FMW Newsletter - July 2021

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Published monthly – Issue #91 – 07
July 2021

Table of Contents

7th Month Query: CARING FOR OTHERS
News & Announcements
Caring for Others: FMW Community Members Help Kids on the Border
Caring for Others: Making DC Sidewalks Safe
FMW Photo Board to Reflect the Correct Decade!
Job Opportunity: FGC Seeking Communications Manager
Events in July
Thinking about Race: Being Born a Black Woman
Making Sundays Happen at FMW (July Schedule)
Jim Bell Hand-Made Coffee Table for Auction
Honey from FMW’s Own Green Roof Hives
Resources on FMW’s Website

Monthly Meeting for Business Minutes June, 2021
Clerk’s Report, June 2021
Major Business
Religious Education Committee Annual Report
FMW 2022 Budget
Personnel Committee Annual Report Presentation
Committee of Clerks Minutes
Nominating Committee: Nominations-RE, F&S
Peace & Social Concerns: DC Climate Work Update, Net Zero Buildings DC sign-on letter
FMW Personnel Committee Annual Report 2021
FMW Religious Education Committee 2021 Report
Committee of Clerks Meeting Minutes, May 23, 2021
Support for Hospitality Committee: Bill Parker
Mask Policy: Should we adjust it?

Make Way for Ducklings!


- Sundays:  9:00 - 10:00 am;  10:30-11:30 am;  6:00-7:00 pm
- Tuesdays:  6:00 - 7:00 pm
Monthly Meeting for Business:  12:15 pm July 18 (3rd Sunday)

Sunday 9:00am and 10:30am Meetings for Worship have resumed in-person indoors and outdoors.  
Please register here.  Masks required.
Meetings for worship continue to be held via Zoom. 
Join here.
For more information, email

7th Month Query: CARING FOR OTHERS

Do you respect that of God in every person? Do you search yourself for and strive to eliminate prejudices such as those related to race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation and economic condition? In what ways do you accept and appreciate differences among your friends and associates? Do you avoid exploiting or manipulating others to accomplish ends, however worthy?  

(For more, see: Prejudice and Discrimination; Those Requiring Special Care)   Source:  BYM Faith & Practice, Part II The Queries


Caring for Others:  FMW Community Members Help Kids on the Border

In late March 2020, the former administration invoked Title 42, a provision of the 1944 PHSA that allows Border Patrol to expel any migrant for health and safety reasons. In late January 2021, the Biden administration suspended title 42 for unaccompanied minors. As a result, the unaccompanied minors have been entering the custody of the US government, overseen the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).  

FMW community members Rebecca Nelson and Peter Nye responded to a Biden Administration call to government workers to go to the border to help care for these kids.  Peter and Rebecca are now back in DC and will share their experiences on July 11 at 12:15, in-person and via Zoom.  (Details below.)
Their presentation will cover some of the following questions:  What was the site where they were deployed like?  Who are the kids (age, gender, nationality)?  What work did Rebecca and Peter do, and who were they working with?  What challenges did they experience?  How did Quakerism inform their experience?  What have they learned?  

Caring for Others: Making DC Sidewalks Safe for Pedestrians and Differently Abled People.  Susan Meehan is bringing together a group to advocate for safe sidewalks for DC pedestrians, especially given the proliferation of street eateries, outdoor traffic and increased use of wheeled transport.  Contact:  Susan Meehan, email:

FMW Photo Board to Reflect the Correct Decade!  Will You and Your Family Appear?
An update of FMW’s member and attender photo board is long past due.  Friends Gene Throwe and Hayden Wetzel have begun the process, taking down non-current photos.  They’ve made a lot of room!  Please bring current photos of yourself and your family captioned with names and dates--or email them to Barbara at and she will print & post.
Also, if you spot other out-dated photos, please put them in the folder.

Job Opportunity:  FGC Seeking Communications Manager
Friends General Conference is seeking a Communications Manager to serve as a “1-person communications department” responsible for FGC’s website, social media, drafting and/or editing public statements; coordination of technical support and tech purchases. Work from FGC’s Philadelphia office preferred, but remote work is also a possibility.

Events in July

Committee of Clerks Called Meeting, July 7, 6:00 am via Zoom  For more information contact Rebecca Nelson, email:

Caring for Others 1:  The Southern Border, Unaccompanied Children, & Quakers, July 11, 12:00 pm (in person & via Zoom)  FMW’s Rebecca Nelson and Peter Nye have recently worked with unaccompanied children on the US-Mexico border who are waiting to be united with family members in the U.S. They have agreed to speak about their experiences as Quakers in this situation. Although they can’t share some details, Rebecca and Peter will give their impressions of the situation down there. All Friends are welcome. Sunday, July 11, Quaker House Living Room, 12 pm. Join on Zoom. by phone dial: (301) 715-8592 and enter Meeting ID 8492 7693 302# on prompt.  For more info, contact moderator Debby Churchman, email:

Caring for Others 2:  Living With Autism, and How to Be a Good Ally, Sunday, June 25, 12:15 pm - Decatur Place Room.  Join on Zoom.  By phone dial: (301) 715-8592 and enter meeting ID 8728 2384 832# on prompt.  An opportunity to learn about the experiences and challenges people living with autism face, and how allies can support and welcome those with autism--in our FMW community and other groups.  Hosted by Peace and Social Concerns, and led by PSC members Peter Nye and Barbara Briggs.  For more info, contact Peter Nye, email:

Full FMW Quaker Spiritual Development Program Schedule for July
Brought to you my FMW Ministry & Worship Committee.  For more information contact Ann Herzog, email: 

Thinking about Race, Summer 2021:  Being Born a Black Woman

“If you have the privilege of being born a black woman, it is my belief that it is part of your divine mission to liberate yourself from all external and internalized oppression and thereby liberate the world.” - Ama Karikari-Yawson

 Ama Karikari-Yawson is the Founder, President, and Principal of Milestales.  She is the author of Sunne's Gift:  How Sunne Overcame Bullying to Reclaim God’s Gift and Kwanzaa Nana Is Coming to Town.

Ms. Yawson earned a BA from Harvard University, an MBA from the Wharton School and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She is an attorney, author, publisher, entrepreneur and educator who gives workshops on various topics including bullying prevention, culturally empowering education, and entrepreneurship.

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 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, currently via Zoom.  If you would like to attend, contact clerk David Etheridge,

Making Sundays Happen at FMW (July Schedule)



Head of
10:30 Meeting

Hybrid Setup
Zoom Tech

July 4  Tom Libbert Bill Strein Joe D'Antonio Library Records & Handbook
July 11  Bobby Trice Neil Froemming Barbara Briggs Storck-Haskell Family
July 18 Merry Pearlstein YAFs/Joe D'Antonio Rob Farr Ministry & Worship
July 25 Jim Bell Fundraising Taskforce/Frank Garvey Rebecca Nelson TBD

Jim Bell Hand-Made Coffee Table for Auction

This elegant, hand-crafted coffee table is made of cherry wood with purple heart wood top and bottom shelf.  It’s classic design would grace any home.  Donated by FMW member and master artisan Jim Bell as a fundraiser.  All proceeds will go to FMW’s general fund.  Minimum bid price $450.  Bids open through July, or until sold.  Contact Jim at, cell: (240) 413-1229 to submit your bid and for more information. 

Honey from FMW’s Own Green Roof Hives

FMW’s First Day School helped our beekeepers harvest, extract and bottle over 120 lbs of honey from the hives on FMW’s green roof.  50+ bottles of various sizes are available through FMW’s Administrative Secretary.  Suggested donation: $10-$30 (Hyper-local honey goes for about $1.25 an ounce.)  Contact to make arrangements

Resources on FMW’s Website 

Committees”  - Learn about the work of FMW’s various committees and task forces here.  Many of these are eager for new members and collaborators!  (Committee clerks and members: If your Committee’s page is out of date or you want to add content, talk to Barbara,

Officers, Committee Members and Representatives- Learn who is on each FMW Committee and Taskforce and who serves as FMW’s liaison to various outside organizations.

Both of these sections are linked from the QuakersDC home page.

Friends Meeting of Washington
Monthly Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business
MINUTES:  June, 2021

Query for Worship Sharing: “What is your name for Spirit? How does that affect your relationship with the Divine?”

This month, Betsy Bramon has agreed to be co-clerk, in Rebecca Nelson’s absence. Friends approved.

Clerk’s Report, June 2021

Upcoming Events

Panel Discussion: Prayer in Buddhist Practice, Saturday, June 26, 2:00
Discussion of the nature of prayer within Buddhist spiritual practice, sponsored by Ministry & Worship’s Spiritual Development Subcommittee.  For more info and to register please email Joe Izzo,

1st Day School Year-end Party in Rock Creek Park, Sunday, June 27, 10:30 - 1:00
Friends are invited to join FMW kids, parents and the RE Team to celebrate a year unlike any other.  We’ll meet at RCP’s Picnic Area #10, bringing our own snacks as a health precaution. For more info contact RE co-clerks Jake Ritting, or Allen Fawcett, 

Conversation on Activism & Contemplative Life, Mon, June 28, 7:00 pm via Zoom
Moderator Gene Throwe and activist Quakers Tronette Anochie, Barbara Briggs, Steve Chase, Rashid Darden, Zephyr Williams and Tom Yonker will share their journeys and consider how contemplation and action complement one another, and how Quaker communities can nurture activism and those with social justice ministries. Hosted by FMW’s Pastoral Care Working Group.  For more information contact  Sabrina McCarthy,, cell 240.778.5234.  Please register in advance here. 

FMW Community Highlights & Kudos

  • Meeting is opening!  Susan Bien’s cookies!
  • Honey!!  On Sunday, June 3 FMW’s First Day School joined beekeepers to harvest, extract and bottle over 120 lbs of honey from the hives on FMW’s green roof.  The kids sold $146 on the spot.  50 bottles of various sizes are available through FMW’s Administrative Secretary.  Suggested donation: $15-$30 (The going rate for hyper-local honey is about $1.25 an ounce.)

