FMW Newsletter - June 2021

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Published monthly – Issue #91 – 06
June 2021


6th Query: Home & Family
Members, Attenders: Send Photos
Upcoming Events
FMW Honey Harvest - June 6, 2021
Resources on FMW’s Website

Minutes: Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business, May 2021
Clerk’s Report, May 2021
Welcome Daniel Russ Higgins!
In Memoriam
Upcoming Events
FMW Community Highlights & Kudos
Tenant Updates- Activities at our Meeting House
Major Business
Finance & Stewardship, 2021-22 Budget
Property Committee annual report
Nominating Committee
Hybrid Meeting Tech Support
Other Business
Hospitality Committee - Bill Parker - Discussion with community
Outreach to Friends we haven’t seen in a while.
FMW Property Committee: Annual Report May 2020--April 2021


- Sundays:  9:00 am, 10:30 am and 6:00 pm
- Tuesdays:  6:00 pm

- Monthly Meeting for Business:  12:15 p.m. June 13 (2nd Sunday)

Sunday 10:30 Meeting for Worship has resumed in-person indoors and outdoors.  
Please register here.  Masks required.
Meetings for worship are being held via Zoom. 
Join here.
For more information, email

6th Query: Home & Family 

Do you make your home a place of affection where God's presence is felt? Do you practice family prayer? Do you share your deepest beliefs and interests with all in the family? Do you grow together through sharing prosperity and adversity? Can you keep a sense of humor and avoid taking yourself too seriously? Do you establish family standards including the mutual obligations of children and adults?

Are you as children learning to be accountable for your own actions? Do you as parents help your children to grow in independence and responsibility? Do you consider the needs of grandparents and older members of the family circle?  For more, see Home Life
Source:  BYM Faith & Practice, Part II The Queries 

Members, Attenders:  Send Photos for FMW Gallery Wall!

Now that we are beginning to meet in person, it is time to spruce up our halls and update our member and attender photo gallery.  You can:  Bring the photographs you want to post or email them to Barbara at along with the names of family members in the photo, ages of the kids and the date the photo was taken.  It will be great to have updated images of FMW's members and attenders!

Events - June 2021

FMW Quaker Spiritual Development Programs - Full Schedule for June 2021

Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s “6th Month Interim Meeting,” Saturday, June 12, 9:30 am - 2:00 pm Baltimore Yearly Meeting is FMW’s parent regional body.  All are welcome at this quarterly meeting.  For meeting agenda, background documents and to register click here.

“Gaza Kitchen” Book Launch, June 15, 7:00 pm via zoom
FMW member Helena Cobban and Just World Books are launching the 3rd Edition of Gaza Kitchen. described by Anthony Bourdain as, “Not just a superb cookbook, a collection of vital recipes from a delicious yet often overlooked cuisine, but an argument for understanding. A classic of world food.  Here is more info on Gaza Kitchen and Just World Books.  Register here for the June 15 book launch and opportunity to learn more about Palestinian culture.  

Friends General Conference (FGC) Summer Gathering and pre-Gathering Retreats, June 26 - July 2 All virtual this year--FGC’s summer gathering is one of the best opportunities for Quakers to deepen their spirituality, and to hang with Friends.  Standard registration begins today, May 6.  More information and registration here.

Panel Discussion: Prayer in Buddhist Practice, Saturday, June 26, 2:00 - 3:30 pm
Discussion of the nature of prayer within Buddhist spiritual practice, sponsored by the Spiritual Development Subcommittee of FMW’s Ministry & Worship Committee.  Contact:  FMW member Joseph Izzo,, cell 202-425-0496.   Please email Joe Thursday, June 24 to register.

Conversation on Activism & Contemplative Life, Monday, June 28, 7:00-8:30 pm via Zoom
Our Quaker experience includes contemplation and action. How do the two complement each other? How do Quaker communities nurture activism and lift up the journeys of those who participate in activism? Seven activist Friends will have a conversation about this. The conversationalists are Tronette Anochie, Barbara Briggs, Steve Chase, Rashid Darden, Zephyr Williams and Tom Yonker. Gene Throwe will facilitate the conversation.  Hosted by FMW’s Pastoral Care Working Group.  For more information contact  Sabrina McCarthy,, cell 240.778.5234.  Please register in advance here.  

