Ad Hoc Committee on Opportunities for Our Future (AHCOOF)

Bethesda Friends Meeting

Committee Charge

Authority and Responsibility

The Opportunities for Our Future Committee is an ad hoc committee of Bethesda Friends Meeting called in November 2016. The committee is asked to support BFM in a Meeting-wide discernment process about the location of a new physical home for the Meeting and the opportunities that the Meeting envisions as part of this choice.

  • This committee has the authority and responsibility to
    • organize and facilitate this discernment process,
    • collect and help the Meeting clarify our questions,
    • gather information (both about the Meeting’s needs and about options available), and
    • organize information sessions, threshing sessions and meetings with representatives of Sidwell Friends School and others.
  • The committee will provide one or more reports to the Meeting summarizing what has been learned about options for a new Meeting location but will not make a recommendation on which option to choose.
  • It is the role and responsibility of co-clerks of Bethesda Friends Meeting to help us find a “sense of the Meeting” on these choices.
  • After the choice has been made by the Meeting, the ad hoc committee also is asked to develop a proposed charge for a new ad hoc implementation committee.

Time Frame

Bethesda Friends Meeting hopes to reach unity on a new physical home for our Meeting by the fall of 2016, or possibly sooner, to allow sufficient time to implement the decision reached.

To achieve this goal, the Meeting asks the ad hoc committee to consider the following possible milestones, understanding fully that these milestones are not all within our control and that an option may emerge early in the process that the Meeting finds desirable. The intent of the Meeting is that the timeline not preclude any options. Thus, the timeline may change as Way Opens.

   December 2015

   General outline of the process and modifications to timeline.

   [learn about the process and timing of SFS space planning]

   Winter/Spring 2016

   Initial information collection and threshing session(s).

   Provide information to SFS about needs and desires for Meeting space on the DC campus, if the Meeting were to accept the invitation to move there.

   Spring 2016

   Consult with SFS during the process of the sale of the Lower School property.

   May/June 2016

   Complete the majority of the information collection.

   Fall 2016

   Seek unity of the Meeting on a location decision.

   End of 2016

   Propose a charge for a new ad hoc implementation committee.

The Meeting will be asked to lay down the work of the ad hoc committee at the end of 2016, assuming a decision has been made by then, and to approve a charge for an implementation committee.  A future implementation committee may or may not include members of the Opportunities for the Future Committee.


The co-clerks of Meeting will appoint the members of the Opportunities for the Future ad hoc committee, considering the diverse gifts and skills needed for organizing the process and collecting needed information. Among these should be: strong grounding in Quaker process, financial and legal skills, real estate and planning experience, clerking and/or facilitation skills, current or past involvement in multiple dimensions of Bethesda Friends Meeting including the Library, First Day School or Child Care, and willingness to devote the time needed while continuing to serve the Meeting in existing roles and responsibilities. The ad hoc committee will select its clerk or co-clerks.

Consultation as the Work of the Committee Proceeds

  • Members of the ad hoc committee will coordinate with the committee(s) on which they serve.
  • In addition, one or more members of the committee will attend Coordinating Gathering to engage with all committees of the Meeting.
  • Meetings of the ad hoc committee will be open.


The budget of the co-clerks of BFM will be available to the Opportunities for the Future ad hoc committee for telephone and meeting expenses. A request will be made to Stewardship and Finance if additional funds are needed.

Additional Information

Bryan Garman, the Head of Sidwell Friends School, attended the October Meeting for Business and extended a warm invitation from SFS that our Meeting moves with the Lower School to the Washington DC campus in 2019. For more information about SFS plans generally, please click this link:

We are moving into a time of change for our Meeting. As with many things, this change begins with an unexpected event that affects us. What we decide will certainly be important. How we move forward will be our deeper story. If we truly listen to one another with love and hope and vision, we will be able make this an opportunity we used well and to grow as a community in the Light.