FMW Newsletter Issue 94-02 February 2024 (January 2024 Meeting for Business Minutes

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Friends Meeting of Washington
Monthly Community Meeting

(Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business)
Minutes - January 14, 2024

In-Person Attenders: 36    Online Attenders: 15

New Attenders: Michelle Hannahs, Renee Ding, Miguel Herrera, Mira ???, Rheagan Martin, Micah MacColl Nicholson, Pat Michaelson, Mary Tonkinson, Amanda Wernicke, Lillie Catlin, Hashim El-Tinay, Igor Chasin.

Query for Worship Sharing: How will we support our individual and community’s spiritual growth this year?

Clerk’s Report, January 2024

In Memoriam

John Thomas Fawcett, Allen Fawcett’s father, December 10, 2023


Survey: How are you doing spiritually? How is our Meeting doing as your spiritual home?
Please take a minute to fill out the 2024 Queries Concerning the Spiritual State of our Meeting (ie. vibe check on FMW)  Your input is important! Your responses will be used by the Ministry & Worship Committee and other committees to understand the views, desires, hopes and concerns of our community and to shape our efforts in the coming year. 100% participation from our Friends is needed!  Thank you!  For more information, contact Kathy Powell (

Memorial meeting for Sue Swisher, Goodwin House, Jan 20, 10am - All are welcome
A memorial meeting for Sue Swisher, beloved wife of the late Clem Swisher, will be held at her retirement home, Goodwin House, 3440 S Jefferson St, Falls Church, VA, in the auditorium. All are welcome.

A Deeper Dive into Quakerism, Bridge Room, Sunday, Jan 21, 12:15 pm
The “Deeper Dive” Book group will commence our monthly meetings discussing the introduction (pp. 1 - 53) to Douglas Steere's, "Quaker Spirituality: Selected Writings", Paulist Press, 1984)  Please register by contacting the facilitator, Joe Izzo ( or (202) 526-2471.

Quakerism 201 - Four Doors to the Meeting For Worship, Sunday, February 25, 12:15-2:15 pm - In-person.  Registration will begin soon.  If you want to deepen your spiritual experience in Meeting for Worship this is a great workshop to attend. Four Doors author William Taber’s gift was his ability to translate spiritual experience into plain language, to offer a more contemporary explanation of “what happens” in a Quaker meeting for worship. Pendle Hill Pamphlet #306 can be purchased here, or borrowed from the FMW library.  For more information contact workshop leaders Debby Churchman ( or John Bluedorn (

Coming soon:  Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education program.
Members of FMW’s RE Committee are partnering with All Souls Unitarian Church to work on OWL, a nationally recognized, evidence-based comprehensive sexuality education curriculum used by Unitarian churches across the country. OWL teaches age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health information through a lens of self worth, health, responsibility, justice, and inclusivity, very much in alignment with Quaker values. All Souls typically offers OWL sessions tailored for grades 1-2, 5, middle schoolers, and high schoolers every 1-3 years. 

OWL Facilitators Training, All Souls UU Church, February 9-11
This is a great opportunity for FMW folks to be trained so we can support All Souls in their educational work, and possibly use this content in our own Meeting. If you are interested, please contact Marissa Yeakey for more information. 

FMW Community Highlights & Kudos

We welcome back Scott Breeze who will begin attending 10:30 Worship in person again.  With oversight from Ministry and Worship, a new group of Friends have volunteered to accompany him when he is with us. Anyone with questions is encouraged to speak with co-clerk Elaine Wilson or Gray Handley, clerk of Ministry and Worship. 

One friend noted their prior work on the child safety committee, extensive legal research, and deep reflection on quaker testimony, and requested others consider the work that has already been done regarding Scott’s attendance.

One friend noted their prior experience with Scott and the arrival of new parents, and asked that clerks of religious education be made aware of the meeting’s history in this matter.

The Clerk of Ministry and Worship noted that Scott Breeze asked the meeting to be made aware of the history, and noted that this was not a special case - that it was our community taking care of our community.

Tenant Updates- Activities at our Meeting House

Our building provides meeting space for worthy nonprofits and for families marking their move important life moments.  Opening our doors for rentals allows us to offer a tangible resource to our larger community and brings many (sometimes hundreds) to our Meeting each week for the first time.  Read Rentals Manager Brian Lutenegger’s full report.


