FMW Newsletter Issue 94-01 January 2024 (December 2023 Meeting for Business minutes)

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Friends Meeting of Washington
Minutes, December 10, 2023, 12:45 pm
Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business

In-Person Attenders: 18
Online Attenders: 5
New Attenders: John Cristoph

Query for Worship Sharing: What does your relationship with FMW bring into your life?

Clerk’s Report, December 2023

Special “ask”--let’s work together to secure the financial health of our meeting:

We’ve heard many dire messages about the financial state of FMW. Put simply, if we can pay off our mortgage we can secure the financial health of FMW for generations to come. If we can’t, then we may have to consider even more precarious borrowing arrangements, or even sale of our building. Your contributions and stewardship can have benefits for years to come.  Please make a generous (monthly!) gift to FMW. You can do so here.

Upcoming Events

  • PIANO-POETRY SALON at 1740 Corcoran ST NW, SUNDAY, DEC 10 4:00-6:00
    Sit by the fire to enjoy mulled wine while listening to live music and original poetry, or help decorate our Xmas tree. In any case, come to have fun and enjoy talking to your neighbors. We serve salmon and orzo and welcome contributions of food and drink that you want to consume. Please let us know by Thursday 17 if you’re coming.  Contact Robert Meehan, email:
  • God is Within Her: Quakers Experience The Color Purple, on Zoom, December 14, 8:00 - 9:30 pm.   Register here, read the book and join this FGC-wide book discussion with Nova George and friends.  
  • Conversation with Laila El-Haddad, Quaker House Living Room, Jan 7, 12:15pm Originally from Gaza and now a resident of Clarksville, MD, Laila is a powerful emerging voice in the Palestinian-American community and author of several books on Gaza 
  • FMW Field Trip: The Color Purple musical, Regal Theatre, Sunday, January 7. 
    Sponsored by FMW’s Friendly Quaker Film Club.  For more info contact Debby Churchman (, Bill Parker (
  • Meeting for Business + Q101 Q&A, Meeting Room, January 14 12:15 pm
    The monthly meeting of our community (aka “Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business) is an important part of Quaker faith and practice. On Jan 14 Quakerism 101 participants and newer attenders are especially invited to experience first hand the Quaker process where answers and decisions are arrived at by communal discernment, and a shared effort to come to “the sense of the meeting.”  Following the meeting, FMW co-clerks  Elaine Wilson and Allen Fawcett will facilitate a Q & A to answer any questions you might have. Join on Zoom.
  • Rabbi Leila Gal Berner, Study of Exodus, Fridays Jan 19 - Feb 23, 10:00-11:15 am  Rabbi Berner explains rabbinic perspectives that have illuminated the stories in Exodus and suggests questions for contemplation, interspersed with chants  and silence. Tuition is $150 for six sessions. For more information and to register, contact Sabrina McCarthy,, cell 240-778-5234. 

FMW Community Highlights & Kudos

  • FMW’s Minute on Israel/Palestine has been shared with Baltimore Yearly Meeting, White House, Washington Post, MD Senators, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Other Monthly Meetings     
  • Backpack Project - 1500 backpack gifts are nearly completed!

Tenant Updates- Activities at our Meeting House

  • Event rental bookings for FY2024 are ahead of where they were last year at this time, and on track  to meet our FY24 income goals
  • All FMW office spaces are currently rented.


Quaker Call to Action to support democratic process and elections - Barbara Briggs/PSC

This Call to Action has been endorsed by FCNL, AFSC and many Friends Meetings.
Peace and Social Concerns seeks full FMW approval and sign-on.

More info on the original call and a place for individuals to sign on and sign up for action opportunities is here.

The 6 Calls to Action were read aloud.

Friends approved the call
One friend stood aside.

Nominating – Michael Beer

Trustees, expiring at the end of 2025:  Jorge Sanchez.  Neil Froemming,

Friends Approved Jorge Sanchez for Trustees, expiring 2025.
Friends Approved Neil Froemming for Trustees, expiring 2025.

Clerks of the Meeting. 2024: Elaine Wilson, Allen Fawcett; Tristan Kirkman, recording secretary

Friends Approved Elaine Wilson as Co-Clerk.
Friends Approved Allen Fawcett as Co-Clerk.

One friend asked that friends hold Allen Fawcett and his family in the light regarding his father’s health.  (We learned later that his father passed away during the morning.)

Friends Approved Tristan Kirkman as Recording Secretary.

