FMW Newsletter - January 2022

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1st Query: Meetings for Worship
Survey: Quaker Spiritual Development Programs at FMW
Events (May be subject to change due to Covid)
Thinking About Race, January 2022: Overcoming Medical Bias

December Meeting for Business Minutes & Attachments
-Clerk’s Report, December 2021
-Major Business
  * Marriage & Family Relations Annual Report
  * First presentation, marriage of Annelise Haskell and Eli David Greenspan
  * Ministry & Worship - 10:30 Meeting for Worship
    -Minute 1 - Concerning First Day 10:30 Meeting
    -Minute 2 - Roster for Sitting Head of 10:30 Meeting
 * Nominations
-Other Business
  * Opportunity to support affordable housing in DC - Peace & Social Concerns
 * Marriage and Family Relations Annual Report
 * An Opportunity to Support Affordable Housing in DC
 * Memorial Minute: Chris Benz
 * MW Rental Report for November 2021




Published monthly – Issue #92 – 01

January 2022


Sundays:  9:00 - 10:00 am (Join on Zoom
Sundays 10:30-11:30 am (Join on Zoom) and 6:00 pm; 
Tuesdays:  6:00 - 7:00 pm (Join on Zoom)

Monthly Meeting for Business:  12:15 pm January 9 (2nd Sunday)

Sunday 10:30 Meeting for Worship has resumed in-person meetings  
Please register here for 2022 (new registration form).  Masks required.
For more information, email

1st 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?  (See: Meeting for Worship; Vocal Ministry in BYM Faith & Practice, Part II The Queries

Survey:  Quaker Spiritual Development at FMW:
What are our needs and priorities in 2022?

In order to address the spiritual needs and interests of FMW Friends, your input is needed!  Please fill out this Survey at your earliest convenience.  The survey results will be used to determine priorities for FMW QSD programs and workshops in 2022.  For more info, contact Ann Herzog,    Thank you,  Ministry & Worship’s QSD Team


Please note:  In-person meetings may be subject to change due to COVID.  Updated information will be available in FMW's Weekly Announcements and from event conveners.

Quaker Spiritual Development Programs - Full schedule for January 2022

The Friendly Quaker Film Club will kick off in January 2022! 
We will watch a movie a month through the lens of Quaker ethics and values and then meet for a Friendly discussion using a query based framework.  Friends can watch the movie on their own, in small gatherings, or join us for a community viewing at the Meetinghouse.  Our first selection is the much loved classic “The Wizard of Oz”  For details contact Bill Parker, (301) 221-4539
Community Viewing: January 12, 2022 6-8 p.m. at the Meetinghouse
Discussion: January 26, 2022 6-8 p.m. at the Meetinghouse 

WIN Affordable Housing Rally, Fort Reno & on Zoom, January 23, 3:00 pm
Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) is building a campaign demanding that Ward 3 (DC’s wealthiest, and whitest Ward) provide its fair share of affordable housing--especially for those who work in Ward 3 but are unable to afford to live there. One possible location for new affordable housing construction would be Fort Reno, once the site of a thriving African-American community which was displaced in the 1930s to make way for a park and school for white families moving into the area.
Flyer for more info and to register.

Pendle Hill Quaker Study and Retreat Center: Upcoming events and programs
Pendle Hill, just outside Philadelphia offers a wide variety of programs, in-person and online, on Quakerism, spirituality, social justice and personal growth.  Learn more here.

Thinking About Race, January 2022
Overcoming Medical Bias

Medical bias can be deadly, by Damon Centola, in The Baltimore Sun, December 6, 2021

“In the largest study of its kind to date, a 2020 analysis of more than 3 million U.S. patients’ hospital admissions between 2012 and 2017 found that adults who are Black or from other underrepresented racial or ethnic groups received up to 10% fewer early treatments for heart problems than white patients. Medical bias according to race and gender is so powerful that even mega stars like Serena Williams have nearly died from it.

“Institutions including medical schools and hospitals have responded to the problem of bias with implicit bias training— the use of cognitive techniques to make people aware of their internalized assumptions about race and gender. But the data show that it doesn’t work. Being taught directly about one’s own internalized assumptions unfortunately doesn’t seem to alter behavior. So, what can we do about bias that is unconscious, pervasive and threatens the lives of millions of Americans?

“In a study published this month in the journal Nature Communications, my colleagues and I discovered a surprisingly effective answer: an online group reasoning technique known as networked collective intelligence, which basically means getting doctors to exchange treatment options with one another. Think of it as a group chat for specialists.