1st Day School invites Friends to Year-end Party in Rock Creek Park, Sunday, June 27, 10:30am - 1:00pm  Friends are invited to join FMW kids, parents and the RE Team to celebrate a year unlike any other.  We’ll meet at Rock Creek Park’s Picnic Area #10.  It’s BYOF (Food)--for continuing health reasons.  For more information contact RE co-clerks Jake Ritting, or Allen Fawcett, 

Thinking about Race, June 2021
“The personhood of Whites …  the burden of their bias.”

“White people in America tend to assume, at a deep level, that America’s economic, governmental and legal systems are roughly fair. This, after all, is how people such as me generally experience them. And this allows for facile, sometimes unconscious, judgments. Because American systems seem fair, it must be individuals’ fault when they are poor, powerless or imprisoned.

“It is a failure of imagination that leads to the persistence of injustice. People for whom the system works have a hard time understanding the lasting, disastrous economic consequences of centuries of stolen labor, or the continuing legacy of disenfranchisement and voter suppression, or the fear generated by policing that targets and dehumanizes minorities.

“Focusing on such systemic injustice is not the recent result of ‘wokeness.’ It is unavoidable when a country’s treatment of some groups is dramatically at odds with its national ideals.

….“So the accusation of systemic injustice is hardly new. But the reaction of civil rights leaders such as King was remarkable. Rather than judging America beyond hope, they loved it for what it might someday become: a multiracial society of equal justice and opportunity. Opposing racism was not only a method to confront injustice; it was also a way to help reclaim the personhood of Whites, who could finally lay down the burden of their bias.”

  • From “How to confront systemic racism? Heed the call of Martin Luther King,” by columnist Michael Gerson, Washington Post, April 22, 2021. 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, currently via Zoom.  If you would like to attend, contact clerk David Etheridge,

FMW Honey Harvest - June 6, 2021

On Sunday, June 6 FMW’s First Day School joined beekeeper team to harvest, extract and bottle the honey from the hives on FMW’s green roof.   There are now six hives--three brand new ones and three established hives from which the harvest was taken.  According to FMW’s chief beekeeper, Mary Melchior, FMW’s hives are healthy and producing exceptionally well!   Altogether the three hives yielded over 120 lbs (8 gallons) of honey.

FMW’s First Day School kids “sold” several bottles of honey straight from the extraction vat, and collected $146 in donations on the spot.  They also got to take some home.  There’s a plan in the works to share FMW honey plus info on Quakerism at Dupont Circle Farmers Market later this summer.  

Meanwhile, fifty bottles of various sizes are available through FMW’s Administrative Secretary.  Suggested donation: $10-$30 (in line with the going rate for hyper-local honey, about $1.25 an ounce.)  Available on Sunday or contact to make arrangements.


Resources on FMW’s Website

  1. FMW’s Directory of Members and Attenders
    Many members make great use of FMW’s directory of members and attenders.  To access it, go to the homepage,  Click on “Meeting Directory” under Quick Links on the left.  You can log in using user name “FMW” and password “Discern”
    The Directory is only as good as we make it!  Check your own entry.  If you and your family members do not appear, or if your info needs to be corrected please send updated info to Barbara at    

  2. FMWs Handbook.  
    This is the FMW community’s compendium of structure, processes and agreements.  It is maintained and updated by the Library, Records and Handbook Committee.  You can find it here, and in the QuickLinks column on the left of FMW’s web page.

Friends Meeting of Washington
Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business
Minutes - May 9, 2021

Query for Worship Sharing: What lessons from the pandemic will serve us as we move forward into the future?

Clerk’s Report, May 2021


  • Daniel Russ Higgins, son of Matt and Rachel Higgins, born in April 2021.  An FMW meeting to welcome our newest associate will be held sometime this summer or fall.

In Memoriam

  • A Memorial Service will be held for Harry Massey on Sunday May 16, 3:00 pm.  Former FMW member Harry Massey passed away in Greensboro, NC on April 2.  Harry was a lifelong Quaker and active member of FMW.  In 2018, he transferred his membership to Jamestown Friends Meeting in North Carolina.  Friends are invited to join the virtual Memorial Service for Harry, convened by Jamestown Friends Meeting, on May 16.  Join on Zoom. By phone dial: (301) 715-8592 and enter Meeting ID: 856 5994 8124# on prompt.
  • Memorial service for Pablo Sanchez was held in good order on April 24. Pablo was not a member, so there will be no memorial minute.  Pablo’s bio was shared at the memorial meeting.

