FMW Newsletter - December 2019

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Table of Contents

12th Month Query
Featured December Events
FMW Draft Queries for Racial Justice
BYM Declaration as an Anti-Racist Faith Community (Adopted August 2019)
Thinking about Race:  MD Prison Population
Special Section:  First Day School's Mobile Project

Minutes-Meeting for Business, November 2019
-Clerk's Report
-Major Business
-Other Business

-Religious Education Committee Annual Report 2019
-Records & Handbook Annual Report 2019
-Ministry & Worship Annual Report 2019
-Peace & Social Concerns Annual Report 2019
-Young Adult Friends Annual Report 2019
-FMW Garden Committee Annual Report 2019
-Friends Nonprofit Housing Inc. Annual Report 2019
-Peace Tax Foundation & National Campaign for Peace

12th Query: The Environment

Are you concerned about responsible use of natural resources and their nurture for future generations? Do you try to avoid wasteful consumption and pollution? Do you seek to preserve the beauty and balance of God's world?  (Source: Humankind and the EnvironmentCivic Responsibility, BYM Faith & Practice, Part II The Queries)



Policy Studies Organization 2019 Dupont Summit on Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy at FMW on Friday, December 6.  PSO invites FMW members and attenders to attend this all-day conference free of charge.  For more info go to:

Pastoral Care Working Group, Dec 8, 9:15 a.m. in Carriage House Room.   All are welcome.  We will discuss whether to read together Charles Vogl’s book, The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging; to co-sponsor a workshop on clearness committees; and whether to organize a workshop on listening as a spiritual discipline.  Contact: Sabrina McCarthy,, 240.778.5234.

Shoebox Project, Saturday & Sunday, December 14-15.  Please join us in preparing useful gifts for homeless men, women and children in DC area shelters.  (Collecting old greeting cards now! Please bring yours to FMW--the box by the bench or give to the office.)   For more info on Shoebox Project, text CJ Lewis at 202-704-4430.

Wedding of Carla Salgado and Guy Martorana under care of the Meeting will be held Saturday, December 14 at 6:00 p.m. in Quaker House Living Room.  Members and attenders are invited to join.

Christmas Eve potluck and worship, December 24, 5:30pm:  All are welcome at our annual Xmas Eve gathering which will begin with carol singing and a short but meaningful Meeting for Worship, followed by supper at 6:00 pm.  Please bring food for at least 8 people (along with a serving utensil).  Plan to take your (unwashed) dish back home that evening. For more information, contact Martha ( or Debby ( Merry Christmas!

 FMW Queries for Racial Justice


The Change Group on Racial Equality plans to ask our Meeting to make a significant change in the way we make decisions. As you may have heard, both Friends General Conference and Baltimore Yearly Meeting have been examining their institutions to see where they may be perpetuating racism. They have each come up with a set of queries to use when the group makes a major decision. Also, in 2019, Baltimore Yearly Meeting passed a Declaration, affirming their desire to be an anti-racist community.

Our Change Group has studied these queries and come up with our own set. They are listed below. We are also attaching the Declaration.

We plan to bring these queries to the December Meeting for Business. If passed, they would be used at Meetings for Business to aid us in our decision-making process. 

We want the FMW community to be able to consider these queries deeply--both the questions themselves and the ongoing need for the focus that they bring to any decision-making process. We have therefore scheduled a Threshing Session for Saturday, December 7 at 2:00 pm at the Meeting House. We very much hope you can come and share your wisdom as we seek to better understand how Spirit is leading us to shed our culturally enforced racism and create an anti-racist Meeting.

FMW Queries for Racial Justice – Draft
November 2019

1. How will we provide opportunities for those most likely to be directly affected by our decision to influence that decision?   

2. How could this decision affect those who have been harmed by racist behavior?

3. To what degree have privilege, class, stereotypes, assumptions, and our ability to include other perspectives affected this decision?

4. Will this decision promote equity, diversity, and inclusiveness? Will it enable us to be more friendly and whole?

5. How does this decision support the declaration of our Yearly Meeting that we aspire to be an anti-racist faith community?


Declaration by Baltimore Yearly Meeting as an Anti-Racist Faith Community (Adopted on August 6, 2019)

In struggling with how to ensure that our Yearly Meeting is an anti-racist faith community, we have come to some convictions.


We Friends are of many skin colors, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, stages of life, and socially constructed racial identities. We are all seeking the Spirit’s presence in our lives, and in our life together. We recognize that some of us have experienced oppression and marginalization in ways that others have not. We aspire to live as members of the blessed community, which is one of liberation, equity, and great diversity across all differences.[1]


 Simply “addressing” racism is too weak. Believing that we can simply end racism is too optimistic. Our response to racism must be to challenge it, to confront it, to correct it, and to heal this societal infection.[2]


We are committed to discerning how our Meetings at all levels can be more inclusive and welcoming to all, can encourage participation and leadership among all Friends, and can build an anti-racist, multicultural community.[3]


We will focus upon being more authentic (sharing the real me), logical (being rigorous in my thinking), and empathic (my being in it for others).[4]


We are encouraged by a practice that was adopted by the Board of Trustees at Pendle Hill Conference and Retreat Center several years ago to vet each decision using the following queries: 1. How might this decision affect people from other cultures or those within the same culture who have different experiences, perceptions, belief systems, and perspectives from our own? 2. To what degree have privilege, class, stereotypes, assumptions, and our ability to include other perspectives affected this decision? Will this decision promote inclusiveness, allow equal access, and welcome those we perceive as different from ourselves? 3. How might this decision advance Pendle Hill’s goals of promoting diversity, fostering justice, and creating the Beloved Community for all people? [1] Baltimore Yearly Meeting Statement of Vision (2016, adopted as revised) [2] Baltimore Yearly Meeting Epistle (2017 Annual Session) Baltimore Yearly Meeting Epistle (2018 Annual Session) [4] Pettus, C. (2018). A Descriptive Analysis of the Views of People of Color Regarding Building a Bigger and Better Worship Community (A report submitted to the Growing Diverse Leadership Committee of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting)


Using queries to examine how our decisions may promote inclusiveness, allow equal access, and welcome those we perceive as different from ourselves could, we believe, guide us in our deliberations. It will also make us more accountable for our actions and less likely to be satisfied with a statement that sounds laudatory, but proves empty or even harmful. In that regard, we seek to always be able to answer the following queries:

1. How could this decision affect those who have been harmed by racist behavior?

2. To what degree have privilege, class, stereotypes, assumptions, and our ability to include other perspectives affected this decision? Will this decision promote equity, diversity, and inclusiveness? Will it enable us to be more friendly and whole?