Ministry and Worship–Gray Handley 

Adjustments to Head of Meeting

One friend noted that the committees are still responsible for staffing the main entrance and welcoming attendees.

Peace and Social Concerns – Israel/Palestine

Steve Chase, part of Peace and Social Concerns, discussed the process by which the meeting responded to war crimes by Hamas and Israel, and the hanging of a banner outside FMW: “Seek peace and pursue it. Never again, for anyone. Ceasefire now.”

One friend asked if the banner would be presented to DC Minyan as a group to receive feedback.

Steve noted that both Clerks had discussed the issue with the leadership of DC Minyan.

A Co-Clerk recounted their discussion with DC Minyan around the Quaker Testament of Peace and FMW’s prior work. They noted DC Minyan’s lack of unity around the idea of a ceasefire and DC Minyan’s appreciation for FMW’s work on this matter, and noted that it was our space to do with as we wanted.

One friend raised the notion of “Never Again” and its connection to the holocaust. They noted that, to them, October 7th was an attempted genocide, and Israel’s response was an overreaction. They raised that there is conflict around whether “Never Again” is specific or universal. They noted their perspective as an American Jew and their opposition to a ceasefire and the usage of ‘never again’.

One friend recalled the meeting’s prior discussion about the banner, and asked PnSC what they felt had changed in the past two months.

Steve responded that, in prior discussion, there were two noted pre-conditions: a discussion with DC Minyan, and the creation and publication of FMW’s minute on Israel and Palestine, and that these were now finished and that there was a moral urgency to pushing for safety and greater peace.

One friend noted how FMW had come into unity on FMW’s minute and the work involved in its creation. They asked that, if ‘Never Again’ has a particularly painful meaning, then it should be dropped from the banner.

One friend also raised their discomfort with the banner and noted their experience with language. They noted their specific discomfort with the words ‘Never Again’.

One friend noted that ‘Never Again’ resonated strongly with them and with their family history with the holocaust. They noted how conflict can arise around the usage of the word ‘genocide’. They also noted that it was important to speak out against the complicity of the US government.

One friend noted that, to them, ‘Never Again’ referred to the use of wire hangers for back alley abortions, and noted that jewish communities left his family’s area during desegregation. They urged that FMW not consider our comfort or feelings, but instead what would God have us do to remove the causes for war. They noted they did not think spending time discussing a sign was valuable in removing the causes for war.

Two friends noted that the prior friend spoke their mind.
One friend noted FMW’s work in this area and praised Friends’ commitment to taking action.

The Co-Clerk noted that there was a lack of unity on this issue and that unity was not likely to be reached in this meeting at this time.

One friend noted the importance of truth and the importance of narratives, and noted the peaceful history of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the middle east. They raised the issue of European colonialism and settlerism, and Eurocentric war. They asked that the meeting consider if Israel could have been created through a paradigm of peace instead of through war.

Membership - Rebecca Nelson

Phoebe Shatzer - 1st reading

One friend stated, “yay”.
One friend noted their excitement with Phoebe’s application for membership and highlighted Phoebe’s loving and thoughtful nature.
One friend highlighted Phoebe’s personal messages during MfW and how they always learned something.  The nomination will lay over for one month.

Arne Nelson - 2nd reading
Friends approved.

Annual Report

The Clerk of LR&H noted that the report was well written but asked for an edit regarding FMW’s deceased historian Hayden Wetzel.

One friend noted membership committee’s tremendous work over the course of the year.

Friends accepted the report with the recommended edits.

Library, Records and Handbook

The Clerk of LR&H noted that edits from some committees were still outstanding and asked that those committees provide them with a timeframe for their submission.

Trustees Annual report - Dante Bucci

Friends accepted the report.

Search Committee (need for new members for Nominating Committee)

The Co-Clerks noted that if anyone was interested in being on nominating they should come see the Co-Clerks. They noted that committees were how the work of the meeting gets done and supports our spiritual and individual growth, and noted the importance of the nominating committee in that work.

Friends approved the minutes at 1:52 PM and began silent worship.
MfB concluded at 1:54 PM.

Upcoming Committee Reports

February: Marriage & Family Relations; Peace & Social Concerns
March: Personal Aid

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?