Upcoming Events

  • Registration has begun for FGC Summer Gathering and pre-Gathering Retreats, June 26 - July 2:  All virtual this year--Friends General Conference’s summer gathering  and the pre-gathering affinity group retreats (6/26-27) are great best opportunities for Quakers to deepen their spirituality, and to hang with Friends.  More information and registration here.  
  • Alternatives to Violence Project Taskforce, Wednesday, May 12, 7 pm (2nd Wednesdays) For more info contact coordinator Zephyr Williams, email: 
  • Friends Work in Africa, May 15, 1:00-2:30 pm ET  Join Zoom Meeting.  By phone dial: (301) 715-8592.  Enter meeting ID on prompt: 8744 1817 683#  Lifelong friends from Oregon, Shawn and Katrina McConaughey will share an overview and photos of their work among Friends in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, and describe how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted life and ministry in their part of the world. 
  • Prayer Series, Part 3:  Buddhist Prayer, Saturday, June 26th, 3pm to 4:30 pm   Join Zoom Meeting  By phone dial:  (301) 715-8592. On prompt enter Meeting ID: 8713 3356 526# zoom. Sending Metta or a Loving Kindness meditation is a form of Buddhist prayer. It is a type of meditation practice in which one silently recites a set of phrases that are designed to open the heart and cultivate a friendly attitude towards oneself and towards others. The Workshop will train you in sending Metta.  Workshop presenter:  Joseph Izzo,, cell 202-425-0496. Joe is a member of FMW.
  • Prayer Series Part 2:  Rex Ambler’s Experiments with Light, Date and time TBD. Workshop presenter:  Joseph Izzo,, cell
  • Workshop on Clearness Committees - Summer 2021 via Zoom, Date & time TBD.  Presenters:  Petra Carnes, Danielle Carnes and Michael Duvall. 

FMW Community Highlights & Kudos

  • Several FMW members joined Washington Interfaith Network pastors and activists at Reservation 13 to demand that any developer accorded a contract to build on this large piece of prime DC real estate include at least 1/3rd deeply affordable and 1/3rd affordable housing united in its plans.
  • Our beloved community members co-clerk Rebecca Nelson and Peter Nye are going to the southern border for a month to aid the effort to get the unaccompanied children reunited with their families. Please hold them--and this work--in the Light.
  • Thanks to Robinne Gray, two new baby chestnut trees are now growing in FMW’s garden.  May they play a role in replenishing this once keystone species that nourished our eastern forests.  (Our original two chestnut seedlings were destroyed by entities unknown.  FMW is now proud owner of a small but ever-watchful ChestnutCam.)  

Tenant Updates- Activities at our Meeting House

  • FMW is now home to four very healthy hives of honey bees cared for by FMW member and beekeeper Mary Melchior.  Our bees are so healthy in fact that one hive divided and swarmed last month.  The new colony has been donated to a local community garden.
  • FMW continued to see an increase in rentals during April. We -- and particularly the library and Quaker House Living Room -- have found a niche as a venue for film shoots, primarily for documentaries and educational projects.  During April, film crews were onsite a total of 7 days.
  • Our listings for our garden spaces on Peerspace continue to generate so many inquiries that it has been hard to keep up. We'll be hosting events on just about every weekend this spring, particularly celebratory events such as baby and bridal showers, bar / bat mitzvahs, and memorial services. This started during April.
  • Our office spaces are still completely full and there are no clear signs that any vacancies will occur this spring. 

Major Business

Finance & Stewardship, 2021-22 Budget - Neil Froemming

  • Neil walked us through the first reading of the budget with key background on each section. Friends have a month to dive into this, especially per their committees. Please contact the Finance and Stewardship Committee this month with follow on questions, as it will be approved next month.  Contact:
  • Peace and Social Concerns Committee Budget: Please note that their bottom line is zero because they proposed to fundraise the 6k need for their committee. This is a new fundraising aspect for our budget process!
  • Credit card processing fees: We do not currently have an option on our donation page for the donor to pay the credit card fee, but we do encourage people to set up donations with their bank account. A Friend suggested we add a note to encourage donors to bundle that fee into their donation. Neil noted that much of this fee comes from large event rentals, not as much from individual donations. 
  • Budget deficit of a quarter million dollars: Do we expect that this 250k deficit this year’s budget will be covered by event rentals in the future? Yes, via our investment in our garden and renovations we expect 300k or more annually in the future. We’ll only begin to budget for this explicitly once the income picks up as the pandemic closures shift.
  • Hefty building maintenance costs: Do we expect daily maintenance/handyman work to be required into the foreseeable future? A Property Manager will always be needed. This year, about 38k was for the additional handyman services.  This has been increased due to follow on from renovation (materials, inspections, elevator maintenance, HVAC maintenance, finishing work adjoining non-renovated and renovated spaces).   In future years, a few Friends from the committee predicted that handyman fees could range from 25-35k, but the maintenance costs will be ongoing (i.e. elevator is 4.5k per year just for elevator maintenance). Also noted were increased cleaning costs/expectations for maintenance due to pandemic. 