[The article then describes the new online group approach and its remarkable results.]

“While no single discovery or innovation can eradicate race and gender bias from medicine, using egalitarian networks to improve medical care could spark a badly needed paradigm shift, where we train future clinicians to seek answers through peer problem-solving networks rather than deferring to seniority. We have known for some time that biased norms in healthcare are reinforced and strengthened by traditional medical networks. But clinical networks can improve upon the traditional logic of medical authority by relying on collective intelligence, which can reduce flaws in clinical reasoning in a way individual approaches cannot.”

Damon Centola is a senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, professor of communication, sociology, and engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and author, most recently, of  “Change: How to Make Big Things Happen.”

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, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, currently via Zoom.  If you would like to attend, contact the clerk at

Meeting for Business Minutes & Attachments

Friends Meeting of Washington
MINUTES, December 12, 2021
Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business

About 30 people attended in person and by Zoom. The meeting began at 12:15 pm.  (Attending via Zoom: Beth Cogswell, Ken Orvis, Igor (?), Cavan Capps, Tamina Chowdhury, Matt Higgins)

Query for Worship Sharing: How does the Meeting support your spiritual growth?  How does your spiritual growth support the Meeting?

Clerk’s Report, December 2021

In Memoriam

  • Rebecca Wiggins, our beloved member, died unexpectedly on Thursday, December 2.  A memorial service was held at FMW yesterday (Saturday, December 11).  Elise Storck will prepare Friend Rebecca’s memorial minute.
  • Memorial Minute for Chris Benz - Jean Capps (see attached) 

Upcoming Events

  • Blue Christmas Special Worship-sharing, Wednesday, December 22, 7 pm
    Blue Christmas is for anyone experiencing loss. It is a worship-sharing format and will be completely on Zoom. Join on Zoom.  By phone dial: (301) 715-8592 and enter meeting ID: 8423 7270 295#  For more info, contact Jean Capps,
  • Christmas Eve carol sing/Meeting for Worship/hot chocolate from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, 12/24/2021. All are welcome
  • Young Adult Friends’ “Quakemas” -Dec. 14!  If you are interested contact Rebecca Nelson, email:  
  • The Friendly Quaker Film Club will kick off in January 2022!
    We will watch a movie a month through the lens of Quaker ethics and values and then meet for a Friendly discussion using a query based framework.  Friends can watch the movie on their own, in small gatherings, or join us for a community viewing at the Meetinghouse.  Our first selection is the much loved classic “The Wizard of Oz”  For details contact Bill Parker, (301) 221-4539
    Community Viewing: January 12, 2022 6-8 p.m. at the Meetinghouse
    Discussion: January 26, 2022 6-8 p.m. at the Meetinghouse 

  • [Editor's note:  Scheduled in-person events may be subject to change due to Covid safety considerations.  Updated information will be available in Weekly Announcements and via event organizers.]

FMW Community Highlights & Kudos

  • Shoebox/Backpack Project delivered 1428 backpacks - kudos to CJ, Eric, and Jessa for their organizing and to all of the Friends who volunteered 

Tenant Updates- Activities at our Meeting House

  • See attached report from Brian Lutenegger
  • Security at the Meeting House: recent issues, actions 

The Clerk noted that some people have trespassed into the Meeting House.  The Clerk stressed the need to lock the Meeting House doors, especially the front door.

About a month ago, there was a break-in the East Garden, where a window was broken.  The Clerks noted that there are security cameras outside the Meeting House.  

A member of the Property Committee noted that security has been a major discussion on that Committee, which is in discussion about how best to address it.  We all must be more conscious of security and thank the Meeting’s staff for how they have dealt with the security issues.       

Major Business

Marriage & Family Relations Annual Report - Jim Bell (see attached)

The first half of 2021 was inactive because there were not any requests for Marriages Under the Care of the Meeting or requests for Meetings for Worship welcoming Children born or adopted into families within our Meeting Community.

The second half of 2021 has been quite busy.  There was a Welcoming for Daniel Russ Higgins, which Gray Handley clerked, and was a success.  There were three different clearness committees for requests for marriage: Helen Qubain and Harry Matz; Barbara Briggs and Steve Chase; and Annelise Haskel and Eli Greenspan.  Two of these three weddings were requests for combined Jewish Quaker wedding ceremonies. The committee will draft language and present it to MfB for procedures for combining Quaker marriage ceremonies with other religious faith traditions.  The Committee requests feedback from the Meeting from those who have helped plan such ceremonies..