Standing committees, all nominees expire at end of 2026

Hospitality–Clerk, Greg Robb;  Chris Kearns Mccoy

Friends Approved Chris Kearns McCoy for Hospitality.
Friends Approved Greg Robb to serve as Clerk of Hospitality.
The Clerk of Hospitality noted that there were several other prospective members missing from this list.

Library, Records and Handbook–Clerk Gene Throwe;  Helena Cobban

Friends Approved Helena Cobban for LRH.
Friends Approved Gene Throwe to serve as Clerk of LRH.

Marriage and Family Relations–Co-Clerk, Martha Solt and Basil Kiwan;  Mark Haskell

One friend asked about Mark Haskell’s serving on multiple committees.

The clerk of Membership noted that Mark was not needed on Membership.
Friends Approved Mark Haskell for Marriage and Family Relations.
Friends Approved Martha Solt and Basil Kiwan to serve as co-clerks of Marriage and Family Relations.

Membership–Clerk, Rebecca Nelson & Bobby Trice;  Mary Melchior

Friends Approved Mary Melchior for Membership.
Friends Approved Rebecca Nelson to serve as Clerk of Membership.
Friends did not approve Bobby Trice in the absence of clarity regarding Bobby’s availability.

Personal Aid–Clerk, Bill Parker;  Jacob Keohane

Friends Approved Bill Parker for Personal Aid.
Friends Approved Jacob Keohane for Personal Aid.
Friends Approved Bill Parker to serve as Clerk of Personal Aid.

Property–Clerk, Chip Yeakey;  Elise Stork

Friends Approved Chip Yeakey for Property.
Friends Approved Elise Stork for Property.
Friends Approved Michael Wood for Co-Clerk of Property.

Religious Education;  Anastacia Ebi

Friends Approved Anastacia Ebi for Religious Education.

Personnel Committee; Aaron Johnson

Friends approved Aaron Johnson to serve as Clerk of Personnel and to serve a 3 year term.

Finance and Stewardship–Co-clerks Grant Thompson and Jason Terry;  Viticia Thames

Friends Approved Viticia Thames for Finance & Stewardship.

Friends Approved Grant Thompson and Jason Terry to serve as co-clerks of Finance & Stewardship.

Ministry and Worship; Clerk-Gray Handley; Viticia Thames

Friends Approved Viticia Thames for Ministry &Worship.
Friends Approved Gray Handley to serve as Clerk of Ministry &Worship.

Peace and Social Concerns; Peter Nye, Helen Qubain.

Friends Approved Peter Nye for Peace and Social Concerns.
Friends Approved Helena Qubain for Peace and Social Concerns.Friends Approved Barbara Briggs to serve as Clerk of Peach and Social Concerns.


Friends Approved Steve Lovett for liaison to  Friends Wilderness Center.

Friends Approved Joe Izzo for liaison to the Interfaith Council of Washington.
Friends Approved Gene Throwe as Librarian.
Friends Approved Greg Robb as Historian.

Young Adult Friends Co-Clerks: 

One friend requested that the matter be held over one month.

One friend noted several young friends with different interests regarding YAF committee work and responsibilities, and noted that these individuals were in frequent contact.

One friend asked for clarification about the rationale between approving now vs. in January.

The Clerk of the Meeting responded that the method of proposal was not confirmed, but that several friends had confidence regardless.

One friend related a personal story regarding their time at a quaker boarding school where students were trusted with control and were successful, and asked that friends take a leap of faith.

One friend asked whether all three were aware of each other and were in communication.

Michael responded that they were.

One friend noted the importance of committee structure and expressed how important redundancy has been in union structures, and expressed their support for 3 individuals serving as co-clerks.

Friends approved having 3 Young Adult Friends serve as co-clerks.
Friends Approved Phoebe Shatzer to serve as Co-Clerk of Young Adult Friends.
Friends Approved Hannah Malone to serve as Co-Clerk of Young Adult Friends.
Friends Approved Isiah Grace to serve as Co-Clerk of Young Adult Friends.

Library, Records & Handbook - Gene Throwe

Handbook status:  See attached summary of proposed changes.  Here is the Handbook with changes tracked.  

One friend asked about the status of the information technology committee.

The administrative secretary noted that the IT Committee was laid down roughly 1 year ago.

One friend suggested that our zoom techs only do MfW and MfB.

The administrative secretary noted that our zoom techs help out in several other committees and larger events.

One friend suggested calling these individuals the “zoom task force”.

