FMW Newsletter - November 2019

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Table of Contents:

- 11 Month Query: Religious Education
- In Memoriam - Alex Matthews 
- November Events
- Thinking About Race
- Update on Garden Progress
- Letter: "Thank You For Raising Me as a Quaker"
- Compost at FMW!
- US Census
- Grate Patrol (1st Wednesday of each month)
- Volunteer needed (Work can be done at home)
- Minutes: October Meeting for Business
       * Clerk's Report
       * Major Business
       * Other Business
       * Addenda
         - Committee of Clerks
         - Memorial Minute: Deborah Froelicher Howe

11TH Month Query:

Do you provide religious education, including study of the Bible and of Friends' history and practices, in your Meeting? Do you ensure that schools under the care of Friends exemplify Friends' principles? Do you support and strive to improve the public schools?
Source:  BYM Faith & Practice, Part II The Queries

In Memoriam:

Long-time FMW member and friend, Alex Mathews died on the morning of Wednesday, October 30.  He had recently moved from DC to Providence Medical Center's Hospice unit.  Memorial Service detail will follow.


Pendle Hill Workshop,  Clerking: Serving the Community with Joy and Confidence, November 22-24.   Register soon for our annual clerking workshop with Arthur Larrabee and Steve Mohlke to secure a spot.
For more information contact Pendle Hill: 610-566-4507, ext. 137.

FMW Thanksgiving Celebration, Thursday, November 28, 2:00 p.m.
FMW will host a Thanksgiving Potluck
starting at 2 pm. Please RSVP by Monday, November 25 and let Gene know what kind of dish you are bringing. Someone has already volunteered to bring the turkey, so sides and desserts are welcomed! We will also need assistance with set-up and clean-up!  RSVP/Contact:  Gene Throwe (

BYM Women’s Retreat, February 7-9 and registration is open now!  For more information and to register go to:

So You Want to Talk About Race
Thinking About Race – November 2019

“White People:  I don’t want you to understand me better: I want you to understand yourselves.  Your survival has never depended on your knowledge of white culture.  In fact, it’s required your ignorance.” 

-- Ijeoma Oluo, quoted by Robin DiAngelo in White Fragility, p. 51, chapter 4, entitled “How Does Race Shape the Lives of White People?”

Ijeoma Oluo is the author of the book So You Want to Talk about Race, published in September.  She has written for The Guardian, Jezebel, The Stranger, Medium and The Establishment, where she was also an editor-at-large.

This column is prepared by the BYM Working Group on Racism (WGR) and sent to the designated liaison at each local Meeting.  The BYM WGR meets most months on the first 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 FMW Garden Progress

The baby tree in front of the new lobby is a Trident Maple, which should thrive despite stony, confined root space.  Turf is laid.  The back garden has gone from construction-mud brown to brilliant green.  The irrigation is working, the planting beds have been cleaned up, and baby cuttings from FMW’s same old familiar fig tree have been replanted. On Thursday Merrifield Nursery under Melissa Gildea’s tutelage planted the baby Maple in the tree box cut into our new entrance beside the ramp, and a flowering cherry (this one a weeping Shidare) to replace Marnie Aikens’s memorial tree in the east garden—it will grow up to overhang the fence at the corner.

Thank you for raising me as a Quaker

(Dan Dozier, 38, is the son of FMW members Dan Dozier and Marth Solt)

Via email - Sunday, October 27, 2019

This morning during Meeting for Worship at the 57th St. Meeting I shared how grateful I am to have been raised in the Quaker Religious community.  I shared this because of the following two experiences this week that made me realize how connected I am and happy I feel when I think about the values of this community:

1) In North Carolina I attended a strategy session for the gap year movement with experiential educators and service learning leaders. Upon arriving at the Eco Institute at Pickards Meadow Farm outside Chapel Hill, I had a flood of memories of Camp Catoctin - the mist was rising off the Lake at the Farm in much the same way it did during early mornings at Camp. Moreover, the spiritual energy of the place was very reminiscent of that special place...and the students and adults who call the land home are working to live in harmony with nature and work to achieve social and environmental justice. It was a lovely experience sharing lunch with them and hearing about the experiences these younger people are having together during their respective gap years. 