3. How will we provide opportunities for those most likely to be directly affected by our decision to influence that decision?

4. How does this decision support the declaration of our Yearly Meeting that we are an anti-racist faith community?


We will reach out to and welcome others we do not yet know, but who are God’s children, as we are. This must be done with warmth, compassion, love, and truth so it is rightly ordered (has integrity) and reciprocated in love and peace. Further, we will include friends-to-be in our activities and welcome their questions and differences in understanding and action so as to develop friendships and become a whole community, richer due both to our more diverse composition, perspectives, and strengths and to the truth and love we have grown and used in the process.

# # # # #

Thinking About Race (December 2019)
More of Maryland’s prison population is black….

“More of Maryland’s prison population is black than in any other state in the nation, a new report found.

“More than 70% of Maryland’s prison population was black in 2018, compared with 31% of the state population, according to the report. That rate far surpasses the next closest states: Mississippi, South Carolina and Georgia, researchers found.

“The national average is 32% of a state’s prison population is black.

“ ‘The rates of incarceration for young black males is the highest of anywhere in the country,’ said Marc Schindler, executive director of the Justice Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit, that aims to reduce incarceration. On Wednesday, the group released a report on the racial disparities in Maryland prisons.

“Maryland Public Defender Paul DeWolfe called the report’s findings ‘shocking, but unfortunately not surprising.’

“ ‘We see these racial disparities in who our clients are and how they are treated every day,’ DeWolfe said, ‘and we are constantly challenging exceptionally lengthy sentences that are imposed on black and brown youth.’

“DeWolfe said the state’s prison population is larger than it should be partly because of policies that allow for racial disparities in sentencing.

“ ‘Hopefully, this report will encourage meaningful reform to provide Maryland with a more just system,’ he said.”

See .  This story, of which excerpts appear above, was reported by Jessica Anderson in the Nov. 6, 2019, edition of the Baltimore Sun.  The article contains a link to the full report by the Justice Policy Institute.

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,

Special Section: First Day School Mobile Project!


Friends Meeting of Washington
Minutes: Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business
November 10, 2019

Query for Worship Sharing: How does Spirit open you to gratitude? What are you grateful for? Friends expressed gratitude for a new home, the guidance of spirit, the health of a partner, for the partnership itself, for their family, for the support of this community through difficult FMW-related issues,

Meeting began at 12:16 with 32 Friends present. We welcomed Jacob Ritting.

Clerk’s Report, November 2019

In Memoriam

Alex Mathews died 10th month, 30th day, 2019. The family will hold a memorial service here in the spring, date to be announced.

We will hold a “blue Christmas” meeting for those who are grieving, sometime in December.

Upcoming Events

  • On Monday, Nov. 11, there will be a meeting for all at FMW who are interested in the Washington Interfaith Network and their work on behalf of our vulnerable neighbors.
  • No plans for Thanksgiving? FMW will host a Thanksgiving Potluck on Thursday, November 28 starting at 2 pm. Please RSVP Gene by Monday, November 25
  • Shoebox Project (December 14-15) is collecting old greeting cards now.  Each year, FMW friends prepare over 1,000 holiday gifts for homeless men, women and children.  For many, the weekend has become a most meaningful way to mark the holidays.  The packages are decorated with donated greeting cards.  Please bring yours to FMW.  Leave them in the box by the bench on Sunday, or bring them to the office during the week.   For more info, call or text CJ Lewis at 202-704-4430
  • Alliance for New Music Theatre, Dupont Underground kicks off its season with a double bill of Václav Havel’s Protest and our original music-theatre production Vaněk Unleashed as part of the Embassy of the Czech Republic Mutual Inspirations Festival, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.  Through November 17.
    For info & tickets go to:

Renovation Update

  • Garden progress: Turf is laid in the back garden and 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 a Trident Maple in the tree box cut into our new entrance beside the ramp, and re-planted a flowering cherry (this one a weeping Shidare) to replace Marney Aikens’s memorial cherry in the east garden—it will grow up to overhang the fence at the corner.  Today, First-Day Schoolers will re-plant bulbs in the memorial planter in front of Carriage House that was demolished and rebuilt.  In the front, the rain garden has been planted (by YAFs and YFs and others) with Joe Pyeweed, holly shrubs, sedges, a version of butterfly weed, Asters, and Lobelia--all native.  On the roof, our Green Roof is filling in nicely and several of the species have already blossomed. -Ken Orvis

Major Business

Religious Education Annual Report (see attached) - Jacob Ritting and Allen Fawcett presented. They are relatively new to FMW and clerkship. THere has been a very successful start to the Fall First Day School program, including a mobile project which will be installed on Dec. 8. Marsha Holliday has started a Bible study with the older kids. T/weens have been baking cookies for our vulnerable neighbors.

Problems with Child Safety Policy:

We have a huge number of volunteers. How do we balance being able to bring on volunteers and minimize the burden of bringing on new people while doing background checks and complying with child safety?