The clerk of LRH noted that formal language would be needed for the handbook for this.

The administrative secretary will bring the needed formal language to February MfB.

One friend noted their confusion regarding the apartment tenant.

The clerk of hospitality noted that their current tasks differ greatly from what is currently in the handbook.

The clerk of LRH noted that these changes could be made in the future and that they could work together to get the handbook corrected.

One friend noted that, in regard to 12.6, the nominating committee recently had a clerk and committee workshop using the handbook’s guidance.

The clerk of LRH noted that 12.6 could be maintained in the handbook.

Friends approved all of the noted edits except for 12.6.

Membership – Rebecca Nelson

First presentation–Arne Nelson

One friend noted that the meeting was very lucky to have Arne with us and expressed their support for his membership.

One friend expressed gratitude for Arne’s ministry during meetings.

One friend expressed their appreciation for Arne’s sense of history and geography and Arne’s thoughtfulness.

One friend noted that they were glad this was Arne’s first presentation so they could enjoy this moment twice.

Arne’s nomination will be held over for one month.

Advancement & Outreach – Rebecca Nelson

Proposal to create a Working Group on Advancement and Outreach

One friend on Ministry &Worship  noted that in the current handbook M&W has the responsibility of outreach but that they did not have the needed capacity. They noted that in the past there was a separate advancement and outreach committee from M&W. They expressed their support for the working group and the adjustment of the handbook to reflect the change in responsibility.

The Clerk of Library Records and Handbook  noted that they were ready to accept Ministry &Worship’s proposed edits. They also noted their experience on prior Minsitry &Worship committees that similarly did not have the needed capacity and expressed their support. They expressed that a primary difficulty of the meeting was not attracting new individuals but keeping new individuals, and having a formal group responsible for that would be helpful.

One friend asked about adding language regarding nourishing existing members and asking why existing members stayed. They also expressed concern regarding the working group’s large quantity of responsibilities and the possibility of burnout.

Rebecca noted that several of the agenda items were already underway and their current goal was simply to house them all under one umbrella.

One friend also noted the Clerk of Hospitality’s exemplary work in this area and suggested a collaboration.

One friend noted their experience with Friends Meeting of Washington and expressed the need for this working group.

One friend expressed their support for the working group and suggested additional collaboration with M&

One friend expressed a similar concern for overreach and the quantity of work.

One friend noted that if a path was being walked, then it should be made into a true path. They noted that one of the ways that quaker process could be made more efficient was to follow the “octopus” model, in which freedom, flexibility, and accountability were more balanced. They expressed their support for the working group.

The Clerk of Hospitality noted their support for the working group and their imagination was that representatives of each committee should be involved. They also noted that Hospitality has worked on several of these issues already.

One friend suggested that the working group be set for one year with a report at the end of the duration.

One friend responded that the working group not necessarily expire in a year.

The Clerk of Library, Records, and Handbook noted that the currently approved handbook suggests a need for a duration and report for the new committee.

The Clerk of Nominating asked whether they were going to be tasked with finding members for the group.

Rebecca responded that they would be in contact with the Clerk of Nominating regarding members.

Friends Approved the creation of a one year duration Advancement and Outreach Working Group with a report upcoming in February 2025.

State of the Staff Report – presenter: Barbara Briggs, Administrative Secretary

Linked here and attached below.

One friend expressed their appreciation for FMW’s staff.

One friend noted Brian Lutenegger’s work was deeply appreciated.

The Administrative Secretary added that a quarter-time rental assistant will likely be of use and is upcoming.

One friend asked about trainings for Friendly Office Presences (FOP).

The Administrative Secretary noted that trainings were upcoming in 2024.

One friend asked about documentation and checklists for FOPs.

The Administrative Secretary noted that such documentation is part of the training.

Friends accepted the report.

January Committee of Clerks Meeting evening potluck (in person & virtual) 

Friends Approved the minutes with gratitude at 2:33 PM.
Meeting for Worship for Business entered into silent worship and then concluded at 2:34 PM.