2) At 57th Street Meeting they continue to have 30 minutes of hymns before Meeting for Worship and as the new arrival I was invited to pick a song, so I asked if we could sing ''This Little Light." We sang many of the same songs from the same Quaker music books as we used to sing at FMW and I shared how nice it was to feel that sense of continuity and familiarity with the songs.

So I just wanted to write to you both to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude for introducing me to the religious community of Friends. It truly is a gift and I am grateful to you both for imparting the values of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality and Stewardship with me. I hope to make Hyde Park my home over the coming years as I work on this Sustainable Destination Management (Stewardship) project in partnership with the Obama Foundation.

Love you,  Daniel 

PS And 'Go Nats!' - good luck tonight! 

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Compost at FMW !

Would you be interested in composting…if there were a convenient way to do it?  FMW is inviting members and attenders to bring their food waste here on Sunday (on a trial basis.  We have to get this right so it’s not yucky and works long term.).  If you are interested, contact Barbara in the office, mornings, 202-483-3310,  Instructions and starter kits are coming soon!

Need a nudge?  Did you know that 40 percent of Maryland’s methane emissions comes from landfill—much of it from food waste?  The figure would be similar in DC. Composting is an important way to reduce landfill waste and to fight climate change because methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas.  Let’s do this, Friends!

US Census:  Participate! 
Did you know that
Census data is used to allocate federal dollars back to DC through entitlement programs such as Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, Housing Vouchers, Title 1 Education Grants, and school lunch programs, just to name a few? The DC government has asked houses of worship to spread the word about why the upcoming 2020 Census matters—wherever you live.  For more information to do:

“Grate Patrol”-help prepare and deliver food to homeless:  Join our Grate Patrol Team!  Once a month members of our FMW community gather at the Meeting House to prepare brown bag meals for the Salvation Army's Grate Patrol (  After the meals are prepared, two of us join a Salvation Army truck driver and go through the streets of Washington, DC and distribute food to our community.  Please come join us on the first Wednesday of the month at 5:15 pm in FMW’s Assembly Room to prepare the food.  The truck arrives at 6:30 pm and then returns to the Meeting House at 8:30 pm.  We welcome your help to make the sandwiches or distribute the food on the truck or both! Kids and teens are welcome.  If you have any questions or want more information, please email Louisa Terrell (

Volunteer Needed – for light task that can be done at home

If you would be game for on hour or two of repetitive work needed for FMW’s fundraising efforts, please contact Barbara in FMW’s office (mornings)  202-483-3310, email:


FMW Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business
Sunday, October 13, 2019

Meeting began in Quaker House Living Room at 12:20 pm with 22 present. We welcomed Igor Chaim.

Query: How do you stay grounded in an unstable world? Friends mentioned several grounding practices: having a morning hour of prayer and journaling, taking restorative walks outdoors (as is advised in the 23rd Psalm), staying connected with F/friends and family, limiting our screen time, staying grounded in silent meditation, and seeing ourselves as part of a larger universe and longer history. Realizing that others have lived through very unstable times, and found a way to persevere despite the instability by following the Light provides inspiration. Turbulent waters seem eternal, but our society has always found a way to right itself. Find joy even in our woundedness. How tightly attached can we stay to these foundations?

Clerk’s Report, October 2019

In Memoriam

  • Memorial service for Kathy Brandt, October 26, 2:00 p.m. If you have anything you’d like to have in her memorial minute, send it to Betsy Bramon.

Upcoming Events

  • FMW Open House, Saturday, October 19, 12:00 - 3:00 pm
  • “Polite White Supremacy” workshop on October 20, noon to 1:00 pm
  • Virginia Friends are reminded to register to vote by October 15 so you can vote at the polls on November 5, 2019.

FMW Events Manager Update

  • We have booked just over $70,000 in event rentals so far in the current fiscal year that began July 1st. High Holiday services for Jewish synagogue Bet Mishpachah occurred in good order and we received much positive feedback from them about how well our spaces fit their needs. Please let any individuals or organizations you work with know about our availability to host weddings, conferences, and other events in our spaces.

