FMW Newsletter - January 2020

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FMW Newsletter - January 2020 (Issue 90-1)
Table of Contents

1st Month Query
Remembrance of Alex Matthews
Thinking About Race: Elijah Cummings
Minutes FMW December Meeting for Business
-Clerks Report
-Major Business
    * Property Committee
    * Membership
    * Religious Education
    * FMW Queries on Racial Justice
    * Search Committee
    * Nominating Committee - Nominations
    * Peace & Social Concerns
    * Memorial Minute-Susan Lepper
    * "Gold"

1st Month Query:  Meetings for Worship

Are meetings for worship held in expectant waiting for Divine guidance? Are Friends encouraged to share spiritual insights? Are special gifts of ministry recognized and encouraged?

Do you come to meeting with heart and mind prepared? Are you careful not to disturb the spirit of the meeting by late arrival or in other ways? 

Source:  BYM Faith & Practice, Part II The Queries


Memorial service for Ken Jadin, Saturday, January 4, 11:00 a.m., FMW Meeting Room

Listening session for Ward 2, Sunday, January 5, 12:00 p.m., Decatur Place Room.  Opportunity to discuss affordable housing, immigrant rights and other issues of concern to our neighbors. 

Memorial Service for Alex Matthews, Saturday, January 11, 2 pm:  A memorial service for our beloved member, Alex Mathews, will take place at 2pm in the Meeting Room followed by a reception. The service is being organized by Alex’s friends who have asked everyone who wishes to attend to RSVP in advance: Karen at or 301-412-7259.

Pendle Hill Training-Playing in the Light: Godly Play®/Faith & Play™ Training for Quakers, January 11 2020.  First of three trainings conducted by Melinda Wenner Bradley with segments two and three on February 8 and March 21For info and to register contact Pendle Hill Quaker Study and Retreat Center, 610-566-4507, ext. 137.

Reading Early Quakers Together, Carriage Room, Sunday, Jan 19, 9:30 and every 3rd Sunday thereafter.  All are welcome to this new reading group, which will begin with “Some Account of Circumstances in the Life of Mary Pennington” at pages 211 to 224 of Hidden in Plain Sight: Quaker Women’s Writings 1650-1700 Pendle Hill pamphlet available for $22 via:
Contact: Sabrina McCarthy,, cell 240.778.5234.

Spiritual Formation mini-retreat, FMW, February 2, 12:00-2:00pm, with experienced BYM retreat leaders Amy Schmaljohn and Alan Evans.  Experience the power of spiritual friendship in a Sacred Circle and learn more about FMW's active Spiritual Formation program.  For more information: John Bluedorn,

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

@ FMW….

Want to stay connected to the FMW Community?  Sign up for the “FMW Quaker” Email Listserv and Member/Attender Directory.  You can do this by signing the Guest Book and checking the boxes to opt in.  Or send your name and contact info to the Administrative Secretary, Barbara Briggs,  For more info call the office: 202-483-3310.

Want to hold an event at FMW?  Contact Brian Lutenegger, Event Manager,

Please send Weekly Announcements and Monthly FMW Newsletter content to:  Include your contact information.

A Remembrance of Alex Matthews 

Soon after I moved to the Quaker mini-enclave in Brookland in 2000, I met Alex Mathews. We bonded over our mutual love of the Broadway musical: he, a New York City kid who had haunted the backstage theaters for autographs of the Great White Way stars; me, who as Midwestern teen, eagerly awaited the latest Barbra Streisand original cast album.

Over the years in DC, I experienced Alex's kindness, humor, and open-hearted hospitality many times, including the wonderful holiday parties in his home with its beautiful ceramics, savoring Alex's homemade bread and goodies from his garden. Even after I returned to Minnesota, we kept in touch by phone periodically: I'd check in to learn what he thought of the latest Tony Award winners. And even as his illness advanced, he still retained that spark of joie de vivre.

I last saw him at the FMW campus re-dedication in September. He sat on the bench facing me, coming to greet me at rise of Meeting. I gave him a tremendous hug and Streisand's signature line from Funny Girl: “Hello, gorgeous!” Alex told me he didn't feel gorgeous; I replied, “To me, you always will be.” 

And so he was, and is.

Gerri Williams, Duluth, MN

(FMW's beloved member Alex Matthews died on October 30, 2019.)


Thinking About Race, January 2020: 
Elijah Cummings’ “A Letter to My Father”

Early In Elijah Cummings’ congressional service, he wrote a letter to his father, Robert Cummings, thanking him for all that he had done for him.  In 1996 or 1997, he asked for and received his father’s permission to publish that letter in the Baltimore AFRO American newspaper.  It was reprinted in the Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2019, issue; this is an excerpt.

