for their patience through the next several months of construction.
  • Our new solar panels are fully installed and doing a good job of holding us in the light. We’ve even had a couple of days in which we generated more energy than we used. If you’d like to take a peek at the panel showing electric generation, ask Neil Froeming, Brian Lutenegger, or Ken Orvis for a tour.

Renovation Update

  • Permitting is being finalized this month
  • Expect a 2-4 week delay due to complications connecting the Decatur Place water line to the water main pipe.


Major Business


Cross-Committee Proposal for the Welcoming of Newborn and Recently Adopted Children into the FMW Spiritual Community – Gray Handley

  • After a dialogue together, the Meeting approved the proposal from Marriage and Family Relations, Religious Education, Ministry and Worship, Records and Handbook, and Membership Committees, which collaborated to develop a new set of policies and guidelines for special Meetings for Worship with the purpose of welcoming a new child into our community. This Meeting for Worship for Welcoming will be initiated by the parents of the child. The meeting will be open to all people committed to the child’s growth,  and if the family desires it, can include a certificate which the community will sign (akin to the tradition of Quaker marriage certificates). The certificate declares the Meeting’s commitment to the family, and the family’s commitment to supporting the spiritual path of the child.  For the child of an FMW member, the child will be offered Associate Membership, as is our current custom. Please see the attached proposal for more details.
  • Some friends raised a potential concern that this may be too ritualistic or ceremonial.  The committees considered this, and believe that since Quakers hold meetings for worship with a concern for marriage, for memorializing death, but not for welcoming new life, there was an opportunity. They also clarified that it is not meant to be a ceremony, as it is a meeting for worship, so the group has weighed this concern and found discernment that it fits within existing Quaker process.  At least one meeting in Baltimore Yearly Meeting and in other places around the country have had welcoming meetings for children (sometimes individual, sometimes group).  It is a key support mechanism for not only the child, but also the parents. 


Membership Committee Annual Report – Joe Izzo

  • Friends accepted the annual report.
  • Friends accepted the transfer of membership of Steve Chase to FMW from the Putney Monthly Meeting, Vermont, of the New England Yearly Meeting.
  • Regarding the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting queries for membership, friends discussed the terminology used (i.e. God), but noted that it is not meant to be exclusionary, as there are no theological requirements to believe in God, and each person is accepted where they are at in their spiritual journey.


Library Committee Annual Report – Faith Williams

  • Friends accepted the annual report.


Personal Aid Committee Annual Report – Emilie Schmeidler

  • Friends accepted the annual report.
  • A friend suggested keeping track of the numbers of people assisted, and other basic data to help the Meeting understand the scope of the Committees’ work. The committee seeks some help to determine what kind of data would be useful to collect, for instance, around 75 cards were sent this past calendar year. However, measuring the impact of the work may be very hard to capture, as so much of the work is outreach related.


First Presentation of the Spiritual State of the Meeting – Malachy Killbride

  • Please see the attached report for details. The report will be held over for one month, and during that time, Friends are encouraged to provide feedback to Ministry and Worship Committee.  The final version will be presented at the April Meeting for Business, and if it is accepted by the Meeting, it will be submitted to Baltimore Yearly Meeting.
  • In the past, the Committee has used polling, surveys and/or focus groups or threshing sessions to gauge the Spiritual State of the Meeting. This year, the Committee hosted a series of at least three Worship Sharing opportunities between November and February, however, there was low turnout at the gatherings.  The Committee considered these in-person meetings to have a more spiritual grounding than online polls, and hoped to do more outreach to increase participation in the future.
  • Friends suggested adding an introductory paragraph on methodology to explain how the information was collected, and how many people gave feedback, as well as any other context may help explain the anecdotal nature of this report (especially since there was a low response rate this year).
  • One friend shared that the survey’s used in the past were a useful tool for more guided reflection, and suggested a combination of approaches for next time.
  • One friend raised a concern about the final paragraph of the report which criticises the renovation project, even though the renovation project has garnered great unity from the Meeting, with much discernment over 12 years for us to get to this point of action.
  • Comments and questions should be submitted to the committee within the next month either through Malachy Killbride or Greg Robb.

