FMW Newsletter Issue 93-12 December 2023 (November Mtg for Business Minutes)

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Friends Meeting of Washington
Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business
Minutes - November 12, 2023

In-Person Attenders: 36    Online Attenders: 5

New Attenders: Sonia Norton, Marina Jacobo, Alexander Simms, Michelle Hannahs, Peaches Watkins, Rozella Apel-Hernandez, Helen Qubain, Harry Matz

Query for Worship Sharing: How does your life help remove the causes of war?

Clerk’s Report, November 2023

Upcoming Events

  • Why Peace with Justice? A Zoom Talk for Quakers on the Israel/Palestine Conflict, Sunday, November 12, 7:00 pm - Register here. Presentation by FMW member Steve Chase organized by New England Yearly Meeting’s Israel-Palestine Resource Group.
  • Thanksgiving Meeting for Worship, FMW Lobby, November 23, 11 amFor more info on this special holiday worship, contact Debby Churchman (
  • Shoebox (Backpack) Project at FMW, December 9-10 – SAVE THIS DATE!Volunteers are needed for setup on Friday, all day on Saturday, & on Sunday  Each year our FMW community and friends come together to prepare useful holiday gifts (warm hats, gloves, socks etc.) for 1,000+ men, women and kids in DC shelters. Help will be needed Saturday 9:00-5:00 and Sunday.  For more information, contact CJ Lewis (202-704-4430) or Eric Nothman (202-483-5915)
  • Quaker Treasure Chest Bread – a holiday classic is back. Order now!This delicious annual fundraiser for FMW’s Personal Aid Committee is brimming with pumpkin, fresh and dried cranberries, pecans, walnuts, apricots, bananas, prunes, raisins and sultanas.  It’s a lovely balance of sweet and tart, and for $15 for one loaf or $12.50 each for  two or more, it makes a great house present or addition to your holiday table. Order via email: or text (202) 815-7321 for pick up at FMW  on Sunday Nov 19 – or by arrangement with Bob Meehan.

FMW Community Highlights & Kudos

  • Meeting Renovation Finally Complete – Thanks to the Property Committee and Ken Orvis for seeing this through.
  • Wait For It-Visioning FMWs future Many thanks to Rashid Darden for leading this focus group.  A full report on the voices raised at this event will be forthcoming.  Thanks to the friends who provided the lunch for the participants.
  • FMW member Steve Chase has begun his residency as Pendle Hill’s Cadbury Scholar – Where he is working on a book on Quaker engagement in Israel/Palestine.  

Tenant Updates Activities at our Meeting House

  • Know anyone looking for a small office suite? FMW’s 3rd floor office #363 may become available as of December 1. (There is a prospective renter, but not yet a sure thing.)
  • FMW Rentals Associate-part time opportunity! As FMW’s event rentals increase, there is need for a part time rentals associate, someone who could oversee and cover some evening and weekend events, ideally helping clients plan their events, then supporting them beginning to end.  If you think you or someone you know could be a good fit for this position, contact FMW rentals manager Brian Lutenegger, email: 


 Library, Records & Handbook Gene Throwe

The Administrative Secretary highlighted the importance of the document and indicated they would send out the edited document on 11/13, and requested that LR&H provide a summary of changes.

Gene noted that the document would be shared out via Google Documents

One Friend asked about the difference between Faith and Practice and the handbook.

Gene responded that the handbook was specific to FMW and Faith and Practice related to our yearly meeting.

One friend asked whether there were disagreements between the two.

Gene responded that BYM could update Faith and Practice and we could update the handbook.

Gene and the administrative secretary noted that Faith and Practice was related to the acts of faith and practice and that the handbook handled the logistics and administration of the meeting.

Nominating Committee Michael Beer

  • Marina Jacobo to Peace and Social Concerns.  Friends approved.
  • Rozella Apel-Hernandez to Peace and Social Concerns.  Friends approved.
  • Rashid Dardin to Trustees from November 12th 2023, December 31st 2027 
    One friend asked about the process for withdrawal and approval.  Friends approved.
  • Kelli Moore to withdraw from Personal Aid.  Friends accepted.

Search Committee – Clerks

The Clerk noted that the search committee was actively searching for members for nominating.

FMW’s Response to the Crisis in Israel and Palestine – Peace & Social Concerns

  • Draft FMW Minute on the Conflict in Israel/Palestine (below and here)
  • Draft banner (attached below)

The Clerk discussed their meeting with DC Minyan about the draft minute.

One friend asked the clerk about which words DC Minyan felt were problematic.