Major Business

Religious Education Committee Annual Report - Jake Ritting

  • The Clerk submitted the report, reflecting the entirety of the school year and that is aligned with terms of the RE committee.  
  • The first issue was how to adjust First-Day school to the COVID pandemic.  After a three-week break, First Day school shifted to Zoom.  After some initial success, the committee found that the children were Zoom-fatigued, especially younger children.
  • The committee then transitioned to First Day School outdoor activities with the children, going for hikes and visiting parks etc., which was very successful.  The committee had planned to conduct activities once a month, but over time, these outdoor activities became more frequent (and more informal).
  • Looking ahead, the committee has the budget to hire first day school teachers and has done so.  The meeting has hired Donna Williams and Marsha Holliday (who has been leading a First Day School Bible Study), as two First-Day School teachers.  The committee is actively searching for a third teacher, preferably one that has artistic abilities and can bring that experience to First Day school lessons.
  • The goal is to have teachers in place to restart the First Day School program by Labor Day.
  • All are invited and encouraged to come to the end of year picnic in Rock Creek park on June 27.  The space is reserved from 9:30 to 1:30.  
  • Friends thanked the Clerks and other volunteers for the remarkable job they did in leading First Day School and Religious Education, especially with the challenges posed by the pandemic.
  • Meeting for Worship attendance was down 40-50% over the last year (due to the pandemic).  First Day School attendance was also significantly down from pre-pandemic levels (about a 50% reduction).  Attendance, however, rose for in-person events, when compared to Zoom First Day School sessions.   There are plans to conduct outreach over the summer and in the fall to welcome families back to First Day School.  
  • A Friend noted that outreach (and updates about in-person meetings) should be conducted to all those that regularly attended before the pandemic, but have attended more sporadically since the pandemic began.
  • One Friend asked whether and when we could resume the children attending the last 15 minutes of each Meeting.  The Clerk responded that this could resume immediately.
  • Friends accept this report.

2022 Budget - Neil Froemming 

  • Neil will discuss slight tweaks to FMW’s 2022 Budget.
  • The Committee of Clerks approved a percentage cost-of-living increase for staff.  On the other side, the monthly insurance bill was less than expected, resulting in no major net changes.
  • The budget does have a deficit of a couple hundred thousand dollars, which is based on a conservative projection of building revenue.  We have already booked nearly $50,000 in revenue for 2022, which is twice as high as the previous record.  We need that revenue for our mortgage.
  • We have a projected loss of $255K.  Neil expects the loss will not be that large (given how conservative some of the estimates are).
  • A Friend asked what the interest rate is on the mortgage.  It is a fixed rate mortgage at 4⅜ percent.  It is a 15-year mortgage, but it is amortized on a 25-year basis, meaning at the end of the 15-year term, the meeting will still owe roughly $2 million to the lender.  Friends are encouraged to make a contribution to the capital campaign.
  • One Friend asked about the surcharge for serving alcohol at events, which does not appear as a line item on the budget.  The surcharge was planned to be assessed to outside event hosts serving alcohol at their events and then used by the Meeting to make donations to alcohol-related non-profits.  Neil responded that the question should be answered by the Property Committee.
  • One Friend asked whether we could refinance and get a lower interest rate.  Neil responded that, as a commercial borrower, the 4⅜ rate is the most competitive we can get.
  • The Meeting makes a $67K contribution to Baltimore Yearly Meeting, the largest of any Meeting in the Yearly Meeting.  One Friend asked how that number is calculated.  The formula is not based on the number of actual contributing or non-contributing members.  It is based on the individual meeting’s donation and investment income.    
  • Friends approved the budget.

Personnel Committee Annual Report - Bill Strein

  • The Clerk presented the attached report.
  • One Friend asked about the term of employment for the Administrative Secretary.  The Clerk responded that the Administrative Secretary has a one-year, renewable employment contract with the Meeting.  All other staff employment is open-ended.
  • The Clerk noted that there is no set timetable for when staff will be full-time back working on site (as opposed to remotely).  
  • One Friend asked whether it is beneficial for staff to actually work on-site, and if so, what are those benefits.  For example, office hours could help with making work hours more clear and to avoid staff burnout.  Other Friends noted that permitting more virtual work and allowing for flexible hours should be the norm in a post-pandemic world.
  • Friends accepted this report. 

Committee of Clerks Minutes - Betsy Bramon

  • The Clerk presented the attached minutes, highlighting the plan that every committee would provide two volunteers to host the Hospitality hour each week.  This will be a wonderful way to share the hosting burden and to allow for various members of the meeting to connect with one another.
  • One Friend noted that the Hospitality-hour hosting schedule (i.e., which committee is hosting each week) could follow the head-of-meeting schedule but be staggered.
  • The current mask policy is for vaccinated and unvaccinated people to wear masks inside, unless speaking, and no masks required outdoors.  This policy is subject to changes in the future.  
  • Friends accepted these minutes.