Upcoming Committee Reports

January: Trustees (including Audit report); Library, Records & Handbook; Membership; Peace & Social Concerns
February: Marriage & Family Relations;

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 description for Advancement and Outreach Working Group

This Working Group raises the visibility of the Meeting in the wider community, serving as an ambassador for the Meeting and helping those new to Friends discover Quakerism. The Working Group helps to strengthen the Meeting community by inviting in new attenders, making newcomers feel welcome and part of the Meeting, and endeavoring to make it more reflective of its surrounding community. This Working Group also helps steward the Meeting’s efforts to discern a vision for the future by advancing conversations about the kind of Beloved Community we want to be and helping understand together how to get closer to that vision. As part of its advancement role, this Working Group seeks to better prepare the Meeting through “inreach” efforts, to nurture their connection to the Meeting. Among its tasks are proposing and coordinating participation in public spaces and activities; deepening relationships with community organizations that may foster Meeting diversity; and overseeing the Meeting’s proactive efforts to provide responsive accommodations to new attenders. Faith and Practice, Advancement and Outreach, sec. III, B, 4, c

Current activities that could be housed under an Advancement and Outreach Committee include:

  • Visioning exercises to imagine our future
  • Accommodations for Friends who need ASL support, etc. 
  • Campus ministries 
  • The change committee/work on racial justice
  • Participation in Pride parade and other public events 
  • Coordination of FMW participation in interfaith walks and other events

Proposed activities that could be housed under an Advancement and Outreach Committee include:

  • Welcoming of a Kenyan Quakers Meeting
  • Translation of FMW website and Meeting literature into other languages, such as Spanish 
  • Hosting of Meetings in non-English local languages (Spanish, Amharic, etc.) 
  • Maintaining a guest book and following up with first-time attenders or those who would like to learn more about the Meeting

Who do we envision serving on Advancement and Outreach?  

  • Individuals who are interested in envisioning the future of FMW
  • Outgoing individuals who feel led to share their Light with others 
  • People with a professional communications background 
  • Individuals who are interested/willing to do some regular tasks around communicating and arranging/scheduling support services. 

# # # # # #

Summary of Changes to Friends Meeting of Washington Handbook
-December 2023

Handbook with Tracked Changes

Section 1.3 Added Hayden Wetzel’s history to the list of histories. 

Section 3.1 Changed Co-Presiding Clerks and Alternate Clerks to Co-Clerks.

Section 3.3 deleted section on Alternate Clerks.

Section 3.4 Deleted reference to an Alternate Clerk. 

Section 4.1 Encoded writing the history every 20 years and that Historians write memorial minutes for Friends unknown to current members.

Section 5 Clarified what committees the Administrative Secretary is an ex officio member of. 

Section 6 Changes the terms of the Board of Trustees from October 1 to September 30 to January 1 to December 31.  Also added the responsibility to Child Safety to the Trustees’ responsibilities. 

Section 7 Deleted the paragraph requiring all committee business be done in person to prioritizing in-person meetings but allowing for electronic means. Deleted Child Safety Committee from the chart. Deleted the Administrative Secretary  and added the Event and Rental Manager as an ex officio member of the Property Committee. 

Section 7.1 Deleted the Child Safety Committee.

Section 7.8 Added the responsibility of orienting new members of committees if requested. 

Section 7.12 added environmental and financial sustainability to responsibilities of the property. Added a paragraph concerning additional responsibilities. Added a paragraph concerning developing rental policies. Added oversight of the Event and Rental Manager. Deleted the mention of an apartment tenant. Added clarifying language concerning how rental rates are established. 

Section 8 Deleted mention of alternate clerks.

Section 9 Clarified how special committees can be formed, when they report, and how to disband them. Added that committee files are stored in the office and electronically. In the chart, deleted the Ad Hoc Committee for Special Events, the Garden Committee, and the Information Technology Committee. 

Section 9.1 Deleted the Ad Hoc Committee for Special Events.

Section 9.2 Deleted the Garden Committee.

Section 9.4 Deleted the Information Technology Committee.

Section 9.6 Deleted mention of an Alternate Clerk. 

Section 10 Added that special liaisons should submit updates to the Administrative Secretary for the website and listservs. Deleted the Information Technology Committee, Ad Hoc Committee for Special Events, and the Garden Committee from the list of months their reports are due. Changed the ANC in the chart from 1-D to 2-D. 

Section 10.1 Changed the ANC from 1-D to 2-D. 

Section 11.7 Changed the process for one-time workshops or seminars approval from going through the Hospitality Committee to the Administrative Secretary. 

Section 12.1 Moved Hunger and Homelessness Task Force from September to January, Personnel Committee from June to February, Spiritual State of the Meeting from February and March to March and April, Mary Jane Simpson Scholarship Committee from June to September, and nominations for Trustees from September to December. 