The clerk noted that the word ‘Ceasefire’ was problematic to some and had been coupled with anti-semitic rhetoric.

The Clerk of Peace and Social Concerns noted that the committee felt that they had a duty to respond and to act in regard to the violence within and rhetoric surrounding the crisis with the aim of advancing peace.

One friend stated that the clerk spoke their mind.  One friend noted that they were in agreement with the minute but had disagreements with the banner.  They suggested adding ‘mutual’ to ‘ceasefire’ and adding ‘war’ to ‘never again’.

One friend expressed their gratitude to the clerks for meeting with DC Minyan and to PSC and recommended two edits to the minute: replace speedily with quickly in the 2nd paragraph, and consistency in the use of the words Israel and Palestine vs. Israel/Palestine. They suggested we first discuss the minute and then the banner.

The Clerk noted that further discussion would be focused on the minute.

One friend suggested the addition of promoting nonviolent structures that stop others from committing violence in part for the committers sake.

One friend expressed their support for the minute as drafted and noted that the sentiment of the minute was clear to them. They suggested that the minute be sent to media outlets in addition to being posted on the website, in part to help provide clarity to a misinterpretable banner.

One friend expressed support for adding the word mutual to ceasefire. They also noted their own potential ignorance, but asked about whether ‘Israel and Palestine’ vs. ‘Israel/Palestine’ suggested a support for a two-state solution.

The Clerk of PSC stated that resolving that issue was likely outside the scope of the draft minute, and suggested that ‘Israel/Palestine’ be used primarily. They noted that it was up to those involved to sort out political structures.

One friend requested that the meeting re-consider the Clerk’s message regarding being careful with language and interpretation. They suggested highlighting “We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretense whatsoever; and this is our testimony to the whole world.”. They suggested that raising Quaker history in the minute was less relevant, and expressed uncertainty regarding what ‘everything at our disposal’ implied.

One friend expressed support for the language of ‘Israel and Palestine’ and expressed their struggles with using extreme language while promoting peace, and the difficulty of threading the needle. They expressed their support for the FMW community and all who share this space.

The Clerk noted that they had received several recommendations to add in language that denounced rising hateful rhetoric into the document and that it was planned to be inserted.

The Clerk of PSC noted support for the use of ‘mutual ceasefire’, ‘Israel and Palestine’, and an additional paragraph about rising hateful rhetoric.

One friend expressed support for natural language such as ‘quickly’ in place of ‘speedily’. They also expressed a hope to discern differences between Israel and Israeli defense forces. They also suggested adding in a call to eliminate US military aid.

One friend noted a lack of unity with the minute, while appreciating the effort going into it. They stated that their understanding of creating a minute was that it starts with a statement of beliefs and then a general statement of how those apply, rather than getting into specifics. They suggested following the example of AFSC’s (American Friends Service Committee) message, and highlighted that the individuals who are going to solve the issue are those who are there.

AFSC’s message:

“Quakers believe in the sacred worth of each person and stand against violence in all its forms. As a Quaker Meeting, we mourn all lives lost and lament with everyone who is suffering. We grieve for those in Israel and Palestine who have lost precious lives. We pray with those waiting for the return of loved ones and those living under siege and bombardment. And we stand ready to support Palestinian and Israeli individual and group efforts to work for a just peace for all sides.”

One friend noted an issue with the use of ‘pledge’, in that it implies a promise that we would absolutely need to follow through with actions.  They also suggested more attention to individuals vs. nation-states, and to emphasize expressions such as ‘a just peace’ rather than simply ‘peace’.

One friend expressed their support for the efforts of PSC, and also suggested following the example of AFSC.

One friend noted that they could not stand in unity with the current minute, but expressed support for the briefer and more straightforward example from AFSC. They noted that compassion for individuals was not as present in the draft minute, and also suggested that the statement of “We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretense whatsoever; and this is our testimony to the whole world.” be made the first sentence. They also expressed discomfort with claiming the historical actions in the first paragraph as being done by ‘us’. They expressed strong support for the use of the phrase ‘immediate release of hostages’ rather than ‘release of hostages’. They also expressed that people have been experiencing anti-semitism for centuries, and that there is not enough denouncement of Hamas when denouncing Israel. They raised Israel’s history of being attacked and invasion by surrounding countries.

One friend noted that whatever is said should be said loudly and clearly. They agreed that raising historical actions of quakers who are not us was not helpful. They raised that aspirations of a particular political outcome was also outside the scope of the minute. They recommended a focus on simplicity and brevity in our statements. They expressed disagreement with the need to ‘balance’ criticisms, and a support for the actions of things we can actually do, primarily referring to helping those in our local community.