Nominating Committee -Virginia AvanesyanThe Clerk noted that Roseanna Stanton, who has been very involved in the Religious Education committee, is present.  

Religious Education (RE):    

- Julie Johnson co-clerk: 
    Julie has been on the committee for some time.  Friends approved this nomination.
- Danielle Carnes - committee member
  Dani has been involved in RE for some time.  She plans to relocate internationally and plans to serve as    RE treasurer.  Friends approved this nomination.
- Jake Ritting, 2nd 3-year term as RE Committee member.  Friends approved this nomination.
- Allen Fawcett 2nd 3-year term as RE Committee  member.  Friends approved this nomination.

Finance and Stewardship:
- Grant Thompson and Merry Pearlstein as co-clerks
- Dan Dozier has asked to step down as clerk of F&S. 
  Friends accept Dan’s resignation.  Friends approved Grant and Merry’s nomination as co-clerks.
- Treasurer - David Miller (re-nomination)

Nominations must occur every year.  Friends approve this re-nomination.

Other Business

DC Climate Work Update, Net Zero Buildings DC sign-on letter  - Peace & Social Concerns

Peace & Social Concerns continues to carry Quaker testimony in sustainability and stewardship of our environment.  FMW is working with other congregations to transition away from fossil fuels.  Peace & Social Concerns asks to sign a Sierra Club letter to the city council asking that all new and substantially renovated DC buildings have net zero greenhouse gas emissions.  That includes schools, libraries, and other municipal buildings, potentially hundreds.  DC is already constructing two new schools that will be net zero, and FMW, through the Peace & Social Concerns committee, is asking DC to make that a city-wide policy.

A Friend supports this letter, though noted that we as a community do not have a net-zero campus, and should be mindful of that.

Friends approve the Meeting’s signing of this letter.  

Friends ended the meeting at 1:45 pm, to be reconvened as way opens on 7/18/2021.


Annual Report of the Personnel Committee of Friends Meeting of Washington
June 13, 2021

This Annual Report covers the period since the 2020 report presented to Meeting for Business on June 14, 2020.

The 2021 Personnel Committee currently has five members: Ed Hustead, Chris Kearns-McCoy, Rebecca Nelson (ex officio, as Co-Presiding Clerk) and Bill Strein (clerk), all of whom continued from 2020, and Aaron Johnson who joined in 2021. The appointed members of the committee wish to thank Rebecca for her continued, active and substantive involvement with the committee. The committee holds scheduled formal in-person or virtual meetings bi-monthly and additionally engages frequently via e-mail correspondence.

As was true of the year covered by our 2020 Annual Report, Personnel continued to have a busy year, especially as compared to the committee’s work of just a few years ago. As detailed in the Meeting Handbook, the Personnel Committee’s primary responsibilities are four-fold: (1) review and revision of FMW’s employment policies and procedures as necessary; (2) providing advisory assistance on personnel matters to committees that supervise employees; (3) making recommendations on employees’ salaries or hourly compensation rates and employee benefits to the Finance and Stewardship (F & S) Committee; and (4) providing ongoing support and supervision of the Administrative Secretary and conducting the Committee of Clerks’ annual review and contract renewal decision of the Administrative Secretary. During the past year, the committee has been involved actively on all these functions.

Review and Revision of FMW’s Employment Policies and Procedures. The committee’s work in this area during the past year involved three items. First, we broadened the scope of the Meeting’s “sick leave” benefits and redefined that benefit as “healthcare leave”, allowing employees to use such leave to care both for themselves and other family members, “family” being broadly defined. Second, the committee, led by Ed Hustead, worked on health insurance issues both to resolve an urgent issue and to preserve and expand options going forward into the next policy period. Third, on an initiative from Chris Kearns-McCoy the committee began a discussion on the current policy regarding criminal background checks for all employees.

Providing Advisory Assistance on Personnel Matters to Committees that Supervise Employees. Since our last Annual Report, the Personnel Committee has provided support to at least two other FMW committees. The committee worked with the Religious Education Committee (R.E.) to hire Donna Williams as a new First Day School (FDS) Teacher during the pandemic period. More recently we also worked with R.E. and F & S to establish three FDS Teacher positions to begin with the anticipated resumption of FDS in September. We also supported R.E. by offering to have the clerk of Personnel act as the approval authority for Donna Williams’ payroll entry, per the new bookkeeper’s requirement to have someone review and approve all payroll entries. The approval function also applies to the Administrative Secretary’s timesheets. Additionally, Personnel worked with the Property Committee on some reclassification of the Event and Rental Manager (ERM)’s position in lieu of the management and recruitment of FMW’s long-term leasees having been reassigned to the ERM from the Property Manager position.

Making Recommendations on Employees’ Salaries or Hourly Compensation Rates and Employee Benefits to F & S. Using the latest available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Personnel recommended to F & S that all FMW employment positions be increased by at least 2% to adjust for inflation in DC since the last raises for employees in July 2019. (As reported in our 2020 Annual Report, FMW adopted a “wage freeze” for the current fiscal year (FY21)). As usual the committee also made an individualized, specific recommendation to F & S regarding the Administrative Secretary’s pay rate.