Friends expressed gratitude for the good communication of the RE committee, and for their flexibility in having to move constantly during the reconstruction. Friends asked what kind of support the RE committee might need. RE will be contacting those willing to be teachers later this Fall.  They need a pool of about 20 teachers to make this work. The Administrative Secretary willing to discuss how to do the background checks in a way that is easier for RE. Friends are grateful for the RE leadership during a time when there was a convicted child sex abuser attending our Meeting, and for enforcing the child safety plan. The background check is the standard for all children’s programs. RE clerks said they’ve gotten pushback on this as not feeling welcoming. They are trying to discern how to do this in a less onerous way. The Administrative Secretary may be able to do the checks on Sundays.

Child Safety will work with RE over child safety issues detailed in the report. When that is completed, the report will be brought back to Meeting for Business.

Membership Committee - Rob Farr, Clerk of Membership, made the second presentation for these Friends.

Petra’Rahim Solomon Carnes. Their membership was approved.
Danielle Green Carnes.  Her membership was approved.

A Friend asked for a clearer process for newcomers to get into the Directory. The Administrative Secretary is working on a better process. She will work with this Friend. Another Friend asked for a better way to get nametags for those who don’t have them. Merry Pearlstein will take that on. Robb Farr will work with her. The Property Committee is trying to figure out a good system. A Friend asked if we can get photos of the new members. Membership will contact Basil Kiwan to see if we can update the photos

Marriage and Family Relations Committee – Gene Throwe

The marriage of Matthew Higgins and Rachel Miller-Ziegler was accomplished in good order on October 24, 2019. Most guests were not Quakers, but commented on how wonderful the meeting was.

Nominating Committee - Todd Harvey


Elaine Wilson (M), 1 year term ending 12/20, Peace & Social Concerns. This will be laid over for one month, as is our custom.

Justin Kwong (A), 1 year term ending 12/20, co-clerk Property Committee. This will be laid over for one month, as is our custom.

Resignation: Betsy Bramon (M) as co-Clerk of the Meeting. She has moved to California for a new job. Friends accepted with sorrow, and thanks for the tremendous work she did as co-clerk.

Friends expressed a desire for the return of a literature rack with information about membership, etc. The Administrative Secretary will work on this.

Property Committee - Merry Pearlstein and Lewis Randa

    Placement of Memorial Stone for Victims of Conflict, brought to us from the Peace Abbey, to memorialize civilian victims of war. Friend Lewis is a member of Wellesley Friends Meeting. As a counter to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, he and his students created a tomb to the unknown civilian. His group tried to bring this to Arlington National Cemetery. To do so would have required an act of Congress, which they were unable to get. They brought it anyway, where it was rejected. They shipped another one to Ireland, and then to Liverpool, and then to Coventry in the bombed out cathedral. Another was created, and went to Hiroshima. Now, 20 years later, they wanted to bring a copy to Washington. The Peace Abbey tried to work with the Washington National Cathedral but the Cathedral said no. He then reached out to FMW. He asks that we hold it for a year, and then pass it on to another house of worship. He’s hoping it will go to National Cathedral eventually. The stone weighs 2000 pounds. They would arrange for a small crane to be here to lift it. They will create a new stone just for this. It will be pulled from Gettysburg. They will be responsible for the logistics of getting the stone here.

Peace & Social Concerns affirms this and is working to support it.  Friends asked what we need to do to prepare the ground. Typically it lies flat. They will take responsibility for doing this. We would like to put it outside the fence, if we can get permission from DC to do so.

A Friend objected to it not being inclusive enough—we should honor Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob. Friends are known for the lives they live, not the monuments they erect. What about those who have died of gun violence, domestic violence, other forms of violence?

A Friend points out that we have a history of being a voice for the voiceless. This seems little enough to ask.

A Friend points out that interpretation is important so we need to discuss that.

Friends decided to convene a threshing session over this before granting approval.

Ministry and Worship Committee Annual Report - Greg Robb, Clerk. Report is attached. The committee reminded Friends to protect Meeting for Worship from partisan politics, especially as we go into 2020. We try to be the seekers of Truth, not the dispensers of Truth.

Also, please sit closer to the middle so we can save spaces near the edges for latecomers.

M&W will also work on the nametags, guestbook, and Directory.

Friends thanked the committee and its clerk for their good work.

Friends accepted this report.

 Mary Jane Simpson Scholarship Annual Report – Bill Strein (Report printed separately)

We award six scholarships of $2000/year each. In the last 9 years, 50 students have been awarded scholarships, 46 of whom have attended all four years. The committee gets its membership and support from FMW, Bethesda and Langley Hill. All of the scholars have two mentors to help them. Contact him for a copy of the report. Friends accepted this report.

Record & Handbook Changes Annual Report - Beth Cogswell   The committee worked on two major projects. They revised the committee descriptions in the Handbook, and updated the number of members needed for each committee. The committee will be interacting with each committee to help them deliver regular minutes to the Administrative Secretary. Finally, the committee is embarking on a new update to our history.
A Friend corrected Mary Lou’s last name.
Friends accepted this report.

Peace and Social Concerns Annual Report - Elaine Wilson  The report is attached. The committee decided to join the Washington Interfaith Network, and created a process of awarding the Social Justice Fund. Both the Sanctuary Taskforce and Hunger & Homelessness Taskforce are under the care of the committee.
Friends expressed gratitude for the energy and accomplishments of this committee.
Friends accepted this report.

Young Adult Friends Annual Report - Rebecca Nelson and Joe D’Antonio   YAFs are going strong. Joe will provide continuity into the coming year, as Rebecca steps down. YAFs are doing a good job of pulling young people into our community. They did fewer activities last year, but are hoping to do more next year. A lot of YAFs are submitting their membership letters. A big thank you to Rebecca for her stewardship of the group over the last 2 years. YAFs are expressing a desire to be more spiritual, and the co-conveners are trying to figure out how to meet that need best. Bible study is helping with that—a book club where the book is the Bible.