Major Business

Membership Committee:

  • 1st presentation for membership of Petra'Rahim Solomon Carnes – Janet Dinsmore. Membership committee recommends full membership for this Friend. She read from Pet’s membership letter. They found them to be a sincere seeker, and appreciated their heartfelt, beautiful message of faith. Pet’s personal pronouns are they, them. This recommendation lies over for one month, as is our custom.
  • 1st presentation for Danielle Green Carnes – Rob Farr. Membership met with Dani and had a thorough and fascinating conversation about Spirit and spirituality. Rob read parts of Dani’s letter, emphasizing her desire to become a member as a public commitment to Quakers and our practice of peace. This recommendation lies over for one month, as is our custom.
  • Tara Tappert requests a transfer to the Lancaster Friends Meeting. Friends accepted this transfer.

Name Search Committee, Gene Throwe:

  • Virginia Avanesyan and Greg Robb were nominated to be on this committee, which nominates the nominating committee members. Friends approved this nomination.

Marriage and Family Relations, Debby Churchman:

  • Second presentation at MfB for the marriage of Carla Salgado and Guy Martorana in December. Friends approved taking this marriage under our care.

Committee of Clerks Report, Betsy Bramon (see attached) Friends accepted the report.   

Property Committee, Merry Pearlstein

Naming rooms at FMW – this is for the newly created room, which they propose to call the Bridge Room (the former deck), and old living room of the second floor apartment, which will be called the Carriage Room. Friends approved these names.

Other Business

A Friend asked about how the people who volunteered for committees during the Committee Fair on September 29 will be nominated for those committees (see ). They will be contacted and, if the committee is so led, nominated soon and start serving in January, if approved.

Anita Drever is no longer able to organize the Catoctin Retreats, and would like other Friends to step up. Friends thanked Anita for her stewardship of this task.

William Penn House was conveyed on September 1 to FCNL. They will renovate it.

Betsy Bramon has recently accepted a job which requires her to move to California. Her husband, Tom, will stay here to pursue his nourishing job. She sees this as fairly short term. Friends advised her that California is on fire and the ground shakes on occasion. Gene will also be stepping down at the end of the year. Friends are encouraged to suggest names to the Nominating Committee. Gene and Betsy recommend co-clerking. Friends neither approved nor accepted these announcements.

Memorial Minute - Deborah Froelicher Howe – Betsy Bramon   Friends expressed appreciation to Hayden Wetzel for doing this work.

The Meeting closed at 1:20 with 22 Friends present, and will reconvene, as way opens, on 11/10/2019



Minutes, Committee of Clerks, 9/29/2019

Meeting began at 9:23 am.

Present: Debby Churchman, Dan Dozier, Betsy Bramon, Rob Farr, Faith Williams, Susan Griffin, Bill Foskett, Allen Faucett, Virginia Avanesyan, Mary Melchior, Gray Handley, Neil Froemming, Merry Pearlstein, Elaine Wilson, Ken Orvis, Rebecca Nelson, Bill Strein, Gene Throwe

Major Items

Finance and Stewardship request regarding committee finances (Bill Foskett)

Clerk reminds that if you’re led to do something you haven’t budgeted for, come to F&S to discuss it. We are here to develop our spiritual life and work for social justice. Also, we’re getting to be a much more complex meeting, and approach to financing may become more formalized.

If someone needs reimbursement, put a package together with receipts, what is expense, what it’s for, what committee. Clerk of committee needs to sign off. We do have a check request form, which Ken will forward to CoC. That form needs an additional line saying that in lieu of a check, the requester asks for tax credit. The form is currently available on our website ( ). Clerks would like someone to convert this to a pdf that can be filled out online. Perhaps we need a separate page under committees called Forms.

Property Committee Request re: cleanup after room use (Merry Pearlstein)

Clerk thanks everyone for tolerating the mess and confusion of construction, and asks for continued forbearance as we bring the place up to date. All our spaces do have multiple uses, so please return space to the condition in which you found it (or better).

We’re trying to have some easily used and stored system for nametags. People are not re-alphabetizing their nametags.