Providing Ongoing Support and Supervision of the Administrative Secretary and Conducting the Committee of Clerks’ Annual Review and Contract Renewal. The committee, through its clerk, continued to hold scheduled, weekly Zoom calls with Barbara Briggs as well as any additional email or other communication as the need arose. Additionally, Personnel twice dedicated a substantial portion of its committee meeting to a dialog with the whole committee and Barbara (via Zoom).

Led by Aaron Johnson, Personnel revised the procedures for the Meeting-required annual review of the Administrative Secretary to have a greater focus on transparency and to elicit specific information from committees that can translate into continued or improved quality of Barbara’s service to FMW’s committees. In concert with the Committee of Clerks we conducted that review culminating at a Clerks’ meeting on May 23rd, with the Clerks being in unity on renewing her contract. Subsequently, the Committee prepared a written evaluation, based on the Clerks’ comments, and met to discuss the evaluation with Barbara.

Other. Although the committee’s major work related to the pandemic occurred prior to the 2020 Annual Report (and is described therein), the committee continued to monitor issues related to COVID-19 as such issues related to employment policies and procedures.

The Personnel Committee began discussions with the Nominating and Child Safety Committee of a possible merger of Personnel and Child Safety in the context of the shortage of individuals willing to serve as committee members or clerks.

2021 Annual Report: 
FMW Religious Education Committee

Jacob Ritting & Allen Fawcett – Co-Clerks

This report is being submitted in June of 2021 so that the RE committee annual report reflects the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year. The report is also aligned with the terms of the RE committee co-clerks.

COVID-19 Pandemic and First Day School

As detailed in last year’s annual report the FDS program initially shut down along with everything else in March of 2021. After a short three-week break, we resumed FDS lessons via zoom, but faced challenges with zoom fatigue as the children were already spending most of their weekdays online for virtual learning in school. At the time of our last annual report we had hoped that we might be able to resume normal FDS in the Fall of 2020. Those hopes were not realized of course as the pandemic continued. We began the 2020-2021 FDS school year after Labor Day in virtual mode, but while we have still not been able to resume normal FDS, we were able to gradually reintroduce outdoor, socially distanced, masked in-person activities. With vaccines now widely available for everyone 12 and over, and the promise of approval for children under 12 in the not too distant future, we once again hope in our annual report that we will be able to resume normal FDS sometime this Fall for next school year.


A bright spot this year was the RE committee’s ability to hire FDS teachers. Over the summer at the BYM Annual Session Virginia Avanesyan spoke with Donna Williams, a friend from Langley Hill meeting who is a certified teacher who grew up in a Quaker community in Indiana and has a wealth of experience with Quakerism. Donna was interested in working with the FMW FDS program, and after working with the Personnel Committee and the Budget Committee we were able to expand the RE Budget and hire Donna to teach one week a month while we are still in limited virtual FDS, and two weeks a month when we return to normal full time in person FDS.

In addition to hiring Donna as an FDS teacher, Marsha Holliday has expressed interest in taking on a paid teaching position. Marsha first became a member of FMW in 1977. She graduated with honors from Wesley Theological Seminary in 2016. She is on the Quaker Religious Education Collaborative (QREC) Steering Circle, and is a founding member of QREC.  She has taught First Day School, and was the RE Clerk and FMW Coordinator of FDS for several years in the 1980’s.  She worked for 8 years for Baltimore Yearly Meeting as the Associate Secretary (for Youth Programs and Religious Education) and as the RE Coordinator for Friends General Conference (FGC) for a year-and-a-half. Marsha developed a FDS curriculum for Friendly Bible studies, and has been volunteering with the FDS program to teach since 2019. Grateful for the tremendous commitment and dedication Marsha has brought to this role, the committee has begun discussions with Marsha about bringing her on in a paid capacity.

We believe it is imperative that the program be able to hire teachers going forward to make the FDS program sustainable as we transition back to full time in person FDS in the fall. The program has primarily with volunteer teachers for some time, and this creates a tremendous amount of work for the RE committee to plan and schedule lessons across multiple age groups. Expecting busy parents to provide the majority of the labor for the program is unsustainable. While searching for, recruiting, and training new teachers is not an easy task, we are in a good position now with Donna and Marsha, and the committee is attempting to hire a third teacher in order to fully staff the FDS program.  


The RE Committee FY22 budget assumes:

  • We will resume FDS and daycare in September (so no expenses for the summer)
    • 2 hours teaching each,
    • 3 hours preparation each,
    • 2.5 hours per month each for committee meetings and planning conversations with RE co-clerks
  • we will resume our pre-pandemic levels of daycare support;
  • we will re-commence a budget line item for training; and
  • we will include a line item for materials for other expenses.

Draft FY22 budget:

  • 3 teachers x 2½ hours x 11 months adding up to 82.5 hours, rather than 22.5.
  • Total payroll estimate of $20,000
  • Plus $2,000 for payroll taxes.
  • The budget goes to Meeting for Business for final approval on June 9th.   