Friends expressed gratitude for their skill in meeting young friends and getting them involved.
Friends accepted the report.

 Clerk’s Annual Report - Gene Throwe
    - Garden Committee
    - Non-Profit Housing
    - Peace Tax Fund

Friends accepted these reports.

Other Business

BYM Interim Meeting Report – Gene Throwe   A few Friends from FMW attended. Many committee reports given. Focus was on the queries on racial justice, and our effort to be more inclusive and diverse. An incident involving racist behavior by locals in Virginia toward our African American campers was described.

Friends accepted this report.
Minutes were read and accepted.
The Meeting closed at 2:20, and will reconvene as way opens on 12/8/2019.


Annual Report of the FMW Religious Education Committee: 2019

The following is the report of the Religious Education Committee of the Friends Meeting of Washington.

Our focus this year has been building a sustainable, parent and volunteer lead program to provide a Quaker religious education for our children.

Our program consists of four age groups: Nursery (0 to 4), Quakes (4 to ~8), Middle Group (~9 to ~13) and the Teens (~13 to 18).

The nursery is staffed with child care professionals lead by Kattora Enoch-Long on an interim basis during Makai Kellogg’s absence for maternity leave.

The Quakes are being team-taught this year by a group including Julie Johnson, Earl Eutsler, Jessica Wolfey, Alison Snyder, Marissa Yeakey, and other volunteers.

The Middle Group is being taught by Cait Hone, Marsha Holliday, and other volunteers.

The Teens are being taught by Virginia Avanesyan, Hannah Davidson, and Jacob Ritting, and other volunteers.

Transition period

The program was in a challenging place this Spring.

Committee Clerk Shannon Hughes was in the process of moving to Germany with her family and would no longer be able to serve on the Committee. This was a big loss. Shannon served as Committee Clerk, and was also the lead teacher for the Quakes (ages 4-9) on a weekly basis. Her departure resulted in a loss of leadership, and left a major hole in the schedule every week that needed to be filled.

Michael Beer discontinued his role as Youth Coordinator.

And at the same time, Committee members Nicole Else-Quest and Susi Remold were also leaving the area and no longer able to serve on the Committee.

This left Rob Vaughn as the sole remaining Committee member, with Michael Beer, Cait Hone, and Virginia Avanesyan remaining as an ex officio members.

Allen Fawcett and Jacob Ritting, who were new to the Committee, immediately became Committee Clerks, and by default assumed the Youth Coordinator responsibilities, which included setting curriculum, recruiting teachers, and communicating with parents and other stakeholders. In addition, they assumed teaching responsibility to fill the gaps in the schedule, and were asked to implement the continuing obligations of the child safety policy, which includes obtaining background checks for volunteer teachers.

Soon thereafter, Makai Kellogg, who had been the lead nursery school person for several years, and responsible for supervising and scheduling the other nursery staff, departed for her maternity leave.

Recognizing Cait Hone’s contributions to the program this year

The one island of stability amidst this sea of change was Cait Hone. Cait was the lead teacher of the Middle group nearly every week, developed her own curriculum, and scheduled additional adults to be present to conform with the child safety policy.

In addition, Cait stepped up to a leadership role starting in the Spring, serving not as an ex officio member of the Religious Education Committee, but also playing a key role in scheduling lessons, determining curriculum, and coordinating volunteers.

The Religious Education Committee is very appreciative of Cait’s dependability, the wonderful way she had of setting the kids at ease, her well-thought out lessons, her infectious good cheer, and the wonderful connections she formed with the kids. She was a tremendous asset to our Meeting. She made her lessons not only informative, but fun, and the kids loved being in her presence.

Cait let us know that she is ready to step back from her day to day teaching role starting in December. We are very appreciative of her contributions to the program.

Developing this year’s programming

The Committee held a series of meetings in the Spring and Summer to solicit input from parents and other stakeholders about the direction of the program.

Several themes emerged from these planning sessions.

First, a number of parents who wished to volunteer to teach, but felt they needed support in preparing to lead a class, in the form of curricula, lesson plans, or ideas for what to do, and wanted more advance scheduling notice to allow them to prepare themselves to teach.

A number of stakeholders expressed a desire for more content that more directly addressed Quaker religious testimonies and values.

A number of stakeholders expressed a desire for a welcoming environment where their kids felt comfortable, and that building bonds with the other children would greatly increase their kids comfort level, and their interest in regular attendance.

There was a sense that an organizing principle for this year’s lessons could be the SPICES. This is an acronym used by Quaker educators to encapsulate an affirmative statement of Quaker testimonies and values. The acronym stands for the values of Simplicity, Peacefulness, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship.

There was also the sense that the Meeting’s ongoing renovation project was an opportunity to talk about environmental stewardship as an important Quaker value.

Finally, discontent about various aspects of the child safety policy sidetracked several sessions that were scheduled to make decisions and plans about programming for the kids1 .

In addition to these thematic discussions, several offers to lead major programs emerged.

Marsha Holliday volunteered to teach a twelve session Quaker bible study program geared at the Middle Schoolers. She graciously offered to adapt the program to our “Middle group” which serves a broader age range than she had originally envisioned. This program is happening once per month this year, and will likely continue into next year.

Mark Haskell and Elise Stork donated money to hire sculptor Kevin Reese to design and build a mobile for the new stairway as a collaborative project with the kids. This program is underway and includes five sessions where the kids will design and build the mobile with Kevin’s help and guidance. The group decided the piece will have themes of community and stewardship. The final session will be an intergenerational collaboration to hang and balance the piece. This project has been tremendous fun.

Luciaelena Sanchez offered to lead a Quaker choir. Choir practice has been taking place immediately at the rise of meeting.

Hannah Davidson offered to lead the teens discussion group this year, and Virginia Avanesyan offered to continue the teens cookie baking for grate patrol.