A Friend noted that he had attended a Jewish/Quaker wedding, which was beautifully done.  A rabbi was present, the couple was under a chuppa, the glass was broken (in Jewish tradition), and there was silent worship, in the Quaker tradition.

Another Friend noted that in very recent history, there have been a number of interfaith Quaker weddings.  All Friends agreed that interfaith marriages align with Quaker values and traditions.  Marriage and Family Relations noted a need to draft language to formalize those commitments and values and seeks input from all Members of the Meeting.

One Friend noted that in the Nineteenth Century, a Friend could be read out of Meeting for marrying a non-Friend.  The Friend noted that given this history, the Meeting should institutionalize and formalize its commitment to inter-faith marriages.

Another Friend noted that some couples include one member that does not identify with any faith tradition.  Any efforts to institutionalize inter-faith marriages should be broad enough to include such couples.  

Friends accepted this report.

First presentation, marriage of Annelise Haskell and Eli David Greenspan - Martha Solt

Martha noted that she has known Annelise since she was a baby and summarized Annelises’s and Eli’s request for marriage.  The couple would like to be married April 2, 2022 in a manner that blends Quaker and Jewish traditions.

The request for this marriage will lay over for a month, as is our custom.

Ministry & Worship - Joe Izzo

Joe noted that an outdoor worship was begun at 10:30, at the same time as indoor worship in the Meeting Room, due to the pandemic, and ran for many months.

Another Friend noted that before the pandemic, there was a smaller, quieter 10:30 worship in the Library or Living Room.  That was a spiritually enriching place for the Friend, and he believes that the Meeting should be more thoughtful and intentional before laying it down.  Another Friend noted that the smaller worship in the Library or Living Room was better for the hearing impaired.

Joe noted that Minute 1 (below) did not come out of a desire to shut down the smaller 10:30 Library or Living Room worship.  The Minute came out of its perceived preference that those meeting outside wished to meet inside once the weather got too cold.  Joe noted that Minute 1 (below) would not be interpreted to shut down the separate Library or Living Room Meeting at 10:30. 

Another Friend noted that those attending the outdoor worship were doing so out of a concern for health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Those attending outdoor worship in the garden always intended to rejoin the other 10:30 meetings once safe–not to create a separate, third 10:30 Meeting.  This Friend believes Minute 1 is unnecessary because no one attending outdoor worship intended to create a permanent third separate meeting space.  In addition, those who had been attending outdoor worship may wish to continue to do so in the Spring, which this Friend does not believe is a problem.

Friends agreed that M&W will reconsider and engage closely on the issue.  M&W has requested first-hand knowledge from those who have attended the 10:30 Meeting outdoors during the pandemic and those who have attended the 10:30 Library or Living Room Meeting.  

Minute 1 - Concerning First Day 10:30 Meeting for Worship

Ministry & Worship Committee considers that the unity of the Meeting is demonstrated by Friends meeting together in one place for worship. And yet our Committee recognizes that some Friends find spiritual richness in meeting for worship outdoors. Our Committee supports Friends' experiment with worshiping outdoors for as long as it is physically comfortable. When the weather becomes inclement, our Committee considers that the unity of the Meeting and the Quaker testimony of simplicity are supported by Friends meeting in the Meeting Room. If a spillover location is necessary to maintain safe physical distances between Friends indoors, our Committee trusts that Property Committee will identify a spillover location for worship.

The Committee’s intent for Minute 2 is that it is the responsibility of the Clerks of the Committee to be present at Head of Meeting or find someone else on the Committee to be present at head of Meeting. If this isn’t possible, the committee can switch with another committee.  Amit Pandya is maintaining the roster.

Friends noted that the formatting and presentation of the roster should be improved, and the size should be enlarged to be more visible on phones.  Another Friend requested that the roster be posted on the FMW website.  

Friends accepted Minute 2.

Minute 2 - Concerning Roster for Sitting Head of First Day 10:30 Meeting for Worship

Ministry & Worship Committee will create a rotating roster of groups to sit Head of Meeting at the First Day 10:30am Meeting for Worship. The roster will be shared with the Administrative Secretary and with the Committee of Clerks. Our Committee expects each group to make sure that its assigned First Day is covered either by a member of the group or by another group.

Nominating - Virginia Avanesyan

The Clerk noted that the nominations are assumed to be three years, except for the Clerks of Meeting, which is for one year.

The Clerk noted that Clerks for various committees will continue in their roles at least until the January 2022 Meeting for Business.