Co-Clerks Transition 

The end of the FDS school year also brings to an end Jacob Ritting and Allen Fawcett’s term as co-clerks of the RE Committee. While they both plan to remain on the committee going forward, the Nominating Committee has identified Julie Johnson as the next co-clerk, and is still working on identifying a second co-clerk to join Julie. Marissa Yeaky, Danielle Carnes, Robin Appleberry, and Ken Forsberg have all had discussions with Julie about remaining on or joining the committee. One concern we have discussed with the RE committee, Julie, and Nominating is the amount of work that can fall on the clerk or co-clerks of the committee. In order to divide the committee work more evenly among committee members we have discussed creating the following roles:

A. Committee Clerk(s)  (______, _______ )
- 2 Co-Chairs ideally split this role
- schedule, set agendas, and clerk monthly committee meetings
- create strategy for yearly religious education direction and focus
- support and organize paid teaching staff
- attend quarterly Meeting Clerk meetings (can cycle this among all members)

B. Budget (_______)
- Maintain budget for committee
- Write yearly committee report

C. Communications (______)
- Write weekly emails to families detailing the planned RE activities
- Keep broader Meeting community aware of announcements/events
- Periodically add/subtract emails to list as needed
- Respond to committee emails from other committees or Meeting office

D. Outreach/Recording (_________)
- Coordination with other committees as needed 
- Record monthly meeting minutes, approve, and submit to the office
- Attend Meeting for Business (maybe can cycle this among all members)
- Works with budget clerk on yearly committee report

Summary of FDS Activities

The FDS school year began after Labor Day with a Zoom meeting for the children to discuss what they did over the summer and a discussion of service projects that we could do. Because of our experience with Zoom fatigue, we did not have FDS lessons every week, but with the service project theme we discussed service activities that families could do together on the weeks we did not hold lessons. Some examples included neighborhood clean-up projects and writing and decorating postcards for Reclaim Our Vote. We also had a big service project in December writing holiday cards for the residents in DC jails on medical lock down with the group Neighbors for Justice, co-founded by our own Julie Johnson. Over the course of the Fall, Donna Williams also taught a number of FDS lessons, with activities such as virtual ice breakers to get to know the kids and singing George Fox songs.

In November we held our first in-person, outdoor, masked and social distanced FDS event, the Underground Railroad Hike at Sandy Springs. We had perfect weather and very good attendance, around 30 people including kids and adults. Since the hike coincided with virtual MFW, we joined the zoom meeting for the last 10 minutes from a phone, and many of the children were able to share vocal ministry. Most of it made it to the actual Sandy Spring before turning around, and several families were able to stay for a socially distant picnic lunch after the hike. The success of this event led us to hold several subsequent social distanced hikes over the next few months including hikes at Kingman Island and Rock Creek Park, and even some socially distanced, safe, outdoor caroling in the park to help celebrate Christmas.

On Christmas Day we held a special virtual FDS lesson with Marsha Holliday resuming her Friendly Bible studies curriculum with a special lesson on the Christmas story. Marsha began by asking the children, "What does Christmas mean to you?"  Then read the nativity stories in Matthew (2:1-5 and 7-12) and Luke (2:1 and 3-20). The lesson was a success and led Marsha to feeling comfortable resuming her bible study curriculum with the children. In January Marsha had David Ethridge join the FDS lesson to discuss how to access the bible online, and in February we picked up where we had left off before the pandemic with the story of Joseph. In March we moved Marsha’s lessons from Zoom to Rock Creek Park with a lesson on the Passover story. Then in April we held Marsha’s lesson in the East Garden at FMW and covered Exodus, with a special lesson about ancient Egyptian culture from Allen Fawcett. Marsha’s May lesson covered was again at FMW and covered the 10 Commandments.

The last week of January and the first week of February we partnered with the Peace & Social Concerns Committee and held a series of activities about methane and climate change with the group “Beyond Gas” ( The first week Barbara Briggs of FMW and Ari Eisenstadt (from the Audubon Naturalist Society) presented a lesson on methane (or fossil gas) and climate change, focusing on the role of methane leaks in the city and the impacts of using fossil gas appliances on indoor air quality. The next week Barbara, Ari, and Allen Fawcett presented the second part of the lesson on methane and climate change along with a demonstration of the FMW's "gas sniffer" in person at FMW.  We had a robust turn out even on a dreary winter day. Using the “gas sniffer” to search for leaks we noted that the background CH4 concentration in the atmosphere is 1.8 parts per million (ppm), and the kids found several leaks on the order of 100 to 200 ppm, and one significant leak of over 50,000 ppm at the corner of Florida Ave and S St NW, which is above the lower explosive threshold. We reported the significant leak to Washington Gas and they promised to send people out to attempt to fix the leak soon.