Several people offered to teach on a regular basis: Earl Eutsler, Jessica Wolfey, Alison Snyder, Julie Johnson, Luciaelena Sanchez, Emilie Schmiedler, and Elaine Wilson. In addition, Julie Johnson, Earl Eutsler, and Jessica Wolfey offered to collaboratively to take responsibility for lesson planning for the Quakes.

Our Program so far this year

We decided to continue to offer programming in three distinct age groups this year in addition to the nursery.

We planned out lessons for each First Day from August 25 through December, including curriculum and designated teachers for each class.

We began with a discussion of the SPICES and their meaning, as an overview.

We are now about halfway through the mobile project, led by Kevin Reese. To supplement that project, last weekend the group took a filed trip to view the Calder mobiles on display at the National Gallery of Art.

Marsha Holliday has begun her Quaker bible studies course, which has been very well attended.

Earl Eutsler has shared his amazing knowledge of District plant life with the kids, including what parts of plants on the campus are edible (including red bud blossoms, and the berries growing outside the Quaker House, both of which are delicious).

We have included a table of some of the lessons taught this year at the end of this report.

We also instituted a weekly email to parents on Wednesday evenings. The email describes the lessons for the upcoming First Day so as to get people excited and to give parents a better idea about what is happening.

1 We had to institute a rule that the Committee was not going to discuss the merits of the child safety policy to keep things on track.

Looking ahead

It is the goal of the Committee to get the program on a more sustainable path by continuing to reorganize the program around the skills, talents, abilities, and limitations of its existing pool of volunteers, and the resources that are available to them.

Since 2014, the Committee shifted a significant portfolio of responsibilities to a paid Youth Coordinator.

We feel this has been detrimental to the overall health of the program for several reasons.

First, there has been consistent turnover in that position, requiring the group to spend considerable time and energy trying to find suitable replacement for that position, and leaving the program in limbo between hires. The time spent and energy spent on these activities comes at the expense of planning activities for the kids and recruiting volunteers. Second, the responsibilities and expectations placed on Coordinator far exceed what can be performed by a single person on a part time basis, leading to a significant disconnect between what is expected, and what is actually performed 2 . Third, the need to recruit at least five other teachers each week means that the program is still primarily a volunteer one.

Recognizing this, the Committee agreed the Winter/Spring of last year to attempt to hire three part time teachers instead of a paid Youth Coordinator. However, the Committee did not take any steps to advertise or hire teachers before the significant turnover in the Committee that occurred in the Spring.

This is understandable given that recruiting, hiring and training paid staff is a very time intensive proposition, and the competing personal obligations of the Committee members at the time.

We think the better course of action is to (1) recognize that this is a program that depends primarily on volunteers, (2) attract as many volunteers to the program by making the experience of volunteering a positive one, and a supplement to one’s worship, (3) realign the program to reflect these constraints so existing volunteers are not overtaxed and discouraged.

We would also like to have the budget available to us to supplement this pool of volunteers with opportunistic hires. We expect that this will occur organically as capable people emerge who are interested in taking on a more regular responsibility of teaching. One teacher we are currently attempting to hire is an art instructor to help with the Middle group this winter. Rob Vaughn is currently leading this effort.

A related issue is the challenges the program has in complying with its existing child safety policy that requires each classroom to be staffed with two leaders who must pass a criminal background check.

The criminal background check obligation imposes a significant administrative burden on our program and classroom leaders to process the paperwork required to complete the check. The Committee is responsible for distributing a background check form and requesting that the prospective teacher fill it out. Then the form must be collected from the prospective teacher and transmitted to the Administrative Secretary, who performs the check. The results must then be communicated to the Committee and prospective teacher. The results must be compiled and maintained in a database so we can track who has completed the check and renew them as needed.

In addition to this administrative burden, the background check requires that prospective teachers provided personal data in writing, including their social security number. This raises understandable privacy and identity theft concerns.

When trying to recruit and enlist volunteers, it is much better to get people started quickly before they lose interest or forget, and this is often the difference between getting volunteers to participate, or not.

The several week delay required to process a criminal background check effectively discourages

volunteers, even if they are willing to submit to one because of the additional hassle and aggravation involved.

Finally, it does not create a friendly and or welcoming atmosphere to require a prospective volunteer submit to a criminal background check before participating as a volunteer.

These issues must be balanced against the value of the information gleaned from a check, which is limited to whether the person has been convicted of a crime.

We believe that this aspect of the child safety policy may need to be reconsidered in light of the benefits of a streamlined recruitment process for volunteers and the continued oversight and safety provided by other aspects of the child safety policy (e.g. always having multiple adults present during FMW activities that include children).

Finally, volunteers need to be given a chance to recharge and refresh themselves. A recently as five years ago, the program took a break for the summer. Many families travel during the summer, so we have consistently had fewer children attending, while also having fewer volunteers available to lead and supervise first day school. Given the challenges presented by summer first day school, and the limited participation, we think this summer break should be reinstituted.

2 We have attached a copy of the position description to the end of this report. We think it illustrates the expectations placed on the Youth Coordinator. We question whether any person could accomplish all of the responsibilities in any amount of time, let alone 15 hours per week.