Ministry & Worship: Summary of Head of Meeting Changes

Following considerable discernment and conversations with Friends, Ministry and Worship has decided to pilot a slightly revised approach to the management of Head of Meeting responsibilities at our 10:30 First Day Meetings for Worship. Beginning in February, committees, task forces, and other willing groups will continue to be given the opportunity, on a regular rotational basis, to sit on the facing bench so they may share information about their efforts. In addition, a member of Ministry and Worship or another experienced Friend, who volunteers to do so, will join the featured group on the facing bench and serve as Head of Meeting to help assure continuity in the welcoming of worshipers and the management of announcements.

Friends Meeting of Washington Trustees
Annual Report – January 2024 

Summary: The FMW Board of Trustees (Trustees) focused on three key items of note in 2023. These items included formal updates to the FMW Handbook, ensuring that the annual review of 2023 financial statements and audit of 2022 financial statements went through smoothly, and the correction of an identified discrepancy in a fund transfer from the Ross Trust Account to the Unrestricted Account. All were accomplished.

Trustees would like to recognize and appreciate the assistance of the Finance and Stewardship Committee (F&S), the Accountant, Henok Tedla, the FMW Administrative Secretary, Barbara Briggs, Former FMW Trustees Clerk, Bill Foskett, as well as Elaine Wilson and Neil Froemming.

Review of Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Financial Statements and Audit of FY 2022 Financial Statements: In November 2023, SC&H Group, the licensed firm contracted by FMW to perform an audit and review the Meeting’s financial statements, delivered their report. This report comprised the statements of FMW’s financial position as of 30 June 2023 and 2022, with related statements of activities and changes in net assets and cash flows for that period of time. The SC&H Group audit came back as a “clean opinion,” meaning that financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of FMW.

On 07 January 2024, Trustees approved the report from SC&H Group. This finalized report can be accessed on the FMW website and is available for review.

Adjustment of Role of Trustees in the Meeting Handbook: Trustees approved edits the FMW “Handbook of Practices and Procedures” for Section 6, which relates specifically to the role of the FMW Trustees. Some of these edits were confirmed by Trustees in calendar year 2021 and 2022 but were not immediately reflected in the FMW Handbook. These edits were formally shared with the Clerk of the Library, Records and Handbook Committee for documentation and inclusion during the overarching FMW Handbook update. Below is a summary of the Trustees-approved updates to Section 6:  

  • Members of the FMW Trustees may not simultaneously hold the office of Treasurer or Assistant Treasurer.
  • Terms for the FMW Trustees begin on 01 January and end 31 December.
  • An additional function was added for the FMW Trustees, where the total increased from six to seven responsibilities. This additional function noted that Trustees must make sure that any requirements of the FMW insurance policy, as regards to the Child Safety Policy, are being followed in coordination with the Religious Education Committee and the Personnel Committee.

 Correcting an Error Related to the Transfer of Funds from Ross Trust Account: With the support of F&S and Neil Froemming, Trustees approved the correction of a clerical error made in 2014 regarding the transfer of $80,000 from the Ross Trust Bequest to the Capital Campaign Fund to help pay for renovation architectural studies. An accidental mismatch occurred, as $80,000 was not actually transferred from the Friends Fiduciary investment account. Trustees approved a transfer of shares from the Friends Fiduciary Quaker Growth and Income Fund, specifically the Ross Trust Bequest account to the Unrestricted Fund Account. This measure corrected the $80,000 discrepancy that was carried forward across FMW accounts since 2014. This correction did not withdraw, spend, or rebalance any of the investment funds.

 Approval: This report was drafted by Dante Bucci and Letty Coffin, Co-Clerks of FMW Trustees. This report was submitted and approved by FMW Trustees on 07 January 2024.
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This year, the Membership Committee welcomed 17 new members (a 54% increase over last year) and four transfers from other Meetings (a 100% increase over last year). We also had one resignation from a Friend who moved out of the area some time ago, Roland Pool. 

