Officers & Committees

The following information is provided to help us all understand how the Meeting works and to emphasize how much we depend on everyone’s participation to keep our community running smoothly.

Meeting for Business
Much of our Quaker decision making takes place in a special service that we call our “Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business.” It is usually held the first Sunday of each month at 9:00 a.m. and is open to all who wish to attend. Child care is provided for children through age 11. (See Calendar)  
 
Coordinating Gathering
Representatives of BFM committees meet at 12:30 on Sunday once a month (usually the week before Meeting for Business) to discuss the upcoming agenda and to share our reflections on the spiritual state of our community, specific tasks, and Quaker processes. These meetings are open to all who wish to attend. (See Calendar)  

OFFICERS                                                                                                                   (return to top)
Co-Clerks (2016)
Susan Kaul Ralph Steinhardt
email: clerks@bethesdafriends.org

The CO-CLERKS are responsible for convening Meetings for Worship with a Concern for Business, guiding deliberations, and carrying out the Meeting’s instructions.

The RECORDING CLERK is responsible for preparing an accurate record of the proceedings at Meetings for Business.

The TREASURER is responsible for the management of Meeting funds, under the guidance of the Stewardship & Finance Committee. Duties include overseeing the work of the assistant treasurer, responding to queries, preparing periodic reports to the Meeting, and preparing donation acknowledgments. Email: treasurer@bethesdafriends.org

The ASSISTANT TREASURER maintains the books for the Meeting. Duties include receiving and depositing donations, writing checks for the Meeting’s expenditures, and entering all transactions in the Meeting’s accounting system. Do you need to be reimbursed for a purchase or do you want to donate your expense as a "gift in kind"? Please use the BFM Expense Reimbursement Request Form (pdf). Do you need to specify which account your donation should be directed to? Please contact the Assistant Treasurer (see Directory) or email treasurer@bethesdafriends.org.

THE RECORDER records births, deaths, marriages, and changes in membership, and provides a status report annually to Meeting for Business and to Yearly Meeting. Annual Report-2015

The SCHEDULING COORDINATOR is the liaison with the Sidwell Friends school and with Meeting committees and individuals regarding times and locations of various activities.

The SIDWELL FRIENDS SCHOOL LIAISON discusses issues with Sidwell Friends other than use of space for specific events, such as procedures, requirements, limitations, or expectations governing our access to and use of the school’s classrooms and facilities.

The EDITOR puts notices in the weekly bulletins (if received by Thursday evening) and articles in the monthly newsletter (if received by the 13th of the previous month). The Editor maintains the mailing list and, with lots of help, updates the annual Directory.

The LIBRARIAN encourages others’ interest in reading and supports efforts to collect and make readily available Library reading materials for people in the Meeting.

The ARCHIVIST keeps all permanent files and records, the history of the Meeting.


 
BYM's Diversity Initiative  (from the BFM Clerks in September 2016)                                    (return to top)          

Discernment on Growing Diversity

Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM) has an ad hoc Growing Diverse Leadership Committee (GDLC), which is charged with discerning how BYM and local Meetings can work together to strengthen our faith and communities by increasing the participation of and quality of experience for young adults and people of color in our local and yearly meetings.   Lauren Brownlee and Peirce Hammond of Bethesda Friends Meeting (BFM) are members of BYM's GDLC.

As one of its first acts, the GDLC is requesting information from individual Meetings of their current demographics (specifically age and racial identity), so that BYM can chart its progress. To that end, BYM’s annual Community Statistics report now asks for details of membership (though not individual members) by age and racial identity.

BFM already collects age data through its membership process, but we have never attempted to collect the racial identity of members and attenders. This information would only be collected to be shared with BYM in aggregate form.
 
This fall BFM will begin a discernment process regarding its response to the GDLC’s request. Some of us may feel uncomfortable with talking openly about racial identity and may be reluctant to ask our members and attenders to provide that information. However, Quakers have long understood that there can be value in putting conscious attention on a topic and allowing ourselves to sit with and wrestle with it.
 
If we agree with the principle of the GDLC’s request, the logistics of collecting this information would need to be determined. We hope that the Meeting will both read the supporting documents on our website and think deeply about this topic over the summer to prepare for this discussion.
 
A good way to start would be to review the excellent materials the GDLC has prepared, especially the Diversity "Survey FAQs” document.   
  1. Baltimore Yearly Meeting Letter "When Counting Counts" (pdf) 
  2. More information on BYM's ad hoc committee: Growing Diverse Leadership Committee (GDLC)
  3. Diversity Survey FAQs (pdf)  
  4. Link to a Psychology Today article by Monnica T Williams, Ph.D. "Colorblind Ideology is a Form of Racism." 
In April 2017, the BFM co-clerks appointed an Ad Hoc Committee on Assessing Racial and Generational Inclusion. The result is listed under "Ad Hoc Committees" below.