Our next big outdoor event was an FDS trip to the Friends Wilderness Center in Harpers Ferry, WV on March 14th organized by Greg Robb. We met at Niles Cabin, explored the ponds, and held geckos, before setting out on the hike, where we visited the tree house and had lunch high up in the mountains. After briefly getting lost in the woods, we made it back to the cabin and visited the amazing China Folk House built under the care of the Sidwell Friends School. After the hike, many families met up at Rocky Point Creamery for ice cream.

In the Spring we held two Art in the Park FDS lessons with Elaine Wilson, a member of FMW and a fantastic artist. Elaine led the group on a short hike, where they all picked up a natural object of their choosing, before heading back to the picnic area to draw it.

For Easter we held an Easter Egg hunt in the West Garden at FMW, and decorated eggs in the style of Ukrainian pysanky.

Donna led the Mother’s Day FDS lesson where the children gathered in the East Garden at FMW to decorate pots and plant flowers to take home to their Mothers.

To close out the year we are planning a picnic at Rock Creek Park on June 27th to celebrate the beginning of summer and the end of our FDS school year.
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COMMITTEE OF CLERKS - Meeting Minutes - 5/23/2021

Bill Strein, Frank Garvey, Joe D’Antonio, Elaine Wilson, Bill Parker, Virginia Avanesyan, Betsy Bramon, Neil Froemming, Debby Churchman, Gene Throwe, Allen Fawcett, Ken Forsberg, Meg Greene, Merry Pearlstein, Matt Higgins, Rob Farr, Jake Ritting

Renewal of contract for Administrative Secretary: Bill Strein

  • Bill will forward the letter and the terms of the contract to the Committee of Clerks prior to our meeting.

A draft report was presented to the committee of clerks.  One friend commented on the first bullet point on page 2, below, “Over the past year what office processes, procedures and supports might be improved in order to support your committee more effectively?” She said that the comment did not come from the Nominating Committee.  The Friend proposed that the statement should read that “Communication in the nominating process,” instead of “Communication between Nominating and the Administrative Secretary” to de-emphasize the role of the Nominating Committee and express gratitude from the Meeting to keep committee website information up to date. Friends agreed.  Another Friend seconded that the Administrative Secretary has done a fantastic job of keeping information current on the website.

Another Friend discussed changing the employment status of other employees, contractors and staff to salaried positions and providing annualized, formal feedback.  Friends agreed that the Personnel Committee would discuss and explore this question in more detail.  

The Personnel Committee recommended a 4% raise for the Administrative Secretary for the upcoming year.

Support for Hospitality Committee: Bill Parker

  • Proposal that each committee provide two volunteers to assist Hospitality about every two months

There is a plan to restart Hospitality’s community hour (occurring after the 10:30 am Sunday Meeting for Worship), now that the pandemic restrictions are coming to an end.  Historically, the community hour involves drinking coffee and eating.  The staffing of the community hour takes around 3 hours each week.  Pre-pandemic, this commitment fell on three individuals, all of whom were on the Hospitality Committee.  Currently, the Hospitality Committee is comprised of four people, some of whom are unable to do the physical work required to set up a community/coffee hour.  This is unsustainable.  The Hospitality Committee proposes that a different committee each week (on a rotating basis) be responsible for organizing and hosting the community hour, with the assistance of one member from the Hospitality Committee.  This could be a good opportunity for the week’s hosting committee to shine a light on itself and to foster a broader sense of Meeting-wide community.  

The Hospitality Committee is looking to the Meeting for guidance on when/if other committees can take one Sunday every two months to host the Community Hour.  The proposal is for each week, there would be one member of the Hospitality Committee and two members of another committee on a rotating basis, hosting the community hour.

One Friend proposed that middle-schoolers and high schoolers could also support the Hospitality Committee on the community hour, on certain weeks and for one-hour blocks of time. 

Another Friend proposed that the rotating schedule for community hour be set so that the committee sitting head of meeting one week will be responsible for community hour the following week.  Other Friends believed that there should be a six-week staggering schedule.  Another Friend noted that some committees are smaller than others and suggested that the smaller committees be paired together for purposes of hosting the community hour.  Friends agreed that the Administrative Secretary could also set up a rotating schedule for the community hour. 

Friends agreed with Hospitality’s general plan for rotating community hour hosting responsibilities.

Should we adjust our mask policy? - Debby Churchman

  • Both Mayor Bowser and the CDC have lifted the mask mandate for vaccinated people indoors, unless the business requires it. The CDC also indicates that small outdoor events are safe unmasked for both vaccinated and unvaccinated folks. Indoor worship is still considered unsafe for the unvaccinated (see Cicadas are now joining outdoor worshippers. Do we continue to require masks for indoor worship/ Outdoor worship? May speakers remove their masks while speaking? Do we set up different standards for the vaccinated and unvaccinated? If so, how will that be checked?

CDC has indicated that masks need not be worn by vaccinated people, inside or outside.  That said, it is unclear how many members and attenders are vaccinated, and it is difficult to monitor/police who is vaccinated or unvaccinated.  The clerk’s proposal is to continue to require that masks be worn in-doors in the Meeting Room, with no masks required outdoors but with an attempt to socially distance.