  • Ministry and Worship:  Liz Pomerleau and Kathy Powell, until 12/31/2024
    - Friends approve Liz Pomerleau’s nomination.  Kathy’s nomination is held over for a month (her membership application is pending), as is our custom.
  • Property: Judy Hubbard
    - Friends approve this nomination
  • Peace and Social Concerns: Tamina Chowdhury and Kristen Clark
    - Friends approve these nominations.
  • Personnel: Martha Solt, until 12/31/2024
    ​- Friends approve this nomination.

      Renewed Nominations: 

  • Co-Clerks - Debby Churchman and Rebecca Nelson 
    - Friends approve these nominations (one-year terms).
  • Clerk, Personnel Committee - Bill Strein, who has already served two full terms on the committee, is willing to serve one more year as Clerk.
    - Friends approve his nomination as Member of the Committee for a year, and approve his nomination as Clerk of the Committee for one year.

Other Business

Baldwin House: Opportunity to support affordable housing in DC - Peace & Social Concerns

Member Chris Kearns-McCoy is deeply involved with affordable housing initiatives in Ward 1.  The Tenant Opportunity Purchase Act gives tenants the right of first refusal when the building’s owner decides to sell.  P&SC has agreed to support the Baldwin House, whose tenants would like to exercise that right.  Chris’s group (Ward 1 Mutual Aid Network) has raised a little under $200,000–close to their initial goal of $300,000 by December 31 which would allow the tenants to purchase the Baldwin House.  Ward 1 Mutual Aid Network is asking the Meeting for additional support, both financial and time.  In particular, the group is seeking assistance from members who understand the grant writing and grant application process, particularly in the affordable housing space. 

P&SC has already donated $1,000 for these Baldwin House efforts.  There are no more formal requests being made to the Meeting.  The request is for individual members to contribute their money and time to these Baldwin House efforts.

Chris noted that money donated to this fund will go to either (1) cover the immediate buy-out of the tenants that choose to leave (non-tax-deductible); or (2) tax-deductible donations made for the further purchase and renovation of the building.   


Marriage and Family Relations (M & FR) Annual Report
Submitted to Meeting for Business, December 12, 2021

The M & F R committee was inactive during the first half of 2021 due to there not being any requests for Marriages Under the Care of the Meeting nor Meetings for Worship or for welcoming Children born or adopted into families within our Meeting Community. These meetings for Worship are convened by M & F R for welcoming the child into our spiritual community (a Welcoming Meeting). The second half of 2021 was busier with one Welcoming Meeting and several requests for Marriages.

In September, a Meeting for Worship with a welcome to Daniel Russ Higgins, the son of Rachel Miller-Ziegler and Matt Higgins was accomplished in good order.

Three different Clearness Committees were formed for the marriage requests from 

·         Helen Qubain and Harry Matz had their clearness committee meeting in September and were married in the Manner of Friends in a combined Quaker/Jewish ceremony in October. 

·         Barbara Briggs and Steve Chase had their Clearness committee meeting in August and were presented to MfB for Marriage under the Care of the Meeting in September and approval in October.

·         Annelise Haskel and Eli Greenspan had their Clearness Committee Meeting in December and were presented for the first time to MfB in December for Marriage under the Care of the Meeting to be planned as a combined Quaker Jewish Ceremony. 

With two of the above requests for marriage being combined Quaker/Jewish ceremonies, the M & F R committee found little guidance on how to support a combined ceremony.  Members of the Committee researched the FMW Unions of Marriage or Commitment and the Marriage Procedures Manual for guidance and procedures concerning combined marriage ceremonies but unfortunately no information was available.  Further a member searched both the BYM and PYM Marriage Procedures Manuals as well as searching for other Quaker Meeting’s Marriage Procedures Manuals, but again no information was found that described the procedures for combined interfaith weddings.  Ultimately, the committee learned that there had been a combined Quaker/Jewish Marriage under the care of the Meeting.  One was accomplished approximately 20 years ago.  Another search for “Quaker/Jewish Weddings did turn up an excellent article written by Rabbi David Gruber entitled: “A Quaker Jewish Wedding in the New Orleans Garden District” on the website

The experience of the M & F R committee in understanding and implementing the procedures for combining Quaker with other religious faith’s ceremonies resulted in the committee’s decision to draft additional procedures to be presented to MfB for discussion, editing, and final approval and then to be inserted into FMW’ s Marriage Procedures Manual.

The committee wishes to acknowledge and thank Barbara Briggs and Brian Luttenegger for their close collaboration and support for marriages at FMW that involve the M & F R.