The Clerk noted that they heard that there were enough voices not in unity to not go forward with the full minute, but that they heard unity around a shorter and more simple minute that expresses our beliefs and testimonies, our compassion for all individuals under the threat of violence, reduces our reliance on Quaker historical context, and expresses our denouncement of hateful rhetoric and actions. They noted the weight and importance of what we determine as a community and its impact on the individuals in our community, and how deeply important each of those individuals are.

The Clerk requested that PSC re-craft a minute over the course of the next week and that meeting for business be reconvened next Sunday.

One friend expressed their support for the minute and expressed their sense of urgency in responding, relating the impact on their family. They also suggested adding language regarding a seeking of a just peace that promotes rights for all.

One friend on PSC related that those in support of Palestinian issues are being silenced in our local communities. They expressed support for a shorter message. They expressed adding what we can do as citizens to impact US government actions and opposing US military support for Israel. They expressed frustration with the interpretation of ‘ceasefire’ as anti-semitic. They expressed support for taking a week to work on the minute and returning.

One friend called others to remember our faith and practices, and that we provide queries rather than answers. They noted their appreciation for the labor involved in the minute’s creation and in its future adjustments. They recommended that the third to last and last paragraph be the foundation of the minute, and that we speak with the language of a query and a hope.

The meeting entered a period of silence.

The Clerk asked that those with additional concerns or suggestions send them via email to themselves and the Clerk of PSC. They asked that the MfB reconvene next week. They asked that FMW raise our pre-existing banner that says “seek peace and pursue it”, with a query of “how does your life reduce the causes of war”.

Friends approved raising the pre-existing banner.

Ministry & Worship annual report (attached below) Gray Handley 

Gray expressed gratitude toward the Clerk and our expressions of faith prior to delivering M&W’s report.  Gray noted that, if anything was left out of the report, to please email him for it to be added in.

The Clerk noted that those in Quaker 101 were being reached out to for membership.

One friend asked about the inclusion of the memorial of Molly Tully.

Gray noted that they would confirm the timing of the memorial and take appropriate action to include it.

Friends accepted the report and the potential addition of the memorial of Molly Tully.

Report from Friends Committee on National Legislation Representative Jim Bell

Jim Bell was not in attendance. The Clerk highlighted several aspects of FCNL’s work and recommended greater engagement with FCNL’s work to the meeting.  Friends accepted the report.

Friends approved the minutes at 2:30 PM.

Friends entered a period of silent worship and MfB concluded at 2:31 PM.

Upcoming Committee Reports

December: Nominating; Marriage & Family Relations; Peace & Social Concerns; A&O; State of the Staff Report;

January: Trustees (including Audit report);


Let our discussion and discernment in this meeting be guided by
FMW’s Anti-Racist Queries

"Queries"--leading questions--have long been used as an integral part of Quaker spiritual and social justice practice.  Our community has agreed that we will use the queries below in all of our decision processes, to help us become aware of the racism that is built into our culture and our Meeting, and work to heal it.

1. How will we provide opportunities for those most likely to be directly affected by the choices we are contemplating to influence the decision making process?   

2. How could the choices we are contemplating 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 making process?

4. How will the choices we are contemplating promote equity, diversity, and inclusiveness? Will they enable us to be more friendly and whole, engaging across racial divisions?

5. How do the choices we are contemplating support the declaration of our Yearly Meeting that we aspire to be an anti-racist faith community?


Draft FMW Minute on the Conflict in Israel/Palestine
November 10 2023

Brought by Peace & Social Concerns et al.

We are heartbroken by the horrors unfolding in Israel and Palestine. Quakers have deep roots and relationships in that region, dating back to 1870. In 1948, the American Friends Service Committee and British Quakers established and for several months ran all the original refugee camps erected in Gaza to shelter Palestinians expelled from the area that became Israel that year, and we have maintained personal and spiritual ties and pro-peace programming with communities in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel ever since. 

As Friends Meeting of Washington, we pray that this lengthy conflict may speedily be ended in a way that promotes justice and healing.  We pledge to use our voices, our hands, and everything at our disposal to promote peace and to protect innocent lives. 

We are in unity with the many calls for a ceasefire now, release of the hostages, and the provision of urgent humanitarian aid to the 2.2 million civilians in Gaza currently suffering under siege and near-continuous assaults by military forces supplied and supported by our government. We are grateful for the leadership of the American Friends Service Committee, the Canadian Friends Service Committee, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Quakers in Britain, Quaker United Nations Office, Friends World Committee on Consultation, Australian Friends, and many other faith and civil-society groups in pointing to a nonviolent way forward and renewed efforts to achieve peace with justice in Israel/Palestine.