Other Friends noted that some members and attenders are immuno-compromised and that children under 12 are not eligible for the vaccine--factors that weigh in favor of requiring masks in-doors.  Another Friend noted that requiring masks in-doors and erring on the side of caution would create a more welcoming environment for potentially new attenders and assist in outreach efforts.  Moreover, accommodations or actions could be taken so that those with hearing difficulties are better positioned to hear messages at Meeting.  

Another Friend asked whether the Meeting for Business should decide this question.  It was decided that the co-clerks of meeting would ultimately make this decision.

Another Friend noted that hearing loss is a serious problem and difficulty in his family and expressed sadness that he was unable to hear the discussion taking place.  He stated that if a mask requirement continued, the Meeting would become out of sync with the city and broader community.  Hearing through Zoom is difficult when the speaker is masked as well, and the CDC now states that vaccinated people face extremely small health risks.  He believes that vaccinated Friends should not be required to mask, and that unvaccinated Friends be encouraged to social distance and wear masks.  He concluded that community spread in DC is small and that COVID will be with us for the foreseeable future.  He asked whether vaccinated Friends feel scared about interacting with other mask-less vaccinated people at this point.

Another Friend responded that to be welcoming, requiring masks inside can cut both ways.  That Friend noted that it does feel strange to not wear a mask.  Ultimately, he believes he would adjust.  There is a concern that not requiring masks could make those who want or need to wear masks feel like an outsider.  The Friend proposed different rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated people, and instituting an honor system--rather than actively monitoring or verifying their vaccination status.  As we think about this, the Friend noted, we should remember that we also have Zoom and outdoor meeting options--which do not require masks.

One Friend noted that among Young Adult Friends, the slight majority is comfortable meeting with no masks inside.  Those same people are comfortable meeting without masks outside.  This Friend noted that as a Meeting, we are able to prioritize comfort and make accommodations.  The Friend also noted that although vaccination is the norm for our community as currently constituted, it is not the norm for vulnerable populations that the Meeting should be reaching out to.  This Friend supported the proposal of requiring masks inside but not requiring masks outside. 

The Clerk proposed that if you are led to speak in the Meeting, you could be permitted to take your mask off.  This appears to address Friends’ concerns about hearing disabilities.  Another Friend discussed whether or not microphones should be required or encouraged--a question to be discussed during the Meeting for Business.   

The Clerk concluded that it is still unclear what the best path forward is.  The current consensus is that masks be required in-doors, though when speaking (at Meeting for Worship or a committee meeting), the speaker may remove their masks.  Eating and drinking, etc. would be done outside, where masks are not required.  A separate decision will be made for religious education.  Hospitality hour will resume next week (May 30).   Another Friend noted that the Meeting house should present signage, so that visitors are aware of the rules.

The Clerk noted that the Committee of Clerks would plan to have another meeting regarding mask policy in a month to revisit the policy.

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Make Way for Ducklings

On the morning of June 21, FMW's Admin Secretary (working offsite) received urgent calls from maintenance man John deWitt and an across-the-street neighbor:  “A mama duck is trying to get up (or down) the steps to FMW’s garden with 5 babies...and the littlest one is having trouble managing it!”   In late May and June, FMW staff noticed a female Mallard duck flying, or waddling around FMW’s gardens.  Now it was clear, she had been nesting.  FMW staff contacted DC Animal Rescue’s DC Duck Watch Team, for as it turns out, baby ducks marching down city streets is a “thing.”  The Duck Watch Team arrived within half an hour, but not before Mama Duck had led her brood west down Decatur Place.

The 1st responder who arrived on the scene was FMW member Anne Lewis, DC City Wildlife president, and a seasoned DC Duck Watch volunteerLater, Lewis explained:  “Mother ducks will find a secluded, safe place to nest.  While they are incubating their eggs, they will leave briefly three or four times a day to feed.  Once the eggs are hatched, the mother duck knows she has 48 hours to get them to water, and food.  So they leave the nest for good and head for water, which can be up to a mile away.”  In this case, Rock Creek is only three blocks away (as a duck waddles)--across Massachusetts Avenue and Rock Creek Parkway.”

Anne followed the ducks’ expected path, and although she did not find them she believes there was a happy outcome:  No dead ducks encountered. “There was very little traffic on Mass Ave at that hour.  There’s a stop light there too, and ducks are very savvy.  And quick.  They can cross Constitution Avenue--8 lanes--in 17 seconds.  I’ve timed it.  They would have had no problem crossing the embassy properties, then down the embankment to Rock Creek.”

But Rock Creek Parkway had fast heavy traffic.  “She probably bedded them down and waited for the traffic to ease.  There’d still be enough light at 9:00 pm, or at 5:00 the next morning.”

If Mama Duck returns to FMW or is found nesting anywhere in the DMV, Lewis advises Friends to “Call DC Duck Watch.  We will monitor the nest till the ducklings hatch, and escort them to water.  We do nothing but ducks.”

DC Duck Watch:
Direct line:  202-882-1000   After hours:  202-723-5730