Pastoral Care and Other Services
The Friends Meeting of Washington offers the same general range of ceremonies, pastoral care and other services to its members and attenders as most churches. The chief difference from other religious groups, however, is that the Meeting (as with many Quaker Meetings) has no paid minister - all activities are handled by the members themselves, individually or through the various committees. For more information, contact Meeting's administrative staff (202-483-3310).
Meetings for Worship
All Meetings for Worship (services) at the Friends Meeting of Washington are held in silence, differing principally in the usual attendance and the time and room in which they are held. The home page lists the schedule.
Baptism and confirmation
These ceremonies are not a part of Quaker tradition.
Marriages (marriage "under the care of the Meeting") are conducted for members and long-term attenders after application by letter to the Marriage and Family Relations Committee and approval by the overall Meeting. Due to local government policy, marriages of same-sex couples under the care of the Meeting do not have legal standing. Couples in the Meeting community who do not wish to be married may ask to have a Meeting for a Union of Commitment instead. More information in available on the marriage page.
The Meeting House can be used for non-Quaker weddings when space is available through contact with the staff and payment of a building use fee.
Memorial meetings (similar to funerals) are arranged by the Ministry and Worship Committee for members and others in the Meeting community by contacting the staff. Use of the building for other types of memorial services can also be arranged through the staff. It is not customary for Quakers to have a graveside service.
Counseling and Aid
The Meeting has no paid minister; so counseling and assistance of other sorts for members and other persons is not available on a "walk-in" basis as it is in most churches. Friends often speak to others privately at the Meeting or ask the Ministry and Worship or Membership Committees to select a confidential clearness committee to help the Friend discern God's will in a given matter. The Personal Aid Committee endeavors to help Friends who are experiencing personal or other difficulties, always entirely confidentially.
Religious Education, Social Outreach, Fellowship and Other Activities
The Friends Meeting of Washington engages in a wide range of adult and children's religious educational programs, social outreach and peace activities of various sorts, and fellowship groups. These vary from time to time as the Spirit leads Friends. This list of Upcoming Events is the best place to find out what is happening. The Meeting's committee clerks are always happy to hear of new opportunities for service or fellowship.
Membership in the Meeting reflects a long-term commitment to the Meeting organization and to Friends' principles, and is accomplished after application by letter to the Membership Committee and approval by the whole Meeting. (A separate information sheet describes this in detail.) Members and attenders participate together in virtually all aspects of Meeting life except certain organizational positions.
Although most routine and preparatory work of the Meeting is conducted through the standing and special committees, the Meeting community (members and attenders alike) attends Meeting for Worship with Concern for Business on the second Sunday afternoon of most months (third Sunday in July; no meeting in August) to decide how to proceed on recurring and extraordinary matters affecting the entire Meeting. Although a Meeting member serves as Presiding Clerk (chair) of this gathering, it is the overall membership that is considered to be the final authority of Meeting business. The Meeting is a member of the larger Baltimore Yearly Meeting, but virtually all decisions affecting this Meeting are made at the monthly business meeting.
Use of the Meeting House by Meeting groups is arranged through Meeting staff; use by non-Meeting groups should be applied for through staff and involves a fee.