As Friends, we hold that every person has that of God within them.  All human beings are created and unconditionally beloved by God. We are dependent on one another, and it is together, through our relationships—as persons and as societies—that we can realize God’s will and our duty of care for one another

We have been deeply shocked by the war crimes and mass murder of civilians by the military wing of Hamas on October 7, and those that have been committed by the US-backed State of Israel since then. Today, we reaffirm the declaration of the first generation of Quakers in 1660:  “We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretense whatsoever; and this is our testimony to the whole world.”

Let us each continue to seek paths to work for peace with all the tools available to us. We are called to act in faith and love, with persistence, patience, and courage, as partners and hands of the divine spirit as we pursue the sacred goal of peace, shalom, salaam. 

Draft Banner


FMW Ministry & Worship Committee’s Annual Report to Monthly Meeting

November 2023 - [M&W corrected version inserted 11/13/12]

The past year has been a time of vitality at Friends Meeting of Washington. As we emerged from pandemic restrictions and lockdown, and as Friends have adapted to the possibilities of Zoom technology, we see fresh curiosity, yearnings and new opportunities for engaging with one another in worship, service, and experiential learning. The Ministry and Worship Committee (M&W) has continued to oversee multiple weekly and called Meetings for Worship, worship sharing, regular bible and book study sessions, targeted workshops (including one on vocational discernment), opportunities for personal sharing (such as “Second Cup of Coffee" gatherings in coordination with the Hospitality Committee), deep learning opportunities, outreach and the welcoming of other faith communities, as well as efforts to enhance our communal ministry and worship experiences. 

Becoming an anti-racist meeting 

With an understanding that racism hinders spiritual growth and the full manifestation of our faith and testimonies, M&W has been led over the last year to prioritize helping advance FMW’s commitment to become an anti-racist community. Diane Randall has worked with others to collect information on related activities underway or in development at FMW.  Over the next year this information will be widely shared to assist individuals and our whole community as we work individually and collectively to confront racism.  In addition to helping inform our community about what is being done, M&W also has and will work with groups like the Change Group for Racial Equity, the Visioning Initiative, the Peace and Social Concerns Committee and others, both individuals and groups, to encourage wider participation and continuing commitment.  We acknowledge this is a challenging issue for many of us and for our Meeting.  It requires honesty, openness, spiritual effort, activism, ongoing dedication and compassion.  Over time, we have faith that the Spirit will guide our efforts to recognize and eliminate racism in ourselves and in our community.     

Adult religious education  

Since the Spring of 2022, over 150 people in four cohorts have participated in a carefully developed and presented introductory learning opportunity on the Religious Society of Friends – Quakerism 101 (Q101).  Geared toward seekers as well as individuals wishing to deepen their understanding of our faith, this program has flourished under the administrative and developmental leadership of Ann Herzog and Nick Warren, along with a faculty of about a dozen highly committed FMW Members.  Over the course of five sessions, provided via Zoom, participants learned about and experienced Quaker faith and practices, Friends’ testimonies, and our history.  To compliment these sessions, the organizing Friends and facilitating faculty have developed an extensive website:  Self-Guided Quakerism 101, which includes links to an array of Quaker resources, documents, and QuakerSpeak videos.  

During and after Q101 sessions, the administrators have interacted extensively with participants and faculty to evaluate and improve the course and individual sessions – as well as to follow-up on individual concerns and recommendations.  This feedback has led the organizers to sponsor several “Quakerism 201” sessions to enhance learning initiated in Q101.  M&W anticipates continuation of this well-received program and sharing with other Monthly Meetings FMW’s experience developing and presenting both Q101 and Q201.  

Continuing a long tradition of book study for the enrichment of our spiritual growth, Friends Joe Izzo and Diane Randall have hosted eight sessions entitled: “Quakerism: A Deeper Dive”.  In these sessions over the last year, Friends have studied and discussed A Sustainable Life by Douglas Gwynn.    

Spiritual State of the Meeting Report for Baltimore Yearly Meeting 

The Committee widely consulted with members and attenders as it prepared the Annual Spiritual State of the Meeting Report (SSoM) for review and approval by the Meeting at Meetings for Worship with a Concern for Business. In preparing the next SSoM, the Committee hopes for additional input from as many members, attenders and seekers as possible.    

