Bethesda Friends Meeting (BFM) of the Religious Society of Friends is affiliated with many Quaker organizations throughout the world. For some of these groups, we serve terms as liaisons, representatives, and/or coordinators. If you would like to participate with us, please indicate your interest or questions via our Contact Us form.
Below is a partial list of such organizations and, if applicable, the role BFM plays.
Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM): BFM is one of 52 congregations in Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, and central Pennsylvania who have joined together to form Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM), which first gathered in 1672 at West River (near Annapolis) with George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends, in attendance. There are approximately 4,800 Quakers in the area. BYM is the central organizing unit of the Religious Society of Friends in the area and provides support to the local meetings. It also owns and operates three summer camps (Catoctin, Opequon, and Shiloh) which are open to all children from 9 to 17 years of age, as well as family camp weekends each fall and spring (http://bymcamps.org/). BYM hosts an annual gathering in early August at Frostburg State College in western Maryland. In October, March, and June, there are Interim Meetings (or gatherings) for committees and other coordinating business. BFM has two representatives and a number of people serve on Yearly Meeting Committees. See www.bym-rsf.org for information and annual reports.
Action in Montgomery (AIM) is a coalition of approximately 35 congregations which, through grassroots empowerment, works to bring the concerns of county residents to the attention of public officials. A major AIM focus since its inception has been to secure the commitment of more county funds for affordable housing in the county. In 2012, it was instrumental in the passage of the Maryland Dream Act, allowing undocumented graduates of Montgomery County public schools to pay in-state tuition to public colleges and universities. BFM has a liaison. See www.actioninmontgomery.org.
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC): AFSC has more than nine decades of experience building peace in communities worldwide. Founded in the crucible of World War I by Quakers who aimed to serve both humanity and country while being faithful to their commitment to nonviolence, AFSC has worked throughout the world in conflict zones, in areas affected by natural disasters, and in oppressed communities to address the root causes of war and violence. See www.afsc.org.
Bethesda Help Representatives organize food collections in BFM, attend a bimonthly meeting of the Bethesda Help board, and report to Peace & Social Justice. Others from BFM act as drivers or officers of the day in assisting people in need to get to medical appointments, receive food, or obtain financial assistance. See www.bethesdahelp.org.Bethesda House Meal Coordinator: This transitional housing program serves men over the age of 18 living in Montgomery County who struggle with chronic mental illness. Once a month BFM provides an evening meal for the residents. The BFM coordinator ensures that a monthly team of volunteers provides the food, with each team preparing food two times per year.
Camp Catoctin Weekend Coordinators: One weekend is reserved for BFM at Catoctin Quaker Camp, with opportunities to enjoy the mountains, camp, hike, sing, share meals, worship, stargaze, birdwatch, and pick strawberries. The Coordinators make the arrangements and publicize the events. See bymcamps.org/programs/catoctin-quaker-camp/.
Friendly Gardens Representatives: Friendly Gardens is a moderate-income housing complex located between Bethesda and Silver Spring, MD. A number of people from BFM are on the Board along with members of other local Quaker Meetings.
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is the Quaker lobby in Washington, DC, founded in 1943. FCNL’s nonpartisan, multi-issue advocacy connects historic Quaker testimonies on peace, equality, simplicity, and truth with peace and social justice issues. FCNL fields the largest team of registered peace lobbyists in Washington. BFM participates in the process of choosing its legislative priorities and receives an annual report on its activities. See www.fcnl.org.
Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology (FCRP)
Since 1943, the Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology has gathered annually on Memorial Day Weekend. A meeting between Carl Jung and a group of Quakers during World War II spawned the conference as an effort to help members and others heal their own inner pain, and thus, perhaps, reduce the likelihood of a repeat of the war. Today the conference continues to provide a respite for individuals of all spiritual and religious backgrounds who wish to delve more deeply into their inner lives. http://fcrp.quaker.org/
Friends General Conference (FGC) provides services and resources for individual Friends, meetings, and people interested in the Quaker way. FGC is an association of regional Quaker communities in the U.S. and Canada working together to nurture a vital Quaker faith. See www.fgcquaker.org.
Friends Journal is a monthly magazine with the mission of communicating Quaker experience in order to connect and deepen spiritual lives. See www.friendsjournal.org.
Friends United Meeting (FUM) is an international association of Friends (Quakers). It is made up of 30 different regional Friends organizations around the world that work together in evangelism, global partnership, leadership development and communications. It cooperates in cross-cultural missions and cooperative ventures, coordinating yearly meetings through offices in Richmond, IN (USA), Kisumu (Kenya), and Ramallah (Palestine). Quaker Life is a magazine published by FUM. See www.fum.org.
Friends Wilderness Center (FWC) is a place of peace and tranquility within a unique 1,400-acre wilderness preserve and spiritual sanctuary on the western side of the Blue Ridge, where the sounds you hear are the music of nature – a place to relax, renew, and recharge. FWC welcomes all who respect nature and its mission to care for the rustic, natural setting entrusted to us, and to enable others to find spiritual nurturing there. See www.friendswilderness.org.
Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) encourages fellowship among all the branches of the Religious Society of Friends throughout the world. Among Friends there is a rich diversity of regional cultures, beliefs, and styles of worship. FWCC is also associated with the Quaker United Nations Offices and offers a means to monitor and present Quaker contributions to world affairs. We join with those of other faiths through work with the World Council of Churches. See www.fwccamericas.org.
Pendle Hill, located near Philadelphia, was established in 1930 as a Quaker study center designed to prepare its adult students for service both in the Religious Society of Friends and in the world. Pendle Hill was meant to be different from existing Quaker schools or colleges, which were mainly academic. Its mission is both educational and religious. It is strongly rooted in Quaker community life, where students and staff live according to Quaker principles and practices, and where learning is experiential as well as intellectual. See www.pendlehill.org.
William Penn House is a Quaker center on Capitol Hill that engages people from all walks of life with issues of peace, reconciliation, social and economic justice, and environmental awareness, through inward reflection, hands-on experience, education, and community building. It supports and celebrates those who “speak truth to power” and seeks to make visible the Quaker values of peace, community, simplicity, equality and truth. It hosts seminars, workshops, and a monthly potluck and dialogue. See williampennhouse.org. Annual Report to BFM-2015