Members of the Religious Education Committee:

Allen Fawcett (co-clerk)
Jacob Ritting (co-clerk)
Danielle Carnes
Letty Coffin
Julie Johnson
Roseanna Stanton
Rob Vaughn
Marissa Yeakey
Virginia Avenesyan (ex officio)
Michael Beer (ex officio)
Cait Hone (ex officio)

Other Key Contributors to the children’s program this year:

Marsha Holliday
Earl Eutlser
Jessica Wolfey
Luciaelena Sanchez
Alison Snyder
Emilie Schmiedler
Hannah Davidson
Meg Greene
Elaine Wilson
Ken Orvis
Bob Meehan


Easter story/Easter Egg Hunt
Clagett Farm trip
Seed starting exercise
Rainbow flag creation project
Discussion of the vegetation, including edible fruit, on the campus
Summer play
Origami boats
Paper airplanes
Chalk Art
Sandy Spring Adventure Park (Teens)
SPICES chart
Quaker songs with Luciaelena
Mobile project with Kevin Reese
Baking cookies for grate patrol (Teens)
Marsha Holladay’s monthly bible study class (Middle group)
Tour of new facilities with the Property Committee
National Gallery of Art field trip
Teen discussion classes
Greta Thunberg
Seneca: On the Shortness of Life


November 5, 2019

Records and Handbook has five regularly attending committee members.  They are Beth Cogswell, Clerk, Hayden Wetzel, Historian, Mark Kawar, Elizabeth Nyman, and Mary Lou Shamer.  We meet every other month.

 At present there are several major goals:

  • Collect and maintain a record of all Committee minutes and documents of importance;
  • Locate and maintain easy access to our current records within FMW
  • Send past records to Swarthmore Library, which is the repository for hard copy and digital records of FMW;
  • Create the fourth edition of the history of Friends Meeting of Washington.

In 2018 we worked with committees to have them redefine their mission statements and to consider the number of members they needed to conduct their business.  This was submitted and reported to Meeting for Business in January of 2019.

 We are building on these relationships with committees to encourage regular submission of minutes and other important documents.  These minutes and documents become the foundation for the written history of our Meeting.

 We are also reviewing past records and preparing to write the fourth installment of FMW History.


Ministry & Worship Annual Report, November 2019

The Ministry and Worship Committee’s work this year can be divided into two parts: trying to help make our meetings for worship more “gathered” and trying to foster a greater sense of community at our meeting house.

To deepen the worship, we distributed copies of the Pendle Hill pamphlet “Four Doors to Meeting for Worship” by William Taber. This pamphlet has been a source of inspiration for us. Based on that book, we would like to make a few general points.

Friends are reminded not to rise with their own message right after someone has finished speaking. Give the meeting time to absorb a message. And we would like to stress to all Friends that meetings for worship is a place to seek Truth, not to score political points. Vocal ministry is what is on one’s soul, brought forth by the Spirit.Friends should refrain from debate or contradicting one another. If needed, that can take place elsewhere.

To strengthen community, we have taken the first steps to put in place Friends to serve as greeters for the main meeting. We’ve started using on-line sign up jointly with the Hospitality Committee. But all of this work needs to be strengthened. Everyone in the meeting should help out. We are blessed as a meeting to get so many visitors on a weekly basis. We must continue to work on new ways to welcome them into our meeting and make FMW a community that Friends will want to join.

Over the year, we reimagined the Quaker in the Corner program into a “Welcome to the Quaker Experience.” Once we are able to use the North Room, we want to have a weekly program for visitors and attenders so they can get a cup of coffee and then learn about the Quaker experience.

To celebrate the completion of the renovation, we helped put together a meeting for worship where all the various meetings, including the 9 am meeting and the mid-week meeting, were invited to attend.

One member of our committee plans to sit each week on the Facing Bench to help the various committees sit head of meeting.  We are planning on new greeter buttons to help Friends turn off their cell-phones prior to meeting. We’re working on signs to focus our seating and limit the use of the automatic door so that meeting is not so disrupted by latecomers.

Another planned innovation are gift bags to be presented to visitors with some information about Quakerism and FMW and hopefully a drawing from the First Day School Children.

We want to continue to explore the idea of offering small group worship sharing on First Days following traumatic global events. The committee continues to offer a Friend such a small group worship whenever she would like to return and there are members who would be open to holding that space with her.

We hope this year to continue to work with the Property Committee on a new sound system for the meeting room.  So, all-in-all, a busy year.                       - Thank you,  Greg Robb, Clerk

November 2019

 The committee has been very busy this year.   We have 10 committee members and each committee meeting we have at least 6 in attendance with additional guests coming in on a semi-regular basis.

There were many proposals for events and projects that came to us, some of which we were able to put into effect and some of which we determined were not suitable for FMW.

Here are the highlights of what PSC was actively doing in the past 12 months:

  • We created a new Climate change banner and are regularly rotating it with our Black Lives Matter banner.
  • We endorsed and advocated for the DC Clean Energy Omnibus Act which was passed by the DC Council.
  • We began a several months discernment process on whether or not FMW should join Washington Interfaith Network, beginning our engagement with their meetings and actions in January and February 2019 and eventually determining to join the Network in May.    We participated in Mayor Bowser’s budget round table events asking for an increase to the city budget for legal aid for undocumented immigrants, an item which has now passed into effect.  We organized 18 people to go on WIN’s housing “bus tours” and 7 of those people participated in the June 22 Field Day.  A core group of people from FMW are continuing involvement with WIN and we hope to enlarge the size of this group over the next few months.  We are hosting a supper tomorrow night (Nov 11) here at the meetinghouse to do some teambuilding and to get to know each other better.
  • We sponsored a workshop on Gender and Gender Identity and Expression that was well attended and appreciated by all who participated.  This was led by our attenders Danielle Green and Petra Rahim
  • We hosted high school students from Olney Friends school on two weekends, one of them so they could participate in the Women’s March.  We see this activity as being part of both our social justice work and building the sense of belonging for young people in the Quaker faith.
  • We hosted a presentation on Socially Responsible Investing on March 31.  The presentation was led by two staff from Friends Fiduciary Fund.  The presentation was very well attended with more than 25 people participating.
  • We continued to advocate for the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty.
  • We sponsored Jewish Voice for Peace in FMW space to hold legislative training on the issue of child detention in Israeli Military prisons.
  • We hosted three film screenings of the Voices from the Holy Land Film Festival, one in October, one in January and one in June.  These films focused on facets of the current and historical situation in Palestine. 
  • We sponsored a presentation on the part of ASAP (Asylum Seekers Assistance Project) one of the renters in Quaker House on the work they are doing.
  • We sent a letter of condolence and support to Christchurch NZ Friends expressing our horror at the Mosque Massacre and offering whatever support they might find fitting.
  • We sponsored a planning meeting for the Women’s March on the Pentagon.
  • We endorsed the Occupation Free DC project, an effort largely organized by Jewish Voices for Peace, and named Steve Chase as our representative to the project. 
  • We took on responsibility for administering the Crews Bequest, now renamed the FMW Social Justice Fund.  We created an application form for grants from this fund and fielded the first set of applications in mid-September.   The next deadline for these grants is mid-March.   Awards were made to 3 applicants:  