Section 12.2 Changed the First  Day 10:30 am Meeting for Worship alternate meeting from the Quaker House Living Room to the West Garden or the Library. Moved the first Day 6 pm Meeting for Worship to the Library. Changed the Third Day Meeting for Worship at 7 pm to Fourth Day at 6 pm. Changed First Day School to occur in the Quaker House Living Room and Bridge Room. Changed the office hours from 8 am to 4 pm to 9 am to 5 pm. 

Section 12.6 Deleted reference to the Clerking and Committee Workshop, which hasn’t happened in ages.

Section 12.7 Changes the process for Committee Reports from being printed to being added to order of business. 

# # # # #

State of the Staff, Friends Meeting of Washington
December 2023

In 2023, FMW experienced a wonderful upwelling of energy, attendance and activities following the pandemic shutdown. The resumption of in-person life has brought new members and attenders with demand for many more meetings in FMW’s faith community. It has also led to  many more rental events – which bring many more people of all backgrounds onsite throughout the week and for many personal and professional reasons. 

The return to in-person meetings has not replaced the demand for good quality online (Zoom) meetings. Rather, there is an expectation of good quality hybrid meeting options in FMW’s various spaces, both for FMW faith community and for rental events. 

 In short, 2023 has been an exciting year.  Our Meeting and grounds are very well used, and the increased level of activity has brought new challenges for staff.

FMW’s staff

Our staff team includes regular employees Barbara Briggs, Administrative Secretary (25-30 hours a week), who provides admin and programmatic support for our Meeting community;  Brian Lutenegger (full-time), who manages FMW’s event and office rental business, and property manager Ken Orvis (25-30 hours a week).  In addition, Jon deWitt (maintenance and repairs, several days a week as needed), our bookkeeper Rebecca (part-time) and Maria Torres (full time custodian) work under contract.  Several paid event hosts work with Brian part time, as needed, assisting with event logistics and building security during and after events. Other part-time staff include child care and First Day school teachers.

Overall, staff work well as a team, communicating agilely and covering for one another. While staff attempt to keep to our lanes–with Brian handling rentals, Barbara coordinating the work relating to our faith community and Ken managing the building–we often pick up time-sensitive tasks in one another’s areas.  For example, Barbara often “takes the early shift” welcoming rental events at 7:30 or 8:00 am for Brian (who often needs to work later).  Brian takes phone calls and fills time-sensitive FMW community needs when Barbara is not on site.

Scheduling challenges

While we still have plenty of space availability much of the time, there is increased demand, both on the rentals side and for space for FMW community events.  The rentals are critical to FMW’s financial survival (paying the mortgage), but making space available for committee meetings and events is also very important to the health of FMW.  Staff are in constant communications with one another about scheduling–what event can be held when and where, preparation, noise levels, refrigerator use, staffing.  Staff’s approach has been to assume that we can accommodate most things with careful planning and communications.  This is harder–but also much more fruitful–than managing a facility that is less well used.

Capacity challenges

Staffing coverage:  FMW is often open with events, meetings and work taking place from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm, up to seven days a week.  Larger events require the lobby door to be staffed and active hands-on support (moving tables and chairs, cleaning, supplying AV equipment, orienting space users, etc.), plus phones need to be answered and staff’s regular work tasks need to be completed.  Increasingly we have been scheduling supplementary event hosts when large events take place and/or for off hours community events when volunteer Friendly Office Presences are unavailable.

We have also trained additional event hosts (FOPs)--six so far in two training sessions.  It will be helpful to have these community members who know how to secure our building, mostly to cover FMW community-side meetings on a volunteer basis.

On both the FMW community and event rentals sides, there has been an increased need for AV tech support –help from people familiar with Zoom, FMW’s equipment and the sophisticated sound system in our Meeting Room.  FMW member Rob Farr has taken on the lion’s share of tech support work on Sundays and for memorial events.  He has also trained four community members (in addition to staff).  We are in the process of building a deeper bench in this area, though achieving quality audio remains a particular challenge.

Moving forward

FMW staffing needs are high (compared to capacity) and likely to grow, particularly in the area of events coverage – while, at the same time, our budget remains tight.  We believe that building FMW’s bench of trained AV techs and event hosts, both volunteer and paid, can help a lot.  

 Moving forward, these distinct uses will continue to make scheduling complex. Community understanding of both how our facility functions and that we–together–are managing a multi-use campus – simultaneously a house of worship, a space where our office tenants make their living, and an increasingly sought after event venue – is critical to the sustainability and morale of our staff team.