“You created over and over again positive visions for us.  You refused to allow us to be limited to a few square blocks of Baltimore….

“I also thank you for your consistent efforts to protect us from a cruel world.  Every time you would come home after working very long hours as a laborer at Davison Chemical, you would sit in the car in front of the house for at least an hour.  Whether it was 20 degrees or 95 degrees, you sat there in the car quietly.  We all knew not to disturb you.

“When you got out of the car you displayed a calm and gentle smile.  Some years later I asked you why was it that you always sat in the car before coming into the house.  You responded by telling me that at work you were often treated badly, discriminated against, and called everything but a child of God.  You said that your anger would be so great that you felt a need to calm down so that your family would not become victimized by your anger.

“I thank you for teaching us to give of our time and resources to make the world a better place to live.  As children we watched as you constantly helped people in our neighborhood.”

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,


# # # # #

Friends Meeting of Washington

Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business
December 8, 2019

Meeting began at 12:21 pm with 27 Friends present. Friends welcomed Claire Kalloway and Igor Chasim.

Query for Worship Sharing: How do I best serve my community? What do I get by giving?

Friends commented on how giving is not transactional, but rather an acknowledgement of family and connection that we feel. What does giving entail, other than just our presence? A friend remembered the service that was provided by Personal Aid of bringing Susan Lepper to Meeting toward the end of her life, and what a gift those servers received just by being with her.

Clerk’s Report, December 2019

In Memoriam

  • Ken Jadin, husband of our beloved member Leslie Jadin, died on Dec. 1. A memorial meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 4 at 11:00 am in the Meeting Room.
  • A memorial for Alex Mathews is scheduled for January 11 at 2:00 pm.

Upcoming Events

  • Wedding of Carla Salgado and Guy Martorana under the care of the Meeting will be held on Saturday, December 14, Quaker House Living Room, 6:00 p.m.  Members and attenders are invited to join.
  • Shoebox Project will be held here on December 14-15, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm-ish. All are invited to join in

Renovation Update

  • In our upper lobby, see the mobile created by FMW’s First-Day-School in collaboration with artist Kevin Reese.  It is now mounted, the final, beautiful touch on our renovation.
  • Also on display in the upper lobby:  Drawings by Jose Reyes, detained for over a year in Howard County Detention Center before being forcibly deported to El Salvador. 

Sculptures by artist Judy Neimanis of Dunkirk, MD, based on photographs of refugees.

Major Business

Property Committee – Merry Pearlstein told the Meeting that the rug in Quaker House Living Room is on loan from the Manoukian Brothers. Please let the Property Committee know how you feel about it.

Membership – Kathy Lipp-Farr. The committee nominated Frank Garvey for full membership. He is very active with Young Adult Friends. This nomination will lie over for a month, as is our custom.

Religious Education Committee Annual Report (amended)- Jacob Ritting and Allen Fawcett – This report will be held over for a month.

FMW Queries on Racial Justice  - Debby Churchman and David Etheridge

The Change Committee for Racial Equity presented the following queries, asking that they be used by both the committees and the Meeting for Business as a tool set for discerning and eliminating racism in our decision-making.

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 systemic, institutional, interpersonal and/or internal racism?

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

4. How 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?

A Friend would like to include a query that asks us to look outward to our neighborhood and city, and focus on that.

Need queries to speak to us before a decision is made. Perhaps change the word “decision” to “choices we are contemplating.”

First question is confusing, because decision is being used twice—once as a noun and once to indicate a process. Perhaps change the second use of the word to “to influence that decision-making process.”

A Friend likes the idea of reading these at the start of every committee meeting, in the hope that the effect will bubble up.

Having these queries would have seriously changed our decision over the renovation. She cautious us against de facto guilt.

A Friend reminds us that self-examination is hard.

A Friend cautions us not to become paralyzed by perfectionism. It’s a useful exercise for us to get it into our head that we won’t have perfect answers to every question, but we should continue with the examination. Systemic racism can’t be solved by an hour’s meeting on Sunday.

A Friend wants to include a query, “In what way are we being mindful of the need to heal and help those who have been affected by racism?” At the Yearly Meeting level, there is a group considering reparations.

A Friend wants us to be proactive and engaging with minority communities. He wants us to add to question 4, “friendly and whole, engaging and interactive with racial minorities.”

These queries will be laid over for a month, and the Change Group will bring an edited version to the next Meeting for Business.