Property Committee annual report - Todd Harvey, Ken Forsberg

  • The committee’s role is to maintain the safety, security, comfort and attractiveness of the buildings-- and we are succeeding (despite a pandemic)! The clerks expressed thanks to people like Mary Perlstein with deep experience to help guide them, and noted that the current makeup of the committee of both new and old members, and two staff members provide support to the clerks-- they are set up to succeed as with a strong committee.
  • Most of the work of the committee is carried out by staff members (Ken and Brian), so the committee acts as a liaison between the Meeting and Paid Staff.  This is a change that has shifted the last 8 years or so. 
  • Despite community access and event rentals drying up because of the pandemic, we are still working toward our goal. Currently, we are conservative about rentals, and expect this to shift in the future (i.e. fewer in-person board meetings, more life events, like weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc.). 
  • Ground maintenance and general maintenance is connected to our community access, worship, and of course, event rentals.  Property committee considers property maintenance budget to be an essential investment for event rentals. 
  • Budget is conservative, as it reflects their philosophy to overstate expenses and understate income. 
  • Friends expressed gratitude for the foresight and planning of the committee to invest in our building and grounds.
  • Friends accepted the report of the committee.

Nominating Committee - Virginia Avanesyan

Friends approved the nominees for: 

  • Peter Nye - Peace and Social Concerns and Hospitality, BOTH 
  • Ian Mooney - Personal Aid (Committee Contact: Greg Robb)
  • Barbara Briggs - FMW Rep to the ANC (neighborhood committee)

Hybrid Meeting Tech Support - Debby

Proposal to hire and train individuals to set up the Meeting Room before worship, initiate and provide technical support to the Zoom meeting, and then unpack the Meeting Room set up. This is a long job requiring technical savvy, and we believe that the worker is worthy of their hire. We will ask for friends willing to serve in this capacity (on a volunteer or paid basis).  (Pay rate would be $60 on normal Sundays, $90 for Meeting for Business.). This will be done for at least 3 months, with an option to extend an additional 3 months, as needed. The Personnel Committee will do the paperwork and the position will be supervised by our Administrative Secretary. 

  • Current request (in the draft budget) is for the maximum need this year, which is $3,200 for one individual to do this weekly for a full year.

Other Business

Hospitality Committee - Bill Parker - Discussion with community

Coffee hour is about a three hour commitment for at least two people, which is all volunteer.  This is equivalent to our child care workers and our proposed hybrid zoom tech, except that hospitality is always volunteer, and traditionally has fallen to a small group of regulars. Bill raised two queries?

  1. What are the thoughts of the Meeting regarding the Community Hour at rise of Meeting?
  2. What responsibility (if any) do community members/committees have in this activity? 

Friends expressed gratitude to Bill for his investment in coffee hour pre-pandemic. 

  • A friend suggested that the committee act more as a supervisor to volunteers, which could come from other committees.  There are skill sets, operational know-how, and physical demands unique to the committee that others need to learn to keep coffee hour sustainable. The committee has tried having other committee members volunteer for Sundays before, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  A friend suggested that committees do hospitality the same week they sit head of meeting.  
  • A friend and former committee member shared that having people sign up for particular weeks, with committee members only volunteering one week a month was successful in the past. He is hoping that we can get back to a rhythm of attenders volunteering at least once a month.  Additionally, we can strive to keep this coffee hour simple, to align our ambitions with our resources. 
  • Another friend reflected that this is an organizing challenge for the committee. A friend shared ideas about having a clear set of tasks broken down and communicated, perhaps on a white board in the kitchen, to help people understand the work, and give them an opportunity to sign up for particular parts of the work, etc. As they seek to broaden the pool of volunteers, it is also important to see how this has a community building aspect. 
  • Another friend discussed the future possibility of merging hospitality and personal aid into a community committee, which Nominating Committee is considering as a bigger question about how to restructure the committees. (Follow up contacts include: Virginia Avenesyan, Greg Robb, Martha Solt).
  • This conversation will be continued-- please reach out to Clerk Bill Parker. 

