BACKGROUND:       Bethesda Friends Meeting has met in the Meeting House of the Sidwell Friends Lower School at the corner of Edgemoor Lane and Beverly Road in Bethesda since our beginnings in the 1960s. In September 2015, SFS announced plans to move the lower school to a site adjacent to the upper school campus at 3720 Upton Street NW, Washington DC.

As a result, Bethesda Friends Meeting entered into a period of discernment to determine where our future home will be. Sidwell Friends School extended a warm invitation to move with them to the Washington DC campus, and that is one possibility that was considered. The Meeting community was committed to exploring all possible future paths and possibilities via an open, caring Quaker process that held all members of our community in the Light as we found our way forward.

To facilitate the discernment process, the Meeting established the Ad Hoc Committee on Opportunities for Our Future (AHCOOF) at the November 2015 Meeting for Worship for Business.

  • The purpose of this ad hoc committee was not to make specific recommendations, but rather to help our community arrive at a Sense of the Meeting by gathering and sharing information and by organizing sessions for information dissemination, worship sharing, and threshing.
  • The full charge of the ad hoc committee can be found HERE.
  • Members of the committee were: Marion Ballard, Alex Bell, Peirce Hammond, Susan Kaul, Gail Kohanek, Jabez McClelland, Doug Smith (clerk), Ralph Steinhardt and Amy Lear White.

This web page was set up as part of the ad hoc committee’s work to provide the Meeting community with information on Sidwell Friends’ plans and on the options being explored by the meeting, and to provide additional avenues for members of our community to communicate with the ad hoc committee and with each other.

Below are some key facts, links, and documents that may be of interest
EVENTS held at BFM that related to our opportunities   

Past Events

Nov 17 at 12:30 p.m.


Meeting Room


Meeting of BFM, SFS, and Ennead Architects (AHCOOF)

Jan 14 & Feb 18 at 7:30 p.m.

   Gail Kohanek’s house 

Ad hoc committee meeting

Jan 17 at 9:15 a.m.

Meeting room

Threshing session to discuss options & views 

Feb 21 at 9:15 a.m.

Meeting Room

Worship sharing on OOF 

Mar 17 at 7:30 p.m.

   Gail Kohanek’s house 

Ad hoc committee meeting

Apr 28 at 7:30 p.m.   

Gail Kohanek’s house 
Ad hoc committee meeting
 May 26 at 7:30 p.m.     Gail Kohanek’s house  Ad hoc committee meeting
June 21 at 7:30 p.m.     Gail Kohanek’s house Ad hoc committee meeting 
 June 26 at 9:15 a.m.
  Music Room in SAM building
Information Session on BFM's Future
Results from the questionnaire and a summary of the location options will be presented. A robust Q&A/discussion will follow. All are welcome and encouraged to participate.   
 Sept 18 at 9:15 a.m.   Groome Building
 Information Session on BFM's Future
The ad hoc Committee on Opportunities
for Our Future will hold the last of the information 
FINAL Event   
 Saturday, Oct 8
1:00-4:00 p.m.
(This was Part 2 of an earlier session held on Oct 1st.) 
 BFM Meeting Room
Child care through 6th grade will be available.
Coffee and snacks will be available during the breaks.
Meeting for Worship
A Special Meeting called by BFM co-clerks to discern corporately how we are led to respond to the challenge that faces us. Please join 
other Bethesda Friends 
to search for 
God’s guidance to us at this juncture. We have the 
room reserved until 4:00 p.m. that Saturday
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Sidwell Friends School Original 2015 Timeline [NOW OUTDATED]  https://www.sidwell.edu/about/strategic-plan

September 2015

Board approves the final terms of the Purchase and Sale Agreement with The Washington Home.

March 2016

DC Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing held for special exception application (for a school to be operated on the new property).

Summer 2016

BZA approval is given and written order is completed.

December 2016

Sidwell Friends takes ownership of The Washington Home property.

Spring 2017

Renovations and new construction begin. (BFM can remain at its current location during this event.)

September 2019

Renovations are complete and SF Lower School opens on DC campus

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Useful links and documents
Documents released during the life of the Ad Hoc Committee (2015-2016)
BFM Questionnaire Results Summary:  Summary report on responses to the AHCOOF questionnaire 
Letter from Bryan Garman, Sidwell Friends Head of School:  Why it would be beneficial for the School to continue a relationship with Bethesda Friends Meeting
Latest FAQs from AHCOOF dated Sept 27, 2016
Previous documents 
Link to the Charge given to the Ad Hoc Committee on Opportunities for Our Future (AHCOOF). This includes the committee's time frame of tasks, membership, and resources.
Link to AHCOOF December meeting update (handed out at the 12/6/2015 Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business).
Link to AHCOOF June meeting update (handed out at the 6/5/2016 Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business).

Link to a summary of the meeting on Nov 17, 2015 of BFM, SFS, and Ennead Architects (who is working with SFS).

Link to Ministry & Worship’s "Space for the Spirit" inventory document.

Link to a BFM Directory Map showing the 2014 geographic distribution of BFM members and attenders. The map is annotated to show the distances from BFM to other Quaker meetings in the DC area (red pins). It also shows the distance to Sidwell Friends School (SFS) DC campus (green pin).
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BFM Communication and input -- Your input is vital to our process of determining the Sense of the Meeting.

  • Please ask questions, comment, or otherwise speak your mind by attending as many of the scheduled worship sharing or threshing sessions as you can (see above), or emailing, calling or speaking directly to any of the AHCOOF committee members.
  • You also may find it helpful to use this ONLINE FORM, which contains some queries with space for comments. Your online responses will be sent automatically to AHCOOF committee members for incorporation into the collective information being gathered.
  • If you prefer writing your thoughts in a document you can save, please open or download this WORD FORM. You you can put a printed copy in the Clerks' mail pocket at the Meeting house, or you can save and email it to a committee member.  
  • Friends are also invited to share thoughts about our future via the BFM LIST SERVE, which provides an opportunity for online discussion on a range of topics relating to our community. AHCOOF committee members will follow this discussion as well. (If you do not belong to the List Serve, please use the CONTACT US button at the bottom of this page to ask to be added.)

Bethesda Friends Meeting
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 30152, Bethesda MD 20824
Our Meetinghouse is on the campus of the Sidwell Friends Lower School at the intersection of Edgemoor Lane and Beverly Road in Bethesda, Maryland
We are a member of the Religious Society of Friends
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