1.  Patricia Murphy for the registration fee at a conference on Peace and Tolstoy being held in Kolkatta, India in December.  

2.  Steve Chase for funds to support the work of End the Occupation DC, a project we have endorsed and to which he is the FMW representative,  to eliminate the current practice of sending DC MPD personnel to Israel for training by the Israeli Military, which has a history of human rights abuses.

3.  Barbara Willcox for funds to aid a Mexican indigenous maize farmers’ cooperative in printing their logo on grain sacks to identify them as heirloom grain.

  • We signed onto the No Pepco Funds Pledge campaign. 
  • We worked with young people involved with the Youth Climate Strike in September 2019, sending a team from FMW to join folks walking on Sept 23.
  • Sanctuary Task Force is under our care.  We worked with them in September 2018 on their fundraiser for CAIR Coalition.
  • Members of PSC continue to participate in STF activities, including sponsored trainings for DC Detention Visitation Network here at FMW and leading trainings at other locations including Richmond and Stony Run Meeting in Baltimore.


Young Adult Friends Report for 2018-2019
Leadership and Communication

Erin Murphy laid down the co-coordination of YAF in December 2018. Rebecca Nelson and Krystin Sinclair were the co-conveners of the YAF group from January 2019 to August 2019, at which point Joe D’Antonio became co-convener. 

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. The YAF listserv has grown by 11% from the previous year to 310 members.

The primary platforms for communication with group members have been a monthly email digest with the month’s YAF-related activities, distributed to the listserv, a shared Google Calendar to help coordinate between co-conveners and FMW YAFs, and the YAF Facebook group. This year, at the petition of younger Young Adult Friends, we set up a GroupMe for informal communication and the sharing of Quaker memes, to preserve the listserv for official communications. Some members of GroupMe may not be on the listserv and vice versa.  

Young Adult Friends and the wider meeting

It has recently become trendy for YAFs to seek membership in FMW, including Rebecca Nelson, Joe D’Antonio, and Francis Garvey. 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: Justin Kwong (Personnel) and Chris Wickham (Trustees). During 2019, Rebecca Nelson has been serving as an ex-officio member of Nominating Committee. We have strong representation on the incoming proposed slate of committee nominations, including Rebecca Nelson to co-clerk and Amanda Nadeau to recording clerk, Joe D’Antonio to Ministry and Worship, Danielle and Petra Carnes to Marriage and Family Relations. 

The YAF group contributed a significant percentage of participants in FMW-wide activities such as the workshop on Polite White Supremacy and opportunities for activism, such as the non-violent response to the white supremacist rally July 6th.

Young Adult Friends have also been a driving presence on the Racial Justice Taskforce, and FMW Sanctuary Taskforce, including Rebecca Harris and Rebecca Nelson, co-clerks of the latter. 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 for a shared meal in different locations in the DMV area, to make the potlucks accessible to YAFs who live in different areas. Rebecca Nelson, Amanda Nadeau, and Joe D’Antonio have each hosted several gatherings at their homes. The YAFs also periodically go to brunch after Meeting on Sundays.  

Other popular social events have included a viewing of Quaker Oaths and a presentation from Friends Fiduciary on values-based investing that was geared specifically towards Young Adult Friends. 

Gene Throwe has hosted a weekly Bible study with the FMW YAFs and multi-denominational Queer for Christ group. Bible study has become a popular weekly gathering for YAFs.

Each YAF event attracts a varied roster of 4-15 Friends. Many Young Adult Friends attend Meeting for Worship on a regular basis and in that, YAF has a very strong representation, especially when including the different times and locations.

YAFs are looking forward to participating actively in the Spiritual State of the Meeting conversation for 2020, with the inclusion of Joe D’Antonio in Ministry and Worship. 

Budget Use

The Young Adult Friends did not spend any of their budget 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.

FMW continues to draw many young spiritual seekers and young professionals who recently moved to the area who are looking to find community. While we have been successful at building a sense of community and retaining many young people in the Meeting, we also see many new young people visit and check us out before ultimately deciding not to join us. In some cases, we receive feedback from them that Meeting for Worship is not serving their needs. We would like to bring this to the Ministry and Worship Committee to see how we can be more spiritually grounded and welcoming.

In the future, we hope to maintain a schedule of 2-3 activities per month, with a mix of spiritual and social focuses.

Respectfully submitted,
Rebecca Nelson and Joe D’Antonio


FMW Garden Committee 2019 Annual Report

Dear Friends

The FMW Garden Committee has been on a bit of a hiatus this past year with all the construction and work in the front and the back of the Meeting House. However we have had some work days, the grass has been cut by our lawn crew, trees and shrubs pruned, general clearing of leaves & debris. We are planning to pick up the pace in 2020 now that the sod has been laid down in the back and the rain water retention pond finished in the front.

In the coming weeks we will be planning the new garden’s design and plantings, particularly in the back where the majority of outdoor work occurred. In this process we will consult with Property Committee, the ad hoc FMW planning group for the garden’s new design, and reviewing the construction budget for landscaping.