Hosting Kenyan Quakers at FMW 

During the year some FMW Members approached the Committee to say that they understood the Friends Church of Baltimore might be interested in using the FMW Meeting House to convene some of their Meetings for Worship.  These Friends and the M&W Clerk met with the Pastor and other leaders of the Friends Church, which is a programmed meeting with links to Kenyan Friends and with many Members who have East African roots.  After considerable discernment in the Committee, Business Meeting and other FMW Committees, FMW offered to share our facilities with the Friends Church of Baltimore.  Ultimately, our Baltimore Friends did not need to use our facilities, but we agreed that our respective worshipers would be most welcome to participate in each other’s Meetings for Worship at any time. 

Worship format/use of meeting room  

The Committee also considered ways to address concerns raised about: late arrivals to the 10:30 Meeting, the encouragement of Spirit-led vocal ministry, the sharing of "Joys and Sorrows", guidance for those sitting Head of Meeting, the arrangement of our benches, Zoom use, the timing of children’s attendance, and other matters to enhance the worship experience.  As a result, Head of Meeting Guidelines were prepared and changes in our practices were piloted or introduced.  There are ongoing concerns and divergent views about the enhancement of Meeting for Worship practices.  M&W will continue to seek unity and work toward improvements.

Memorial Meetings 

Friends’ Memorial Meetings for Worship are convened under the care of M&W. Joe Izzo serves as the point of contact for family members to assist in the planning of Memorial Meetings for a deceased loved one. Joe discusses with the family whether an oversight committee would be helpful, what they would like the Meeting to include, and the coordination of logistical issues, working closely with FMW staff and support volunteers.  Over the last year M&W convened in good order Memorial Meetings for deeply beloved members Molly Tully, Chris Benz, Hayden Wetzel and Janet Dinsmore. 

Committee members:  Gray Handley, Clerk; Ann Herzog, Joe Izzo, Raymond Patch, Liz Pomerleau, Kathy Powell, Diane Randall, Viticia Thames

# # # # #

FCNL Activities 

There are a wide variety of issues on which FCNL advocates.  I have chosen three that are currently of particular concern. I encourage all of you to visit to keep abreast of opportunities to participate in advocacy. 

Deterring Nuclear Expansion—U.S. Policy Makers have been concerned by China’s nuclear expansion.  The United States has also taken steps in a worrying direction.  Recently, a Congressionally-appointed commission published a laundry list of recommendations for building up our nuclear forces and military capacity more broadly, subjugation of arms control and fueling the self-sustaining momentum of an arms race process.

On November 6, 2023, representatives from the United States and the People’s Republic of China are holding rare nuclear arms control talks. This is an encouraging announcement and a clear break from the ongoing tension between Washington and Beijing.  For months, our nations have been bogged down by a wider narrative of “strategic competition,” with both world powers criticizing the other’s impact on regional and global security. Given that context, the announcement of these talks is a strong reaffirmation of the vital role of arms control in maintaining global peace.

This most recent meeting breaks with the concerning trend of pessimism on multilateral arms control and diplomacy writ large, flowing in part from the failure of the U.S. and Russia to negotiate a renewal of the New Start Treaty  This agreement, which is set to expire in 2026, is the last remaining bilateral arms control treaty between the countries with the largest arsenals in the world. 

Calls for a Cease Fire—In war, civilians always pay the highest price. As the crisis in Israel and Palestine deepens following the attack by Hamas on Israel and Israel’s retaliatory violence, our voices are needed. FCNL is mobilizing advocates for peace to urge lawmakers to call for an immediate ceasefire, prioritize humanitarian aid and secure the release.

Our collective advocacy is working to shift the conversation and open up space for calls to end the violence. But we need your help to continue building momentum for a ceasefire to protect the lives of Palestinian civilians and Israeli hostages and ensure that humanitarian aid can reach those in dire need.

Possible Change to FCNL Policy Statement—Friends Meeting of Washington actively and diligently participated in FCNL’s call for feedback on a possible change to “The World We Seek”, the FCNL Policy Statement. The new language that follows is a result of months of work by the FCNL Policy Committee and will be presented at the FCNL Annual Meeting next week:

III.2.7. Abortion and reproductive justice. Quakers recognize that human life is sacred and that the Spirit can guide them individually and collectively. Based on these beliefs, members of the Religious Society of Friends have come to different conclusions regarding abortion. As in other areas of conscientious moral choice, FCNL supports individual discernment in a spirit of love and truth in making reproductive healthcare decisions. Government must ensure that people have the freedom to make these decisions and have fair and equitable access to contraception, sex education, family planning, fertility and adoption services, support for families who decide to have children, and safe and legal abortion. We oppose the criminalization of people seeking, undergoing, or involved in abortion services. 

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Susan Griffin,, 202-365-5456