Nominating Committee Update– Todd Harvey

Friends approved the following:

  • Chad Dobson (M): Representative to the Interfaith Conference of Metro Washington (no term specified)
  • Barbara Briggs (A): Peace and Social Concerns (term ending December 2020). A friend noted how much she has already brought much value to the committee.

Sanctuary Task force Informational Update – Jim Bell

*Please note that the Meeting has taken no official action (approval or disapproval) for hosting undocumented individuals for Sanctuary.  As this necessary vetting by trustees and legal approval of the Meeting for Business has not been done, the Meeting  has“released” the task force to exercise its good judgment in exploring the legal ramifications and fiscal sustainability of all options in order to take official action in the future.

  • As follow up from the pledge forms circulated in the last month to gauge the Meeting’s potential future financial or volunteer support to host individuals for Sanctuary, the Task force informed the Meeting that it intends to do outreach to other nearby BYM houses to gauge their interest. Friends suggested that the outreach be understood as exploratory.  
  • A friend is concerned that asking the meeting to take official action to approve outreach without prior official approval from FMW to host individuals for Sanctuary is not right order.  A member of the task force noted that the Task Force is responding to the Meeting’s request to thoroughly vet the legal factors and fiscal sustainability of hosting an undocumented individual before the Meeting can take official action. The committee noted that part of the reason we are not yet able to commit to formally providing Sanctuary, is due to the fundamental changes the Meeting has with the renovations, which include major changes in our income flow during and after its completion.


Friends APPROVED the minutes as improved, with any necessary edits.


The Meeting closed at 2 pm with approximately 11 persons in attendance to reconvene as Way opens on the second Sunday of the Month, April 8, 2018.


Proposal for the Welcoming of Newborn and Recently Adopted Children into the FMW Spiritual Community

  • For each Welcoming Meeting a welcoming document (certificate or something similar) will be prepared by FMW for the welcomed child and FMW Members and Attenders, as well as all those attending the Welcoming Meeting, will be invited to sign.  For the child of an FMW Member, the document will welcome them as an Associate Member; for the child of an FMW Attender, the document will welcome them as a Member of our Spiritual Community.  The text of the document will express the Friends Meeting of Washington’s joy and commitment to help nurture the spiritual wellbeing and growth of the named child.                     
  • The Friends Meeting of Washington enthusiastically welcomes children born or adopted into families within our Meeting Community.
  • When Members and Attenders families have children joining their families, by birth or adoption, they are invited to request that the Marriage and Family Relations convene a meeting for worship with a concern for welcoming their child into our spiritual community (a Welcoming Meeting).
  • Marriage and Family Relations will invite the child’s parents or guardians to name a clerk for the Welcoming Meeting (the Committee will provide a co-clerk) or, if they prefer, the Committee will identify a clerk and a co-clerk.
  • The Welcoming Meeting will be scheduled on a First Day that is convenient for the family for up to half an hour following the regular 10:30-11:30 a.m. Meeting for Worship and children will be especially welcomed to attend.  Other dates and times also may be used, depending on the wishes of the involved families.  As is the case with Meetings for Worship with a Concern for Marriage, others who care about the child and the family (grandparents, family friends, relatives) also will be welcomed.  The Welcoming Meeting may be convened in the main FMW Meeting Room or elsewhere on the FMW Campus, depending on individual family preferences. 
  • Following the Welcoming Meeting the family may choose to host a celebratory reception or a similar event, but it is not expected. 



Members: Rob Farr, co-clerk, Judy Hubbard, co-clerk, Marcia Reecer, Gray Handley, Joe, Izzo, Janet Dinsmore


While the duties of the Membership Committee remain largely the same —interviewing individuals who apply for membership to Friends Meeting of Washington and presenting recommendations to the Meeting for Business—Committee members continue to be inspired by the moving letters from and discussions we have with applicants.  The variety of paths applicants have taken to bring them to us is a continual source of wonder and appreciation.


This past year, the Meeting was enriched by the following new members:

  • Nicole Else-Quest
  • Chris Wickham
  • Leonard Eoussa
  • Greg Robb
  • Mary Melchior along with Associate Members Preston Bernard Melchior-Fisher, Gregory Montfort Melchior-Fisher and Charles Xavier Melchior-Fisher
  • Monique Russell along with Associate Member Luca Romero Russell
  • Rashid Darden
  • Jesse Finkel and Associate Member Jacob Benjamin Finkel


We are currently looking forward to meeting several new individuals who have requested membership.  It has been an unusually rich period.  Unfortunately, since we didn’t receive answers from 19 over-25 year-old Associate Members whom we contacted to see if they wished to become full members, we had had to remove their names from FMW’s membership rolls. We would welcome them back, of course, and otherwise hope they find spiritual homes in new communities.