Need to know new process for entering the building. Current system is that there is an automatic door opener with keypad. Either call the office/tenants, or FOPs will have a new 5-digit code. There is a separate code for getting into the office.

Will probably be removing key to old door out of key box and putting in key to new door in the key box.We need to all learn new system and to be very mindful of security, for the safety of our attenders and clients.

[Read ahead] Reflections on White Supremacy Culture Reading

Link to reading:

Clerk Betsy Bramon engaged us in a deep encounter with a document outlining the attributes of a white supremacy culture, offering space to reflect to consider ways we can be more accessible and self-aware as a community that calls for equality of all people. Clerks are reminded that the Meeting as a whole will be engaging with this document with a workshop October 20th at rise of meeting. We are urged to consider, as committees, how our decisions and decision-making process may inadvertently be reflecting white supremacy, and work to become more inclusive and anti-racist in our work.

    1. New Clerks
    2. Committee Milestones
    3. Community Engagement
        - Committee Fair! Thanks to Rebecca Nelson for organizing

1. Illness & hospital stays: Steve Chase in ICU.
2. Deaths & births

Announcements & Follow Up

1. Bet Mishpacha Jewish Community’s high holy days have begun at FMW, this is the first time they are being hosted at our Meeting. Please welcome them!

2. Olivia James is starting an explicitly Christ-Centered Quaker Meeting in DC (

3. Upcoming Event: 9/29 @ Noon: Quaker Volunteer Service’s Claire Hannepel

4. Upcoming Event: 10/6 @ 1pm FCNL DC Advocacy team workshop at FMW. Register here.  Emilie Schmeidler & Galina Sergen are FMW points of contact.

5. Ongoing:

  1. Hospitality volunteers: Contact Greg Robb/Barbara Briggs
  2. Committee list updates: Please send ongoing updates of new members to Nominating, Website, & Administrative Secretary.
  3. Committee outreach & institutionalization: Please continue your inventory (or creation!) of outreach documents, note taking & tracking of committee work. Consider a central google drive folder to share your work.  Try to do basic outreach to share with folks in the meeting about the work of your committee. Need some help? Talk to your clerks, Betsy, Gene or Debby!
  4. William Penn House is going through a transition. Currently undergoing reconstruction.
  5. Mary Melchior has taken up the mission of sending cards to folks. Send her info about folks who could use a card.

Attachments:   White Supremacy Culture by Tema Okun:                           

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Memorial Minute:  Deborah Froelicher Howe 11 July 1920-29 May 2019

Deborah Froelicher Howe came to the Friends Meeting of Washington by transfer from the Arch Street Friends Meeting (Philadelphia) in 1951.  She was born in 1920 in Baltimore to Francis Mitchell Froelicher and Elizabeth Collins Lowery, the latter a relative of this Meeting’s member Grace Lowery.  She married Fisher Howe in 1945.

            Fisher Howe was a State Department officer and the couple frequently lived out of the country on assignment.  Indeed, at the time of her transfer of membership Friend Deborah was in Europe. In the year before requesting membership she had begun volunteering in this Meeting’s Clothing Workroom, an outreach activity held in Quaker House. (Will check on which Quaker House is being described)

            The birth of her daughter Elizabeth (1951) and son Shippen (1955) drew the Friend’s time away from the Meeting. The Overseers Committee in 1956 noted, “It is possible that the combination of small children and husband’s essential [professional] demands make it difficult for Deborah to attend Meeting.  She is a sensitive, intelligent young woman.”

            Deborah Howe’s communications with our Meeting after this time mostly related to her family’s residence abroad: The Hague, Oslo.  She conscientiously kept her address current with us and included short, affectionate notes on her current activities, including attendance at the “very small meeting” in the Hague.

            She and her husband did return to the U.S., first to Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, and in time to Washington, by the 1990s, when she taught modern dance from her home.  In 2000 the couple settled in the Ingleside at Rock Creek retirement community. She joined Friends in serving the monthly International Student House tea. Fisher died in 2015 and our member Deborah in 2019.

            Her family remembers her as a quiet, intelligent and sympathetic presence:  “A woman of peace, she invariably would lift your spirits after having any type of interaction with her.”