New members welcomed: 

  • Nick Warren
  • Amy Norris 
  • Josh Lichtenstein 
  • Noah Lichtenstein (associate) 
  • Raymond Patch
  • Steve Lovett
  • John Meyer
  • Matthew Higgins
  • Daniel Russ Higgins (associate)
  • Naomi Jane Higgins (associate)
  • Ann Herzog
  • Norman Yeakey (associate) 
  • Milena Yeakey (associate) 
  • Marissa Yeakey 
  • Chip Yeakey
  • Michael Wood
  • Arne Nelson (through first presentation)

Transfers processed:

  • Patrick Lozada from Davidson Monthly Meeting 
  • Helen Qubain from Belgium and Luxembourg Monthly Meeting 
  • Pat Michaelson from Atlanta Monthly Meeting 
  • Joel Bowman from Atlanta Monthly Meeting 

In March, Bobby Trice resigned as co-clerk for personal reasons and asked to remain on the committee with the intention of rejoining when he could. 

Membership Committee is going strong, with regular attendance; active contribution from all committee members from their various strength areas; and a productive, collaborative way of working together. At each of our meetings we check in with each other, address new and ongoing membership processes, and seek to advance on at least one additional matter. Some of the areas we advanced in 2023 include the following:  

  • We moved into the twentieth century, if not the twenty-first, by developing a streamlined online Membership application form and clearer, more plain language instructions. 
  • We met with our Meeting Historians Greg Robb, and prior to his passing, Hayden Wetzel to discuss record keeping best practices and the Meeting’s Directory, Breeze.  
  • We held a New Member Welcome event on Sunday, June 25 with a cake and excerpts from new members’ letters as well as short introductory speeches from transfers. We felt the slight adjustment of including Friends’ words made the event particularly meaningful. 
  • At the suggestion of Ministry and Worship,  committee members reached out personally to recent participants in the Quakerism 101 class to share more information about membership, generating some interest from additional community members in pursuing membership. 
  • At the request of the Committee of Clerks, we threshed the possibility of creating a revamped Advancement and Outreach Committee. In seasoning the proposal with the Committee of Clerks, we reached out to other local Meetings that have a similar committee for their insights and changed the proposal from a committee to a one-year Working Group, to make recommendations on the future of its work at the end of the year.  Meeting for Business approved the creation of the Working Group and Membership proposed names to Nominating to populate it. 
  • In December, Membership Committee overhauled the Handbook description of our committee to better reflect our current mission and practices, approving the changes in January 2024. 

We are always grateful to have the privilege of speaking with Friends about their spiritual journeys at a joyful moment when they are reaching clarity about their beliefs and their sense of belonging in our community, and of celebrating and caring for our Members over the course of their time with FMW. 

In the Light,

Beth Cogswell, Mary Melchior, Rebecca Nelson, Clerk, Bobby Trice (pending), Elaine Wilson,
Chris Zubowicz

FMW Rental Report, December 2023

Prepared by Brian Lutenegger, Event and Rental Manager

A note from the Event and Rental Manager

It is my job to market and rent the space, network, and ensure that events occur successfully. We are very fortunate to have a number of clients who contact me first when looking for space in Washington, DC.  However, it often feels to me that there is a disconnect between what is happening at FMW all week and the larger FMW community, who may only be onsite on Sunday mornings.

In fact, we should celebrate that our building provides meeting space for worthy and often prominent non-profits. Their time here allows them to make key decisions, address internal diversity challenges, and to allow their staff to recharge during a retreat. At the same time, we should celebrate that many individuals and couples have selected our spaces to mark their most memorable and important life experiences – such as their wedding, the birth of a child, or death of a loved one. Finally, we should be proud of the feedback we receive consistently about the beauty of our renovated spaces.

Opening our doors for rentals helps increase our prominence in the community. Many people, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, come through our doors for the first time each week.

By noting all of this here, I am not intending to take away from all of the other activities happening within the FMW community. Rather, opening our doors for rentals allows us to offer another tangible resource to the larger community.

The following are ways that you may be more involved in event rentals at FMW:

  1. Keep up with the diversity of professional meetings, staff retreats, film shoots, and personal celebrations that enjoy our space throughout the week. We also have a community of office tenants whose professional home is FMW. These space users keep the space vibrant and busy, particularly during non-holiday weeks, with people coming and going. You can always follow along on our calendar, by stopping by, or by asking me.
  2. We can occasionally use help with furniture setup / takedown as well as basic cleaning at times when our professional cleaner, Maria, is not onsite.
  3. We all have professional connections looking for meeting space as well as personal connections looking to celebrate a life milestone. Please feel free to connect any potential clients to me or I can share sample email language.

Finally, when reaching me by email, please use my work account ( rather than my personal email account you may have used in the past.