The Committee revised its application form adding coverage of sojourner status and transfers. Gender categories now include “Other” and the form specifies the need for an accompanying letter while providing guidance on content. We added a checkoff for Inquirers’ Class attendance and a line seeking an email address.  Applicants can choose whether they wish to add their children as Associate Members or decline.  We also changed the title to “Requests for Membership.”  Debby Churchman was asked to reproduce and use the new version for all future “requesters.”


Among appeals from other FMW groups to which we responded was a request to review a task force report on Assessing Racial Inclusion and Justice.  We did so and asked Marcia Reecer, a task force member, to forward recommendations regarding readings for FMW members and consideration of an interfaith forum at which Quaker practices would be explained. Member Joe Izzo mentioned plans to serve as a Quaker chaplain at Howard University when he retires.


Another appeal regarded the creation of Baby Welcoming Certificates and special Meetings for Worship following the birth of a child.  The Committee supported the idea noting that the certificate would not, however, confer Associate Membership unless the parent was a member and requested it. We await further direction from the Marriage and Family Relations Committee or Ministry and Worship Committee.


The Committee continues to be grateful to Debby Churchman for her insights and work in following up new memberships and membership requests.  Attached are questions we explore, among others, during the clearness interview process with new applicants.  It is an enriching experience.


Submitted by Rob Farr and Judy Hubbard, co-clerks, Membership Committee


Suggestions to Committees Interviewing Applicants for Membership—Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends

  1. Does he believe that God endows every human being with a measure of God’s own divine spirit, which if followed, will lead into all Truth?
  2. Does she understand that Quakerism is rooted in Christianity?
  3. To what extent is he familiar with and sympathetic to the historic testimonies of the Society of Friends, such as non-participation in war, simplicity of living, and human brotherhood?
  4. Has she any reservation regarding testimonies or other matters included in the queries?
  5. Does he impress you as a person of integrity?
  6. To what extent does she feel herself already a part of the Meeting fellowship distinct from formal membership?
  7. To what extent do members acquainted with the applicant feel he is in spirit a member?
  8. Does she feel that the Meeting for Worship strengthens her spiritual life?
  9. Does he understand his responsibility for regular attendance at Meeting for Worship, for supporting the concerns of the Meeting, and for sharing in its work, as well as for supporting it financially?  Does he realize his responsibilities for attending Meetings for Business, including the sessions of quarterly and yearly meetings?
  10. Is she familiar with and understanding of the method of the Meeting for Business?
  11. To what extent is he familiar with the wider family of Friends beyond the local meeting?
  12. If she has up to this time been a church member, why does she wish to change?  If she previously had no membership in any church, why does she wish to join Friends?
  13. What is the attitude of other members of his family toward his joining?
  1. Does she realize that she is asking to join a group which does not accept the final authority of any person or creed but which individually and collectively trusts to the continuing revelation of Light and Truth?



I.       Introduction

The Library Committee continued to prepare for renovation.  Some of the shelves will be removed during the construction, and therefore we have moved most reserve books and bound magazines into the Terrace Room.  We have been going over the shelves, restoring order, and repairing book labels.

  We continue our new system for checkout, using a sign out notebook.   


II.        Finding Books in the Collection and Checking Them Out

First, find the library website, by going to the Quick Links at http://quakersdc.org/  

Or by going directly to http://quakersdc.org/Library

                The books in the Library have been cataloged on http://www.LibraryThing.com.  The FMW Library catalog is viewable at http://www.librarything.com/catalog/FMWLibrary or on mobile devices at http://www.librarything.com/m/ by entering the collection name FMWLibrary. 


Locate books by author, or subject, or title.  To find where the book you want is located, find the call number under the Comments section.  If necessary, ask Library Committee members for help.  If you can't find the book you want on the shelf, check the notebook to see if someone else has it out.


Try to return books within three weeks so that others may use them too. 