Outreach to Friends we haven’t seen in a while. 

Reach out to friends you have not seen for a while in FMW’s Directory.  There has been some attrition-- let’s seek to reach out to them in love. Reminder:  To access the Directory from FMW’s website (, log in as FMW.  Password:  Discern


FMW Property Committee: Annual Report May 2020--April 2021


Maintain the safety, security, comfort and attractiveness of the buildings and grounds for Meeting functions and activities and also for those of its tenants (remaining respectful to our neighbors)

This is quite a charge, especially under current circumstances. This year, through the wisdom of the Meeting, the action of the committee members, and the skills of FMW staff, we have largely succeeded. 

The Meeting thoughtfully created the interlocking Property Manager and Event and Rental Manager positions and staffed them with able Friends. Together Ken Orvis and Brian Lutenegger manage our beautiful campus as a place of meaningful worship and also as a space through which the Meeting carries out its testimonies by renting to a small number of tenants and a large number of individuals and groups throughout our Washington D.C., community. These activities, in turn, bring needed revenue to fund the ongoing campus renovation and Meeting outreach.

With the bulk of Property Committee work carried out by Ken and Brian, committee members increasingly act in an advisory capacity or as liaisons between staff and the Meeting. The reports provide examples—by no means exhaustive—of the ways in which this Committee has executed long- and short-term priorities that maintain the campus and make it useful to Friends Meeting of Washington

Contracts:  While systems maintenance contracts may lack curb appeal, they are key to stable and functioning FMW campus. Chief among these are a newly negotiated HVAC contract and grounds maintenance contract and continuing elevator contract. FMW passed all of its required inspections this year. 

Maintenance highlights:  Ken Orvis has created a prioritized list of nearly 70 projects relating to floors, walls, ceilings, doors, windows, electrical, plumbing, etc. The Lower West Garden provides an example: 

  • Gutter and standpipe overflow planned
  • Native Plants restoration underway
  • Turf restoration underway
  • Sewer gas in the gardens obviated

IT Infrastructure:  The Committee expresses gratitude to Neil Froemming for creating and maintaining the Meeting’s IT system for many years. Campus needs, however, necessitated our move toward a comprehensive upgrade. An RFP was advertised and several bids received. The Committee is currently assessing these bids, and Meeting for Business can expect progress reports during the coming months.


Office Tenants: We have 11 tenants, meaning all that our tenant spaces are full. This is a testament to the attractiveness of FMW as a workspace and of Brian’s skills. We also have a waiting list for any upcoming vacancies. We anticipate exceeding our FY21 budget for office rental income.

What Happened in Event Rentals?

Event rentals decreased during the pandemic and have not yet recovered. In-person meetings were a mainstay of event rentals before the pandemic and before the renovation and those may not return.


Future trends

Brian has devoted considerable effort to imagining new sources of event revenue, obtaining training for outreach, and identifying media for reaching these potential patrons. Prior to COVID-19, much of our income included staff retreats, nonprofit events, religious groups, and workshops. While some of these will return in time, we’ve had to pivot towards new possibilities. These have included small micro-weddings, bar / bat mitzvahs, baby showers, and other rite-of-passage ceremonies. 

We’re also increasingly seen by production companies as a prime location in Washington, DC for shooting professionally filmed interviews to be included in Netflix and other documentaries as well as major media. As our office tenants return in larger numbers, we may find that film shoots no longer fit our spaces from a noise perspective. But we hope that some of our prior types of space users will return – but they will have different technological and amenity requirements than before COVID. 

Our spaces are being used differently than we had envisioned prior to the pandemic. The gardens are a huge draw to us and they will be heavily used this year.

We are marketing online through PeerSpace, DC Elopements, Wedding Wire, The Knot, and Here Comes the Guide, among others. We are booking larger weddings and bar / bat mitzvahs for 2022 under the assumption they will be able to move forward.

It appears that we will be close to budget for event rental income in FY21 and we’re off to a good start for bookings in FY22.

Respectfully submitted

Committee 2020: Jose Voss, Jay Harris, David Miller, Jim Bell, Matt Higgins, Ken Orvis (Property Manager), Brian Lutenegger (Event and Rental Manager), Justin Kwong and Merry Pearlstein (co-Clerks)

Committee 2021: Ken Orvis (Property Manager), Brian Lutenegger (Event and Rental Manager), Jay Harris, David Miller, Jim Bell, Elise Storck, Ken Forsberg and Todd Harvey (co-Clerks), Merry Pearlstein (past Clerk)