Search Committee Annual Report - Gene Throwe presented the committee’s nominations for the Nominating Committee, as follows:

  • Martha Solt (M), Clerk, 1 year ending December 2020
  • Gene Throwe (M), 3 year term ending December 2022
  • Michael Beer (M), 3 year term ending December 2022

Friends approved these nominations. The Search Committee is asked to keep looking for one or two more members.

Nominating Committee--Nominations - Todd Harvey, Clerk

The committee has worked to reduce barriers to committee service. They added a member of Young Adult Friends to the committee, shortened some terms of service, and examined committees to see if the current structure best serves us.

The committee nominates the following:

  • Debby Churchman (M), Co-Clerk of the Meeting, 1 year ending December 2020 approved
  • Rebecca Nelson (M), Co-Clerk of the Meeting, 1 year ending December 2020  approved
  • Amanda Nadeau Mayer (M), Recording Clerk of the Meeting, 1 year ending December 2020  approved
  • Virginia Avanesyan (M), Clerk, Child Safety, 1 year ending December 2020  approved
  • Chris Mitchell (A), Child Safety, 3 years ending December 2022  approved
  • Dan Dozier (M), Finance & Stewardship, 3 years ending December 2022  approved
  • Dan Dozier (M), Clerk, Finance & Stewardship, 1 year ending December 2020  approved
  • Dante Bucci (M), Finance & Stewardship, 3 years ending December 2022  approved
  • Merry Pearlstein (M), Finance & Stewardship, 3 years ending December 2022 (2nd term)  approved
  • Neil Froemming (M), Finance & Stewardship, 3 years ending December 2022 (2nd term)  approved
  • Bill Parker (A), Hospitality, 3 years ending December 2022  approved
  • Bill Parker (A), Clerk, Hospitality, 1 year ending December 2020 will be held over one month because he is not a member
  • Greg Robb (M), Hospitality, 3 years ending December 2022  approved
  • Gene Throwe (M), Library, 3 years ending December 2021  approved
  • Gene Throwe (M), Clerk, Library, 1 year ending December 2020  approved
  • Danielle Carnes (M), Marriage & Family Relations, 3 years ending December 2022   approved
  • Petra Rahim (M), Marriage & Family Relations, 3 years ending December 2022   approved
  • Beth Cogswell (M), Marriage & Family Relations, 3 years ending December 2022  approved
  • Arlene Lutenegger (A), Marriage & Family Relations, 3 years ending December 2022 (exception requested because Friend is an Attender)
  • Gray Handley (M), Marriage & Family Relations, 3 years ending December 2022 (2nd term)  approved
  • James Bell (M), Marriage & Family Relations, 1 year ending December 2020 (exception requested because Friend has been on the committee for 2 consecutive termsapproved
  • James Bell (M), Property, 3 years ending 2022  approved
  • Jay Harris (M), Property, 3 years ending December 2022  approved
  • Tom Yonker (A) Ministry & Worship, 3 years ending December 2022 (exception requested because Friend is an Attender)
  • Robert Farr (M), Clerk, Membership, 1 year ending December 2020 approved
  • Marsha Holliday (M), Clerk, Ministry and Worship, 1 year ending December 2020
  • Joe D’Antonio (M), Ministry & Worship, 3 years ending December 2022
  • Elaine Wilson (M), Co-Clerk, Peace & Social Concerns, 1 year ending December 2020 (2nd presentation) - approved
  • Barbara Briggs (M), Co-Clerk, Peace & Social Concerns, 1 year ending December 2020 approved
  • Greg Robb (M), Personal Aid, 3 years ending December 2022  approved
  • Bill Strein (A), Clerk, Personnel, 1 year ending December 2020  approved
  • Merry Pearlstein (M), Co-Clerk, Property, 1 year ending December 2020  approved
  • Justin Kwong (A), Co-Clerk, Property, 1 year ending December 2020 (2nd presentationapproved
  • Jose Woss (A), Property, 3 years ending December 2022  approved
  • Mark Kawar (A), Records & Handbook, 3 years ending December 2022 (2nd term)  approved
  • Jacob Ritting (M), Co-Clerk, Religious Education, 1 year ending December 2020  approved
  • Allen Fawcett (A), Co-Clerk, Religious Education, 1 year ending December 2020  approved

See exceptions, above, which will be held over for one month.


  • Chris Mitchell (A), Finance & Stewardship
  • Debby Churchman (M), Marriage & Family Relations
  • Greg Robb (M), Ministry & Worship
  • Debby Churchman (M), Peace & Social Concerns
  • Justin Kwong (A), Personnel

Friends accepted these resignations, with gratitude for their service.