Garden Committee has had a static budget amount for many years now. We have been very frugal and usually underspent our allotted amount, most of the budget went for the landscaping for grass cutting and general maintenance, etc. But, we may ask the Meeting for additional funds (perhaps a few thousands of dollars) for replanting the gardens, which we believe would be a worthwhile cost to compliment our new buildings, and to attract clients to our new facilities for weddings, conferences, celebrations, memorials, and the like.

Garden Committee will be having a final garden clean up day, a garden thanksgiving, Saturday November 23rd from 10 - 12 noon.

ALL are invited to join us, which means you and you and you listening or reading this report. Children of all ages are welcome, and there will be food provided (as usual for Garden Committee), and additional contributions are appreciated. Rain or shine.

Thank you friends, please contact me with any questions.

I return to DC November 18th.

Mark Haskell,, 202-309-8554


Friends Nonprofit Housing, Inc.
Report to Friends Meeting of Washington
October 2019

Friends Nonprofit Housing (FNPH) operates Friendly Gardens apartments, located in the historic Lyttonsville neighborhood of Silver Spring. The apartments are well located, near the Lyttonsville Station on the Purple Line, projected to open in 2023, and across the street from the Gwendolyn Coffield Community Center and the Rosemary Hills-Lyttonsville Park. The 85 apartments, built in 1971, are in six three-story buildings on about 4.5 acres. In 2016, the Board oversaw a $2.4 million renovation of all units.

The property, under a rent policy adopted three years ago, serves three levels of low-income renters. Half of the apartments are earmarked for households defined under Montgomery County guidelines as “extreme low income.” For a family of four, this would be an annual income of about $35,000 or less. Thirty percent are earmarked for “very low-income” households earning about $47,000 per year. And twenty percent are available for “low-income” households earning about $60,000 per year. The earmarked apartments in each category include a mix of 2-, 3-, and 4-bedroom units. Households with incomes above $70,000 pay a version of “market rate” rents intended to encourage moving to a new apartment complex and this has been happening. Eventually, we expect to have all 85 apartments rented within this three-tiered arrangement.

Friendly Gardens’ finances remain healthy. The audited figures for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018 shows total annual operating income of $1.2 million, of which $1.1 million was from rents. Total operating expenses were $802,000. The property held cash reserves of slightly more than $735,000. It has a loan from Sandy Spring Bank with a balance of $2.4 million.

This financial condition, along with ownership through an affiliate, of 2.3 acres of undeveloped land contiguous to Friendly Gardens, has put the Board in a position to explore possibilities for new development. The Board is in discussions with the Bethesda-based developer, EYA, about the possibility of a joint development which would combine the two parcels and significantly increase the number of affordable housing units in the FNPH portfolio.

Generally, the project under discussion includes several components and, with each, different ownership and financing arrangements. The project would include market rate, for-sale townhouses; affordable rental apartments; and market-rate rental apartments. FNPH would own the affordable rental apartments and would participate in a structure whereby it would eventually own the market-rate apartments. EYA would sell the market-rate townhouses. Very rough estimates suggest FNPH could end up with about 185 affordable units and 150 market rate units. Ultimately, the number of units of each type will depend on factors such as construction costs, financing, and regulatory approvals.

The Board has approved an EYA-proposed Letter of Intent regarding this project. This is a decision to begin negotiations to arrive at a joint development agreement spelling out details of the project and the rights and obligations of the parties. If negotiations go well, we could imagine an agreement within 18 to 24 months.

Currently the following individuals serve as FHPH officers:

President, Richard Mounts
Vice President, Dan Dozier
Secretary, Nony Dutton
Treasurer, Della Stolsworth

The Board has eleven members, three of whom, Anilese Haskell, Willy Wilson and I are members of the Friends Meeting of Washington. Other FMW people who have recently served on the Board included Kate Steger and Laurie Wilner.  Several FNPH Board are members of the Bethesda Meeting; and two individuals who are not Quakers. The Board includes people with a useful mix of backgrounds, including architecture, finance, housing development, property management, and law. If someone is interested in working with us, they could contact me for more information. I’m in the Meeting directory.

Dan Dozier, October 2019

Report from the Peace Tax Foundation and the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund to Friends Meeting of Washington, November 2019


The year of 2019 and the first year of the first session of the 116th U.S. Congress has been challenging for the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund and Peace Tax Foundation. In the midst of the ongoing daily, weekly, and monthly political turmoil and conflict on Capitol Hill our legislation, The Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act, was finally introduced, much later than usual, in August of 2019. Throughout the year our congressional sponsor, Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, continued to state that our bill would be introduced. However, it appears that due to his oversight responsibilities of the presidential administration in particular and perhaps for other political calculations the bill was not introduced around Tax Day this year. This was a deflating experience for us. Nevertheless, we are back on track with our efforts advocating for our bill which will protect the constitutional First Amendment rights of conscientious objectors to war concerning their income tax payments used in part for military purposes and war.

As a Quaker, I am constantly reminded that the cause of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act, H.R. 4169, is long-term work. We, US Americans, live in a country with the largest military budget in the world. We are militarily engaged in several wars which are now commonly referred to as “Forever Wars”. At times these endless wars seem to be hidden in plain sight and anyone under the age of 21 has grown up not knowing a time when their country was not at war. With wars hidden in plain sight it is easy for the issue of conscientious objection to go unnoticed by most people. This is where the work of the Peace Tax Foundation comes in as we educate people about the work of the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund and the constitutional rights of those who are opposed to participation to war in any form including with their taxes.

On behalf of my board of directors, I would like to thank Friends Meeting of Washington for its support over the many long years we have worked on the campus here in Washington, DC. It has always been important to us to have the long-term connection to this Quaker community in the nation’s capital.

In The Light,
Malachy Kilbride, Director, Peace Tax Foundation/National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund

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END of Meeting for Business Notes, November 2019