 III.      Size, Growth and Scope of the Collection

         In February, 2018,  the Library held 2214 books in the collection, about 30 more than last year at this time.  Additions to the collection came partly from donations this year. We will continue to seek suggestions from the community and look for new titles relating to Quakerism to add to the collection.           


 Before donating books, please talk to committee members. The Library’s scope for collecting includes Quaker history and biography, spirituality, LGBTQ spirituality, mysticism, social justice, and non-violence.  We do hold occasional book sales, and would like permission to sell duplicate or inappropriate books.


IV.        Kindles and E-Books

The library owns 5 Kindle paperwhites  which are available to be used by reading groups in the meeting.   Ask the librarians about this if you are interested.

The Library has also added more links to electronic versions of classic Quaker titles to the Library’s homepage, including John Woolman’s Journal, Robert Barclay’s Apology, and Journal of the Life and Religious Labours of Elias Hicks. We have included a basic introduction to Quakerism website, and a link to another Quaker library which has even more material. If people need assistance downloading these to their own Kindles or other e-book readers, please contact Library Committee members



V.        Membership

  We could always use assistance and actively welcome new members. If you have an interest, please approach one of the committee members.


Members of the Library Committee:

 Abby Thomsen (emeritus)

Patrick Lynam (emeritus)

Michael North  (Meeting Librarian) , belgrade18@yahoo.com

(Michael North, at present not active in the library, is the one who set up Library Thing and cataloged all the books that we have.)

Gene Throwe  ex officio    gthrowe@gmail.com

Arlene  and Dan Lutenegger   dalutenegger@gmail.com

Judy Hubbard     hubbard.judy@gmail.com

Lucy Norman  lucystarrnorman@gmail.com

JiWon Park  parkjiwonssi@gmail.com

Frank Weiss     frankgreyhound@hotmail.com

Faith Williams (Clerk), faithmw@gmail.com

Personal Aid Committee Annual Report for 2017


We must be concerned about the welfare of every member of the Meeting community. While Friends need to guard against prying or invasion of privacy, it is nevertheless essential that Meetings be aware of the spiritual and material needs of members of the community and express caring concern in appropriate ways. – Faith and Practice, BYM

            Committee members: Steve Brooks, Pam Callard, Tom Libbert, Mary Melchior, Lydia Pecker, Emilie Schmeidler

The Personal Aid Committee (PAC) is asked by the Meeting to provide caring concern through practical assistance to meet short-term needs of members and attenders, e.g. transportation, shopping, or meals for those who are injured or ill; compassionate support; limited financial assistance; and by making contact with community members we have not seen for a while. In the process, we listen, identify resources, visit, make telephone calls, track down absent friends and family, and serve on support groups. 

PAC meets monthly to review new or ongoing needs of FMW community members who have sought the Committee’s help or been referred by others. These deliberations are confidential; we strive to maintain the privacy of Friends while responding to their needs. PAC also plans special assistance and public education projects, and addresses other concerns brought to our attention.

Two years ago we picked up an earlier custom of having cards to sign or to write a little note to FMW community members who are celebrating a life event, or who are ill or suffering a loss. In 2017 we sent out over seventy-five cards. We also offer to hold in the Light anyone who requests it for whatever reason.               

PAC works with the Hunger and Homelessness Taskforce to try to address needs of people connected to the Meeting who are homeless (or in danger of becoming homeless). We also developed links with people in Meeting who have extensive experience with social service agencies that may be able to help with financial, mental health, or other needs. This year we were especially concerned about the welfare of two people. One is settled, at least for the time being, and continues his loose relationship to the Meeting. The other, a regular attender, continues to live in a shelter.

Beyond providing short-term personal assistance to individuals, the Committee administers two scholarships to enrich the spiritual life of individuals and contribute to the Meeting’s corporate life. BYM provides each monthly meeting with certificates to encourage those who have not attended the Annual Session to go by providing two days free. In 2017, we distributed certificates for three adults and one child. In addition, PAC gave small scholarships to enable one friend to attend FGC Gathering and another to attend the FCNL Annual Meeting.

PAC continues to work with Ministry and Worship Committee and Healing and Reconciliation Committee on issues of Pastoral Counseling and Community Building. In 2016 and 2017, this working group sponsored a series of workshops. For 2018, the group has organized a reading and discussion of the book, Out of the silence: Quaker Perspectives on Pastoral Care and Counseling.