A Friend asks that Nominating use the anti-racist queries to examine the final list and give the Meeting a little feedback.

A member of the Nominating Committee asks that we all reach out to attenders to help them learn more about committees.

Friends asked that Membership make the process of becoming a member more visible and that Friends encourage attenders to consider becoming members.

Friends expressed their gratitude to the Nominating Committee for their awesome work.

Other Business

Peace and Social Concerns Committee – Rebecca Harris

This Friend reported that the Sanctuary Taskforce is being folded back into the Peace & Social Concerns Committee. The taskforce was created about two years ago, largely to consider whether our Meeting should physically provide sanctuary to someone facing deportation. That turned into a taskforce to reflect on immigrant rights. In the last several months, the Light has somewhat dimmed, and it seemed that the taskforce work was already being covered by Peace & Social Concerns. The taskforce asked P&SC for it to fold back into the larger committee, and continue to monitor issues of immigrant rights.

A Friend asked if the taskforce has asked everyone who has served on that taskforce what they think. Who within P&SC will be working on immigrant issues? A Friend responded by saying that this decision was discussed by email. Another Friend acknowledges that the consultation was not as deep as it could have been. Immigration will be a standing item on P&SC agenda. P&SC sees this as a win/win, so that we can work together on these issues. A long-time Friend points out a pattern of the Meeting getting fired up about a burning issue, but not building the internal structure to help this go forward long-term.

Friends accepted this move of incorporating the work of the taskforce into P&SC and laying down the taskforce.

Memorial Minute for Susan Lepper - David Etheridge

David read the minute. Friends offered reflections on Susan, her humility, her achievements, and her many contributions to the Meeting.

The Meeting ended at 2:05 pm with 15 Friends present.

ADDENDUM:  Susan Lepper Memorial Minute

Susan Jewett Lepper
August 11, 1934—May 14, 2019

Friends who attended Susan Lepper’s Memorial Meeting in July 2019 said they saw her as a dignified and centered “Quaker lady” who seemed to glow from within. Her professional career told a whole other side of Susan as a woman who excelled in a male-dominated field.

Susan was born in Pittsburgh PA on August 11, 1934, the daughter of Helen Jewett Lepper and Robert Lepper. She attended Swarthmore College, receiving her BA in Economic cum laude Phi Beta Kappa in 1955. She then attended Yale University where she received a master’s degree in economics in 1956 and a Ph.D. in economics in 1963.

She used her expertise first as an economics instructor at Yale University, a researcher for New York Federal Reserve Bank, a staff member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, Chief Economist for the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, Assistant Director of the Research Division and Chief of the Fiscal Analysis Section for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Senior Economist for the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, and as an economist for the U.S.  Department of the Treasury.

Susan first applied for membership in the Religious Society of Friends in New York Monthly Meeting in 1962. She moved to Washington, DC in 1963 and attended Friends Meeting of Washington (FMW) until she moved to Connecticut in 1966 and formally transferred her membership to New Haven Friends Meeting. She returned to Friends Meeting of Washington in 1991 and became a member of this Meeting in 1995.

As a Friend shared at Susan’s Memorial Meeting, it quickly became her practice to see what needed to be done and then doing it. After joining the Meeting, she immediately became Co-clerk of the Finance & Property Committee where she managed the financial aspects of repairing and restoring the Meetinghouse. She served on the FMW Board of Trustees from 1997 until 2009. She was the Meeting’s Recording Clerk from 1999 through 2001 and Alternate Presiding Clerk of the Meeting in 2009 and 2010.

She served as Clerk of the Records and Handbook Committee from 2004-2008. From 2005 to 2010 she served on the Planning Committee, which was responsible for developing plans for the FMW renovation work. Because of that renovation, attenders at her Memorial Meeting who used wheelchairs were able to go to the Quaker House Living Room to attend the reception. It was the first time that space had ever been handicap accessible.

Worshippers at her Memorial Meeting remember her quiet compassion that touched the lives of many of us. For several years she volunteered with the Meeting’s Hunger and Homelessness Taskforce.

She devoted many years to working with the American Friends Service Committee DC Peace and Economic Justice Program, the St. Luke’s Shelter, which was located near her home, and in support of a Friend who worked with the Torreon/Star Lake Chapter of the Navajo Nation.

In some instances, her care extended beyond the end of life. She curated the artwork and legacy of her father, who was a noted artist and professor of art and provided devoted care to a cat that had belonged to a deceased Friend.




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