 
AD HOC COMMITTEES                                                                                          (return to top)
 
The Ad Hoc Committee on Assessing Racial and Generational Inclusion
Formed in April 2107, this Ad Hoc Committee submitted an interim report and a proposal on June 4, 2017.
Their proposal was accepted by Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business. Please click here to read the proposal (PDF).
 
 
The Ad Hoc Committee on Opportunities for Our Future (AHC-OOF)      
 
On 11/6/2016, at BFM's Meeting For Worship with a Concern for Business,  a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Opportunities for Our Future read the following minute, which was approved at the called meeting for discernment on the 8th day of the 10th month, 2016
 
 
Bethesda Friends Meeting joyfully and gratefully accepts the invitation of Sidwell Friends School to move to the consolidated Wisconsin Avenue campus.
Friends expressed great appreciation for the hard work of the committee in preparation for this decision. 
 
 
As the Ad Hoc Committee on Opportunities for Our Future has completed the tasks assigned to it by the Meeting, Friends approved laying it down (as of Meeting for Business dated 12/4/2016.)
 
(Click here to go to the archival web page for AHC-OOF activities and FAQs, including the AHC-OOF Charge)
 

Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of the Library Committee

The Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of the Library Committee was charged with “helping the Meeting discern the best way forward in structuring the [Library] Committee so as to protect and develop the resources of the library and to maximize its usefulness to the community.” It was formed in June 2016. The members of the Committee were Barbara James, Rick Morgan, Dean Pruitt (Clerk), and Leslie Sussan.

The ad hoc Committee report was submitted in October 2016, and is available in a short or longer format:

 
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COMMITTEES   (Asterisk indicates open only to Meeting members; others are open to all.)
Committee Meetings
 
Many Committees meet monthly. Two of them (Ministry & Worship and Stewardship & Finance) meet on “committee night” (Monday evening one week after Meeting for Business, except for July and August).
Many other committees meet once a month on Sunday mornings, either at 9:30 or 12:30.
Some committees meet on an as-needed basis. 
 
Committee Nominations
Beginning each September, the Nominating Committee asks people who attend our Meeting to learn about the committees who do the important work at BFM. We invite you to consider joining a committee that reflects your interest! Joining a committee is an important way to meet people and to be called into the life of our community. Please use our online form to ask questions or to indicate your interest in one or more committees. New membership begins in January of each year.  


* PASTORAL CARE (PC) is concerned primarily with the well-being of the people in the BFM community and helping those in times of need. PC arranges clearness committees for membership, marriages, and personal or spiritual concerns; considers and recommends Meeting action on membership applications and requests to marry under the care of the Meeting; responds to ill, troubled, mourning, or needy Friends; and provides a Friendly Ear each week at the rise of Meeting to hear personal or spiritual concerns and address questions about the Religious Society of Friends and BFM. The committee also designates a committee member to serve as a “personal friendly ear” to each member and attender, to learn how the Meeting can be of support, and to be a personal point of contact with the committee. PC has set up a Friends Helping Friends list that they use to connect those requesting assistance or counsel on particular issues with those in the meeting who have offered to share relevant skills or life experiences. This is a confidential referral list. For a list of the topics, please open this PDF document. The committee can make small grants to those in the meeting suffering urgent financial hardships and for Quaker camping and Friends learning opportunities. PC meets on committee night. It provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting in August. Annual Report-2015  Friends Helping Friends Topic Resources List (PDF)

* MINISTRY & WORSHIP is concerned primarily with what happens when the Meeting gathers for worship (including Meetings for Worship for the Conduct of Business). Members of this committee serve as Head of Meeting (on a rotating basis), bring closure to Meetings for Worship, and make the announcements. The committee is responsible for special gatherings such as weddings and memorial meetings. From December to February each year, the committee drafts an annual report on the Spiritual State of the Meeting (download this pdf document for more details). It meets on committee night. It provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting and at potluck in October. Annual Report-2013  

* NOMINATING presents an annual slate of candidates for BFM committee positions to 
Meeting for Business each November and, for final approval, in December. Throughout September and October, the committee seeks people willing to serve as officers on some 15 committees, and as Meeting-appointed representatives to other organizations. All committee membership is for two years in the first instance with the expectation of continued commitment and service for a further two years. Committee clerks are expected to be nominated by the current committee in order for the BFM directory to be completed and for committees to convene in January. Nominating committee facilitates a workshop to educate the Meeting about BFM committee work in the spring. Friends can indicate interest in a committee by filling out an online form. It provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting and at potluck in January. Annual Report-2014 Annual Report-2015

* AD HOC COMMITTEE TO NOMINATE THE NOMINATING COMMITTEE. This typically consists of Friends who left the Nominating Committee the previous December 31. It finds people to fill Nominating Committee slots that fall vacant the following January 1. Since the Nominating Committee draws from the same membership pool, the ad hoc committee should complete its work by July, if possible.