 During 2017, PAC sponsored “Silence and Solidarity” an interfaith memorial gathering for people who have lost a child.  PAC also sponsored several “Active Bystander” trainings at FMW and in Texas.


PAC relies on members of the Meeting community beyond its formal membership. We rely on the invaluable informal assistance of past members, especially past clerks. Debby Churchman, as Administrative Secretary, helps us in a multitude of ways, especially alerting us to FMW members and attenders in need. For years, sale from Bob Meehan’s Treasure Bread has provided the funds for the Personal Aid budget. The Committee is tremendously grateful to Bob for this long standing and significant contributions to the welfare of our community!

Respectfully submitted,

Emilie Schmeidler, clerk


Spiritual State of the Meeting, 2018


This year the Spiritual State of the Meeting was conducted through gatherings of worship sharing. We focused on our worship together and our experience of community within Friends Meeting of Washington. Several common themes emerged which are reported here. Friends’ experience and concern with the various Meetings for Worship, recent conflict and disturbances, our building project, and social action were shared.


A Friend observed that there are a significant number of young people who attend Friends Meeting of Washington. The Friend thinks this is important. “Young people change the character of the meeting.” Said the Friend. Another Friend remarked that there was a sense of joy when the children join us for worship and this Friend said the presence of the children is a blessing. Another Friend was impressed by the support we give the children at FMW.


Several Friends concurred that committees are a huge part of the spiritual life of FMW. Committee work is important and contributes to the spiritual life of the meeting, Friends said. “It is important to be on a committee. It is how the meeting functions. It is how one gets involved.” one Friend said. Another Friend shared that there is a great strength to the FMW community now. There is activism and people are involved with various social causes these days.


Friends discussed our worship together at FMW over the last year. There has been some conflict and change within the last several months. One Friend noted that we now have 6 separate Meetings for Worship at FMW. The most recently added Meeting for Worship came into existence to address and resolve a recent conflict. The new Meeting for Worship has now taken on a life of its own. “All our Meetings for Worship shouldn’t be the same, each Meeting for Worship has its own characteristics,” a Friend said. However, more than one Friend wondered if the newest Meeting for Worship will survive? A friend stated that the latest Meeting for Worship will survive but only if there is energy behind it.  “The uncomfortable things that happen are a sign of some good which will come” another Friend said regarding conflict in the meeting.  Other Friends also remarked on the various Meetings for Worship at FMW. A Friend noted that there has been a “spiritual deepening” in the last several months since disturbances at Meeting for Worship, in the Meeting Room at 10:30, has been addressed. The goal of our worship is to be “gathered and deep”, a Friend shared.  Other Friends agreed that it is a good thing to have Meetings for Worship which have different characteristics and numbers of those who worship together. “Different People have different needs” a Friend remarked speaking to the different Meetings for Worship at FMW. Although, another Friend observed that “…we are not meant to be a home for everyone, we are a lay-by for some who come to worship with us.” 

Although the FMW construction project and our social action was not a specific topic of the worship sharing for the Spiritual State of the Meeting, Friends were led to share their concerns and thoughts.


The building project has gotten people “disturbed” and it is a part of the upheaval we have been experiencing one Friend said. “We cannot be a part of a community which is only about a building project” one Friend said. “We should be both about social action and a building project” another Friend said. One Friend raised a concern about whether our involvement with social issues will “flourish”? “Having to pay a mortgage is a huge part of what we have to do for the next 20 years. What will this do to our meeting” a Friend said and asked, “What is our dream for the next 20 years?” It was pointed out that the construction project leads to the vibrancy of the meeting because Friends see a future here at FMW. In addition, the growing meetings in Baltimore Yearly Meeting are those under construction, a Friend noted. “What keeps us together at FMW? Is it the construction project or our social action? Or is it the reason for why we are undergoing a building project and for our social action?” a Friend said. One Friend concluded by stating that within the Religious Society of Friends, we value listening. The Friend said “I look forward to holding that value in The Light because we will be tested by the commercial aspect of what we are doing and our social action. Listening will be important to us as we move through the next 20 years.”





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

Email: admin@quakersdc.org