The M & F R committee is comprised of the following members:  Debby Churchman, Gray Handley, Petra Carnes, Danielle Carnes, Beth Cogswell and Jim Bell (Clerk).

Report back & Call for Support from Peace & Social Concerns
Baldwin House: An Opportunity to Support Affordable Housing in DC

Hello Friends,

We have a chance to help expand affordable housing in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in DC’s Ward 1, but there is an urgent need for donations to make it happen! FMW and PSC member Chris Kearns-McCoy is part of the Ward 1 Mutual Aid Network, which is working with the residents of a small apartment building on Sherman Ave NW to turn that building into Baldwin House: a limited equity housing cooperative and community mutual aid hub. 

The residents of the building, who are mostly Black and brown working class people, have decided to try to exercise their right to purchase the building under DC’s TOPA law. Ward 1 Mutual Aid is seeking to raise an initial $300,000 by December 31 to provide immediate support to the residents and take the first legal and financial steps to acquire the building. The timeline is tight, as the residents were only recently notified of the impending sale of their homes. As of Monday, 12/6, they’ve succeeded in raising just over $165,000 –so they will need help to meet the goal.

The Peace and Social Concerns Committee has agreed to support the Baldwin House effort in whatever way we can, including with a Social Justice Fund grant of $1,000.  This is an opportunity to help ensure affordable housing in DC, and it could potentially open pathways for similar projects.  

We know that our community has a very widespread network of people who care about social justice and decent living conditions for low income, historically dispossessed people. Can you help us by supporting this project yourself and/or helping us connect with people who might want to help make this project a success?

If so, please reach out to Chris: or 908-656-1941.

Thank you!
Barbara Briggs, Chris Kearns-McCoy

Memorial Minute
Christopher Joseph Benz

April 10, 1941- July 10, 2021

Chris Benz was born in New York City and was adopted by Margaret Hearns and Albert Benz in Connecticut at the age of nine. He was a college graduate, having earned a BA in English. He held a variety of interesting jobs, including fundraiser for community action groups, school textbook salesman, substance abuse counselor and computer technical support specialist. He met his future wife, G. Charmaine Gilbreath, when they attended a retreat for community organizers. They discovered they both admired the work and example of AFSC.

Chris and Charmaine came to FMW in the late 1980’s and were married under the care of the Meeting in 1990. They participated in one of the Couples Support Groups started by the Marriage and Family Relations Committee until his death. 

He shared his love of peace and justice through nonviolence and his gift of music. His greatest involvement with the Meeting was through his music and encouraging others to join him to make music. He organized singing before the 10:30 meeting, at Catoctin weekends, and caroling during Christmas Eve celebrations at the Meeting (where Charmaine always contributed a turkey and helped organize the potluck dinner.) 

Chris struggled with alcohol for many years. His wife said she thought, “The world broke his heart and he turned to alcohol. When we met, he decided to have hope again.” He stopped drinking and had 34 years of sobriety. 

“He embraced and was embraced by Quakers.” 

He shared openly about his involvement with AA and provided loving support to others, including in the FMW community, who struggled with alcohol or addiction issues in themselves or their loved ones. 

He was a life-long student of history and let his life speak by maintaining his commitment to social justice by marching in rallies and keeping vigils for the causes important to him. (He even installed solar panels in the 1970’s, well ahead of his time.) His selection of songs often included those related to peace, love, and social justice. He wore a string of beads in honor of Kamala Harris’ inauguration as Vice President of the United States in 2021. 

After retiring in Northern Virginia, he lived briefly in Orlando, Florida and later moved to Toano, Virginia near Williamsburg. In his later years, he was mobility impaired and lost his sight, but he never lost his spirit and the love he had for his family and F/friends.  

FMW Rental Report for November

“Advices” - from “Faith & Practice,” Baltimore Yearly Meeting

Waiting upon the Holy Spirit in silent expectation and prayer is the basis of our meeting for worship. Vocal ministry should arise out of a sense of being inwardly moved to share a message aloud. Sometimes a message is not ripe yet, or comes clearly but is meant only for the person receiving it, not for the group. Some Friends are led to speak frequently, and others only rarely; yet the timid or brief message of one who seldom speaks may be as moving and helpful as that of a more practiced speaker. The experienced speaker should be watchful not to speak too often or at undue length. No Friend should come to meeting for worship with an intention to speak or not to speak.

The most satisfactory vocal ministry arises out of a leading that is felt in the silence so strongly that it cannot be ignored. It should be delivered with as few words as possible, yet as many as necessary. Vocal prayer offered on behalf of the gathered meeting can also bring us into closer harmony with God.