ADULT RELIGIOUS EDUCATION (ARE) fosters spiritual growth and development in the Meeting. ARE arranges programs of interest for everyone -- from newcomers to seasoned Friends. It includes sessions on topics such as Quaker faith and practice, readings and discussion of Quaker history and testimonies, Bible study, prayer and meditation, and shared reflections on our spiritual experience. Annual Report-2013

ADVANCEMENT & OUTREACH (A&O) welcomes newcomers and visitors, helps them connect with Meeting community activities, and furthers community-building activities. It manages BFM publications, the Listserv, and web site. It hosts Getting to One Know Each Other gatherings and Experiment with Light. It coordinates the plant sale. The A&O Committee meets on the third Sunday of the month at 9:30 a.m., in the Teachers’ Lounge. In September, it provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting and at potluck. Annual Report-2014  Annual Report-2015

The AUDITORS conduct an annual audit of the Treasurer’s records and report to Meeting for Business in November. Annual Reports available upon request.

CHILD CARE is responsible for ensuring that children from age six months until Kindergarten (or when they move into the First Day School program) are cared for in a safe and nurturing environment while their parents attend meeting for worship. Committee members recruit volunteers who have attended BFM for at least six months to assist the certified child care professional in the room. Friends can indicate interest in volunteering in the child care room by filling out an online form. The committee meets quarterly. Annual Report-2015

FELLOWSHIP & HOSPITALITY keeps hospitality supplies in stock and coordinates with committees responsible (on a rotating basis) providing hospitality after Meetings for Worship, and potlucks on the second Sunday of most months. It provides hospitality for special occasions, such as memorial meetings. It meets as needed. It provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting and at potluck in May and for the rise of Meeting and the Pageant in December. Annual Report-2013  Annual Report-2015

FRIENDLY EIGHTS was set up to organize opportunities to meet others who attend BFM. The structure is for adults or families with children to meet for fellowship over a simple shared meal in groups of eight on a rotating basis. In January 2017, the committee was laid down due to other opportunities to engage with BFM Friends.  Annual Report-2015

LIBRARY is responsible for the acquisition, care, and circulation of the Meeting’s books and videos. It meets as needed, about every six weeks. It provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting and at potluck in February. Annual Report-2014  (Click here for details on How to Use the Library. To see the 2016 report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of the Library Committee, please click here.)

LITERATURE/BOOK TABLE staff organize the book table display and sales at the rise of Meeting three Sundays per month, September through June, and occasionally during summer months. Annual Report-2008

PEACE & SOCIAL JUSTICE furthers prospects for peace by deepening the Meeting’s engagement in peace building and social justice and by empowering all of us as individuals. Advocacy, education, vigils, and financial support of community groups are among the ways the committee pursues its mission as well as through its liaison with the American Friends Service Committee, Friends Committee on National Legislation, the Quaker UN Office, and other like-minded groups. It designates the Social Concerns Box each month. The committee is self-constituted with Nominating being attentive to its membership. There are no term limits. It meets the fourth Sunday, at 9:30 a.m. It provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting in July. Annual Report-2013  Annual Report-2015

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION (ADULT) is known as ARE (Adult Religious Education). Please see the description that is listed alphabetically above under "A." 

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION (CHILDREN & YOUTH) is called Quaker Values & Leadership. The committee organizes the First Day School (FDS) -- religious education for children in the Meeting -- including recruiting teachers and getting appropriate educational materials. It also organizes the Christmas pageant each year and is responsible for Teacher Appreciation Day. Parents can register their children via an online form. The committee meets on the second Sunday at 9:30 a.m., usually in the Teachers’ Lounge Annex. It provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting and at potluck in March. Annual Report-2015 

STEWARDSHIP & FINANCE is responsible for preparing the annual budget, raising the funds to meet the approved budget, providing guidance and support to the Treasurer, and ensuring proper care and use of Meeting investments and property. It meets on Committee Night. It provides hospitality at the rise of Meeting and at potluck in November. 

 
(BELOW) Peace & Social Justice Committee and the children's First Day School classes
sponsor a work day at A Wider Circle
 
 
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
www.bethesdafriends.org
301-986-8681
info@bethesdafriends.org
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